Community Focus : Martha Brae - Where the river holds a special place in the heart of the residents

September 12, 2017
Lawford Hines, a 69 year old mechanic, shows off his two-seat bicycle at Martha Brae in Trelawny.
Some of the raftsmen at the Rafters Village in Martha Brae, Trelawny.
The Martha Brae River.

The community of Martha Brae in Trelawny is known mainly for its river-rafting activities which attracts thousands of tourists to the area each year.

The community, which got its name from the meandering Martha Brae River, was the first capital of Trelawny, and even had piped water long before the present capital, Falmouth.

Martha Brae was also the birthplace of former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer.

Lawford Hines, a 69-year-old mechanic who has been living in Martha Brae since age 16, after relocating from neighbouring Sherwood Content, told Western Star that during the earlier years, the community was a lot more pleasant and much of the community activities were centred around the river.

"We never have electricity; we never have no asphalt road, gravel road all over. We didn't have piped water. We used to get water from the river or catch it in the drum when the rain falls. We used the Martha Brae river to bathe and for fishing. I used to set fish pot and use line to catch fish and cook on the river bank and 'fulljoy' the system," he said.

Businesswoman Lois Tomlinson said Martha Brae has changed significantly, socially and otherwise. She said the river holds a special place in the heart of the residents and was a big food source for them.

"I grew up in the '50s. My father would not allow us to go to the river. I don't know about now, but back then it was really special. People used to come to carry water even as far as Granville. People swim, wash and have their bath. We used to have baptism there too; everything was done at the river," she said.

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