Nova Scotia Archives

1917 Halifax Explosion

Personal Narratives and other materials


Report of the Dwyer Home, Spring Garden Road, by Mrs. N. Duffus, 77 Inglis St.

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The Federation of the Daughters of the Empire was formed in Fredericton, N.B., in 1900 and the following year, the Federation was incorporated as the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.). Margaret Polson Murray, its founder, established the organization based on the pillars of patriotism and charity. The I.O.D.E. meets in local chapters committed to volunteer work with a focus on children, education, and community services. Each chapter has independence to choose and support projects in one’s own community.

The report, dated 8 December 1917, details the opening of a home for children under the management of the Daughters of the Empire. The Dwyer's house was used to house children who were well enough to leave the hospital and only required wound dressings. These children either were homeless or their parents were killed or wounded. The account mentions the return of a baby to her parents and a Christmas party at which each child was given a present with the hope of giving the children a happy time.

‘Brookside’, the Dwyer House (approximately on the site of present-day Park Lane) was at 71 Spring Garden Road near the corner of South Park Street. The residence of Mrs. Mary H. Dwyer, widow of Michael Dwyer, is identified on H.W. Hopkins, City Atlas of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1878, in Plate H.

Alice (Ross) Duffus (1867-1954) was active in various organizations and served as Regent of the Princess Louise Chapter, I.O.D.E., during World War I. Alice and her husband J. Norwood Duffus, of S. Cunard & Co., resided at 77 Inglis Street at the time of the Explosion. Archibald MacMechan noted at the end of the report “Mrs. Duffus stated that the local I.O.D.E. had received $20,000 which it was holding.” Her obituary in The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 6 January 1954, p. 11, described her as “one of the city’s most prominent women”.

Reference no.: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 vol. 2124 no. 21