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Lakes at Moneague, Jamaica

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Daily Gleaner 1917

Daily Gleaner, 20th January 1917

            (the following article appeared with two illustrations)


               The charms of Jamaica have been praised in poetry and prose.  Ella Wheeler Wilcox went in ecstasy over the beauty of this fair land.  Archibald Colquhoun, from the deck of a coastal steamer, raved with delight as he viewed our wonderful scenery, and his subsequent articles have had the effect, to my certain knowledge, of bringing hundreds of tourists to our shores.  Tringham, the famous landscape artist, painted a picture of our mountains and after exploring the beautiful regions of the Garden Parish he reported that Jamaica scenery is something unsurpassed.  In this very Parish, St Ann, there exists today another marvelous product of Nature -- the Great Moneague Lake.


               The previous afternoon I had beheld the waters coming down the Valley and beyond being told that the lake was fully four miles in length with an expanse of about half a mile in certain parts.  I had no real conception that it was so wonderful.


               We have not gone any distance up the pool when the branches of trees and the tops of peasant huts unfolded to me the tale of how the lake had expanded.  The industrious peasants had tilled the soil on lands forming part of Walton, Riverhead and Rio Ho, but after the heavy rains what was then a comparatively small stream burst forth and daily the water rose until it inundated their cultivations and submerged their little homesteads.  They have


            and only the roofs of a once thriving peasant settlement remain.  The road leading into Guy's Hill is completely covered and steps will have to be taken by the Public Works Department to build another road in a different part of the district.  There is a feeling of sadness for the few who have suffered but what a boon to Moneague as a whole, will be this fresh water lake.


               The Moneague Lake is a series of springs, united in one whole and producing a mighty pool on which a vessel of medium draught can sail.  The main springs are at Unity Valley the property of Mrs E. J. Roper; and a perusal of one of the maps of Jamaica will at once throw a flood of light as to the origin of the lake.  As small stream known as the "lake" originally existed at United Valley, and it is from this main spring that this great flow of water has emerged linking up with other springs day by day until the great lake was formed with the depth rising from a foot to fully 100 feet.  The entire


            On the lake one has a fine view of the properties around and the pleasure of it all is the fine breezes which come sweeping down the valley; and one wonders at times whether he is actually in Jamaica or in foreign climes.  From the green hills around come song birds and wild ducks, and even the feathered family seemed attracted by the flowing waters of the lake.  And who would not be fascinated!  It is a real haven of beauty; a spot where cares and troubles fly -- a spot where romance becomes more romantic; a place where love is most lovely.  What an enjoyable hour I spent on the lakes.  The same feeling that I endure, that same pleasure and consciousness of the exquisite charms which this lake possesses will appeal to each and every one who visits it.  "One touch of Nature makes the whole world kin;" and this truism has never been more exemplified than in the past couple of weeks.  People who have visited the wonderful Moneague lake and have been obsessed by its charms have spoken glowingly of it; others have read of it, and have since gone to see it for themselves.  It is a marvellous sight -- a thing of beauty and a joy for ever.  Jamaica has got a number of beauty spots it is true, but the Moneague lake is the latest.  It is the "catch" of the season. It is a real lake -- something that will stand out in the history of Jamaica.  Doubts have been raised as to how long this lake will exist.  We are not the arbiter of time.  We are here to benefit and profit by what comes along; and whilst this phenomenon lasts let us visit it and sing praises to Him who hath endowed this our fair island home with another attraction -- something that will add to the flame of Jamaica.  Again I appeal to those who have not yet been to Moneague, to go and see the lake for themselves.


            S. A. H.

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