Encyclopedia of Newfoundland

Bonia, Captain Thomas

(1856-1926) Mariner, politician. Born Placentia. As a youth Bonia engaged in the fishery in the vicinity of Cape St. Mary's, in the annual Newfoundland seal hunt, and was a crewman under Capt. George Nickerson. Bonia had become master of his own vessel by 1876, and he prosecuted the cod fishery in the Strait of Belle Isle and on the Grand Banks from 1880 to 1884. In 1894 he was given command of the Placentia Bay mail and passenger service vessel S. S. Albert. He entered political life in 1900 and was one of the successful Liberal candidates in the three member district of Placentia and St  Mary's. He was re-elected in 1905, but retired from politics in 1908. In 1909 he was appointed Inspector of Outport Roads and held this position until 1923, when he returned to active politics. He was appointed Minister of Finance and Customs by Prime Minister Sir Richard Squires in April of that year, but in the General Election held June 1923 he was defeated in Placentia-St. Mary's. He was subsequently appointed to the Legislative Council and to the position of Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, which he held until the Squires administration resigned in July 1923. He was also a prominent member of the Benevolent Irish and Holy Name Societies. He died September 25, 1926.

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