As usual my late father-in-law kept a newspaper record of some of the events of the years 1964 and 1974 so here goes.
Harry Fisher and Gordon Rowe of Johannesburg won the Dusi Canoe Marathon. With the Umgeni in flood, they smashed the record and finished in 11 hours 10 minutes and 5 seconds. The second pair of singles were Jimmy Potgieter and Chris Cairns of Pietermaritzburg who came in, in 1 hour 15 minutes later. The doubles was won by Peter Gladwin and Derek Antrobus with A. Oshry and N. Dyer second.
The Canadian Pacific Line, ocean liner “Empress of England” 25 585 tons, berths in Durban for the first time. Normally the liner criss crosses the Atlantic but on this visit is engaged on a 17 day tour up the East Coast.
A new Corporation bus depot is opened at Rossburgh . The bus depot with waiting rooms and parking for the public was opened to serve the Southern Suburbs. On week day evenings , Southern Suburb passengers would have to change buses at the depot where waiting buses would transport them to town.
The Mitchell Park Tearoom was closed whilst extensions and complete renovations to the popular venue were carried out.
The Bluff Valley once a marshland and home to the well known Bluff mosquitoes, is leased to the Bluff Country Club who will develop the 40 acre site with a clubhouse with full sport facilities. The completion of the project is expected to be in 1965. Provision is also made for an 18 hole municipal golf course using sections of the existing Van Riebeeck Park.
Althea Cooper, 16 year old pupil of Northlands High School wins the Natal Section of the Shakespeare Competition run by the Daily News to mark the 400th Anniversary of the birth of Shakesspeare.
Marjorie Shearer the well known Durban City Councillor dies after a long illness.
Three Durban City councillors receive plaques at a Civic Honours ceremony to mark their 25 years service as councillors. They are Mrs Margaret Maytom, Mr. S.J. Smith and Mr Percy Osborne.
David Horner and Marcelle Mitchell are performing in Des Morley’s production of “The Sound of Music”. (Many will remember the many productions the late Des Morley presented at the Lyric Theatre in Umbilo (previously the Planet Cinema). Des Morley later stopped producing and disappeared into Northern Natal where I heard he ran a trading store. Later he joined the Dept. of Post and Telecommunications as a telephone technician which was what he originally trained as.
Des in his retirement wrote several novels and had them published. He died some years ago now.)
A young Durban surf rider, Rob Cochrane was killed whilst riding giant waves 200 meters off Addington Beach. Mr Cochrane dived off his surfboard as a wave swelled behind him but was struck on the head by the board, as he emerged.
Durban’s Rag Queen for 1964 chosen at the Rag Ball is Rosemary McKenzie. her two princesses are Shannon Boje and Wendy Simpson.
Peter Snell of New Zealand become the first man to run a sub 4 minute mile in Africa at an athletics meet at King’s Park. His time is 3 minutes 59.6 seconds.
Sewsunker ” Papwa” Sewgolum of Durban wins the Dutch Open Golf Championship for the 3rd time.
Glenwood High School Shooting Team clean up at the Natal Command Bisley held at the Athlone Shooting Range. The team consisted of E Fleetwood, E Brayshaw, J Pullin, A Harding, B Higgins, G Mather, G Jackson, R Paverd, B Burgess, C Ware, J Adamson and M Bundock.
Jackie Mekler wins the Comrades Marathon for the fourth time in 6 hours 9 minutes and 54 seconds.
Second was J. D. “Manie” Kuhn and third was Charlie Chase.
40 lovey Durban Debutantes were presented to the Mayor and Mayoress of Durban, Mr and Mrs C Milne, at a glittering ball held at the City Hall. ( If I recall the debutantes had to raise a certain amount of money for charities to qualify ) .
In the Mr and Miss Natal contest organised by the SA Health Centre, Miss Stephanie Bakkes carried off first place with Miss Marjorie Slater-Kinghorn second. In the men’s section Mr Charless Barnett was first and Mr Colin Peet runner up.
Mr Harry Mack of Durban, the oldest sugar farmer in Natal turns 96. Mr Mack, grandson of Robert Mack was born in Isipingo. His grandfather was a pioneer sugar farmer who started planting cane at Isipingo in 1852. In the article Mr Mack states: ” There will be no future generations of our family on the farm. Due to Isipingo being declared an Indian area, I am sending out my last load of cane this month.”
The 1964 July Handicap was won by the horse Numeral with Top Gallant second, Ptolemy third and Jerez fourth. The winning jockey was Raymond Rhodes. Top Gallant was top favourite for the race.
The 1964 Gold Cup was won by New Chief with Charlie Barends up. Second was Cosmonaut, Devil’s Peak third and Dame de Coeu r fourth. It was Barends’s seventh Gold Cup win, a record.
Mr Edward Stanley Murphy a great benefactor of South African sport passed away in Durban aged 81. Most prominent landmark to his generosity was the magnificent scoreboard at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground which he donated. This cost in the region of R9000. He also sponsored Roy McLean’s Fezela Cricket Team’ s tour to England in 1961 at a cost of R20 000. He also contributed toward Old Age Homes, The Arts League of Youth project , the MOTHs, Rotary and other causes.
Roberto Vignati aged 18 from Durban wins the ” Mr Junior South Africa” body building title.
The St. James Anglican Church at Isipingo closes its doors after 92 years of existence. Due to the Group Areas Act and Isipingo declared an Indian area, the church authorities close the parish which was initiated in 1856. The accompanying cemetery will remain as will the grave of Dick King which is located there. (The St James Church building was eventually demolished and the graveyard fell into disrepair. Mr Harry Mack (mentioned above) died in 1968 and was buried at the Isipingo Cemetery alongside his wife who had died in 1939. It was probably one of the last burials to be performed there.)
The fate of the old school buildings at Durban Boys’ High School are more or less decided. This was stated by the Principal, Mr A.W. McIver at a Speech Day address. The buildings not quite 100 years old will be demolished to make way for more modern structures. To mark the centenary in 1966, a history of the school is being written up. Originally given to Mr “Bill” Payn to write up, his untimely death meant that this work had to be handed over. It was taken up by Mr H. “Poly” Jennings , a former master and a man who had a deep and abiding interest in all that was DHS. He produced an excellent history of a school which grew up alongside Durban itself.
One thing I have observed in looking through these scrapbooks over the years is the number of men that died at what today, is a relatively young age. My father in law being with the Durban Corporation for many years in the Architectural Department was at one time tasked in making the illuminated scrolls that were given out to prominent officials who retired after long service and so on. So he got to know in a way who was who. This is probably why he recorded in his scrapbooks so many of the Durban Corporation officials who passed on during the years. And this is what is surprising, most were in their early to mid 60s. Retirement age was 65 so it appears not many had long retirements. All I can attribute this is to the fact that today, medication, modern medical practice like inserting stents, controlling cholesterol, bypasses and even heart transplants has appreciably increased a man’s life span.
The Dusi Canoe Marathon is won by the doubles pair, Graeme Pope-Ellis and Eric Clarke for the third time in a row. In the singles, the winner was Andre Hawarden followed by Tim Biggs.
Mr Les Pyper was attacked by a shark inside the bathing enclosure at Amanzimtoti, lifting him bodily out of the water. Luckily for Mr Pyper , the shark released its hold when he punched it on the snout. His right leg was severely lacerated.
Three Natalians are awarded Springbok colours for motor sport. Horace Bergstrom (motocross) , Alan North (350cc motor cycle) and Kork Ballington (international motorcycling) .
The second world lifesaving championship is held in Durban. Six teams compete: Britain, Republic of China, Australia, New Zealand, United States and South Africa.
A flash flood hits Durban and surrounds killing two and injuring scores of residents. Gale force winds, torrential rain pounded Durban for an hour. The Bluff is badly hit with many properties having mudslides and cave ins.
The Indian flower sellers who, for as long as can be remembered have been selling flowers opposite the station in Soldier’s Way, have been told that they will have to give up the site to make way for road improvements. ( The flower sellers are eventually moved to the corner of West and Church Streets opposite the Post Office. A memorial sculpture depicting the flower sellers is mounted on the wall of the building, corner Gardiner and Pine Street , overlooking the site.)
Durban celebrates its 150th year of settlement. It was in 1824 that Francis Farewell, Henry Fynn and George Cato settled in what was then known as Port Natal, later renamed as D’Urban . To mark this occasion, the Town Gardens are renamed Francis Farewell Square by Mayor Cllr Ron Williams. A carved wooden plaque is handed over by the Mayor Of Cape Town to the Mayor of Durban which reads: The brig, Antelope, bearing the first settlers of Port Natal Depart Table Bay May 1824. Presented by the Mayor, Councillors and Citizens of Cape Town to the Durban Corporation to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the City of Durban.
(I wonder where that plaque is today?)
The Mercury publishes a delightful 30 page colour supplement, Durban 1824-1974, on May 24th to mark the 150th anniversary of settlement. (A copy is pasted inside the scrapbook).
1556 runners line up at the Durban City Hall for the 1974 Comrades. The winner was Derek Preiss with Koos Sutherland second and novice, one Alan Robb, third. The race had its controversies. One woman, a Mrs Annette Kleynhans had managed to sneak a number (No. 2880) and was able to finish the race inside the time. Probably the first woman to have done so. Unfortunately she was not recognised. Also unofficial black runners ran the race with 6 finishing within the required time. One of them Vincent Rakabele stayed with the leader up to Drummond but eventually came in at No. 42. He would have qualified for a Silver! ( I stand corrected but I seem to recall some of the early Black entrants were eventually given their appropriate medals many years later.)
The old Durban landmark, the Central Hotel which stood very close to Adams Book Store in West Street is demolished to make way for the new Sanlam Centre Building.
The 1974 Durban July is won by a 20-1 rank outsider Riboville ridden by M. Schoeman. Jamaican Music had thrown its jockey at the 200 meter mark and romped home first riderless. Sea Patrol ended up second with the 3-1 favourite Elevation running third and the 1973 winner Yataghan fourth.
The Durban Gold Cup was won by Armistice ridden by Michael Cave. Armistice was 6-1 joint favourite. Second was Numerator , third Principal Boy and fourth Association.
“Teddy” Browne, a former Senator, Mayor of Westville , honorary Life President of the Natal Municipal Association, and long serving public representative dies at Wentworth Hospital aged 64. Mr Browne was educated at St Charles College Pietermaritzburg and at the University of Natal. He was admitted as an attorney to the Supreme Court at age 21. As a young man he was well known in Durban amateur theatre circles and took part in many Gilbert and Sullivan productions.
The 1974 scrap book was rather thin on Durban articles covering more South African happenings.Share this: