What happened in Durban 50 / 40 years ago? 1965 / 1975.

What happened in Durban 50 years ago?   1965

Carrying on with the newspaper records kept by my late father in law, Archie Black, here are the items he pasted in his scrapbooks for the years 1965 and 1975.

Although no date is given, on the first page of the 1965 record is the newspaper report: Tremor shakes Durban. A resident of Willern Court on the Esplanade reports it as thus: “There was absolutely no noise but the building shook violently”. Time was 1.04 pm.

Mr. E.R. Irvine Durban’s Deputy Town Clerk is to succeed Mr. W.L. Howes as Town Clerk as from 1 April 1965. Mr Irvine joined the Municipal Service in 1929 and was appointed Deputy Town Clerk in 1954.

The Dusi Marathon was won by Durban canoeists Don Cobbledick and Charlie Mason in 13 hrs 33 mins and 47 secs. This was the doubles team. The singles was won by Barry and Ken Willan.

The ball shaped water tower on the Bluff nears completion . It holds 68 000 gallons of water and cost R70 000.

Big newspaper headlines announced the death of Sir Winston Churchill who died on 31st January 1965 aged 90. Churchill’s extraordinary life even had a Durban connection.

Indian Chief Sergeant S Pillai of Durban is appointed the first Indian Station Commander in South Africa.  He takes command of the Chatsworth Police Station.

Miss Roslyn Robertson was crowned Miss Freshette at the Durban Teachers’ Training College Ball. The two princesses were Miss Paula Stiles and Miss Moira McKeown.

Durban’s new Sugar Terminal comes into use with the loading of the Japanese vessel Celerina . The cost of the terminal was R4.25 million. This was the original terminal, a smaller one was added adjacent later.

A new monument is erected in Congella Park to mark the site of the Voortrekker Camp and commemorate the 1842 Battle of Congella between the Boers and the British. This was the battle which resulted in the fort being besieged and led to Dick King’s ride to Grahamstown to get relief forces sent .

385 competitors set out from Pietermaritzburg for the 1965 and 40th Comrades Marathon. 280 finish. The winner is Bernard Gomersall of England with Jackie Meckler of Johannesburg second and Manie Kuhn of Durban third. Winning time was 5hrs 51 mins 9 secs. Liege Boulle completes the marathon and collects his 25th medal. Mavis Hutchinson of Johannesburg becomes the 3rd woman to complete the course but is still an unofficial runner.

Fire guts the ABC Shoe Store on the corner of West and Field Streets.

A Durban man leaps to his death from the 12th floor of the Trust Building (now demolished ) corner West and Gardiner St. He landed on the first floor balcony of the Saltori’s Restuarant.

The Italian passenger/cargo ship Antoniotto Usodimare burns fiercely in Durban Harbour when its No3 hold catches alight at 7.30 pm. The ship lists to 30 degrees as thousands of gallons of water are pumped in trying to quell the blaze. The list of the ship threatens to topple the dockside side cranes. The fire is brought under control only when carbon dioxide is pumped into the hold. No one was injured in the blaze which took well over 4 hours to contain.

A hornless bullock escapes from the City Abattoir in Sydney Road and finds it way up Berea Road, scattering cars and pedestrians. It rests on the grass of Rohallion on the corner of Berea and Ridge Roads near Toll Gate bridge. The bull then moves on across the Berea with a policeman on a wailing motor bike in tow. It makes a short non-courtesy call at DHS taking a breather on the rugby field. The bullock then heads for Sydenham where again it causes chaos and mayhem. Finally it is cornered on a soccer field in Brickfield Road where it is put down by Sgt Pretorius of the Cato Manor Police.

The new Southampton Castle of the Union Castle Line docks in Durban on its maiden voyage. It is the first non passenger carrying mail ship on the Southampton – Durban run.

Margaret Barbieri who left Durban two years ago to study ballet at the Royal Ballet School is accepted as a member of the Royal Ballet Company in London.

The 1965 July Handicap is won by King Willow with Fair Mountain 2nd, Highland Chief 3rd and Panakush 4th. A new tote record for the race was set with all bets on the July amounting to R269 281 and 50 cents ! (Don’t forget the 50 cents!)

The Gold Cup was won by the horse Cuff Link followed by Devil’s Peak, Mashona and Fair Mountain. At the end of the horse race report was added this:

A woman political demonstrator was escorted from the course whilst the Administrator was speaking. Wearing slogan carrying banners, she drew a crowd of hundreds. A police official who challenged her, ripped the banners from her back and confiscated a parasol which also bore a slogan. The woman, Miss Gladys Emma Lee, was told that she was creating a disturbance and was warned that if she returned she would be prosecuted for trespassing.

A fire breaks out in Himalaya Flats in Warwick Avenue. In the resulting panic, an Indian lady jumps to her death from the first floor.

The Athlone Castle (Union Castle Line) leaves Durban harbour for the last time. The ship with 29 years’ service has seen service during war and peace times. After reaching Britain she will sail to the Far East to be broken up.

One of South African Airway’s new Boeing 727 jetliners lands at Louis Botha Airport for the first time on 1 August 1965. Named the Limpopo she has a twin named Tugela. A party of 200 were taken up for flips over Durban in the tri engined jet.

Durban’s “Curry King”, Mr Paul Muthusamy passed away after suffering a heart attack at age 70. He died at his home at 31 View St. Overport. An expert in the blending of spices he was known in hundreds of Durban homes as “The Curry King”. He had been in business for 40 years and learned the trade from his father. Mr Muthusamy was assistant at one time to the Market Master in Durban and also served as private secretary to Sir Khunnar Maharaj Singh, India’s Agent-General.

Another fire hits Durban. This time SA Warehousing Services’s warehouse in Davey Road , Maydon Wharf went up in smoke when huge bales of rubber caught alight. Black smoke billowed over Durban and drifted over the North Coast.  The fire took over 6 hours to control and damage was estimated at over R1 million. An onlooker, an 11 year old boy (now 66 , wonder if he remembers!) Ian Burden of Bartle Road was bitten on the leg by a police dog.

An old barnacle encrusted ship’s anchor was dragged up from the outer anchorage by the Japanese freighter Meihohsan Maru. It weighed one and half tons and the corrosion indicated that it must have been of some age.

The Durban Cenotaph is surrounded by scaffolding as it undergoes a “wash and brush up”.

Dr Killie Campbell passes away. This is the obituary that appeared in the Daily News.

With the death yesterday of Dr. Killie Campbell, Natal has lost one of its most distinguished daughters. Historian, philanthropist, horticulturalist, humanist, her record of service to the community was in the finest traditions of a family to which the province owes so much. In a long and fruitful life she extended her manifold abilities in many fields but it was in her quest for Africana that her talents reached full flower. Natal, and indeed, all South Africa is fortunate that in her early life she chose to collect rather than write. For while the document of her own research would without doubt have been outstanding, her accumulation of historical material and above all her library are priceless, a unique and lasting treasure house for the exploration of others.

Men and women of all races and of all levels of society will mourn the passing from their midst of this warm, generous and cheerily busy personality. And a legion to whom she will remain but a name will join to salute the memory of one whose contribution to the knowledge and welfare of her fellow men has been, in her own special phrase, “simply splendid”.

An eighteen year old Durban girl and first year University student, Miss Carol Hawkes is chosen as Natal semi finalist in the Miss Teenage Personality Contest held at the Pabros Theatre , Durban.    She is flown to Johannesburg for the National Finals where she is chosen as the winner of Miss Teenage Personality. All major centres and cities had participated in the contest and more than 1000 girls had entered the competition.

Carol Hawkes Duveen passed away in Cape Town on 31st March 2016.

A 7 foot crocodile was found by African staff in the grounds of the George Campbell Technical High School near Snell Parade. They promptly “dispatched” the reptile. Apparently many scholars walked through the area where the crocodile was found on their way to school.

Mr James Black former headmaster of both Durban High School and Glenwood High School passes away on the Bluff aged 82. His years as a teacher and head-master are interesting.     Mr Black came to South Africa from Forfar,   Scotland in 1912 and joined the staff of Durban High School under Mr A. S. Langley. About13 years later he was appointed as Headmaster of Dundee High School , a post he held until 1929 when he was transferred back to Durban as first Headmaster of Glenwood High School. It was an inauspicious resumption of duty for he once remarked, “I went into a building, dumped in the virgin bush with the carpenter’s shavings still lying on the floor of my office”. (This would have been the then new Glenwood where it stands today). Mr Black remained at Glenwood until 1931 when he appointed as Headmaster of Durban High School . His place at Glenwood was taken over by a former DHS colleague, Mr. J H “Froggy” Snow. James Black, the 5th DHS headmaster who succeeded AS Langley, had a difficult time at DHS first having to deal with the Depression of the 1930s and then the start of World War Two. He retired in 1943 but remained as Headmaster till 1945 as his successor Mr A.C. Martin was at the time a prisoner of war and only returned in 1945 to take up his post.

Dr. David Davies, director of the Oceanographic Research Institute in Durban is killed in a car accident in Pretoria. Dr Davies had headed shark research for over six years and was a driving force in the movement to make Durban’s beaches safer.  He was 43.

 

What happened in Durban 40 years ago? 1975.

Winners of the doubles in the Dusi Marathon were Graeme Pope-Ellis and Peter Peacock. This was Pope’s 4th win in a row and Peacock’s first. Tim Biggs won the singles.

An angler and a surfer indulge in a feud on the West Street Groyne when the surfer allegedly cuts the angler’s line. In the ensuing argument, the surfer whacks the angler in the back with a baseball bat. Charges are laid against the surfer. There was a continual battle between fishermen and surfers in this area although a by-law had been passed in 1973 restricting surfers to surf 45 metres from the pier.

The 5th Commemorative DJ (Durban -Johannesburg) Run takes place with 104 competitors leaving the starting line. The Mayor of Durban, Dixey Adams does the starting honours.

Mr Cecil Hands Durban City Engineer retires after a 39 year career with the Durban City Council.

200 Indian recruits of the Indian Corps undergo military training at Salisbury Island under Cmdt. M.H. Heyns.

Vanessa Wannenburg and Allen Morrison show off a Thong on Durban Beach. The Thong at that time was a radical swimsuit designed by American, Rudi Gernreich and a rather startling innovation. If I recall it was a bit too daring and did not take off. Vanessa was one of Durban’s young beauties of the time.

Lena Zavaroni , a 1975 pop star arrives in Durban to perform live.

Two Miss World’s meet at an Umhlanga Rocks hotel;   Penny Coelen (1958) and Anneline Kriel current Miss World 1974.

The Rag Parade through Durban Streets is regarded as one of the best ever. 22 floats were on show. The Rag Queen is Carolyn de Beer and her two princesses Glenda Sanders and Bev Gill. Rag’s charity target was R200 000.

Mr Federick Pahlke, retires from the Durban Water Department after 34 years service. Mr Pahlke pushed the same handcart he started his career off with, around Durban’s streets attending to leaking water hydrants, valves and house holder’s leaking taps. Sadly Mr Black later added a funeral notice for Mr Pahlke in the same scrap book.

The new Durban Magistrate’s Court building in Somsteu Road nears completion.

Notable buildings in the Point area, the cluster of Chelsea-type houses are declared important buildings in Durban and worth saving.

Durban surfer, Shaun Thompson (19) wins the World Hang Ten Pro-Am Surfing Championship in Hawaii. His prize is a motor cycle and R3500 in prizes!

The 1975 Comrades up run draws an entry of 1352 runners. For the first time, compulsory qualifying times were necessary to enter. The winner is Derek Preiss in 5 hrs 53 mins 50 secs. Second is G Shaw and J Sutherland 3rd. Vincent Rakabaele, the first African to finish the marathon officially comes in 20th.

Mr Donald Young retires from Virginia Primary School after 7 years as headmaster.

Mr Ernest Thorp retires as Curator of Durban’s Botanical Gardens after 41 years service.

A bigger, heavier and virtually unsinkable Single Buoy Mooring is positioned off Reunion. It cost in the region of R1.25 million and will provide a mooring point for tankers over 200 000 tons deadweight discharging oil through underwater pipelines and hoses. The original SBM was recovered, refurbished and sold off.

The R7.3 million Bay Passage Building reaches it full height. Built by LTA Construction it is the first building in Durban to have a heliport on the roof.

A giant Ferris Wheel at the Playland Amusement Park on the Beachfront collapsed when an axle sheared whilst the wheel was operating. The structure fell to the ground as a tangled mess. One person was killed and 69 injured.

Shaun Thompson wins the Gunston 500 at the Bay of Plenty. Second is Mike Esposito. Shaun’s prize is R1500. The surf apparently was mushy.

The 1975 July Handicap is won by Principal Boy after the first horse across the line Gatecrasher was relegated to third place following an objection. Distinctly was placed second.

A boiler under test at a Pinetown factory explodes. Changerooms close to where the bolier was are reduced to rubble. Bricks are found 30 metres away. No one is killed but 4 are injured by falling rubble.

TV is switched on in Durban and Pietermaritzburg at 7.30 pm. No date is given. Durban Corporation electricians battle with a fault at Clare Estate and manage to restore power to the area just before transmission begins.

The new R2 million terminal building at Louis Botha Airport is opened. This gives the airport a completely new aspect and no longer will the public be able to approach passengers leaving aircraft on arrival as they used to. The viewing balcony on the roof is also done away with. This was a popular weekend venue with the public gathering there to watch the big aircraft land and take off.

Railway workers bid farewell to 4 steam locomotives that did 75 years service between Wests (on the Bluff) and Greyville Shunting Yard. The locomotives, Class H2 , called “coffee grinders” were replaced by diesel engines. They were used mainly on the Bluff for shunting and could often be seen at the coal loading berth hauling coal for the coal loading appliance at the Island View berths.

A fire in a tunnel at Durban’s new law courts claims the lives of 7 workers. The tunnel leading from the law courts to a proposed police headquarters had been used to store paint. A worker struck a match to light a candle and the accumulated gases ignited, trapping the workers.

The Gold Cup is won by Numerator followed by Compass Star, then the favourite Milkwood which came in 3rd.

Glenwood High School won the Polliack Bugle in the annual Cadet Band Competition. Northlands won the Marching and Style events.

The mailship SA Oranje sails out of Durban for the last time headed for the breakers in Taiwan. The SA Oranje was built in Belfast in 1947 and was originally named Pretoria Castle and was the first Union Castle liner built after WW2. 27 years ago, 500 Pretoria school children were brought to Durban in two trains paid for by Union Castle to greet the Pretoria Castle on its first arrival.

Councillor Lesley Sprague fights for the saving of the Durban landmark, the Queen’s avern in Greyville.

Every available fireman was called out to the Hulett’s sugar mill in South Coast Road as a giant blaze hit the building. The four storey building was gutted.

The old Baker’s Biscuits site on the corner of Brickhill Road and West Street is converted into a cinema and shopping complex.

Dedicated followers of fashion will find themselves flatfooted if they wear stiletto heeled shoes to functions at Durban City Hall. Signs barring the floor wrecking heels have gone up in the City Hall and will soon go up in all municipal buildings.

The historic Durban City Hall and the Francis Farewell Gardens in front were declared National Monuments in the Government Gazette.   The City Hall was designed by Philip Dudgeon in neo-classical style and completed in 1910. Farewell Gardens were laid out on the site of the first White settlement west of Port Natal.

Sadly Mr Black stopped his scrapbooks in 1975 so this was his last.   By this time he had a grandchild on which he doted on . He would have a second in 1976. He had retired from the Durban Corporation in 1974 having joined in 1946 after being demobbed. He moved away from the Bluff where he had lived for many years and bought a fine old Durban property in Willowvale Road. His heart was not in the best condition and at the time he would have been a prime candidate for heart surgery.

 In 1982 his heart condition became a cause of concern and he was admitted to Wentworth Hospital which at the time was a centre of research into heart conditions. Transplants were relatively new then the first having taken place in 1967. He was admitted for tests but unexpectedly suffered a heart attack and died in the hospital on 3rd March 1982.

 Mr Black was a proud DHS Old Boy and a very keen rugby fan supporting Natal and the Springboks. He separately had kept scrap books for the same period of Natal and Springbok Rugby cutting out the games’ reports, teams, scores and highlights. In these scrapbooks he had pasted the associated programmes for the games as well as his entry ticket of the games he attended.  I did not keep these scrapbooks but handed them over to Paul Dobson who had been my teacher at St Henry’s in 1959/1960.   Paul who now lives in Cape Town has become a prolific writer especially of South African rugby and its history.

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19 Responses

  1. monica ha mes
    | Reply

    In the winter of 1965 i attended a national youth festival in Durban participating in the orchestral music section of it. At the end we played a concert in the town hall under the baton of Pierino Gamba, young Italian conductor, with Annette Kearny as soloist. Unfortunately i lost my programmes.

    I would love to get hold of newspaper clippings of the event.

    At least, which papers were published in Durban at the time?

    • Gail Robinson
      | Reply

      Dear Monica, I am researching the history of the Durban Symphonic Choir which was conducted in their early years by Piero Gamba. I would love to have a look at any info you may have found since this post. At an exceptionally young age (around 32) he apparently conducted the choir without the aid of a score!

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Monica,
    I remember the names you mention, Pierino Gamba and Annette Kearney (ey if I remember correctly). Annette would be in her 70s now as she was of my era. The two newspapers that were printed at the time were the Natal Mercury and the Daily News. Apparently back copies on microfiche are kept at the Killie Campbell Museum in Marriott Road. The Sunday paper was the Sunday Tribune. Another memory that comes to mind is that Sjoerd Meyer (not sure of the correct spelling) was the music critic who wrote up reports in the papers.

  3. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    I remember Paul Muthusamy of Overport-his daughter ,late Rachael a nurse at Mc Cords,married my brother
    who is now late,they were a very well known family in Overport,

    • Olive
      | Reply

      Hi Danny, thank you for mentioning kind words about my grand dad and aunt Rachael. Yes I remember uncle Eddie so well. I am Rachael’s sisters daughter, Faith was my mom. I hope this message finds you in good health. God bless you.

  4. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    I also remember –E.R.Ervine of the Durban Corp,
    because I was a Metro Councillor from 1988 to 1996.

  5. Bronwyn Landman
    | Reply

    Hi

    I’m trying to locate a passages that was on a ship from Japan and stayed in Durban harbour from about 1975 to 1976.
    The ship was called Choya Maru and the passenger was a Mr Aketo Yamamoto?

    Would you be able to assist ?

  6. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    I remember the the Company Bakers Biscuits in Brickhill Road,,it was not far from the Killarney Hotel.

  7. Renee
    | Reply

    Yes I also remember Bakers Biscuits in Brackhill Rd. My uncle Bob Colquohn worked there in sales.

  8. DANNY MOODLEY
    | Reply

    Those were the good old days—The Killarney Hotel was owned by Roy Palmer–hence Palmer Street was named,
    it was the largest hotel in Africa.—there after owned by Ralph Goldberg.Then as you go further you will find WHYSALLS
    Photo and Camera.

  9. Olive
    | Reply

    Danny Moodley, I would love to hear from you, I remember your mom. I remember uncle Eddie and Aunt Rachael had a home in Chittagong Rd, Merebank. Please get in touch with me. I still keep in touch occasionally with uncle NP and Thumbie from Chakaskraal. I have since emigrated to the USA.

  10. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Olive
    Nice hearing from you.Sad that we lost some members of the family,Uncle NP is no more,sadly passed away.I am after my third brother Gona,I used to stay with Eddie and Rachael in Chittagong,Hi Olive, Faith live somewhere in Chatsworth,unit 9.
    I took a trip to View Street,How is your uncles—Les and Samuel.–you had an Aunt in Rawalpindi Road.
    keep well — Take care

    danny

  11. Olive
    | Reply

    Hi Danny, so good to hear from you. I remember Uncle Gona, and yes I do remember you. Yes I heard of the demise of NP. Sadly. Aunt Gladys from Rawalpindi is late and the home is sold. All of Aunt Rachel’s siblings are late. My mom Faith lived in Asherville and my dad still lives there in our family home. Cousin Pauline, one of the twins lives in Chatsworth unit 7. Her sister Roslyn lives in Phoenix. We had coffee with Thumbi and his wife at musgrave center 2yrs ago when I last visited South Africa. Perhaps I can visit you on my next trip to see my dad. So glad to connect with you after 50 or more years. Many blessings to you and your family.
    PS: uncles Les and Samuel are no more, and each time I visit Durban, I always go to 31 View St, my childhood was spent there, pleasant memories I have of grand dad and granny.

  12. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Olive
    hope that you are well–we are in Summer here.
    I also remember Late Hazel—Miyah and Silvanus.Children of Pastor Samuels, and Rachaels younger sister,but I am trying to place you
    Her younger sister–was not well –and she was married and lived in Chatsworth,
    When Rachael was in Umkomaas as a sister in a Clinic–I visited her.Years later NP told me that she is very sick
    and is in Wentworth Hospital.When I visited her –she was looking sick–I saw Bobby the husband of one of the Twins
    and Gladys—they were happy to see me.

  13. Olive
    | Reply

    Hi, Danny, Bobby who is Paulines husband passed away 10yrs ago. All of uncle samuels children now live in JHB. Excepting for one son the lawyer who still resides in Durban. Aunty Agnes was the sickly one, she’s also passed on. When u saw Aunt Rachel in Wentworth hospital, it was during the time of her brain tumor. Glad you got to visit her then. We are in winter here in the USA. My younger daughter is a Physician in Texas and I live there with her right in the desert of Texas where we see no winters, it stays warm all year round. Right now I’m visiting my other daughter in Virginia Beach, it is much colder here for me. I long for the warmth of the African sun. I was a little girl when I last saw you in Chittagong Rd on the night of Paulines wedding. Stay blessed dear friend

  14. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    thanks for keeping in touch.I still want to know which sister of Rachael is your mother.I also used to stay in Chittagong Road
    and I used to work in the Hotel then.after studying –many things happened–I was a Metro Councillor in Durban
    and did motivational talks.and was in many organisations.Those were the good old days.
    Yani my brother younger than me is in Jhburg,we all are getting old.where did your Mom lived that time,

  15. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Olive– you and I ar the only ones that go back in history—not many people care of there loved ones.
    I am the only one that never sided when there was a SPLIT during the EDDIE—-RACHAEL SAGA.
    THATS WHY YOUR FAMILY ONLY CAME TO ME–AND COMMUNICATED . WE HAD A VERY GOOD RELATIONSHIP,
    WE ALWAYS GOT ON.,
    GLADYS SON AND I WAS VERY GOOD FRIENDS—-WE LIVED IN THE SAME FLATS I N ISIPINGO BEACH—-BUT HE DIED SUDDENLY. I WAS SAD., WHO IS YOUR MOTHER — PLEASE TELL ME.. I AM OLD AND MAY BE SENILE,

  16. Olive
    | Reply

    Dearest Danny, you are not old and you are definitely not senile. Try to work on crossword puzzles to invigorate your mind and keep active by walking, it improves your blood circulation and keeps all your bodily plumbing in good order. My mothers name was Faith, and lived in Springtown, also known as Asherville. I lived in View St with my grandparents. Sadly I remember the Rachel-Eddie saga. Glad you stayed neutral. Uncle Eddie was a very handsome uncle, while Aunt Rachel was a lethal combination of beauty and brains, I’m sorry it ended the way it did. Thanks to the author of this original post which made it possible for us to reconnect. I pray that God keeps you in perfect health. HE sends HIS word and HE heals all your disease, HE is the LORD your healer. Stay blessed dear Danny

  17. Danny Moodley
    | Reply

    Hi Ol ive thanks for the kind words,I do keep myself busy,but sometimes sickness just pops up,
    Yes it was a sad saga–which should never happened.In those days we can never back chat—to the eldest brother.But
    I knew where the problem started from–but we had to keep quiet.Rachael was had working both at her work and at home,
    Whilst Eddie wasw too busy with his Nite Life.thats now the past,
    I do a bit of social work and Travel a little.
    you keep well , chat soon best regards

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