What happened in Durban 50 years ago?
Continuing with my late father-in-law, Mr Archie Black’s newspaper scrapbooks, here is what he pasted up for 1966. Mr Black posted some headlines which were international news so I will include some of them for interest. My comments in italics. Mr Black’s scrap books ended at 1975 so there is no scrapbook for 1976.
The New Year started with a Rand 90 000 Aero Commander light aircraft crash landing in the surf near Virginia Airport. The pilot, Mr Graham Wulff and two passengers were uninjured and the aircraft was recovered from the surf.
Two year old Tommy Burns was rushed to Addington Hospital after falling out a seventh floor window of Elwyn Court in Point Road. He was in a serious condition. (There is no indication if Tommy survived the fall.)
A spiral ramp and bridge across the Bay to the Bluff in the vicinity of the Point and North Pier area is proposed. The ramp would lead from Escombe Terrace and spiral to a height of 70 plus meters and cross the Channel with a 200 meters span to the Bluff. The spiral in circling would provide for a sports stadium seating 75 000 to be built within it. In addition a mono-rail system could be incorporated in the scheme. The proposal came from Councillor McManis. (The present Point Development Scheme is the area that was to be used in the proposal. Spanning the Channel to create a short cut to the Bluff was often mooted either overhead or underground. If I recall a tunnel was once proposed. These never materialised but I suppose one day you never know.
Monica Fairall (now passed on) wins the Personality magazine , Queen of the Surf title.
The extension of the new Western Freeway (Kinmont’s Canyon) necessitates the demolition of a historic landmark in the West Street Cemetery. The old Catholic Mortuary Chapel erected after the death of Father J.B. Sabon in 1885 as a memorial to him, had to make way for the freeway. It was demolished but later rebuilt in another location. (See the history of Catholics in Natal on FAD.)
SAS Inkonkoni , Durban’s South African Naval Reserve base was conferred with the Freedom of the City. Dr VL Shearer, the Mayor of Durban took the salute at the march past. The freedom scroll was handed to Commander SHC Payne, commanding officer of the oldest naval reserve in the world.
A proposed drawing of the new Athlone Bridge across the Umgeni River is pasted up. The old Athlone Bridge, an iron girder bridge is no longer able to carry the normal daily load of 12 000 vehicles and corrosion has deteriorated to the point that it is considered no longer viable. The new bridge would be built close to the old Athlone Bridge and would be a reinforced concrete structure supported over the river on 4 piers mounted on suitable piled foundations. The spans would be 315 feet in length. The cost is estimated at R800 000 and construction time of 18 months. (From Origin of Durban Street Names: Athlone Bridge runs from Athlone Drive across the Umgeni River to Durban North. Built by the Durban North Estates Company it was named to compliment the Earl of Athlone, Governor General of the Union of South Africa. The bridge was opened by the then Mayor of Durban Councillor H.L. Buzzard in November 1927.
During the Damoina Floods of 1987, the level of the Umgeni rose to a spectacular height, actually lapping the top of the arches of the new Athlone Bridge. I remember going to see the Umgeni in full cry when it was at its peak. The height of the water was unbelievable. There was much speculation if this ‘once in a 100 years” flood had been taken into account when the bridge was built. If I recall the bridge was actually closed until the Umgeni subsided. )
Miss Monica Fairall enrolls at University of Natal as a B.A. student and is chosen as Miss Freshette for 1966. Her two princesses were Valerie Hook and Sue Rogers.
The Durban tug, T.Eriksen which sank in Durban Harbour is successfully refloated after a two month period of being submerged. The tug was towed to the Prince Edward Graving Dock where salvage work would be undertaken. As the tug was raised from the depths, she was flying the Blue Peter which brought a smile to those around watching the refloating. (The Blue Peter flag is normally hoisted when a ship is about to leave port and is wished a safe journey. There is no mention as to why the T Eriksen sunk.)
Mr Black, a very keen Springbok Rugby fan would have been dismayed by this news and posted the headline . “ALL BLACKS WILL NOT TOUR S.A”. The New Zealand Rugby Union said in a statement that “the South African Rugby Union’s 1967 invitation was unacceptable in its present form. ”
Dennis Vorster is attacked by a shark in unprotected waters off Umkomaas.
Mr Aubrey Roberts marries Miss Kerry Barends at the Emmanuel Cathedral in Durban. Aubrey was a leading jockey at the time and his bride was the daughter of Mr and Mrs Charlie Barends. Charlie was one of Durban leading jockeys.
Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus arrive in Durban to play their fourth match in a six match challenge series. The game is played at the Durban Country Club course.
The “Tickey” is Dead! The Minister of Finance, Dr Donges announces that the tickey will no longer be minted. The coin had diminished in use as it conflicted with the decimal system that had been introduced in 1961. It was the only coin of the old coins that continued to be issued as its strength was the fact that public telephone call offices and parking meters used the coin. However these had now risen to 5 cents and it became obsolete. The coin was first minted in 1923 and since then 134,631,953 tickeys were minted. The most valuable is the 1931 tickey as only 128 were produced. In 1966 the 1931 tickey was valued at R100!
(The tickey, three pence or thrupence , 3d, in value was the smallest silver coin minted in South Africa. It was worth the equivalent of two and half cents in the decimal system.
The new road bridge across the Umtamvuna River linking the lower Natal South Coast and the Transkei is nearing completion.
England beats West Germany in the 1966 World Cup Soccer Final 4 – 2. The goal scorers for England were Geoff Hurst ( a hatrick) and Martin Peters whilst the German scorers were Helmut Haller and Wolfgang Weber. Two goals scored in extra time saw England victorious. (England has never won the World Cup since.)
The 8100 ton South African ship SA Seafarer runs aground off Mouille Point in Cape Town.
13 year old Karen Muir recaptures the world 110 yard backstroke title in record time at the Rachel Finlayson Baths in Durban. Her time was 68.3 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the old record. (The late Karen Muir hailed from Kimberley)
Diminutive Tommy Malone, a Scottish immigrant won the 41st Comrade’s Marathon. It was his first attempt. He romped home in 6 hours 14 minutes and 7 seconds — 17 minutes and 35 seconds outside Jackie Mekler’s record time but 17 minutes 39 seconds ahead of Manie Kuhn (2nd) and Fritz Madel (3rd) . The race was Durban to Pietermaritzburg with 404 starting and 365 finishing. Max Trimborn uttered the traditional cockcrow to get the race started as the Durban Post Office Clock struck 6 am.
The Group Areas Act has put a shadow over the Dick King Shrine. The shrine is situated at Isipingo Rail and falls within the Amanzimtoti municipality. Isipingo was declared an area for Indian occupation under the Act. The Dick King shrine lies in the grounds of the Anglican Mission cemetery which was adjacent to the old St James Church which was demolished. Half a mile from the cemetery was Dick King’s house, then also regarded as a historical monument. Complications arise as Indian dwellings start springing up near the cemetery . ( I am familiar with the Dick King shrine and the adjacent cemetery that was. The cemetery after years of being vandalised now appears to have been cordoned off and left a ruin. The Dick King Shrine remains along with a few of the graves in a separate area close to the new St James Anglican church built there. Sad as many Isipingo sugar pioneers were buried in that cemetery.)
The Freedom of the City was conferred on the State President , Mr C. R Swart.
The Durban July favourite, Sea Cottage is shot and seriously injured by an unknown gunman as the horse was being taken to the Blue Lagoon Beach for an early morning run. The horse was shot with a .22 calibre revolver fired from the Ellis Brown Viaduct.
Durban High School celebrates its centennial year. A big celebratory programme is arranged. Centenary Day is June 1st when Smith Street will be closed and a procession of pupils and old boys will march from the original school site, opposite John Orr’s in Smith Street to the City Hall. Here the school cadets will perform a retreat ceremony and this will be followed by a civic reception. (This building at one time served as the Smith Street Police Station. In later years it was left empty but because of its historic background was not demolished. When last I saw it was still there but abandoned . ) On June 2nd, an evening braaivleis will be held at the School grounds followed by a huge fireworks display . The school badge will also be fashioned in fireworks and lit. On June 3rd celebrations will be at the school which will be open for inspection. Various school departments will have exhibitions and displays. In the afternoon will be a mass PT display by the pupils. Later unveilings of the 1894 foundation stones and the new Centenary gate posts will take place. In the evening the Old Boys Centenary Dinner will take place at the Durban Country Club. On June 4th, a rugby festival will be held against the school’s old rival Maritzburg College. In the evening a dance will be held for pupils at the school and the Old Boys Centenary Ball will be at the City Hall. On Sunday June 5th, a thanksgiving and wreath laying ceremony will take place at the school.On March 19th and 20th, a cricket match between old Boys and Natal was arranged.
The book, The DHS Story 1866-1966 is published.
Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd is assassinated in the House of Assembly . His successor is Mr John Vorster.
Jock Leyden writes a tribute to Walt Disney marking the death of this giant in the cartoon world.
The Aberfan tragedy occurs in Wales. A landslide of coal rubble engulfs a small town . Amongst the casualties are 100 children whose school was in the path of the landslide.
The Swedish tanker Malmohus limps into Durban Harbour with a 55 foot section of her bow missing. She has 40 000 tons of crude on board which fortunately does not leak. The crude is transhipped before repairs are undertaken.
Sandjeford, a Durban yacht returns to her home port after a two year round the world trip.
The Southern Freeway construction gets to the stage that a ramp is to be built to direct traffic from the freeway to the Esplanade. A circular ramp is proposed which would be situated roughly over the Tropicale Restaurant and adjacent to a block of flats, Anacapri in St Andrew’s St. Opposition from the tenants in Anacapri has the ramp moved away from both the block of flats and the Tropicale to a new position.
The Musgrave Road Congregational Church on the corner of Berea and Musgrave Roads has to make way for the new western freeway. The Church has been on this site for 80 years.
A mechanised painting system of applying road marking lines is demonstrated for the first time on a section of the Southern Freeway.
The Italian cruise liner Eugenio C enters Durban Harbour for the first time.
Donald Campbell is killed on Coniston Water in England when his speed boat, Bluebird somersaults, explodes and sinks during trials.
A Durban man commits suicide by driving his car into the Bay off the wharf at Island View.
The last house standing on the north side of Berea Road between Essenwood Road and Currie Road is due for demolition to make way for the freeway. The house belongs to the elderly spinster Agnew sisters , Pearl and Ruby. They were born in the house and is the only home they have known. Their mother arrived in Durban with their widowed grandmother Mrs Buchanan about 1897. The property was bought then. Before the demolition the Natal History Museum took photos of this early settler wood and iron home. (The 1938 Durban Directory shows : 412 Berea Road Miss Pearl Agnew.)
Strangely Mr Black did not paste up who won the Dusi Canoe Marathon like he usually did nor did he record who won the July Handicap. The scrap book also ends abruptly as quite a few empty pages are found at the end which is unusual.Share this: