Yay!! Facts About Durban is available again at only AUD22.00 per copy plus postage from on-demand printer Lulu.com.
It took a while but I finally got my A into G and uploaded the book’s files to Lulu. Ordering is as simple as going to my page on Lulu and adding one copy or 500 to the shopping cart. Lulu will then print and bind the copies you ordered and mail them to you. Read More
I have just uploaded the story of The Battle of Congella which was contributed by Udo Richard Averweg. I’ve created a page for Udo and you can download the story in PDF format from there. I will soon be adding his account of the relief of the siege of the Old Fort after Dick King reached Grahamstown and British reinforcements were sent to Durban.
John Austin-Williams has written in with a query about his dad Bob Mara. He wrote:
My dad, Robert “Bob” Mara, was involved with the shark nets in Durban in the early 1960s. He ran the Durban Shark Meshing boat Sea Hound.
His brother, Joe Mara, wrote A FISHERMAN’S TALE: Fifty Years of Angling Along the Natal Coast Edited by Dave Rorke published by Angler Publications May 1986. 92 Pages. I am just hoping to find out more about the subject and if anyone is still alive that Remembers Bob Mara (he died in July 1967 aged 54) and his brother Joe Mara. (not sure when Joe died).
Martin Prange of the City Architect’s Department hopes some kind reader can help. He writes:
Was wondering if you could possibly shed some light on the two field cannons that are located outside of the City hall on the Church Street side.
We have a project looking at the city hall surrounds and we noted the two cannons are in need of some restoration – the challenge at the moment is to find out which department owns them and whether they have any funding for a restoration as the one is missing a wheel and the other a wheel is starting to break up.
If you have any info – I would appreciate some feedback
I have added advertising to this site and it has already appeared in the WordPress section and will in due course spread to the other pages which are in a variety of different formats, layouts and styles. It is a regrettable step but the huge size, age and complexity of the site and its valuable content makes it imperative that I start building a financial cushion so that in time I can hire professional help to organise and tame it before it gets too big.
There has been a donation button on the site for many years which has been little used and that is why I have taken this step. The advertising is looking a little messy in some places but I hope to smooth it out in time and it can easily be switched off. I will soon have a way for people who appreciate the site to support it with a small amount every month and I will pledge myself to turn off the advertising after the monthly donations reach a certain level.
The site will always be free to access but the numbers of site visitors are such that a tiny monthly subscription from each will be enough to reorganise and revamp it.
I was 6 years old when my Dad was transferred to Durban. That was 1967.
Even today when I do my annual tour through KZN, visiting yet another battle field and the South Coast, no trip is complete without a visit to the beach front…… that golden mile!
I blame my mom for not ensuring that I was at least 17 years old when 1969 came along. But that is a story for another day.
Arriving from the cold and wet Cape Town, Durban was a kid’s paradise. My first view of the entertainment setup next to the old aquarium, was just awe-inspiring. The heat, the evening humidity and the sights and sounds.
Hearing Neil Diamond’s Crackling Rose play and seeing the circular bright red neon Coke sign against a building, looking towards Addington………..even today brings tears of happiness.
I was so privileged to have drunk Root Beer at the Coogy opposite the old aquarium, seeing the first Wimpy go up there. The dodge-em cars, the boats, paddling pools and the Mexican Hat.
There is so much more tell but alas, the memory fades and things all disappear. My last thoughts returned to a trip to Durban in 1982 for a break after completing a 3 month border duty.
I had saved up R50.00. So my friend and I decided to go to Durban to come to grips with what we saw and experienced……
We tried staying at the Maharani Hotel first but they were too expensive. It would cost us R31.95 per day, B&B. So we settled for the Elangeni..…at an affordable R29.95 a day, B&B.
Syd Oram has written in with a query on the origin of the name Old Mill Way in Durban North. He thought it might been named after a sugar mill which may or may not have been where the the Crusaders ground is today.
I had a look at my book of old Durban street names and it says that Old Mill Way takes its name from Labistour’s Sugar Mill which stood on site at the foot of the road. No dates are given but it says the road runs from Northway to Ocean Way and I presume the mill must have been near the Ocean Way corner. Ocean way no longer exists but, from the looks of things on Google maps, the Crusaders ground would be about right.
Does anyone have more info or a picture of the mill?
In a previous email Syd shared a few memories sparked by an article on the site. He wrote:
I happened to open an old article posted by Gerald Buttigieg in August 2005. I had many a chuckle about some of the stories he related. Depending on where they were held, the Saturday night “sessions” either could be good fun, or a battleground of serious proportions. The Norwegian Hall opposite the L.A. was a regular venue and there were times that I wondered whether I had gone to a fight and a session had broken out, or whether it was the other way round! You always had to have the “Breekers” barging in, “soeking kak”. Even the Journey’s End Hall in Kensington Drive Durban North had its fair share of rumbles.
I couldn’t help but remember the shebeen in Umgeni Road. I think it was demolished when work started on the new railway station. I think it was upstairs in a fairly insalubrious building, which looked about 100 years old even then. A bottle of Mainstay or Klippies would cost about R1.50 in the early sixties, probably about R150 in today’s money. But when a lad is thirst at 11 o’clock of a Saturday evening and has forgotten to buy supplies, price doesn’t come into it!
Taking a cue from the Glenwood Matric Class photo posted a while back, I thought of the idea of posting Durban School Matric classes over the years. I’ve cleared it with Allan Jackson and he liked the idea. It would also create a home for the photos as stuff tends to get hidden in various posts and many drift away from the original subject. Unfortunately to post a picture you will have to send it to Allan who will add it to the site. You can contact him via Contact Us. Please restrict the class photos to Durban Schools and Matrics only . Give the date and names if possible which will make it more interesting. No doubt the photos can and probably will, attract comment and it will be interesting to see what gets posted.
The first one I am posting is the Matric Class of 1954. That is the year I arrived back in Durban to live here until leaving in 2000. I can remember the late Eddie Barth was the Head Prefect. Being a junior then, one held these seniors in awe. I will add comment on some I knew and in later years as an Old Boy and Secretary of the Marist Old Boys Association met many of them in person.
Click on picture to enlarge.
Back Row: Picture Left to Right :
? , R Atkinson, H Schuurmans, Leo Gibson, R. de Billot, P Savage, C Kerdachi.
Front Row: R Nell, Jock O’Connor*, C. Paul, Edward Barth*, Rev. Brother Eugene*, J. Rock-Perring, Ed Petterson,
Roger Seymour, P du Toit.
Ian Hart has written in to ask for our help. He writes:
“I am researching the activities of a Swedish man, Charles O. Johnson, who became one half of the firm Irvin & Johnson, Cape Town. Johnson started whaling from the Durban/Natal area in 1912, and soon after took an interest in The Shepstone Whaling & Fishing Co. which was apparently started by a group of Norwegians from Port Shepstone. I am trying to find out where the Shepstone company’s whaling station was located and hope you can help. There is one report that Johnson started at The Bluff, Durban, but may have moved on to Port Shepstone.”
Karen Ward has sent me this 1963 Class 1 photo. She cannot remember the names of the pupils but she was the only girl in the class and stands in the middle of the back row. Two away from her is Tony Leon, who took up politics after attending DHS. She thinks the tall boy standing on the right is Clive Nanking. She would like to know if any one can recognise the others. Anyone have a bit of history on this school which was on the Berea?