First day cover

posted in: Pictures 1

I have been unpacking boxes and, among my stuff, I discovered this First Day Cover commemorating the centenary of Durban becoming a borough. I had forgotten that I even had it but here, at last, it is.

It brought back a sour memory or two, when I contrasted the 100th celebration with the stunning burst of indifference which greeted the 150th anniversary in 2004. The sad fact is that the city authorities totally ignored that milestone, as they did the fact that the Metro (City) Police had also turned 150. I mentioned this in diary entries at the time, here and here.

Talking of the City Police reminds me of a long-standing oversight. At the time of my initial research into Durban’s history, it was commonly stated that the Durban City Police was the oldest police force in the Southern Hemisphere.

That ‘fact’ did make it into print all over the place, including Facts About Durban, and I’m indebted to reader Peter Gaffney, once the force’s Deputy Chief Constable, for the information that this isn’t so. Turns out that the Royal Falkland Islands Police predates Durban’s force, having been established on November 1, 1846.

By coincidence, the Falkland Islands were once adjacent to the KZN coastline, as readers of my article on Durban’s geology will remember.

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  1. Gerald Buttigieg
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    Hi Allan
    Being a philatelist, the FDC interested me as I had not seen that one before. The Philatelic Society of Natal held the exhibition over the period 1 to 4 June 1954. This is recorded in the post mark. In 2011, the PSN now called the Philatelic Society of Kwa Zulu Natal, celebrated its centenary of founding. Here is the FDC that was issued by the Committee along with the insert.

    Natal Philatelic Society 100th anniversary booklet.

    Natal Philatelic Society 100th anniversary booklet.

    I must look up 271 Pine Street when next I am in Durban to ascertain where the Society held its meetings. The Chairman in 1911 was a Mr J. Chamberlain and in 2011, the incumbent was Mrs Bev McNaught-Davis. Sadly the Society is not as strong as it used to be and typically consists of “older” members with only a few younger members.

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