Western hinterland

posted in: Mini Memories 50

 

My regular correspondent Allan Hannah left an interesting comment on a previous post and I have elected to create a whole new post with it because it could open up a whole new line of discussion. He wrote:

Whilst indulging myself by using the FAD “search facility” to try to find out what has been said, or unsaid, about the hinterland, west of Durban I came across a reference to “Merve the Swerve” aka as Mervyn Gray. Presumably AllanJ made the comment and I wonder whether this was the same Mervyn that was at DHS, had sandy coloured hair, freckles and wore glasses!

Inland of Durban, in the old days, one could spend half the day travelling up to the Pepperpots “tea room” near Hillcrest, have a delightful cuppa, and then spend the rest of an eventful day getting home to Durban!!  Ah yes, the old main road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg has so many stories!

I notice that there have been references made to the “hinterland” and, presently, a lot of FAD news concerning Sparks Estate which has been an interesting read and a remarkable slice of history, to boot.

Further up the Western trail, beyond the notoriously slippery 45th Cutting intersection, and a wee bit further on are Sarnia, Bellair, Queensburgh and Pinetown, not to mention other spots like Montclair and Northdene!

After matriculating I looked forward to spending a year of doing nothing other than sunning myself on the beach at Umdloti and doing some serious surf fishing! Dream on!

My father informed me that, thru the good offices of my uncle, who was a big shot in the the Johannesburg office of a large bank, I was to be interviewed by the manager of the Verulam branch with the of view starting work as soon possible at the local branch. So, it’s off to work we go!! Not long after starting work I was asked if I would swap branches and work at the ABC branch in Durban.

ABC branch was “wall to wall” with characters and I soon settled in and made a couple of friends who were of the ”same status” in terms of “positions” and service in the institution! I soon discovered that working at an agency had benefits and accepted a post at Bellair Agency. The Tellers in charge of both Bellair and Queensburgh Agencies had the use of a VW Kombi and we left ABC Branch each day to travel out to the Agencies! The 2 Tellers, 2 Waste Clerks and 2 Assistants would mount up and set out each day, with one of the Tellers at the helm, so to speak!

Queensburgh Agency had Doc Sweidan as a neighbour, the doctor that was a legend in terms of practising Acupuncture and looking after the health of the local rugby players! I was rather nervous of the Doc in those days, probably because I had a unfair impression of needles being stuck into my head to cure a headache!

There was a large clothing manufacturer nearby who specialised in the production of shirts. I think they were called Escom Shirt & Clothing! I am sure that Gerald will recall them!
Morrisons was just down the street and this shop was probably the forerunner to the larger supermarkets of today! I seem to recall that there was a bakery in the shop as well and the smell of newly baked bread would waft up to the Agency and get the old taste buds going!

I don’t recall too much about Bellair Agency except that the office was very hot in summer and we made good use of a standing fan which sounded like a large aeroplane when we ran it at full revs. Sometimes, just for the hell of it, I would move the fan to face the teller’s box and a hurricane would suddenly erupt inside the box! All you could see was notes fluttering around with the teller trying to catch them in flight and, at the same time, yelling at me to move the “@#$” fan!

Enuff said!
Maybe this note will tease some reaction from readers of FAD!
AllanH

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50 Responses

  1. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    In perusing the 1938 Lawrie’s Directory, it suddenly dawned on me of a fact I knew of but not why. At school in the late 50s/ early 60s, I used to read and hear of fellow pupils at other schools being selected for Durban and Districts Schools in sports. I was never quite certain of the “Districts” they spoke of but the 1938 directory has just cleared it up. In looking for the dairies, the directory is split into two sections. The main section comprises what is known as the Townlands, that is the original Durban area bounded by the Umbilo River and Umgeni River, Ridge Road and the sea. Then at the back in a separate section is what is called Durban Suburbs. Maps of these outlying suburbs are shown and these suburbs are designated “districts”. The ones listed are as follows: Bellair, Seaview, Hillary, Rossburgh, Sydenham, Mayville, Mount Vernon, Durban North even Wentworth and Jacobs. So it would appear that anything beyond the Townlands boundary was designated “Districts” and this persisted years later, even though the outlying “hinterland” was eventually totally incorporated into the Durban Municipality. By the way, Westville, Pinetown and anything westwards is excluded, probably too rural at that time.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Gerald
      Interesting on “districts”!
      Going North!

      Like the Western Hinterland, the North Coast abounds with stories and characters!
      FAD concerns itself with Durban and I suppose one should take care not to venture to far afield, just in case one cannot find the way back to “town”.

      In my last note I mentioned that I started worked in Verulam and later transferred to ABC branch in Durban. It took a few years to finally transplant my place of abode to Durban – a small bachelor flat in St Georges street became my “town” home!
      I spent a few years travelling from Verulam to Durban and back again by road or by train! Both modes of transport carried individual aspects of interest, so to speak!
      The train journey from Verulam to Durban was about an hour long and the stops were quite frequent along the way! First stop after Verulam was Ottawa, then came Mt Edegecombe , then, I think, Duff’s Road, Effingham, Red Hill, Briardene, Stamford Hill, Greyville and, finally Durban Station!
      If I have the order a little awry and if I have left out a stop along the way, I apologise!

      The track from Effingham to Red Hill was routed up a fairly steep hill that was bounded by Coronation Brick and Tile on the left and the Old Main Road on the right, looking up the hill! A fairly substantial Garrett Steam locomotive was responsible for dragging the entire train to Durban! If there had been rain or heavy dew and the train was unable to gather enough momentum to tackle the hill then chances were that the forward journey would come to a grinding halt!

      The train driver and fireman would then do their very best to get things moving. Sand would be sprinkled between the huge steel drive wheels of the locomotive and the steel track. Slowly the throttle would be opened and, as the great drive wheels began to turn there was a gritty, scraping sound and the train started to move! A few seconds later a screeching noise coupled with a whooshing sound as billows of steam were emitted and the train came to a standstill once more! Wheel spin!! This process would be repeated a number of times until the train made it to the crest of the hill!

      If I chose to ride to work by motorbike and if there was heavy rain the night before then Effingham posed a problem for road users as well! There was a pretty docile river that flowed under the old main road at the base of the notorious hill. This river, when fuelled by rain, turned into a raging torrent that ran over rather than under the road! Depending on the depth of the water it usually meant “shoes and socks off, long pants rolled up” and then try to push the bike through the flooded area to the dry side!

      Just two of the hazards endured by the hardy travellers of the day!!

      Enuff said, for now!
      AllanH

  2. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi AllanH,
    I would think we should limit ourselves to Durban and that would include the “suburbs” otherwise we would be expanding into a Facts about Natal but I leave that to AllanJ to rule on.
    North Coast Road was an interesting road way back then, rather narrow and if I recall hell at 5 pm as it was the only artery north. Indian buses would career up and down and it was not as wide as it is today. It was dominated by Coronation Brick and Tile, the factory and brickworks . Their admin block overlooked North Coast Road. I seem to recall in the early 60s many aspiring CIS students were taken on there as were general office workers. Coronation was where many youngsters started their working lives. Regarding Effingham I seem to recall that a terrible train accident occurred their perhaps mid 50s early 60s. The line to Kwa Mashu passed through that area.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Gerald
      I somehow recall the accident at Effingham but I cannot remember any details!
      Coronation Brick and Tile were a widespread operaion in the Briardene,
      Red Hill area and I remember that they offered an instructiion course in Bricklaying which a couple of mates attended, with good results.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      Hi Gerald

      The “boundaries” of Durban have extended over the years and I think that input by readers and supporters of FAD may be influenced by the decision as to where these boundaries “end today”!
      For example, seems to me, as a “EThekwini rate payer” and the fact that I now reside in the Hillcrest area, it would be OK to inject some input concerning the area!
      Stories about the “old days in Durban”, dare I say Central Durban, will endure for a long time into the future as more and more readers share their interesting and colourful anecdotes about life in the old days!
      However, I, for one, would be grateful to AllanJ for some directive on how the ever expanding boundaries of Durban are defined, and handled, so that input remains valid as far as Facts About Durban is concerned!
      As a suggestion, it may be possible to review the boundaries from time to time, advising readers accordingly, and extend these to match the EThekwini Rate Payers Roll! This will, I believe, give impetus to input and allow folk to spend more time reliving the past and putting their experiences and knowledge into the site!
      Kind Regards
      AllanH

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      A little more on the Western Hinterland!
      New Germany (Umgeni) power station was something of a landmark in the early days! My work place, which Gerald will surely recall, nestled beneath the shadow of the four large cooling towers of the New Germany power station! The street that passed the front of our property was called Escom Road!!
      The towers and the three tall smoke stacks are no more as they were imploded and demolished a long time ago. In them thar days the implosion of giant structures was something of a rarity and all the neighbouring factories were given notice of the days that the great events would take place!
      No wonder that all the folk who were employed by organisations, which were in close proximity to the towers, talked about the event non-stop and much nervous energy was expended in anticipation of the “event”!
      Exercises were carried out by our company and team leaders were schooled as to where they would lead their teams “on the day” so that everyone would be safe went the balloon went up, so to speak!
      According to the Escom heritage web site, the Umgeni power station was decommissioned in 1989 and in 1992 the cooling towers were imploded followed by the demolition of the three tall smoke stacks in 1994. If interested in the history of the power station go to –
      http://heritage.eskom.co.za/heritage/umgeni.htm#Decom
      AllanH

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      The Western Hinterland AGAIN!
      I suppose, as an ‘old ballie”, I am entitled to have the odd melancholy moment! Fortunately such moments are far and few between and are usually related to a slight excess of the “scotch”!
      One on the positive issues related to a melancholy moment is the ability to have clear vision of something in the past and to recall, quite vividly, events that would otherwise have slipped away, sometimes for ever!!
      And so, what about the watering hole in Pinetown! The one in Station Road, nearby to the Barber called Leo who had a BMW 250cc Single Cylinder as his transport to and fro from Durban to his business in Station Road!
      And nearby was the famous restaurant Papagallos owned and run by, I think, Arthur George! Or was it George Arthur!
      Essentially, the Imperial Hotel, the watering hole, I think it was called in them thar days, was a gathering spot for locals, local businessmen and, in retrospect, anyone who enjoyed a cold lager after hours! So, one could expect quite a variety of folk in the pub in the late afternoon – evening! The pub was quite dark inside and one needed a little eye adjustment to take care of the change in light!
      And what about Wareings Bakery and who remembers the famous pies available from the shop that opened onto Crompton Street, not more than a stone’s throw from the Imperial!
      Go a stone’s throw up Crompton Street, in the direction of Old Main Road and there was the Gaiety Cinema, on your right! A smidgeon beyond the cinema and on the same side, was Park Lane and another Barber shop situated on the ground floor of the “Park Lane” flats. I think the barbers shop was called Roy’s! Then there was the Park Lane Hotel!
      Turn right, into Old Main Road; travel for a fairly short distance towards Cowries Hill and one would arrive at the famous Rugby Hotel on the right! Palm trees in the drive in front of the hotel and the well-known Galaxy bar and restaurant just to the left of the hotel entrance! In front and to the right of the entrance was a large enclosed veranda where casual dining was the order of the day, and, not to be missed, was the well-known curry and rice!
      The Drive In Theatre was just up the road and quite popular it was!
      Lahee Park Club and the large municipal swimming pool nearby!
      Pinetown was alive and kicking then –one has to wonder what happened???
      Enuff!

      Allanh

    • Syd Oram
      |

      Hi
      I have only just picked this up. I wonder whether the ” Arthur George/George Arthur” might be one Arthur George, who, with his wife Reene ran the Cairngorm Hotel in Van Reenen in the late 1940s/1950s. Prior to that the hotel was run by my parents until we moved permanently to Durban in 1946.

  3. Jill Quinlan
    | Reply

    The accident on the Effingham rail line was in the early 60s. The driver of the train was a Mr Gunter. His wife later worked as a secretary at School Psychological Services, which were housed in the buildings of the old Hunt Road School. During the time of the trial she and their children were advised to leave Durban for their own safety.

  4. John Taylor
    | Reply

    Allan H. – you mention Doc Sweidan – I still bear the scar on my lip resulting from an incident during a club rugby match in King’s Park stadium (yes, club rugby was played there every Saturday in those days) in which I received a kick in the mouth which split my lip and sprayed blood everywhere; Doc Sweidan was in attendance, and proceeded to stitch up my lip without any regard for pain; when I protested his retort was “you’re a rugby player, not a baby, so shut up!”.
    Escombe Clothing Manufacturers was owned by the Philips family; the son (I can’t recall his name) was at DHS with me; the daughter was married to Dr. H.S. Berkowitz. My mother was the receptionist / nurse at Dr. Berkowitz’s rooms in Musgrave Centre for many years.

    • Warren Bank
      |

      Dr HS (“Hymie”) Berkowitz was our house doctor for many years.
      His wife is Doris. They emigrated to joing their kids in Australia many years ago. Hymie sadly passed away in Sydney a few years ago. He was a very gentle and caring doctor. He believed in avoiding eggs and was very anti-smoking. I remember him doing house calls at our home in Montpelier Rd, Morningside. He was in partnership with Des Levin and Sheldon Levin (no relation!) for many years. What was the name of their receptionist? I remember her!

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Warren
      I looked up Dr H.S. Berkowitz in the 1968 Lawrie’s Directory. His rooms were at 37 Musgrave Centre. At that time he was in partnership with Dr. I. E. Katzeff. Just for info.
      Gerald

    • Warren Bank
      |

      Hi Gerald,
      Thanks for that! We only moved to Durban from Jhb in 1971. I can vaguely remember going to Musgrave Centre to see them.
      I think that by about 1973 the doctor’s rooms had moved to Silverton Rd. Then the Silver Vause Centre was built and they moved there. Do you know the first name of John Taylor’s mom, the receptionist/nurse?
      I could be mistaken but Dr IE Katzeff was the late Issy Katzeff. I knew his children Gary and Shelley from school. He later moved to Jhb and only passed away a few years ago.

    • Allan Hannah
      |

      John-I seem to recall that there were 2 Sweidans _ Jack and Phil?? I think that it would have been Jack Sweidan who was responsible for the embroidery on your lip! I still have visions of the slightly rotund figure of the Doc running onto field to attend to a casualty! A friend once said to me “if you see the Doc running on to attend to your injury it is amazing how quickly you get better” or words to that effect!!

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Allan
      Yes there were two “Doc Sweidans”. Jack had a surgery at Escombe and if I recall was associated with Natal Rugby. Phil had a surgery at Malvern. I do recall Escombe Clothing, a multistorey brick building in Main Road. If I remember they had the army contract to supply the infantry with long sleeve shirts. Morrisons I think predated Pick ‘n Pay.

    • Tony Haack
      |

      Reading these posts brings back a lot of memories. I lived in Dale Road, Escombe as a child and teenager during the late 50’s and early 60’s and knew the Philips family. They lived in a large two / three storey house on the top of the hill on Old Main Road. I can recall as an 8 year old sliding down the staircase banisters.. Leon Philips (the son) was in my class at Escombe Primary School and later we both attended DHS. Sometimes the Philips chauffeur would collect me in one of the Buick’s or the Dodge Kingsway (my favourite car) and take us to the movies in Durban. Dr Jack Sweidan was our family doctor at that time and I can still remember him making house calls. If I needed a doctor my dad would take me to Phil Sweidan in Malvern if Jack was out of town.

  5. Peter
    | Reply

    talking of medics in the area, who can remember Dr Mark Aufrichtig, had his rooms in Old Dutch Road/Etna Lane cnr. Drove a black Pontiac which he changed every year, and it had a telephone !

  6. John Taylor
    | Reply

    My mother Sarah Taylor was a qualified nurse who became Dr. Berkowitz’s receptionist / nurse in 1957 when his rooms were in Sanlam Building in Smith Street. The rooms were moved to Musgrave Centre when it opened a few years later. Dr. Issy Katzeff was Dr. Berkowitz’s partner at Musgrave Centre for a few years. My mother retired in 1975, and I seem to recollect that the move to Silvervause Centre had not yet taken place.

    • Terry Mehrtens
      |

      Hello John, from New Zealand-kia ora.My wife and I lived in Durban1970-74.I played for Berea Rovers and taught at Clifton Prep ,Lambert Rd/Innes Rd.Doc Sweiden was the doc we were recommended to with a serious rugby injury,and I had treatment -acupuncture -with him in 1970.He fixed me so I could play an International with his’needles’.When playing senior rugby on Kings Park,if anyone was injured ,one only had to lean over the player and say”Hey,Doc’s on his way” and the problem was instantly solved by the player rushing back to position!!Our first born was birthed by Doctor Berkowitz(Hymie) in Mother’s Hospital over from Greyville racecourse.He had convulsions in his first 2 years.I had to take him into the Berea surgery one day when his mother was in town shopping .When I went to collect him ,the nurse said “We didn’t know whether you were bringing Andrew in or he was bringing you in”!!!! I have discovered this site after my wife and I were wondering about Hymie Berkowitz who was obviously our doctor and we loved him.I realize this is 8years later and maybe not of interest!!! TM

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Terry Mehrtens
      How time flies. Still recall your name mentioned in the papers’ sport pages. Thanks for that input. If my memory serves me correctly Doc Sweiden passed away some years ago now. I think there is some comment on this site about him. You can do a SEARCH. I did not know Dr Berkowitz. Strangely enough I also recall Kia Ora which was what a tea room was named here in Durban. Unfortunately on this site subject matter is all over the place so again a SEARCH will find it.

  7. John Taylor
    | Reply

    Allan – I was talking about Jack Sweidan. Although I was never treated, he had a reputation of doing marvellous things with acupuncture, which in those days was something really weird and mystical. I heard of swollen ankles and aching shoulders being cured very quickly by Doc Sweidan and his needles.

  8. Bianca Lawrence
    | Reply

    Talking of medicine I can remember an old clinic in Salisbury House. It had light green walls and smelt of chloroform. Some doctors of the era (early sixties) was my childhood doctor (Dr Gie) and a dentist Dr Zybbuts (I think spelling is correct). He was the last name listed in the Durban phone book.

  9. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Bianca, from the 1968 Directory :
    Dr Allan Gie , Dr G. Collin Adams, & Dr M.C. Goodall 811 Salisbury House.

    and the last entry in the Alphabetical Section : Dr L Zybutz 61 Carlton Towers , cnr Brickhill and Somsteu Rds. He is not listed amongst the Dental Surgeons. Maybe he had retired by then.

  10. Bianca Lawrence
    | Reply

    Thanks Gerald, you have an amazing wealth of old Durban information! Enjoy your articles.
    Edit: Thanks Bianca…..its a kinda pastime reflecting on what Durban was like.

  11. CHERYL WATSON
    | Reply

    I remember DR SWEIDAN, he had daughter RENE, very beautiful girl.

    I have seen a dentist DR ZYBUTZ in London doing lots of implants, his father was DR..HERR AND ZYBUTZ in town centre. of Durban., and he has a brother working with him. One is often on T.V. doing cosmetic dental work. (Hymie Herr was my dentist)

  12. Dawn Noel
    | Reply

    My mother and Father were best friends of Dr Jack Sweidan of Escombe. They had three children, Janice, Gerald and can’t recall the third. Gerald died in a flying accident a number of years back. We lived in Escombe when I was really small (1960’s) and remember playing at the Sweidan’s often.

    • Rodney
      |

      Was the third child Selwyn? He qualified as a pharmacist, but I haven’t seen him for many years. I think that he had a pharmacy in the Umbilo area.

    • Dawn Noel
      |

      Hi Rodney, the third child was Louis and he was studying to be a doctor but I think he didn’t complete his studies and became a medical rep

    • Rodney
      |

      Selwyn’s second name is Lewis so it most likely is the same person:

      Mr Sweidan, Selwyn Lewis, is a healthcare practitioner, specialising as a Pharmacist, in Umbilo, Berea, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

      I think that I will try phoning him. I don’t know if he will remember me, but he might be able to contribute some information to FAD.

    • Louis Sweidan
      |

      Hi Dawn
      Dont know if you are still on the address of the website
      I lost this thread and have just found it on one of my old computers which I had used for backup
      2013 dreadful year was being worked up for heart transplant and very fortunately had highly experienced cardiologist who managed to improve blood supply.
      Remain alive much to probable displeasure of medical aid as keeping me alive cost their reserves plenty
      I am including my email address if you wish to make direct contact
      Louis

  13. Louis Sweidan
    | Reply

    Hi Dawn I had Rodney contact me to ask for Selwyns number . Are you Dawn daughter of Daphne and Ken Price and sister to Ian. What a wonderful surprise if this is the case. Where are you? I live at Hartbeespoort Dam. Did medical science accounting and marketing.Ended up owning a specialized temporary employment services company in Pharmaceuticals bought out by Americans in 1997. Reading through this website has brought back very many fond memories of my growing up in Escombe. By the way Escoma factory was originally owned by the Bensauls , sons Solly and Morris who had the double storey house on the Old main road opposite the Escombe Civic Centre and near to my Dad and Phils block of flats Milesia Court. Milesia named after the Durban July winner who won the July back to back in 1949/50.My father put all he owned on the horse to win and scored big. When my mother found out he was given a choice, marriage or horses and he chose rugby and local politics The Phillips family were brought into the Escoma business. Does any one remember the blue and pink Buicks they had. Had huge house on hill going to Sarnia. Son was owner of towing service and petrol station in Hillary was also at Escombe School and DHS with me, older than I am . There were so many kids of similar age and we spent many a day playing soccer in our backyard with the James’, Garnet (Std Bank) and Joan, Sons Lloyd and Garth sister name escapes me . Barry Messenger whose Mom was Akela of Escombe cubs and Dad was scout master. Wirtz, Robsons , Buchhalter, Needles, Gashiana (not sure of spelling) Crawfords ,Tubby trying to remember surname, Petzers with Lorraine Tearoom opp station. Swart Jeff and Lisha what a lovely lady with an incredible memory for songs Worked for Philip Schnell in Pharmacy. Nortons David who died tragically in Sarnia on his motorbike, Tomlins, Wilsons, Goodards, De Kocks ,Noel Cronje, Colarossi clan Frys, Maidens , John Engelbrecht, Floods etc. Could go on for ages. Thank you Gerald Buttigieg for the info

    • Hugh Acton
      |

      Hi, I found the articles about the people and businesses in Queensburgh very interesting. I have lived in Escombe for 40 years, and well remember the Sweidens and other names mentioned. Of particular interest was the name Wirtz. There is a road in Northdene named Wirtz Road, and I was wondering if you or anyone else had any information on Mr Wirtz, even his christian name would help. Thanks, HUGH.

    • Gerald Buttigieg
      |

      Hi Hugh
      I looked up the 1968 Directory and there is I.W. Wirtz at 426 Main Road Escombe. Looks like that is he but what IW stands for is ?

    • Ian Varkevisser
      |

      cheers Louis, when is the next DHS big 1970 re-union

    • Rocky van Eyssen
      |

      Hi Louis,
      My name is Rocky van Eyssen, from Durban Collegians rugby club. I played U20s with Gerald in 1975. In 1976 I was promoted from the 3rd to the 1st team after a couple of games. Tommy Bedford, Wakka Basson, Mike Mitchell, Stan Holmes and Tim Cocks were a few of the guys playing at the time. This brings me to your father, the great Doctor Jack Sweidan. I remember the pills he used to give us before each game! I never had the courage to ask him what they were for. Would you know?
      Tiger balm was another thing he gave us before each game. About midway through the season, he asked me to go to his house in Malvern and fetch your beautiful sister Janice. I went out with Janice for a couple of weeks. I think I was intimidated by her beauty, and I (maybe Janice did) broke it off.
      I had a bruised heel at practice one night and couldn’t train. Doc Jack asked someone for a cigarette, lit it, and held it on the palm of my hand, and burnt the cigarette. I was fit for the next practice!
      I was transferred to Kimberley with work at the beginning of 1978. I met your mom in Kimberley. I think she said she was visiting Gerald, who was doing his National Service.
      In 1979 at the Toyota Easter Tournament, we were drawn against Shimlas, who had in their ranks a young Danie Gerber. We were leading 15-3, when Danie tackled me, and out popped my shoulder. Doc Jack was there there to once again use acapuncture! For the next 4 weeks I used to go to your dad’s surgery in Malvern. He would put acapuncture needles strategically in my arm and chest, and light a match, cover it with a glass, wait a couple of minutes, then remove the glass.
      I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to do an article on your father for Facebook. Any amusing anecdotes from you would be greatly appreciated!
      Regards,
      Rocky van Eyssen

    • Gerald
      |

      Hi Rocky,
      Please if you do the article for Facebook, post it here as well. There are others that do not do Facebook so I am sure they will enjoy your anecdotes.

    • Gerald
      |

      Hi Rocky,
      This comment in your post interested me:
      ” He would put acapuncture needles strategically in my arm and chest, and light a match, cover it with a glass, wait a couple of minutes, then remove the glass.”

      As a young child if I had a bad chest cold, my mother would perform a similar procedure on my chest and back. Probably taught by her mother, my gran (of Italian extraction), she had a special thick walled round glass “cup”. She would get a bit of cotton rag, put a teaspoon of salt in it and tie it up into a small bag. The salt was merely to enable the bag to sit up right. The tied up section similar to a wick would be dipped in oil. She would then put the little bag on various places on my chest and back, light the “wick” and then put the glass cup over the flame. The flame went out pretty quickly but the walls of the cup were covered with droplets of moisture “sucked” out by the vacuum formed within the cup. I remember my mother used to call it fantusi but I eventually found out that the correct spelling is ventouse and is also known as cupping. I do not know the origin of this form of treatment but it did seem to work. Doc Sweidan obviously also knew of it.

    • Rocky van Eyssen
      |

      I wrote ‘wait a couple of minutes’. Thinking back it was more like 30 seconds.

  14. Derek Austin
    | Reply

    Drs Gie and Goodall had rooms in Lacashire House Kenyon Howden road Montclair and were next door to my fathers radio workshop.

  15. Rodney
    | Reply

    I recently finished reading ‘Precious Stone’, biography of Mary Stainbank of Coedmore Estate. More than once she mentions the Bushu Spruit which seems to be between Coedmore and Malvern. She mentions how, while it was usually a mere trickle of water, occassionally it would come down in flood with fatal results. What is puzzling , though, is that she says people were swept into the Umgeni River. I would have thought that in that area that streams would flow into the Umbilo River. Is it perhaps a tributiary of the Palmiet River which does flow into the Umgeni? I can find no reference to a Bushu Spruit on Google. Do any of the Western Hinterland Brains Trust know anything about the Bushu Spruit?

  16. Allan Hannah
    | Reply

    Hi Rodney
    I used Google Maps to try to see the Bushu Spruit! Maybe you will be better able to define and interpret the detail on the maps!

    There is definitely a water way shown but it seems to be very remote to the Umgeni River. The references I used are –

    http://maps.yellowpages.co.za/?gclid=CL6iqLSnwLkCFQjA3god-wEAYw

    http://maps.yellowpages.co.za/?gclid=CL6iqLSnwLkCFQjA3god-wEAYw

    http://maps.yellowpages.co.za/?gclid=CL6iqLSnwLkCFQjA3god-wEAYw

    Over to you!!
    AllanH

  17. Hugh Acton
    | Reply

    Thanks Gerald, I think it is he that I was interested in. There is a Road in Northdene named after him. The Municipality has however just erected new road signs and now spelt the name Wiritz. Am trying to get it sorted out. Cant change history.

  18. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Hugh
    Definitely in the directory as IW Wirtz. I looked up my book on the origin of Durban Street names but Wirtz Road not included. The name sounds Jewish to me. If you want another angle why not go to the local graveyard perhaps he is buried there or even try the Gravesites Website. Go to FAD’s search menu on the home page and type in Cemeteries. That will take you to a post that explains how to get on to the Gravesites web page. There are a couple of Durban’s outlying cemeteries listed for one Hillary.
    Keep at it. The fun is in the hunt.
    PS Later: I have just been chatting to a school friend who also has been around Durban a long time. I asked him off hand if he had heard of the name Wirtz. He says he used to work with Dave R. Wirtz at Rohm and Haas, a chemical company that used to be based in Pinetown. He had a brother, name unknown, that had something to do with the Queensburgh Municipality either Town Clerk or Town Treasurer. Could be a connection here.

  19. Richard Martin
    | Reply

    I W Wirtz was Mr Ivan Wirtz, the town clerk of Queensburgh Municipality for many years. He was also a lay preacher at St Augustines Anglican church in Escombe.

  20. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi Richard
    Thanks for that as it puts another piece of Hugh’s puzzle in place. Duffed the religion!

  21. Hugh Acton
    | Reply

    Gerald and Richard, you Guys should have been in the CIA. Thanks for your assistance. I am sure you are spot on with Ivan Wirtz being a past Town Clerk of Queensburgh, and being honoured with a road named after him. I actually go past the St Augustines Church where he preached on the way to my home. The whole controversy started when the Etekwini Municipality started renewing the road name signs. They kept the same names on the street signs, but in the case of Wirtz Road, it suddenly became Wiritz Road on the new signs. We have a situation where within a space of 200 m, the same road has two different spellings. The person in charge says its correct, but will research it. I will send him the information you so diligently brought to light Gentlemen, and keep you updated. Coincidently, the Town Clerk after Ivan Wirtz was my next door neighbour for quite a while. Thanks again. Hugh.

  22. Hugh Acton
    | Reply

    Hi Richard, you were spot on in that Ivan Wirtz was a former Town Clerk of Queensburgh. I have passed this information on to the authorities and have been assured they will be amending the incorrect signage in our area. Thanks for your input.
    Hugh.

  23. Syd Oram
    | Reply

    I might be approaching the wrong forum, but does anyone have any information on:

    1. When the Wiley Hall in Greenwood Park was built? My Grandfather, S.G. Smith was Scountmaster of the Inanda Troop in the 1930s and I have found a newspaper clipping dealing with the official opening. Unfortunately as so often happens, the date does not appear on the clipping.

    2. When the Briardene, Red Hill and Effingham brick yards, formerly owned/ operated by Coronation Brick and Tile, were built and finally closed down/demolished?

    I clearly remember the mournful siren that used to sound at the Red Hill Brickworks signalling various startup, break and knock-off times. I remember with far less affection the sulphurous smoke that in winter used to carry over Red Hill and Durban North when (I think) the Red Hill works converted from coal to fuel oil kiln firing!

    3. I am trying to determine when Durban North started to develop. I have a photograph taken from what I believe may be Beachway, Margaret Maytom Avenue or Stirling Crescent. The entire foreground is grassland, which extends unbroken in a south westerly direction toward the Umgeni River. There are only three houses between the point from which it was taken and the mouth of the Umgeni River!

    4. I believe Durban North Estates was established in 1924, but I do not understand why it was established. Presumably it had something to do with the management of expansion in the northern suburbs of Durban. Has anyone any further and better information?

    5. Has has anyone any information at all regarding the old “Concrete Bridge” which spanned the valley below Ellis Park? I am trying to find information regarding when it was built, the builders and when it finally was demolished. As I recall it was demolished in the late 1960s and we had to take a circuitous route through Gainsborough Drive and Ellis Park to get to town.

    • Jill Quinlan
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      It might help to contact Julie Scragg who owns Hingham Nursery. Her family, The Harrison family, settled there in the 1860s. She and her family still live in the original house at Hingham Nursery. Someone wrote a book about the family and there is a large section on the family in Durban. They owned a lot of land in the extended Durban North area and the book might shed some light on the Durban North Estates. Julie Scragg has a copy of this book.

  24. martie
    | Reply

    I’m very interesting in Seaview because I stay what is called caledonian road now I believe from people it use to be a farm the owner of 25 caledonian road now is mrs mungul her husband passed away a few years ago and I believe we staying on a old grave yard and the history of this place is fasinating me could any one pls inform me more about 25 Caledonian road seaview its close to seaview station and seaview school and maybe if there is photos of that time say in the 19 century pls up til now. Regard Martie tenant of above adress

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