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.Share this: