Fynnland Beach

posted in: Mini Memories 6

Here’s another message that rather fell through the cracks. It arrived quite a long time ago from reader Bles Grobbelaar. He wrote:

Hi Allan, Durbanites and friends

Yesterday I was an 11-year-old bare-footed youth swimming at Fynnland Beach and today 60 years later I am retired after having lectured for 39 years at universities in Australia, NZ and good old SA.

Talking of Fynnland Beach: The folks who are aware of the fact that there once was a beach at Fynnlands are getting fewer and fewer. We moved to Durban in 1948 when housing was scarce and had to live in a tent on Fynnland Beach until we could find a house. The luckier ones lived in houseboats on the beach and contributed to the unhealthy conditions that probably led to the closure of the beach in around 1954.

I can recall that during low tide you could walk from the beach to Salisbury Island to look at the mangrove swamps. I still remember the brightly coloured changing booths and the Sunday Photographer. On Easter Mondays there used to be some sports organised for the youngsters.

There used to be some restaurant or night club across the railway line with a well where according to rumours, Dick King got water for his horse. The well was still standing on my last visit in the 80’s. I can still recall the Juke box playing the hits from those days, “Now is the hour”, “Tennessee Waltz”, “Down the trail of aching hearts”, Mocking bird hill”, and the list just goes on and on.

There used to be a set of manually operated booms that contributed to road safety by stopping the Salisbury Island traffic whenever a train arrived. Then there were the Sea planes that flew overhead and landed in the bay.

Oh, so many memories and all I can show for it is one photo of us standing on the pier from which you jumped into the water. Can anybody who has any photos of what I refer to above, please upload some or share them with me at blesg@yahoo.com


Bles Grobbelaar.



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6 Responses

    | Reply

    Hi Bles,
    I must have been about that age when i remember Fynnland Beach, there were hundreds of small mounds of mud prawns which i did not know about,( try to find them now) there was the barbaque which showed films.Cycling to Salisbury Island on the causeway and fishing from an old rickety pier next to the bluff yacht club ( caught plenty of bull nosed mullet.)
    Lived in Kiora Rd and grew up on Garvies Beach. Unfortunatly have no photos.

  2. Dave Walker
    | Reply

    I was in the Sea Scouts at Fynnlands and we used to go out into the bay from there (probably from Salisbury Island) in canoes and were invariably getting in the way of tugs and being swamped by their wash. I also used to catch the ferry from the Bluff side to cross the harbour entrance with my bike and spend the day going to see all the ships that were in the harbour that day. Those were the days before all the security measures put a stop to all those freedoms we used to enjoy as boys. I eventually ended up going to sea myself and will be going back to Durban by sea later this year and this will be the first time entering the harbour on a ship for nearly sixty years.

  3. norah huyzers, nee goulding
    | Reply

    Mmm mmn. Fynland beach. It stank, right? My father was born on the Bluff – his father, my grandfather, Captain Goulding – used to let the officials know when a sailing ship was coming into the harbour, so they could send a tug out to guide it in. My dad said, to get to school, they had to climb down the Bluff, catch a ferry, catch a tram, then walk to school. I stopped bitching about having to walk up Kenyon Howden Road in Woodlands to get to New Forest High. I would so love to visit the original house on the end of the Bluff. But it’s owned by the military now, and they said no. I am 71.

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Norah
      Before I left Durban there was talk that the military would move away from the Bluff. But even in those days they did let us in to view the old whaling station. It might be worth checking again to see if they’ll let you in. Dave Neilsen at the Chicken Shack restaurant on the Bluff is a friend of FAD and will very likely know who to contact. Good luck.

  4. lesley Becker
    | Reply

    Would anyone living on the Bluff/Fynnland area in 1940’s remember the name of the old Hotel on Salisbury Island that you could only reach from the bay -next to the coaling plant. It has long been demolished but we have been battling to find out.


  5. Bob Raine
    | Reply

    Hi Norah,
    Gosh I hope this finds you. As one of your classmates: Can you remember old pops Graham “Come on Nora, even rabbits can multiply.” I’m happy and healthy, living in Cape Town. What strange school we went to . At least it must have made us interesting people.
    Love Robert Raine

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