What happened in Durban 50 years ago 1967.

What happened in Durban 50 years ago 1967.

My late father in law , Archie Black who put these scrap books together , did not paste much about Durban this year . That year I was still an unknown to the family so I do not know why or whether the goings on in Durban were minimal. He did record some world events though so to fill in, I am going to include them just for the record.

As usual the first event was the Dusi Canoe Marathon. The 1967 winners were Ken “Tank” Rogers and Charles Mason. This was Tank’s first win but a second for Charles Mason who was a winner with Don Cobbledick in 1965. The win was in a record time of 10 hrs 30 mins and 35 secs. This was Tank’s third Dusi and he had also completed 7 Comrades. Second in the Dusi were Willem and Roelof van der Riet who were favourites to win with third place going to Don Alborough and K. Wright. Tank comes from a very sporting family and his younger brothers Dave and George were also Comrade finishers. Dave I think now holds the record for the most Comrades completed. The Rogers brothers were also into Hockey and I played league with them for several seasons in the late 60s and early 70s.

A burst water main in Ridge Road on the Berea spread destruction over a block wide as far as Vause Road. Properties including a nursery school, a residential hotel (Glyncourt), the Silverton bowling club and six homes were flooded by the raging mud flow. The Silverton bowling greens were covered a foot deep with mud. The cause was a ruptured section of pipe , 10 feet long , that blew off the main. The pressure and tremendous amount of water released caused a trench 8 feet deep, 50 feet wide and 50 yards either way.

The former Town Clerk of Durban, Mr W.L. “Bill” Howes passed away at his Durban North home. He was Town Clerk from 1954 to 1967.

Ten Durban lovelies at Natal University were nominated as Rag Queen finalists. They were Carol Hawkes, Moyra McMillan, Monica Fairall, Fiona Murray, Wendy-Ann Earl, Kunnie Kooijman, Rene van Vuuren, Sue Lovell-Green, Trilly van der Hoven, Glynis Plenderneith . The eventual winner was Wendy-Ann Earl with Carol Hawkes and Monica Fairall as her two Princesses.

Sadly both Princesses have passed on, Monica Fairall some years ago and Carol Hawkes passed away in 2016.

A first at Rag this year was Cupid , an “instant romance” project launched by the men students. Men, and girl students from the University and Durban Teachers Training College were asked to fill in elaborate data cards with details of themselves. Approximately 1000 students supplied information. The cards were then fed into a computer and an “electronic match maker” produced a name and telephone number for each student. At a Rag social held at Students Union , the designated couples
met and matched.
In a newspaper photo of the event , I see the band that played that night was a Group called Blue, with my ex-army friend Billy Gaugain on the drums.

The Passion Play was performed in Durban with David Horner as the Christus.

Barbara Lavender (18) was the Natal regional winner of the Miss Teenage Personality competition.

Radio Port Natal, the region’s new FM service came into being this year. Radio Port Natal joined Radio Highveld and Radio Good Hope the other national FM services. This replaced the old AM service which had been the service standard since radio was inaugurated in Natal.

Mr Alec Blaikie , a prominent Durban businessman passed away at the age of 68. He was the founder of the large timber and general merchant company, A. Blaikie and Co.

The Durban City Council decided that the Vasco da Gama Clock situated at the bottom end of Point Road at the docks entrance would be moved to a site on the Esplanade.

The Royal Navy’s HMS Lynx, an anti-submarine frigate visited Durban.

Durban’s new Chief Constable, Commandant V.C. Jearey took up his position as head of Durban’s City Police.

Miss Freshette at Durban Teachers’ Training College was Sharron Ellis with Marilyn Irvine and Susan Schoeman as her two princesses.

“Snowy” Suter , Natal and Springbok flank forward announces his retirement from rugby on medical advice. Two serious shoulder dislocations brought an end to his promising career. Suter (27) represented Natal on 62 occasions and played for the BOKs twice.

The SAA Viscount “Rietbok” crashed off the Pondoland coast killing all aboard.

One of the gantries serving the Maydon Wharf grain elevator was completely destroyed by fire. The heat of the fire caused the structure to collapse on itself.

The Natal Rugby XV played a match against the visiting Scottish Borders side, beating them 15-8.

The 1967 Comrades Marathon was won by Durban’s Manie Kuhn in a dramatic finish. This finish is still one of the most talked about as the runner up, Tommy Malone stumbled near the finish allowing Manie Kuhn to break the tape one second ahead. Manie’s winning time was 5.54.10 whilst Tommy recorded 5.54.11. Third was Gordon Baker, fourth T. Blankley, fifth F. Steyn and sixth D. Morrison.
I remember the finish line in that race was at the RDLI Drill Hall Grounds near the Race course. The newspaper lists that there were 500 entries as compared to the thousands today.

Miss Disa Duvenstein (21) from Umbogintwini was voted Miss South Africa 1967.

The 1967 Durban July was dead heated for the first time in its long history. The favourite Sea Cottage ridden by Robbie Sivewright and Jollify ridden by Johnnie Gorton could not be separated in the photo finish. Third was King Willow ridden by B. Little and fourth was Red Sands with N. Gottsco up.

The first rugby test between the Springboks and the French team took place at Kings Park . The score was 26-3 in South Africa’s favour.
The Bloemfontein Test was won by the Springboks 16-3, the Ellis Park Test was won by France 19-14 and the final test at Newlands was drawn 6-6.

Eric Egan the early morning SABC announcer known to everyone in South Africa passed away at the age of 64.

Keith Oxlee decided to hang up his rugby boots at the age of 33. On Tuesday October 10th , a public holiday in those days, The Natal XV played against the South Africabn Barbarians beating them 32-22. After the game, Keith took off the black and white Natal No. 10 jersey for the last time and handed it to the winger Syd Nomis. Keith played for Natal 98 times and represented South Africa 19 times.

The Sunday Tribunes Singer of the Year Award was given to Eve Madison.

That was all the local events that were recorded in the 1967 scrapbook. As I mentioned he did record other events which I will list below as some were quite significant in that year.

One thing to comment about and that concerns people who are now in their early 70s. It would have been just about the years 1965 to 1970, that a lot of us would have tied the knot. We would have been in our 20s by and large and so if you are that age group and still married well golden wedding anniversaries must be coming up. I know my one school friend who I am still in contact with will celebrate his 51st wedding anniversary this year and there must me many coming up for theirs. Quite an achievement I reckon for this day and age.

Other events of 1967

The then world’s largest vessel , a Japanese oil tanker, the Idemitsu Maru sets out on her maiden voyage. She weighed 210 000 tons deadweight and her deck was 1121 feet long and 164 feet wide.

A full size mock up of the Anglo French supersonic airliner, the Concord was put on display at the Paris Air Show. The first Concorde flew in 1969 and the super jets were taken out of service in 2003. After a near faultless life span of close to 30 years, an unfortunate flying episode that occurred in France in 2000 killing 100 passengers , 9 crew and 4 people on the ground closed the chapter on the Concord airliners.

The American Apollo space programme suffered a serious setback when three astronauts, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee perished in a fire which enveloped the space capsule they were seated in during a simulated count down. They died instantly in the flash fire .

The Soviets also had a set back in their space programme when space man, Vladimir Komarov was killed when the space craft he was in, failed to deploy its parachute on its descent to Earth.

Cassius Clay (still Cassius to the boxing world then) defeated Ernie Terrell of the USA to retain his world heavy weight boxing crown.

On June 5th, the 1967 Arab Israeli War broke out . Known later as the Six Day War, the invading Egyptians were forced all the way back to the Suez Canal, with the Israeli forces capturing Jerusalem and other areas in Egypt and Jordan. This war was noted for the thousands of army boots left behind in the desert by the retreating Egyptian forces.

The American aircraft carrier Forrestal was badly damaged by a fire which broke out aboard.

Jayne Mansfield, the Hollywood star, was killed in a road accident in New Orleans. Not many may know but Mariska Hargitay on Law and Order, Special Victims Unit is Jayne’s daughter.

Karen Muir (now deceased) South Africa’s 14 year old swimming star, smashes the world 110 yard backstroke record at Coventry England.

Frew McMillan and Bob Hewitt win the men’s doubles championship at Wimbledon. The first South Africans to win a title at the prestigious tennis tournament.

Dr Christiaan Barnard performs the world’s first heart transplant at the Groote Schuur Hospital Cape Town. The first recipient was Mr Louis Washkansky with the donor being Denise Darvall aged 25 who with her mother had been killed in a motor accident.

It is proper to remember the whole team which were involved in the historic operation. They were: Professor C Barnard, Professor W Schrire cardiologist, Mr. R Hewitson surgeon, Mr. S.C. Bosman surgeon, Mr. M Barnard surgeon, Mr. T.J. Hancock surgeon, Mr T. O’Donovan surgeon,
Dr. J. Ozinsky anaesthetist, Dr M.C. Botha pathologist.
Technicians : Misses J. Pritchard, A. Friedman, E. van den Berg, F. North Mr J.van Heerden and Mr N. Vermaak.
Theatre Sisters: A.M. Russouw, M.A. Rautenbach, A. Lambrechts, P. Jordaan.

Sadly Mr Washkansky dies 8 days later due to a lung infection.

Donald Campbell is killed when his speed boat Bluebird flips whilst making an attempt on the world’s water speed record. The accident happened on Coniston Water in the Lake District, England.

The Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth II is launched.

Harold Holt the Australian prime minister drowns while swimming in the surf.

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15 Responses

  1. Keith Parker
    | Reply

    Fantastic to read this piece.
    I am 70 years old now and it covers all the memories I have while living in Durban at that time

  2. Richard Murphy
    | Reply

    Hi to all – I also remember that “dead heat” Durban July between Sea Cottage and Jolify (not sure of the spelling) in 1967. That was very special. Best regards Richard Murphy

  3. Bianca Lawrence
    | Reply

    A computer!! in 1967!! I would love to have seen that one!

    • Allan Jackson

      Hi Bianca. FYI: They used mechanical computers in Durban much earlier than 1967. I mentioned them in the diary entries for 28 October 2003 (here: https://www.fad.co.za/Diary/diary007/diary007.htm) and the 17 November 2003 (here: https://www.fad.co.za/Diary/diary008/diary008.htm)

    • Moira Badstubner

      I worked in the office of Electricity Supply Commission from the age of 15 until I married in 1959.
      We used a telex machine with a long tape before cell phones were invented. We also made copies with velum which had been typed – then you rolled black ink over the velum to make copies!!!! I also used the switchboard to connect callers to the various departments in Electron House, Acutt Street, near the City hall Durban.

  4. Richard Holmes
    | Reply

    Bianca – Unilever had one at their Maydon Wharf site by 1967. A massive beast it was housed in its own building with 24 hour temperature controlled aircon ( required to keep it cool ) It was so noisy that it was necessary to employ deaf people in jobs which required being in the building permanently

    • Moira Badstubner

      Eric Holmes went to Park View School in Glenwood during my time at the school. Moira Williams (now Badstubner)

    • Richard Holmes

      Not a relative I’m afraid Moira

    • Roger Ellison

      Moira Badstubner my late father Phillip Ellison was headmaster at Parkview School in Glenwood. I think that would’ve been in the 50’s? Do you remember him? By the way I drove past there on a recent visit to Durban and see it’s renamed Glenwood Preparatory School.

  5. Graeme
    | Reply

    The S.A.R.&H. also had a massive computer at their offices in Oswald Pirrow building. I worked their as a shift operator at that time. Noisy and also very cool in there….

  6. Roger Ellison
    | Reply

    Great memories. My wedding reception in 1966 was in the old Marine Hotel corner Gardiner St and Esplanade. Demolished soon after. Some may remember my retail store Recorded Music Specialists (RMS) then in Field Street next to Stuttafords.

  7. Neville Shotland
    | Reply

    Fantastic to read. I was 18 years old. 👍

  8. Terence Dowdall
    | Reply

    Does anyone know what happened to Weny-Ann Earl or Moyra McMillan?

    • Chris Hoare

      Wendy is a great friend. Going strong in Durban North.

  9. peter blunt
    | Reply

    My first rugby game out of school was for the University of Natal (Durban) vs Durban Collegians in 1967. Snowy Suter was open side flanker and Keith Oxlee was outside half. I played outside half. I went out with Glynis Plenderleith (who was close friends with Moyra McMillan) and knew Rene Van Vuren quite well (we were in the same year). Those were the days! I went on to a career in academia and full professorships in management at universities in Australia, UK and Norway and have also done a lot of development consulting( including a stint with the World Bank in Jakarta). My books on management and organisation in Africa are widely read. I am currently a non-resident visiting fellow (adjunct full professor) at the UNSW (Canberra), Australia. https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/peter-blunt

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