85 TODAY !!
and many happy returns.
18 July 1918
31 Today !!
wishes from Facts About Durban
and many happy returns.
18 July 1972
Mandela is included on this page because he is a Freeman
of Durban (created 1999) and because we wouldn't want
to leave him out anyway. Gambit is appears here because he
is a long-time Durban resident and, at 517Kg, is the biggest
dolphin in any oceanarium in the world. He is an Atlantic
bottlenose dolphin and has been delighting audiences in Durban's
Seaworld for 28 years. He is a father of six, grandfather
of one and consumes over 25Kg of fish per day.
courtesy of Seaworld. Click the picture to download a
wallpaper-sized version (1024x768px).
I told that Durban had had the first railway in South Africa
which opened on 26 June 1860. I recently discovered that a
recreation of the first locomotive, named Natal, is displayed
in Durban Station incorporating the chassis (undercarriage??)
of the original. The remains of the Natal were apparently
found in the Umzimvubu River and I'm sure the story of how
it got there will be worth hearing. **SEE
HERE FOR THE STORY
Click to view a wallpaper-sized enlargement (1024x768px).
Mercury described the Natal as a "rather strange-looking,
but withal very neat little engine ...which... savours of
Yankeedom, and is new to most English eyes."
that ship Ovington Court had beached itself just off Durban's
Addington Beach in 1940. I was recently extremely surprised
to find that it was a total loss and that the wreck is still
there about 200 metres off the beach. Lived here damn near
45 years and never knew that!!! I've now spoken to an eyewitness
to some of the events surrounding the incident and I've put
that report and other Ovington
Court gleanings up on their own page which I'll keep updated
as I find out more. The wreck is apparently a popular dive
site among local scuba divers.
Click to view Ovington Court Page.
finding out about the Ovington Court I discovered a whole
chain of new facts relating to another wreck which lies in
30m of water about 2km offshore and 6km south of Durban harbour
mouth. The vessel in question is a steamship of between 1000
and 1500 tons and made of iron. It is about 76m long with
a beam of 10.5m but the really intriguing thing about it for
me is that nobody knows what its name was or when
is a popular dive and fishing spot and known as the Cooper
Light wreck after the lighthouse on the Bluff. Jill Forrester
and friends from the Durban Underwater Club have been researching
the wreck but have so far not been able to identify it. They
have discovered that the vessel was most likely scuttled when
it reached its sell-by date and that this was apparently common
practice in the old days in the approaches to both Durban
and Cape Town harbours.
writing in the July / August 2000 issue of Divestyle magazine
reveals that there are as many as 20 iron and steel wrecks
lying in the waters off Durban's Bluff. Among these are many
ships which were scuttled including the Garthforce, 1922,
the Emma, 1927, the Karin, 1927, the Kate, 1931 [31 August??],
the Istar, 1932, the Namaqua, 1932, and the Water Reichel,
while Jill and her fellow researchers thought that they had
cracked the riddle of the Cooper Light Wreck when they discovered
that its description very closely matched that of the Kate
which had belonged to Smith's Coasters (owned by Sir Charles
George Smith) and which had been scuttled somewhere off Durban
in 1931. The researchers' joy was short-lived, however, because
a check through Lloyd's Shipping Register revealed that the
Kate had had two propellors wheras the Cooper Light wreck
only has one.
the identity of the Cooper Light wreck remains shrouded in
mystery and so, incidentally, does the location of the Kate's
final resting place.
here to see pictures of the Kate.
on the site is a Resources Page
where I'll be listing special pages on the site, desktop wallpapers
which are available for download, and links to other websites
of interest. I think I'm going to have to start thinking about
putting in a site search feature before too long...
are due to Jill Forrester (mentioned above on 31 July) who
supplied an underwater picture of the Cooper Light wreck and
to Dave Rogers who gave me permission to publish his sketch
of the wreck.
Click to view enlarged.
courtesy J. Forrester.
are of part of a structure on the aft deck of the wreck which
looks a bit like a harpoon gun and which gave rise to speculation
that the ship had been a whaler. In fact, the structure is
the remains of the vessel's steering mechanism. The drawing
below clearly shows the wreck as it is now and how Dave Rogers
believes she must have looked.
Click to view enlarged.
courtesy D. Rogers.
for new facts is is proving to be even more fascinating than
I would have believed possible. In the next day or two I'm
going to be adding details to the Ovington
Court page from a newspaper clipping I've been sent and,
on Friday, I'm visiting Kevan Mardon who knows all about the
development of public transport in Durban. I could add something
to the site every day but for the lack of time. My day job
is now seriously getting in my way!!!
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