vessels have have called in Durban over the years but there
can be few more unusual than the Borobudur which called in
Durban recently. She is a modern replica of an 8th century
Indonesian outrigger sailing ship and is on a mission to highlight
the trade links between Indonesia and Africa by retracing
the Cinnamon Route along which Indonesian traders travelled
to and from Africa on their trading voyages.
Click the picture to view a wallpaper-sized enlargement
arrived in Durban on December 1 with a little bit of help
from the National Sea Rescue Institute who provided a tow
for the last section of the journey from Richards Bay. The
vessel is 15m long and was built using traditional methods
based on a design shown in carvings in the Borobudur Temple
not known whether any of these vessels visited Durban in the
dim and distant past but it seems very likely that they would
have used the bay for shelter and that they would have taken
the opportunity of filling their water tanks and perhaps hunting
for game. More information is available on the expedition's
website at www.borobudurshipexpedition.com
which today reports that the vessel has reached Port Elizabeth
on its way Accra in Ghana.
to have forgotten to wish you all well over Christmas but
here's hoping that you had a good one and that 2004 will bring
you happiness and prosperity.
meantime I have dug into my archives and come up with another
of the pictures which were taken during the first aerial survey
of Durban in 1931/32.
Click the picture to go to the Air Survey page to viewan
enlargement of the picture.
put up a page on some of the sailing ships that have visited
Durban in the days since the decline of sail. There are some
wonderful pictures to see and stories to read. Check
it out here.
I went exploring through the wilds of New Germany outside
Durban with my informant Doug Thomas. We went in search of
the grave of former German U-Boat Officer Hermann Kolditz
and eventually found it in the German cemetary near the old
Lutheran Church. Hermann first saw Durban through the periscope
of his U-Boat during WWII and later settled here. More on
Hermann here and
here and more
on the Nova Scotia
last resting place of Hermann Kolditz is marked by a
stark black stone carrying his name and the dates of
his birth and death.
19.7.1919 - 19.1.1967
carries no epitaph and it was left to Doug Thompson,
who accompanied me to the grave, to supply one: "Herman
was a real gentleman," said Doug."
another visit to the Killie Campbell Africana Library the
other day to look through the Natal Mercury microfilm archives
in search of the date of HMS Cornwall's victory parade through
the city in 1941. I looked through about two week's worth
of issues from the end of May and the beginning of June and
found references to a number of parades but not the one I
was looking for.
snippet I did find was the fact that, on 31 May 1942, Putt
Mossman, enveloped in smoke and flame, dived fifty feet into
the sea from the mast of the Ovington Court which had run
aground on South Beach. [See
here for more on the Ovington Court] Mossman, who
was described by the Mercury as 'the American stunt motor
cyclist', was hauled aboard the ship by lifesavers waiting
on her deck. Many holiday makers witnessed the event although
their reactions to it were not recorded.
the most rewarding thing about Facts About Durban is the amount
of feedback I have had both from readers of the paper edition
and people who find this website. When I started with the
project I hoped that people would pass ideas and material
on to me and to a great extent this has happened. One comment
I received from a reader was that I should do something on
15 Squadron of the South African Air Force which has been
based in Durban for a good long time and which enjoys the
freedom of the city.
my new Aviation
Page for details on the squadron.
latest visit to the squadron I discovered a programme from
the ceremony on 5 December 1992 in which Mayor Margaret Winter
bestowed the Freedom of Durban on it. The programme records
that the following units have also received the Freedom of
Light Infantry and Natal Mounted Rifles
Field Ambulance Unit
something really interesting for you today in the shape of
a page of reminiscences from former Durbanite Frank Beeton.
Aviation enthusiast Frank sheds some light on a picture I
used in the printed version of Facts About Durban and on a
tragedy which had taken place only hours before [a day at
most] at the scene.
Courtesy Transnet Heritage Foundation
Click image to view Frank's
article is the first of what I hope will be many reader contributions
to the site. I would love to hear from anyone else who has
something interesting about to Durban to share. What I can
offer in return is the glory of being published on what must
easily be the most interesting website on the Internet. :-)
I'm going to be putting up a contributor's roll
of honour real soon now!!
up on the story of the tragic accident just prior to the opening
of Louis Botha Airport [now Durban International] I went on
a trek through the wilds of of Stellawood Cemetary and managed
to find Lt. Fletcher's grave.
may have a claim to having been the home of the world's longest-serving
soldier as I was reminded by an article in today's Sunday
Tribune announcing the death of Colonel Cyril Metcalfe. He
joined the Transvaal Scottish in 1924 and later transferred
to the Durban Light Infantry (DLI) in 1927 and went on to
command the unit in action during WWII. He stayed in command
until 1954 and was appointed honorary colonel of the regiment
in 1960 by Queen Elizabeth II. He completed his eightieth
year in uniform on 8 January this year and received letters
from the chiefs of the SA National Defense Force, SA Army
and the Defense Force Reserves marking the occasion. He died
yesterday morning at the age of 97.
About Durban I told the story of the first hydroplanes to
be brought here and how they helped to find the German Raider
Konigsberg. See the new Aviation
page for more on the two planes.
IMAGE TO GO TO AVIATION PAGE
of the two Curtiss hydroplanes [water flying machines]
brought to Durban by Mr Gerard Hudson.
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