Ovington Court Update

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Picture courtesy Jack Cann.

 

For many years we’ve had a page on the wreck of the Ovington Court which occurred off Addington on 26 November 1940. We’ve been keeping it updated as new information comes to hand and the latest is a submission from Alan Young in which he talks of the aftermath of the wreck and which I’ve added to the bottom that page. Click the link above and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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The Woodlands Drummer

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I have just received this photo from a friend of mine that grew up in Woodlands. Apparently during the 1950s, this man would walk the streets of Woodlands beating his drum asking for donations. When given a donation he would beat his drum and do a bit of a soft shoe shuffle before moving on. Just recently on FB someone was asking if anyone remembered him. Part of the passing parade.

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DLI Reunion

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We have had a request from Robert Timmerman to put out the word about a reunion next year of a platoon from the Durban Light Infantry who were involved in a contact 35 years ago. He wrote:

Hi, this is a very different request for assistance on the site. Please bear with me as the widespread diaspora of Durbanites has left us with a dilemma.

Us being Durban Light Infantry, with a need to locate members of Platoon 1 who were on Beacon 25 North of Eenhana on 25 may 1984 with Lt. Deon van den Bergh and Sergeant Mark Whitson (later Lt. Col and Officer Commanding D/L/I.) when we were in contact with a band of SWAPO operatives for a period of about an hour.

Next year is the 35th anniversary of the event and we are attempting to trace as many members of the platoon as possible to attend the gathering at the Drill Hall in Greyville Racecourse.

If you could post this – the contact email is beacon25reunion@gmail.com.

The DLI’s story is a fascinating one and I’m the proud possessor of a two-volume history of the regiment containing what is believed to be one of the most accurate accounts of the surrender at Tobruk and detail about the regiment’s most illustrious part-time soldier, Brigadier-General James Scott Wylie. I’d be very happy to hear details of the regiment’s more recent history including this incident. Perhaps we could work towards having a DLI page on this site and contributions will be most welcome.

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Point School 1903?

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Lawrence Somasundram has written to ask if anyone knows of a Point School which would have been in operation around 1903 and would have either been solely for Indian pupils or had them in its numbers. The school was mentioned in a letter written by his grandfather who was apparently employed there as a teacher. He is keen to know where the school could have been located.

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Aimee Lykes

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Now here’s a real treat for all you Durban fans. Angela Romain saw our post on the Aimee Lykes which ran aground on the Aliwal Shoal in 1964 and had some movie footage and stills of the vessel shot by her parents John and Meradel Romain during a visit to Durban. She quickly put the images together in a movie for our pleasure and I was the second person to view it. Who’ll be next?

I remember those days very well when you could walk right up to edge of the dry dock to see what was on going on and I can still get a bit of a cold shiver just thinking about it. Driving round the docks was our favourite Sunday afternoon pastime and I wouldn’t be surprised if we went to to see the Aimee Lykes in dock too.

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Theater Memories

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Reader Belinda dropped a comment on the very popular Arcades of Durban post and it raised so many memories I thought it should have its own post. She wrote:

Reading all these posts have brought a flood of memories … I can’t remember whether it was Murchies Passage or Salisbury Arcade, but in the early 70s there was a shop that sold hippie paraphernalia, adjacent to the flagship Wimpy. On Saturdays, the Dbn hippie community (and part-time hippies) would hang out there, flowing onto the pavement surrounding the shop – much to the horror of the older generation. Watching Steve Fataar play at the YMCA one afternoon before the police declared the gathering illegal … the gig moved to a commune in Ritson Road, they could not stop the music no matter how hard they tried …

Later the shop Bilbo opened on the cnr of an arcade (Murchies or Salisbury … the memory is rusty) and Smith street, their clothes were the rage around 1976/7 offering alternatives for matric dances to the hideous trilobal dresses that flooded the market then … Bilbo’s harem pants and tunic were considered super hot in during 1977. In the early 80s I was based at the Little Abbey Theatre in Commercial road and we would get our eye kajal and sandalwood soaps from a little shop in Ajmeri Arcade.

Also remember with many fond memories the Oriental Bazaar that was situated on Commercial road, nearer the beach side, great place to buy puzzle rings. Back in the 60s had ballet lessons on the second floor of an old building in the lane that led from the top of Russell Street to the Emmanuel Cathedral. Will never forget climbing the rickety old wooden staircase to the strains of castanets and Spanish dancing at Pat Farman’s ballet school. Seminal memories… also visits to Carnival and Backstage in Payne’s Building to buy ballet shoes… the smell of grease paint that hit one on entering … evocative smells that no longer exist in the entertainment industry. Read More

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Evacuee to visit Durban

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Susan Woodville wrote in to ask if anyone knew her father during his time in Durban. She wrote:

My father (Stephen Woodville) was an evacuee in Durban during WW2 – he came from the UK about aged 10 to live with his uncle Bob Woodville (and his cousin Bert Woodville). He sang as a chorister in St Thomas’ church, joined their scout group and became asst. scout master. He LOVED his 10 years in durban. After leaving school there, he joined BOAC as a radio engineer on the flying boats in Durban Harbour, before returning to the UK. He is now 91 years and in good health and will be visiting Durban 30 October 2018 to 6 November. Does anyone remember him?

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Durban’s St Joseph’s Churches

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Gerald Buttigieg has added some new material to his 2013 page on Durban’s St Joseph’s Churches.

 

 

St Joseph’s in its various guises (schools and churches) has been a very popular topic on this website and is mentioned in many different pages and posts. One such post is a picture sent in by Bianca Lawrence which resulted in a storm of reader interest. There are many others, however, and I urge you to use the site search to track them all down.

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Durban’s Woes

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I have not had a Daily News newspaper in years but yesterday there were a couple of copies left and the main page headline caught my eye so I bought one. I think many of our Durbanites living overseas who visit this site may be shocked by the three stories I found on just two pages. I post the articles in their entirety for your information. All I can say is Dear old Durban.

CLICK ON PICTURES AND SCRIPT TO ENLARGE.

Rachel Finlayson Baths

 

Rats

Cemeteries

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Robert E Lee

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Reader Mark Sandison wrote in a while ago in response to David Baird’s article on the watering holes of his youth and to throw more light on the Los Angeles Hotel and, in particular, how the Robert E Lee got its name. He wrote:

Wow, a real nostalgic trip. Yeah, knew all those pubs as I’m sure did most of our generation.

The upper pub at the Los Angeles hotel was called the Robert E Lee. It was named by the owner of the hotel, Peter Paget, after his adopted son named Robert, and, of course, the US Confederate General. I was told that directly by the man himself at his house at 347 Innes Road just before he and his wife Daphne were to open the newly refurbished pub. (I had been going out with his daughter Anne for a couple of years)

The pub had a huge mural of a Mississippi steamboat wheeler on one of the walls.

Peter and Daphne Paget were some of the nicest people I had ever met and they would have made great in-laws. Peter would go every weekday to the Los Angeles hotel at 9.30am to check on how well his hotel had done the day and night before. He would return for lunch at 12.30pm. I always admired his 3-hour workday. Even though reasonably wealthy, they were totally unpretentious and I appreciated this even more. They seemed to have a wonderful balance in life of true values.

Incidentally, Peter Paget’s father was a mining engineer whose company was involved in the gold mines and got the contract to build the cable way in Cape Town. He was the first person to go up the cableway in an iron bathtub that had to be used to test out the cableway as no cable cars had yet been built.

Sadly Peter Paget died on 8th of March 1988 aged 65, Daphne Paget on 23 April 2010 aged 83 and Robert Paget on 3rd March 2011 aged 56.

The last I heard, Anne Paget was thinking of selling her property on Innes Road and emigrating to New Zealand to be with her daughter and family. Sadly the emigration option sensibly chosen by many white South Africans in the new and miserably failing South Africa.

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