Tuesday, June 2, 2015

'Their task to Keep the Light ...' 2

Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

I was delighted to read the article written by Peter-John Hannabus.  My father, D M Stewart, was a lighthousekeeper at Cape Agulhas at the time Peter-John was born, and in fact, if I recall correctly, my mother helped with his delivery. The nearest hospital was in Bredasdorp -25 miles of rough gravel road away. In those days (1954), Agulhas was still  pretty remote.

At the time, I attended the Rhenish Girls' High School in Stellenbosch as a boarder and came home on holidays every school quarter That in itself was a whole day's travel by train, and then from Bredasdorp station a road trip by grain truck to Agulhas.

My sister was born at Cape Point, and I was born at Cape St Francis, and  as children we lived around the coasts of Kommetjie, Dassen Island, Danger Point and Cooper Light on the Bluff in Natal. Our school holidays were quite unique and the envy of our school friends. 

While stationed on Dassen Island, we were brought by tug from Cape Town docks to Hout Bay where we anchored and from there, believe it or not, by long boat to the jetty - us still in our navy and white school uniforms and hats, among the food supplies, equipment, spares etc. What wonderful holidays those were. We fished, collected penguin eggs and were never bored for a minute..

As Peter-John so correctly states, it is indeed the end of a great era and how fortunate we were to be part of it.

Helen Pfell

Suzanne Jo-Leff Patterson, researcher

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