Saturday, August 10, 2019

Lighthouse: Kalk Bay, Cape

The Kalk Bay harbour is not just a bustling landmark, it has a rich history, too. Its famous red-and-white-striped lighthouse – situated at the tip of the bustling pier – is the perfect spot for sunset photo ops or relaxed evening ambles.

In winter, it sheds its laidback armour, giving new meaning to the phrase Cape of Storms, as large waves are known to come hurtling into the bay, crashing against the jetty and lighthouse with substantial impact – a riveting sight to behold.


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Green Point Lighthouse, Cape: haunted?

The red and white lighthouse at Green Point was first lit on 12 April 1824. Originally it had two fixed white lights but now displays a revolving white flashing light. The tower is in use as it was from the first. The designer and builder was Herman Schutte who emigrated from Germany to the Cape in 1789, settling in Cape Town. Construction was completed in 1823 but there were delays before the light finally shone. This seems to have been the story of so many SA lighthouses, financial hitches and colonial bureaucracy playing their part.  

It is the oldest working beacon in South Africa. There have been rumours that the tower is haunted by a ghost with one leg, known as 'Daddy' West. A keeper named W S West did work here from 1890 to about 1901. An attempt was made to record the spirit speaking during a paranormal investigation in 2014:

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Bluff Lighthouse, Durban

This photo, showing the signal station and staff quarters, was taken prior to the addition of the ugly concrete casing supposedly meant to 'strengthen' the lighthouse, added in 1935.

The citizens of Durban had long pleaded for a lighthouse on the promontory known as The Bluff but due to various delays they had to wait until the structure was finally opened, with suitable fanfare, in January 1867. 

My great grandfather, Thomas Gadsden, was keeper of the Bluff Light from the late 1860s to early 1880s. He married one of the Port Captain's daughters, Eliza Ann Bell. At one stage Thomas's brother-in-law, Douglas Bell, was Assistant Lightkeeper. It wasn't unusual for a lighthouse to be a family affair.  

Senior Lightkeepers

1867 - 1880              T A Gadsden (Assisted by D Bell in the 1870s)
1885                          Moffat
1898                          J Stephenson
1.7.1898                    B Shortt
1918                          G Johnson
1922                          L R P Daly
1927 - 1933              T F Addison
1938                          G A Orchard
20.1.1941 - 1.4.1942 A Gray


27.7.1889 - 30.6.1898 F B Shortt
1.7.1898                     John Murphy
18.8.1931 - 16.7.1934 A Spring
16.7.1934 - 1.3.1941   E L Andreason                   

See Also

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Smiths in Natal 1890s

William Smith is listed in the Natal Almanac's Postal Directory for the Colony, 1897 as:

'Smith, Wm. Dickson, blacksmith, Umzinto'.

In William's records his middle name is not always given but where it is, it's spelled 'Dixon', as now generally used by the family. The Dickson spelling is probably an error by the Almanac.

His occupation is given as 'blacksmith' at Umzinto (on the Natal South Coast). At this stage William was operating his carriage-building and smithy business on the banks of the Umzimai River in Umzinto.

He had by then been resident at Umzinto for some years and had met and married Charlotte Anderson, widow of Farquharson Anderson, in 1886. 

By 1897, the date of this Almanac, their eldest son Ernest John Smith was about 10 years old. Their daughter Ruby and younger son Vere had been born in 1888 and 1889 respectively.

Little did they know that their peaceful life would be shattered by war with the Boers and that William was to die far from home during the Siege of Ladysmith in January 1900.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Souvenir Saturday: The Vic Bar, Durban

The Vic Bar, Point Road, Durban.  Popular in the 1980s as a meeting and drinking spot and also for the hostelry's so-called PUTCO Chicken - a flattened Portuguese-style treat. Probably not flattened by a bus but that was the joke at the time.

PUTCO was founded in 1945; South Africa's oldest and largest bus company transported more than 350 000 passengers per day.