Taken from the Lighthouse Bar, Oyster Box Hotel, Umhlanga
A new light in Natal came into operation on 25 October 1954. This was the Umhlanga Lighthouse. Originally to be positioned in the vicinity of the swimming pool in the grounds of the Oyster Box Hotel, this idea was abandoned when in January 1953 13 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours, causing heavy erosion close to the proposed site. It was decided to build the tower lower down nearer the sea on a solid rock foundation.
There were no festivities to mark the opening of the Umhlanga Light. It was brought into operation without the usual three months' notice to mariners being issued internationally. Warnings were however broadcast from the local maritime radio stations informing shipmasters of the introduction of this new aid.
Being unattended, this fully automatic light had to be equipped with an alarm system monitoring equipment failure and detecting fire or any unauthorised entry of the premises. At Umhlanga Rocks the alarm system is extended to the reception office of the Oyster Box Hotel, the proprietor reporting any alarm to the maintenance depot at Durban. So far the system has worked well.
Acknowledgement: Harold Williams, Southern Lights