DR DUNCAN DU BOIS is a post-doctoral researcher and a former DA ward councillor.

 

 

INDEX

PART_1
 

Borer_infestation

 

Bridge_over_the_Bay

 

Railway_housing_scheme

 

Maisonettes_in_Marine_Dve_area

 
PART 2 (Awaiting))
 
 
 
 
 
Part_3
Tunnel_under_the_bay:
 
Opening_of_Bluff_headlands_view

Site:

 
PART_4
 
Salisbury_Island_beach_plans
 
Bayhead_Road_plan
 
Zanzibari_land_and_race_issue
 
Bluff_‘entitled’_to_a_public_swimming_

pool

 

PART_5  RATEPAYER_brickbats_–_and_a_bouquet

 
Why_does_the_Bluff_pay_rates
 
Councillor_Sidney_Smith’s_

perspective

 
Pioneers’_recollections
 
 
 
 

The Bluff links with Umgababa_

 

Bluff_Township_–_1901

 

Leppers_on The_Bluff:__1893

 

Bluff Wentworth_Farmers_

Association.__AGM_–1889

 

Reckless_tree-cutting_irks_Bluff_

resident_-_1869

 

A_lighthouse_for_the_Bluff

 

Rates_on_the_Bluff_in_1855

 

Wentworth_farm "FOR_SALE"_-1854

 

The_First_Telephone_on_the_Bluff

 

Relocation_of_Chief Umnini

 

The_Bluff_–_1877

 

Wettest_winter_sincw 1850's

 

Durban's_Mayoral_Chain

 
The_Whaling_Station
 
The_Bluff_Railway_-1856
 
 

Visit the Photo Gallery

 

 

Publications_by_Dr_Duncan_DuBois

 

 
To purchase copies or enquire contact

duncanldubois@gmail.com

 

History - The Bluff Past:

PART 1

Borer infestation:

 In October 1955 alarm gripped residents of Brighton Beach following a report that borers had inflicted severe damage to the homes of six residents. The type of borer was identified as an Italian beetle of the Hylotrupes bajulus species. In three of the cases the borer emanated from furniture brought from the Cape. Mr TH Marinowitz of the Timber Control Office remarked that the mobility of the borer was such that it could fly up to two miles at a time. He warned that householders who failed to report the presence of borer could be prosecuted. 

A subsequent report noted that a further ten Brighton Beach homes had borer infestation. Meanwhile building societies announced that they would grant advances to bondholders affected by borers so that repairs could be carried out. Borer treatment was cited as costing about £90 for an average house. 

INDEX

Bridge over the Bay: 

This idea has surfaced on and off over the decades. But 26 November 1955 seems to have been its debut. Bluff Councillor Spanier Marson made the request in a letter to the Works Committee. He cited the increase in the traffic along South Coast Rd, then the Bluff's only link with the city, as motivating the construction of an alternative route. In addition, he said, the bridge would provide easier access for travellers in the city and northern suburbs to reach Louis Botha Airport. But like subsequent occasions when the idea of bridging the Bay has made brief headlines, the 1955 one came to nought. 

INDEX

Railway housing scheme: 

In 1955 the SA Railways set aside £6,5 million to expand services to its staff in Natal.Specifically it sought to purchase land from the City Council in Durban for its staff housing scheme. Parts of the Bluff that the Railways would focus on were Bluff Rd, Norman Rd and Sidmouth Rd. The Council wanted the Railways to contribute £45,000 towards the development of road and storm water infrastructure in the areas affected across the city. Each house was expected to cost between £3,000 and £3,500. But the Bluff Ratepayers objected. Its chairman, Harry Lewis, said the Bluff did not want "another unwanted gift foisted on Durban's Cinderella suburb" (Daily News, 3 August 1955). 

INDEX

No to maisonettes in Marine Dve area 

As we have seen with the recent chairman of the Bluff Ratepayers, Ivor Aylward, his erstwhile predecessor, Harry Lewis, was outspoken when it came to the appearance of the Bluff. In August 1955 Lewis accused the City Council of treating the Bluff as a "dumping ground" and that it was "contemptuous of the Bluff." His remarks related to a Town Planning recommendation for maisonettes to be built in Herbert Andrews Dve, off Marine Dve. 

The basis of Lewis's opposition was that maisonettes would "lower the aesthetic standards" of Marine Dve which was noted for its fine gardens. He said experience showed that maisonettes tended to be occupied by a transient population many of whom cared little for the upkeep of gardens and buildings. Lewis's opposition was supported by Bluff Councillor  Sidney Smith and as a result the application to build those maisonettes  was turned down by the full Council.

INDEX

Part 3

Tunnel under the bay:

HARD on the heels of Bluff councillor Spanier Marson’s request for the construction of a bridge across the entrance of the bay to the Bluff, came a new request: to construct a tunnel under the bay to reach the Bluff so as to alleviate traffic congestion on South Coast Road.

A report in the Mercury dated 2 December 1955 noted that the city engineer, Mr Kinmont, had been asked to investigate the issue. The council’s works committee had agreed that in addition to the request for a bridge, the tunnel proposal should be considered as there was need for another outlet to the south of the city. With the onset of municipal elections in 1956, the tunnel idea, like that of the bridge over the bay, sank out of sight.

INDEX

Opening of Bluff headlands view site:

FROM December 1955 until late in September 1956, news and speculation about the re-opening of the Bluff headlands view site to the public featured regularly in press report
s.

With the outbreak of the war in 1939, the area was closed to the public for security reasons. It was – and still is – a favourite showplace for visitors to enjoy unrivalled views of the beachfront, city, harbour and beyond. Then-mayor Vernon Essery had raised the possibility of the site being re-opened to the public with then-minister of defence, FC Erasmus. In typical bureaucratic fashion, a committee was appointed to investigate the prospect.

In February 1956, minister Erasmus indicated his approval of the re-opening subject to whatever conditions the department of lands specified.

According to the MP for Umlazi, Norman Eaton, Marine Drive would be extended to a point some 300 yards short of the tip of the Bluff headland, at which point there would be a car park.

A month later, further conditions were disclosed by mayor Essery. These included that the city would have a 99-year lease on the three-mile extension of Marine Drive into the headland area in which dwellings and residences would be prohibited. Once again it was stated that the re-opening was imminent.

In March 1956, Bluff councillor Lionel Richardson of the council’s finance committee stated that £8,000 would be spent on fencing, tarring the extended three miles of Marine Drive, and the intended car park along with installing stormwater drains.

An election and several other issues (which will be discussed in subsequent articles) sidelined the opening of the view site until finally at the end of September 1956, public access was restored.

For security reasons, the view site was closed to the public after 1973.
There was another side to the access and ownership of the Bluff headland which surfaced in the Sunday Tribune of 4 March 1956. Councillor Leighton Black argued that the re-opening of the view site was “just a sop by the minister. The city council must insist on the surrender of the whole [headland] area and nothing less”. Cllr Black claimed that the headland area no longer served any military purpose. A gunnery officer in the war, Cllr Black argued that the gun emplacements on the Bluff headland were World War I vintage and belonged in a museum. In modern warfare, he said, coastal artillery was “an anachronism”.
Scanned dated 26 October 1956 – newspaper source not stated

INDEX

PART 4

Salisbury Island beach plans

A REPORT in the Mercury in December 1955 projected a ‘new playground’ for Durban – a beach on Salisbury Island. Enthusiasm for the idea stemmed from the need to replace Fynnland Beach which was scheduled to disappear when the new tanker turning basin was completed.

Bluff councillor Spanier Marson said he had put forward the idea because the railways and harbours ministry had “deprived the people of Fynnland of their beach”. The chairman of the council’s beach committee, Leo Boyd, supported Marson’s suggestion. At the time there was a rumour that the naval forces on Salisbury Island would be relocating to Simonstown.

A further report, headlined the ‘Pleasure island plan’, appeared early in 1957. But a new snag had materialised – sharks in the bay. Apparently the presence of sharks had increased considerably and were particularly prevalent in the channels leading to Salisbury Island. The cost of providing a shark-proof bathing enclosure seemed to curtail interest and nothing further came of the proposal.

INDEX


Bayhead Road plan

April 1956 saw serious discussion underway between the city council and the national transport ministry on the construction of a new road link – Bayhead Road – from Kings Rest station to Maydon Road near the graving dock. Agreement had been reached on the intended siting and routing of the road. Local member of parliament, Norman Eaton said it was “essential to improve road communication between the Bluff and the city”.

INDEX


Zanzibari land and race issue

Known as the Zanzibaris today, back in the 1950s, they posed a dilemma for both the city council and the government in terms of apartheid laws concerning racial classification and residential location.

Following a decision by the railways administration to acquire land in the vicinity of Kings Rest where the Zanzibaris lived, their relocation became a thorny issue. According to the native affairs department, they were not ‘natives’. Nor were they white, Indian or coloured, according to the city council. As such, there was no official certainty as to where they should live in terms of the Group Areas Act and the Population Registration Act.

They were descendants of African and Arab slaves who were liberated from slavery in 1873 by a British warship and brought to Durban. A report in the Mercury on February 2, 1956 referred to them as ‘clannish people’ who were determined to stay together and resist being individually dispersed.

More than a year later, the Daily News of 13 May, 1957 reported that the city council was negotiating with the Juma Musjid Trust to buy 26 acres of land on which the ‘lost tribe’ could be settled. But the final decision on the Zanzibaris’ fate was reported to be in the hands of the minister of the Interior, Dr TE Donges.

INDEX


Bluff ‘entitled’ to a public swimming pool

The loss of bathing facilities at Fynnlands Beach through harbour development and the council’s decision to build a public swimming pool in Durban North had Bluff councillor Spanier Marson fuming in March 1956. “What has the Bluff got? No (tarred) roads, no pavements and no halls. Now that the Tesoriere Bath is established in Congella, Bluff residents are entitled to the facility of their own swimming pool,” said Marson. “An ideal site would be the Lieut. King Park which would cater for the Bluff population of almost 8,000.”

The council’s beach committee subsequently prioritised a construction list of public swimming pools. The Bluff was second on the list after Durban North. The list included pools for coloured and Indian residential areas and formed part of capital expenditure for the 1956/57 budget (Mercury, 21 March 1956).

INDEX

RATEPAYER brickbats – and a bouquet

Why does the Bluff pay rates?

That is a question still asked today by ratepayers who are frustrated with service delivery.

Mrs JM Astrup of Marine Drive posed that very question in a letter to the Mercury published on 10 March, 1956. She resented the council’s interest in opening up the Bluff headland for sightseers while Marine Drive had no pavements or stormwater infrastructure. “Doubtless the lack of funds will be the excuse. But why is it that there is never a lack of funds for the corporation’s pet suburb – Durban North?” Ouch! Mrs Astrup’s remarks were endorsed by a Mrs Rowntree of Wylie Road (March 21) who pleaded for roads on the Bluff to be tarred.

A correspondent who signed himself “Disgusted” and who lived in Brighton Beach, stated: “Why do we Bluff residents tolerate such shocking neglect? Our roads are a danger and a disgrace. The poor street lighting is a menace.” He went on to cite the hazards of walking down Noel Road after dark – untarred, slippery, steep with no street lights (Mercury, June 13, 1956).

In a letter in the Mercury on April 18, 1956, Mr H Blight of Brixham Avenue complained about the lack of drainage outside his property. Apparently a deep pool of water some 30 metres in length had accumulated, rendering the road impassable for vehicles and pedestrians. Appeals to the council had proved fruitless with lack of funds being cited as the excuse. The Mercury headed Mr Blight’s letter “Snorkel Avenue.”

However, the council did receive a bouquet alongside Mr Blight’s letter. “Trained Nurse” wrote to thank the bus drivers of Durban Transport for “their unfailing kindness and courtesy” in assisting her and her ailing mother during their many trips to and from the Bluff to the city.
INDEX

Councillor Sidney Smith’s perspective

Doubtless stung by the complaints regarding lack of service delivery, Bluff Councillor Sidney Smith (the Bluff was represented by two councillors then) attempted to put the Bluff’s case in perspective. In a letter in the Mercury published on April 27, 1956, he said that while the Bluff was the fastest growing suburb in Durban, it was still regarded by many as the “bundu.”

He acknowledged that stormwater drainage and the tarring of minor roads was sorely needed. He noted that the Works Committee had voted £35,000 for stormwater drainage and a potential further £15,000 if additional staff could be obtained. He conceded that such sums were trifling compared to the Bluff’s legitimate needs.
INDEX

Pioneers’ recollections

On September 26, 1956, the Mercury published a detailed report based on the recollections of two Bluff pioneers, Mr WA Doble and Mrs AH Freer.

They had both settled on the Bluff in 1899. Then the Bluff was an ‘outpost’ of thick bush and the home of wild animals. Known to the Zulus as Isibubulungu, it meant a long, bulky thing or a big, long sweet potato. The Dobles owned 22 acres of land in the Ansteys beach area. The only other resident in that vicinity then, apart from the Catholic Mission station, was Mr Garcin. Further south, Mr Gray founded what became the Brighton Beach area.

Across the swamp in the valley, where Wentworth now is, was the Clarkson family. Fynnland was the oldest residential part of the Bluff where five families had lived since the 1860s, of which the Armstrongs were the oldest. In 1906, when Mrs Freer’s husband was a trooper in the Natal Police, the total number of Bluff residents recorded in their patrol book was 25. There were no roads, just tracks through the bush. The road to the Bluff ended at Wentworth railway station. Marine Drive was built in the early 1930s by unemployed whites.

After 1920, surveyor Clement Stott bought extensive property in the Fynnland area which led to a building boom there.

INDEX

THE BLUFF’S LINK WITH UMGABABA

Prior to white settlers taking up residence, the Bluff peninsula was the home of the Thuli people under Chief Mnini. They claimed to have lived there for almost four generations – possibly since around 1770.

But prior to and in the wake of the Byrne settler scheme (1849-1851), the Thulis’ welfare came under pressure. In 1847, without any consultation, 4,500 acres of Thuli territory was granted to a Mr Ogle. In turn, he rented out those lands to tenants who then accused the Thuli people of being “squatters.”

Matters worsened when in 1851, again without any consultation, 1,500 acres of the Thuli lands were advertised for sale in the Natal Government Gazette, priced at between £1 and £2 per acre. Alarmed at the plunder of his land, Chief Mnini met with the Secretary for Native Affairs, Theophilus Shepstone. He complained that his Bluff lands had been so reduced that they could no longer support his 600 people who were also being harassed by Ogle’s tenants; also that there was insufficient pasturage for his cattle and that access to springs of water was being denied.

Stephen Walcott, Secretary of the Colonial Land and Emigration Office, was extremely concerned at this development and stated that the “territorial rights” of the Native should be seen as a “very delicate” issue. He believed that a bad precedent was being set if a chief’s “hereditary possessions cannot be secured” and recommended compensation for Mnini in the form of “a liberal grant of land in (a) new location.” In so doing, Walcott, argued that the colonial rulers “must not let any other consideration shake the confidence in the Native mind as to the justice and generosity of the white man.” In endorsing Walcott’s view, Sir John Pakington, the Secretary of State for Colonies, instructed that the land given in compensation to Mnini be greater than that “of which he has thus been deprived.” He also specified that “the most rigid good faith be observed in all land transactions with the Natives.”

That is how Mnini and the Thuli came to occupy the Umgababa area. They were relocated there after 1853 and given almost 8,000 acres compared to the 6,000 they previously occupied on the Bluff. In terms of an agreement signed in 1858, the Mnini lands were placed in a Trust which has survived to this day. Unfortunately, few subsequent land resettlements or relocations adhered to the spirit and guidelines which characterized Mnini’s experience.         Researched and written by Duncan Du Bois

INDEX

_________________________________________________________________________________________

From May 1901, large adverts appeared in the Natal Mercury concerning the development of a township on the Bluff. Among the remarks contained in the blurb was that the Berea had become too expensive and crowded whereas property prices on the Bluff were inexpensive and affordable; that from  a scenery and health point of view, the Bluff was a superior prospect to the Berea. In the July 2 and 13, 1901 issues of the Mercury some 90 sites in the Fynnlands and King’s Rest areas were advertised. Sales were brisk. A report on 27 December 1901 remarked that since the ‘opening up of the Bluff’ property prices there had increased from between 100 and 500%

INDEX

______________________________________________________________________________

LEPERS ON THE BLUFF:  1893

An advertisement in the Mercury of 23 August 1893 advised that a public meeting would take place in the Bluff Hall on 26  August to consider means of having lepers removed from the Bluff and Wentworth district. A news report in the Mercury of 29 August 1893 noted that the Bluff meeting had been well-attended. Messrs Parsons and Clarkson were tasked to see the Resident Magistrate of Durban as to the relocation of six Indian lepers

INDEX_____________________________________________________________________________

BLUFF WENTWORTH FARMERS’ ASSOCIATION AGM – 1889  Reported in the Natal Mercury 23 January 1889

The association comprised of 17 members. Eleven were resident on the Bluff and Wentworth; one lived at Clairmont, three across the bay in Durban; two lived down the South Coast and as such were absentee landlords. Amongst those present at the AGM were: Catholic mission priest Father Baudry, Captain Armstrong and a Mr Boyne. The main topic of discussion was crime the state of which was described (exaggeratedly) as ‘perfect pandemonium.’ The ‘natives’ were treating the efforts of the white settlers to maintain law and order ‘with impunity.’ The illicit traffic and trade in liquor was the chief  grievance. The meeting decided to form a ‘Surveillance Association’ to police the crime situation.

Nowhere in the report was there any mention of agricultural matters

INDEX_

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Portland Bentinck Shortt, one of the Bluff's earliest residents, settled at 'New Brighton' on the Bluff in 1869. 

On 21 October 1869, in a letter to the Colonial Secretary, Shortt drew attention to the 'reckless cutting of timber around the shores of the bay' and especially on Salisbury Island.The mangroves, he said, were being destroyed.  In response the Colonial Secretary thanked Shortt for his observations and referred his letter to the  Conservancy Board. [See: CSO, 342, No. 2250 - Natal Archives, Pmb.] No follow-up details  are provided in the records. Enforcement of laws then, as it is today, was haphazard and inconsistent. Sawyers' licenses were obtainable then from local magistrates at the cost of £1 per month.

Shortt and his wife Jane lived at New Brighton until his death on 28 February 1885.He made a living from fish-curing, a salt works and king jam.

INDEX_______________________________________________________________________________

A lighthouse for the Bluff

 The Natal Mercury of 28 December 1855  published a letter from James B West in which he recommended that a lighthouse be erected on the Bluff headland. He recommended that coal gas be used as the illuminating power as its illumination surpassed any oil lamp. He pointed out that he had constructed the lighthouse at Teignmouth in Devonshire and that he was a civil engineer by profession.

[Wests station on the Bluff headland is not named after James West  but after Sam West who ran a canteen there from 1881. Only in 1867 was a lighthouse erected on the Bluff headland].

INDEX________________________________________________________________________________

 Rates on the Bluff in 1855

The Durban County Council (not to be confused with the Durban Town Council) fixed rates at  half a penny per acre.Henry Francis Fynn, who was also a Durban County magistrate, owned 30 acres of land on the Bluff. His rates bill for 1855 was 1 shilling and 3 pence.(Natal Mercury, 18 April 1855). The County Council idea proved unsustainable as the small size of the population outside of settler nodes like Durban and Pietermaritzburg simply could not contribute sufficient funding. Governor Scott killed off the County Councils in 1857. In 1904 the idea was again floated but nothing came of it.

INDEX_________________________________________________________________________________

The Natal Mercury  of 9 August 1854 carried a very large advertisement which concerned the Bluff. It was headed:  FARM WENTWORTH  5,000 ACRES. The farm had been sub-divided into a series of allotments which ranged from 55 to 158 acres in size.  The auctioneer claimed that the plots were ideal for cotton and sugar planters.

INDEX___________________________________________________________________________________

 

The First Telephone on the Bluff

The first telephone on the Bluff was installed in March 1883.This occurred when the signal station on the Bluff headland was connected telephonically with the signal station at the Point. [See: Natal Mercury, 6 March 1883]. But the link was short lived. The Mercury of 17 March 1883 reported that the mast of a schooner had severed the line!

_INDEX___________________________________________________________________________________

 In 1847, 4,500 acres of land on the Bluff was granted to a Mr Ogle and became part of the farm Wentworth. The grant proved controversial and had historical implications for both the Bluff and the upper South Coast. Correspondence between the Colonial Office in London and the then Governor of Natal, Benjamin Pine, in 1852 lays bare the reasons for this. An African chief by name of Umnini occupied an estimated 6,000 acres of land on the northern part of the Bluff. He had some 600 tribesmen who subsisted with their cattle on the pasturage which then existed in that area. The problem the Colonial Office had with the sale of land to Ogle was that it belonged to Umnini and he was very reluctant to part with it. The situation worsened when tenants that Ogle placed on the land began to interfere with Umnini's cattle. As it was, the land grant deprived Umnini of much of his pasturage and springs of water.  From the Colonial Office Sir John Pakington labelled  the land grant to Ogle as being  'inconsistent with the established and admitted right of the chief.'  

What brought matters to a head was a sale of 1,500 acres of Umnini's land in November 1851. Pakington and other officials were furious at this because it violated a  guideline that 'the most rigid good faith be observed in all land transactions with the natives.' Governor Pine and Theophilus Shepstone had a meeting with Umnini over the matter but it became clear that the chief was not prepared to accept  the fact that his future on the Bluff had been marginalised to the extent that  he and his followers would starve. 

Consequently it was decided that  Umnini was to be compensated for his lost Bluff lands. In a despatch dated 22 July 1852 Pakington approved the granting of land to Umnini and his tribe in what is now Illovo and Umgababa on the upper South Coast, an area much greater than that 'of which he has been deprived,' noted Pakington. 

The last words in the despatch on Umnini's Bluff lands  have proved particularly far-sighted considering they were written 159 years ago: 'Umnini's lands, it will be remembered, lie contiguous to the next rising town and only port of the colony, and are of great and increasing value to us .'Indeed, a remarkably perceptive comment on the emergence of Durban and of the value of property on the Bluff. Written by Cllr Duncan Du Bois from documents kept at Killie Campbell Library.

INDEX____________________________________________________________________________________

The Bluff – 1877: [ from an editorial in The Natal Mercury, 2 January 1877.]

‘It is strange, considering how close we live to it, that the people of Durban really know very little of that bold and picturesque headland known as “the Bluff.”  Day by day its steep, darkly-wooded extremity, and its park-like, spreading foot-slopes rest in sunshine and in shadow under our eyes, but very few of the burgesses of Durban have set foot upon any portion of the promontory other than the extreme end, where the “cave” and the “lighthouse” offer special attractions to excursionists and picknickers.

About half a dozen settlers, we believe, reside on the more open portion of this isolated little district, but the difficulty , or the fancied difficulty, of getting to it, has kept visitors and settlers away. The only landward point of access is round the head of the bay along rough, tangled and tortuous roads, or by boat at high water.

This is to be regretted as no part of the neighbourhood of Durban possesses greater natural charm. The views from any point are enchanting; the vegetation is rich and picturesque; the soil is fertile and the climate is healthful. We know of no more enchanting seaward view than that which spreads below the heights of Wentworth. There is no reason why the many attractions and uses of the Bluff should not be turned to greater account than they are.

We should like to see government publicly offering for disposal building lots on the Bluff itself, so that the townspeople might enjoy the advantage, more fully than they can now, of the glorious view and climate to be got up there. Doctors say a fortnight passed at or near the lighthouse is as good as a sea voyage of equal duration, and they are not far wrong. All around you, and right below you, spreads the blue and broad infinity of the Indian sea, while from whatever quarter the wind blows it comes laden with the salt flavour of the ocean.

The white surf that has been begotten by storms- who knows where? – breaks in ceaseless roll upon the rocks beneath. As the tide ebbs these rocks are left in black and jagged nakedness, until, through unseen clefts the waves spurt up in sudden and treacherous activity. Once or twice a day troops of porpoises pass to and fro amongst the breakers through which they sweep and rush, the sportive squadrons of the sea. Down on the beach itself are all the treasures of the shore; while to the prosaic mind, the movements of the shipping offer a mild species of excitement.

But why say more? If the reader thinks we have over-rated the facts, let him live a week on the Bluff and see.’

__INDEX____________________________________________________________________________________

WETTEST WINTER SINCE 1850'S  -  posted   30 July 2016

The worst damage that occurred during the floods of July 25 and 26 2016 was in Kingsley Rd Brighton Beach where a six metre deep chasm opened taking the street light, the left lane and the pavement with it.

Apart from collapsed walls in Watsonia and Bluff Rds and a great deal of sand and sediment onthe roads, we should be thankful that infrastructural damage was far less than in other areas.That needs to be acknowledged given the fact that 440mm of rain fell in a three day period which is a recordfor July. Add that to the 318mm of rain early in May and it means that we have had the wettest winter since rainfall records for Durban commenced in the 1850s.

INDEX_

________________________________________________________________________________________

This was presented to the Council by Benjamin Greenacre  on Monday 17 April 1899. Between 1875 and 1897, Greenacre  held the office of mayor of Durban three times.  

The mayoral chain was made of 18 carat gold and features the crest of the Durban Municipality in heraldry colours with the motto ‘Debile principium melior fortuna sequetur.’  (Loosely translated means – from poor beginnings may better fortune follow).  

Eighteen of the links were engraved with the names of those who had held mayoral office. The other links were left blank for those who were to follow in the future. [Source:  Natal Mercury, 18 April 1899].

INDEX_

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Although initially Port Shepstone was considered for the  sighting of  a whaling station, in 1908 the Bluff headland was selected as the preferred area. Five angry letters reproving the sighting were published in the Natal Mercury on 12 March 1908. 

But in the Mercury of 9 April 1908 it was announced that the construction of a whaling station on the Bluff headland would go ahead regardless of health concerns. In those days Environmental Impact Assessments were unheard of.  

On 15 June 1908 the Mercury slated the project on the grounds that the health factor had not been taken into account as regards Bluff residents.  

The whaling station closed down in 1969.

THE BLUFF RAILWAY -1856

In 1856 a wooden railway line was constructed around the Bluff from the bay-side to where the stone was located. From here it was hauled in wheeled ox-drawn carts, along the tracks back to the bay were it was ferried across the entrance to the bay to the Point where Milne’s Breakwater was been constructed. 

 

Publications by Dr Duncan Du Bois

 

Labourer or Settler - Colonial Natal's  Indian Dilemma 1860 - 1897

by Duncan Dubois ...R190

Labourer or Settler addresses the question of how, neither by accident nor design, Natal became home to over 50,000 Indian Immigrants during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Duncan Dubois recounts how, from 1860, at the request of fewer than 50  sugar planters, colonial Natal embarked on a labour dispensation  which significantly transformed its character

Comments by:Tony Leon and Prof. Goolam Vahed

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar and Settlers by Dr Duncan Du Bois

From a wealth of archival sources, Du eruditely narrates what is arguably the seminal chronicle of the South Coast's development. He comprehensively unravels the kaleidoscope of personalities and unpacks the various interests that impact on this otherwise parochial backwater. Black Africans, white settlers, Indian labourers competed for the agrarian "playing field" that was dominated by sugar cultivation.

 - Dr Scott Everett Couper -Author of Albert Luthuli: Bound by Faith

Duncan Du Bois provides a detailed and fascinating history of a hitherto much neglected part of what was the colony of Natal. Based primarily on original archival research, he traces the southward advance of the white settler frontier settler and its sugar-based economy from Isipingo to the  Mzimkulu river and, without the sugar engine, to the Mtamvuna.

This study, highlights challenges faced by the settler enterprise which were not unique to that particular region, but crucial in shaping history. These included rugged geography, slow infrastructural development, insufficient investment capital and a heavy demand for labour to meet the needs of plantation agriculture. The settler economy's relations with the reliance on indigenous African people and imported Indian workers therefore constitute further dimensions of the book.

As such it is a valuable addition to the history of white settlement and its impact, both human and environmental, on southern Africa - 

W.R.(Bill) Guest - Professor Emeritus Historical Studies, University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg

 

 

RACE RELATIONS PIONEER - The legacy of Joseph Baynes

 

Written by Duncan Du Bois

In this age of anti-colonial sentiment. Duncan Du Bois' research has unearthed evidence of colonial Natal agriculturist, Joseph Baynes' evolution as a pioneer in the liberalisation of race relations and a fearless proponent of humanitarian values.

Records demonstrate that Joseph Baynes was a formidable opponent of injustice. He did not shy away from defending the rights of those who were marginalised. As Chairman of the Indian Immigration Trust Board and as a member of the Natal Parliament, he fought for justice and fair play.

Although his extensive farming operation would not have allowed him the time, with his understanding of African affairs and his rapport with Africans, it might be said the he was the best Secretary for Native Affairs Natal ever had

READ MORE ABOUT JOSEPH BAYNES

For more information on these publications contact duncanldubois@gmail.com

Commissioned and published by the Baynesfield Trust in 2016, this 56 page booklet reveals that not all Natal’s colonial figures were indifferent to the plight of Africans and Indians.

Contact the Baynesfield Trust for copies.fm@baynesfield.co.zaTel 033 251 0044

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For more information on these publications contact duncanldubois@gmail.com