Saturday, November 18, 2017

Souvenir Saturday: Norwegians in Natal



This attractive family portrait was taken by Emil Larsen, the Natal photographer. 
(See more about him elsewhere on this blog.) 
The dates given for his premises, 410 West St., indicate that the photo was
taken between 1900 and 1904. It is likely that the family is Norwegian but
the owner would be grateful if anyone could put names to the people in the  picture.

The owner states: this photo belonged  to my grand-aunt Adolfa Marie Nilsen Øvald (Oevald) from Porsgrunn in Norway, born 1890 and died in 1975. Her father was Halvor Martin Nilsen Øvald, died in 1901 on board his ship Coimbatore.

Comments would be welcomed.






Thursday, November 16, 2017

Wrecks of Waterloo and Abercrombie Robinson Cape 1842




'So great a loss of life has not happened in Table Bay since the year 1799.' 
Thus reported the South African Commercial Advertiser on 3 September 1842.

The Waterloo under Captain H Ager had been bound for Tasmania but, putting in for water at the Cape near the mouth of the Salt River on 28 August, had encountered a gale-force north-westerly to which she had speedily succumbed, her rotten hull timbers breaking up. 



Only a few hundred metres away, the British troop transport, Abercrombie Robinson, 1425 tons, Captain John Young, on a voyage from Dublin, was wrecked in the same gale. This ship was carrying 700 souls, including detachments of the 27th Regiment and Cape Mounted Rifles as well as the 91st Argyllshire Regiment (numbering 450), but due to the discipline of all on board, everyone was saved. 

This story ranks alongside that of the Birkenhead for human courage and selflessness while in peril on the sea.




Sunday, November 5, 2017

Remembrance: World War l Battle of Loos




World War l British infantry advancing at Loos 25 September 1915

 It was the biggest British attack of 1915, the first time that the British used poison gas and the first mass engagement of New Army units. The French and British tried to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the Franco-British attacks were contained by the German armies, except for local losses of ground. British casualties at Loos were about twice as high as German losses.




Thursday, November 2, 2017

Remembrance: ancestors' military memorabilia tell a story






Border Mounted Rifles: brass button with BMR and crown.
Boer War period.



Border Mounted Rifles: the famous boot and spur insignia, 
with the motto 'Rough but Ready'
shown on memorials at Intombi Cemetery Ladysmith


In memory of William Dixon Smith who died at Intombi
during the Siege of Ladysmith 1900. Also his stepson
Alick Anderson of the same unit.





Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Remembering the Fallen in all Wars



The time you won your town the race,
We chaired you through the marketplace;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
As home we brought you shoulder-high.

To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.


Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.


Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.


And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl's.*







"To An Athlete Dying Young" A.E. Houseman 1896

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Great Gale, 1888, Port Elizabeth, South Africa






The Great Gale 1888: ship foundering in surf while crowd watches on shore.

During a south-east gale, nine vessels were wrecked on the North End beach. The ships were: 'Andreas Riis', 'Dorthea' [sic], 'Wolseley', 'Drei Emmas', 'Elizabeth Stevens', 'Jane Harvey', 'Lada', 'Natal', and 'C. Boschetto'. The Rocket Brigade, life-boat and crews of other ships assisted and only one drowning was recorded.



Saturday, October 28, 2017

Souvenir Saturday: maritime treasure in Durban




Bronze cannon salvaged from the sea - Natal Maritime Museum, Durban.




Thursday, October 26, 2017

Passenger Lists Natal: Jane Morice: 1851


Arrival of Jane Morice reported in The Natal Witness 11 July 1851

The barque Jane Morice, 256 tons, under Joseph Browne left Liverpool on April 9 1851, arriving at Natal on July 7. Her 44 passengers on this voyage included Joseph and William Royston and their families, and Alexander Lyle. John Galloway was making a return trip to Natal, having first arrived in 1848 and establishing himself as a cotton planter. It was this ship which, in 1855, carried Bishop Colenso’s missionaries to Natal.

SHIPPING, COMMERCIAL, AND AGRICULTURAL INTELLIGENCE

ARRIVED

July 2nd - Douglas, Schooner, Captain P Gill, from Cape Town.

July 7th - Jane Morice, Barque 256 tons, Captain Joseph Browne, from Liverpool April 9th, with forty-four passengers and general cargo.
Edward P Lamport, Agent.

PASSENGERS
Joseph Royston, wife and child
Wm Royston, wife and child
John Smith
James Lloyd, wife and child
Eligah Middleborough
John McKeany and wife
Wm Dales and wife
Alexander Lyle [later saddler of Pietermaritzburg]
Thomas Allen, wife and child
John Allen, wife and child
Martha Allen
Alexander Murdock
Joseph Webster
Henry Webb and wife
William Hargreaves
Thomas Hargreaves
Betsey Turner
Jos B Shires, wife and four children
Richard Watson
Abraham Hirst
Mary Blackbrough and child
CABIN
Mr Malloy, Surgeon
Mr John Galloway [planter]
Mr Martin
Mr WG Harvey

The Jane Morice is expected to come inside in a day or two.
She draws about eleven feet water only.* 
The Passengers are landed this day, (Tuesday.)

July 8 - Jane Greene, from London, with 53 Emigrants.

OUTSIDE
Jane Morice and Jane Greene.

INSIDE
Albinia,
McArthur and Hunter, Agents.
Sarah Bell,
H. Milner, Agents.
Douglas,
Henderson, Smerdon, and Co. Agents.

VESSELS EXPECTED
From London
Cheshire Witch, Brig, 155 tons, Captain Todd, sailed 13 March.
Jane Geary, Brig, 193 tons, Captain A Douglas, sailed 13 March.

From Plymouth
Mora, Brig. 200 tons, Captain Teulon, sailed 6 Jan.

From California via Sydney
Lalla Rookh, Brig. 250 tons, Milner.

*A reference to the difficulties arising due to the Bar (sandbank) at the entrance channel to Port Natal: ships would have to wait until there was sufficient depth of water and wind and weather conditions were favourable so as to cross the Bar without mishap. As a result of these delays, the actual date of landing of a passenger ashore may be later than the date of ship arrival.



Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Passenger List: St Kilda Australia to Natal 1872


The Natal Mercury announced on  6 June 1872:
The St Kilda's Passengers met at the Immigration Aid Office yesterday afternoon, by invitation of the Directors. Of the latter there were present the Mayor, in the chair, and Messrs H Escombe, Goodliffe, Greenacre, Robinson, and Dacomb. Mr Escombe explained at length the objects of the Office, and an interesting conversation followed chiefly bearing on the best and cheapest way of reaching the Diamond Fields. The new comers expressed much satisfaction with the attentions exhibited, and unanimously passed a resolution to that effect. It was finally decided to publish an advertisement, at the cost of the Office, calling for tenders for transport, and we refer wagon owners and carriers to the announcement elsewhere. Specimens of quartz from Marabastadt were pronounced excellent, but not sufficient in themselves to prove the existence of a gold field. Some of those present said they had seen in Australia similar specimens from reefs which were not payably auriferous. We heartily trust that our new friends, of whom there are about seventy, will succeed in reaching the Fields quickly and cheaply, and that when there, success will crown their efforts. About twenty of those passengers came ashore on Saturday last. The vessel herself could not get in, as the wind was unfavourable.
The following is a list of the passengers by this vessel from Australia:

Cabin
Mr and Mrs A McKenzie
Messrs
Sweetman                                                                                
Hogmanson
Grumpelson
Mr and Mrs Slatbury
Mr B Longer
Steerage
Miss F Chapman
Mr and Mrs G Foster
Mr and Mrs Mortlock
Messrs
Loree
Bloonveer
W Davidson
A Petrie
J Haston
G Macfarland
W Griffith
J Gadfield
L Foss
J Fotheringale
J Layle
D Dannen
T Dalahursty
J Ross
V Mochlig
D Hughes
J Tanson
R Leveson
Thos Malcaby
W Hercus
D McKermon
J Woodinge
J MacKereth
P Murphy
E Simpkins
D Pigott
McKelly
J Trexion
W Sutton
E Longmore
E Crawford
W Toddington
T Lynes
C Rehbock
A Tierney
J Cope
J Armstrong
W Thornhill
J Maclan
D Gordon
T Bray and Mrs Bray, Miss Bray, and Edward and George Bray
McFulty
T Herrington
N Hove
Mr and Mr Waterworth
S Douglas
C Daagden
C Wyberg
D Maceachern
J Nelville
Honeyman








Sunday, October 22, 2017

Passenger list: 'Wee Tottie' sails for Australia from Natal 1853



 Wee Tottie passenger list, departures, Feb 22 1853
Natal Witness

Several early British settlers to Natal were disappointed with the Colony
and hoped to start a new life in Australia - the goldfields there being
an added incentive. However, some of these emigrants returned to Natal later.




Wee Tottie A 1 at Lloyds: This vessel is now being
fitted up with superior accommodation for Passengers all this being in Enclosed
Cabins; and offers in every respect a most eligible opportunity for parties about to
proceed to Australia. An experienced Surgeon is engaged to
accompany the vessel, and every attention will be paid
to the comfort and requirements of the  passengers.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

Souvenir Saturday: family group 1920s





Informal family group circa 1920 - Cape Town, with Table Mountain
in the background. (Storrar family). A good example of 1920s costume,
especially hats and children's clothes. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Iris arrival at Natal 2 January 1852




Passengers per ship Iris as reported in the Natal Witness
2 Jan 1852.

Note Miss Shuttleworth among the passengers. The Shuttleworths became a prominent family in Natal. Linked to this family is Mark Shuttleworth, born in Welkom, Free State in 1973, who became the first citizen of an independent African country to travel to space as a space tourist - 
   
Time in space
9d 21h 25m
MissionsSoyuz TM-34/TM-33
   







Monday, October 16, 2017

Danube and other arrivals at Natal July 1880


Passengers per Danube and other vessels
The Natal Witness July 1880



Passengers arriving at Durban in the 1880s were still landed by baskets like this one, which can be seen at the Natal Maritime Museum.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Steerage passengers to Natal on Priscilla



The barque Priscilla




Priscilla brings Government Emigrants to Natal 1860.
Fortunately these steerage passengers are named - this wasn't always the case. Family historians would prefer to have the children's names included.








'To sailors, three things made a ship a clipper. She must be sharp-lined, built for speed. She must be tall-sparred and carry the utmost spread of canvas. And she must use that sail, day and night, fair weather and foul.'

Optimized for speed, they were too fine-lined to carry much cargo. Clippers typically carried extra sails such as skysails and moonrakers on the masts, and studdingsails on booms extending out from the hull or yards, which required extra hands to handle them. And in conditions where other ships would shorten sail, clippers drove on, heeling so much that their lee rails were in the water.

Not the most comfortable ride for passengers.








Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Durban harbour still hazardous: container ship stuck in entrance channel


Hot on the heels of my post about the hazards of Durban Harbour in the 1860s came a much more recent example in the shape of a container ship blown sideways in the tremendous gale of 10 October (yesterday), causing the vessel to become stuck across the harbour entrance resulting in a major difficulty for other shipping trying to enter or leave the port. 

Spectacular video footage can be seen on a number of sites, so I won't post any videos here.
Have a look at https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2017-10-10-wind-blows-ship-across-harbour-mouth-in-durban/






Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Durban: the Bar hazardous for shipping; 1860s




This photograph of the Point, Durban, can be dated to the 1860s because the steam paddle tug Pioneer (the port's first tug, arrived 1860) is included at left - with her distinctive funnel and flag flying astern. If you look closely at the tug you can see the shaped housing for the paddle wheel.

The other shipping consists of sailing vessels, though a regular mail service by the steamer Sir Robert Peel had commenced in 1852 between Durban and Cape Town. Among the structures clustered on the shifting dunes the Point (the spit of land at right, projecting into the bay) are the Customs House and warehouses. There were no wharves or jetties (if your settler ancestors arrived at Natal by ship they would have got their feet wet). In the distance are the hills of the Berea - not a building in sight at that date. The entrance channel is in the foreground. The picture is taken from the Bluff.

Though Durban had potential as a harbour, it wasn't until various harbour works and the building of piers by a number of marine engineers such as Milne and Vetch, as well the introduction of dredging (to remove sand), that the port became safe and useful for shipping.

'Nature guarded its entrance in the form of shifting sandbanks which made access to the safety of the inner harbor unpredictable and hazardous. As a result entry was restricted to small vessels drawing less than three metres of water. All other shipping had to anchor offshore and endure the extremes of wind and sea. Not surprisingly 66 ships were blown ashore on Durban’s beachfront between 1845 and 1885.' (Source: https://mpoverello.com/2012/04/23/vetchs-pier-a-relic-of-floored-planning/)

Local newspapers of that era regularly reported on 'the state of the Bar' and how ships were navigating in and out of the entrance, or waiting in the 'roads' for suitable conditions for entry. While ships were 'outside' they were subject to weather and wind and often came to grief on the rocks below the Bluff, or were grounded on the beach.



Natal Mercury 9 Aug 1860
A bar is a shoal, similar to a reef: a shallow formation of (usually) sand that is a navigation or grounding hazard, with a depth of water of 6 fathoms (11 metres) or less.

The Dutch ship Hermanus Izaak, on this occasion, 'touched on the Bar though drawing only eight feet of water'.




Monday, October 9, 2017

Passengers to Natal 12 July 1880: Nyanza, Venice, Umzinto






RMS Nyanza: Passengers on Deck 1877 (note, earlier date than the settlers of Willowfountain)


For further information on the Willowfountain/Wilgefontein settlers who came to Natal on the Nyanza in 1880, see https://molegenealogy.blogspot.co.za/2012/10/passengers-to-natal-on-nyanza.html



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Passenger arrivals Natal April 1859



Shipping column from The Natal Mercury 14 April 1859
Note that, as usual, the rank and file of troops on board the transport
Himalaya are not individually named.
Two Dutch ships, the Hermanus Isaak and the Jan Van Brakel,
 part of the New Guelderland emigration scheme arranged by Colenbrander,
are mentioned under Vessels Expected.



Friday, October 6, 2017

Passenger arrivals Natal October 1880

Shipping Intelligence 1880 Dane, Quathlamba, Moor passenger arrivals

 Natal Witness 7 Oct 1880





Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Parker Wood and Company, Durban, early 20th c.




Parker Wood and Co., Point, Durban
The name of this company comes up frequently in Natal newspapers
and other sources such as deceased estates. Their building reflects the size
and importance of the company.