29 May 2012


It's Comrades Marathon time again this Sunday, and a good time to look at who was behind the world's biggest ultra-marathon, also known as the Ultimate Human Race. This year, about 14 500 runners will take part in the 87th race over 89 km. It owes its origin, title and ethos to Victor (Vic) CLAPHAM, the founder of the Comrades Marathon. He was so inspired by the dedication, stamina and bravery of his fellow soldiers in World War I that he decided to start an annual event to commemorate the fallen soldiers and to express his gratitude to one comrade who saved his life. The race has been run every year since 1921, except for the years 1941-1945 during World War II.

Victor Clapham
Victor was born in London, England on 16 November 1886, the son of William and Eleanor CLAPHAM. His World War I attestation form records that he served in the Cradock Town Guard and the Cape Peninsula Rifles during the Anglo-Boer War. There was a V. CLAPHAM and a W. CLAPHAM in the Cradock Town Guard according to WO100/280.

The year of arrival for the family is noted as 1899, however, I  have so far only found the following in shipping lists to the Cape:

Sailed from Southampton on the Arundel Castle departing 29 February 1896:
Mrs. CLAPHAM, age 31
Mr. CLAPHAM, age 23, single, a painter
W. CLAPHAM, male, age 8,
B. CLAPHAM, male, age 5
M. CLAPHAM, female, age 3
N. CLAPHAM, female, age 1

Sailed from Southampton on the ship Germam departing 26 February 1904:
Mrs. E.C. CLAPHAM, age 40
V. CLAPHAM, age 17, a Clerk
A. CLAPHAM, age 15
M. CLAPHAM, age 10
E. CLAPHAM, age 6

Sailed from Southampton on the Kenilworth Castle departing 01 October 1904:

Sailed from Southampton on the Avondale Castle departing 29 October 1904:
Mr. CLAPHAM, married

Some sources say the family settled in Cradock. I found that Victor's family settled in Observatory, Cape Town, where he walked from home to Wynberg Boys' School every day. He received a tickey a day to catch the train home after school, so he could help in his father's grocery shop in Main Road Observatory. One day he bought sweets with the tickey, and walked back from school, only to receive a hiding from his mother when she found out. He never repeated that again.

With the outbreak of World War I, Victor volunteered with the 8th South African Infantry and took part in the East African Campaign in German East Africa (now Tanzania). He suffered through blackwater fever, dysentery and malaria. After collapsing one day, a comrade, Ernest FREEMANTLE, carried him for more than 50 km in over 40 degrees Celsius heat. Victor was sent home to Pietermaritzburg via Mombasa by wagon and then hospital ship. He was medically boarded in 1917. He worked as a fireman for the Natal Government Railways, and enrolled for further studies. He graduated with top marks and was presented with a oak desk. Victor later became a train driver for the South African Railways. He married Nellie Eliza PARKS in Ladysmith in October 1912. She was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, England, daughter of James PARKS. They had 6 sons:

1) Victor (Vic) James born 24 September 1913. He married Helen Felicitas Minnie Thelma Vivienne Marguerite (aka Vivienne Marguerite, born 23 July 1910, died in 1995 at Braemar Nursing Home in Pinetown). He died on 19 July 1994 and last lived at 32 Chapel Road, Botha's Hill. He was a graphic artist. Vic joined the Army when World War II broke out. He was involved in founding the Springbok Legion, a politically liberal organisation for soldiers and veterans. After the war he worked as an information official for the United Party, and as cartoonist for The Guardian newspaper. In 1931 he took part in the Comrades but had to pull out with cramps. Later he joined Lindsay Smithers, rising to Creative Director of what was to become one of South Africa's largest advertising agencies. He founded the First Hillcrest Scouts. In 1976 he was awarded the Bronze Wolf by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting. His illustrations appeared in South African and international Scout publications. He established the Veld Lore newspaper at his Rover Crew in Natal in about 1947, which soon became the provincial publication and then the national newspaper for Scouts. He continued publishing it until his death. He pioneered the Join-In Jamboree concept for Scouts in their home countries during World Scout Jamborees. The concept earned the highest award from the Public Relations Society of America in 1976.

2) Hugh Albert. He was a Sergeant with 2 Royal Durban Light Infantry and 4 Brigade 2 South African Division (Union Defence Force) in World War II. He was mentioned in despatches.

3) Douglas Ernest born 04 November 1914. He married Marjorie MARTENS on 11 July 1940. He was a display artist and also a cyclist. He had one son, and the family lived at Worthney, Esikoleni. He died in Pietermaritzburg in 2003.

4) Marcus Leonard born 04 January 1920. He married Ada DE VILLIERS on 30 August 1943. He was a long distance cyclist, and served in World War II. Marc worked for the South African Railways and lived at 397 Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg.

5) Eric William born 13 August 1922. Married Winifred Sarah McGILL, divorced in 1962. He died on 19 June 2006 and was to married Barbara Ann (born 02 Nov 1939). They lived at 31 Orient Road, Wynberg, Cape Town.

6) Ronald Parks, born in Pietermaritzburg. He married Pauline Margaret PRETORIUS. They divorced in 1956-1957. He died in 1958, and at the time was married to Thelma Winifred.

The returning WWI soldiers formed the League of Comrades of the Great War. In 1918, Victor approached them with his idea for a road race between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. It was not welcomed. He tried again in 1919 and 1920, and was again rejected. He persisted until he gained approval in 1921 and received a loan of £1 to have the race run under the League's auspices.

1921 poster
The first race, about 54 miles, took place on Empire Day on 24 May 1921, starting in outside Pietermaritzburg City Hall. The event was recorded by the cinema cameraman, Jack STODEL. There were 48 entrants, 34 lined up for the start, only 16 finished. The Mayor of Pietermaritzburg, Councillor Daniel SANDERS, fired the starter's gun at 7:10 a.m. The course was tarred only for the last few kilometres into Durban, the rest was sand roads. It was won by William (Bill) ROWAN in 8:59, with Harry J. PHILLIPS in second place 9:40 and John A. ANNAN in third place 10:10. The Natal Advertiser of 24 May 1921 described the event as a "go-as-you-please marathon". Bill was a 26 year old farmer from Koster.

During the first race, a troop of Boy Scouts was camping alongside the main road in Pinelands. Unaware of the race, they were surprised to see a convoy of cars approach. One of the Scouts was 12 year old Vernon JONES, who became the most significant recorder of Comrades history. Years later he recounted seeing a bedraggled runner caked with sand and sweat. That was Bill ROWAN, the winner, at that stage 13 miles short of the finish. Vernon never met Bill, but he did meet every subsequent winner up to and including Bruce FORDYCE.

In the early days, Victor was chairman, secretary, publicist and organiser of the race. He did all of this until 1938, when his job as train driver saw him transferred to Ladysmith. He never ran the race but chose the course. Every year he welcomed new runners with a letter addresses to "Dear Lunatic". Runners would go to his house at 31 Greyling Street before the race. Victor would provide them with donated tea, milk and biscuits. On the morning of the race, his son Douglas, would have to cycle around Pietermaritzburg fron 4.30 a.m. with a notebook and pencil to wake up the runners. Each runner had to sign the notebook. Victor's wife, Nellie, would fry a steak and egg on her coal stove for each runner. The children helped too - the runners' bags were packed onto a motor trolley that followed them, which also served as the only race reporter's transport. If a runner was in pain along the way, the children would give them Elliman's liniment for sore muscles. They also offered the runners water along the way, and picked up those who dropped out.

The Clapham residence in Greyling Street
During his life time, Victor was responsible for starting 15 MOTH (Member of the Tin Hat) Shellholes in South Africa. He was later in charge of the Warrior's Gate MOTH Museum in Durban. He died on 05 October 1962. Nellie died on 07 May 1962.

In 2011, Victor's great-grandson, Anthony CLAPHAM, ran the Comrades, becoming the only family member to complete the race. His grandfather was Victor James. Anthony lives in Pietermaritzburg, and his sport of choice is cycling in races like The Argus.

The Comrades Museum and administrative centre in Connaught Road in Scottsville was designed by Wynand CLAASEN, the former Springbok rugby captain who was an architect by profession. His father, George, won the race in 1961.

The direction of the race alternates each year between the up run starting from Durban and the down run starting from Pietermaritzburg. In 1988 the race finished in Pietermaritzburg for the second consectutive year, to celebrate Pietermaritzburg's 150th anniversary. The race has The Big Five - hills on the route - Cowies Hill, Field's Hill, Botha's Hill, Inchanga and Polly Shortts.

The Comrades down route
The Comrades up route
Polly Shortts is one of the routes most famous landmarks. For many years the name was misspelt. In August 1961, the Natal Mercury traced the name and published a report. The British sent a Scottish doctor to examine Napoleon BONAPARTE, who was in exile on St. Helena. During the trip, the doctor's wife gave birth to twins on 19 December 1815. She and one child died in childbirth. The surviving child, Portland Bentinck SHORTTS (aka Polly) went back to Britain with his father, but returned to South Africa in 1840. Polly settled outside Pietermaritzburg on a farm he named Shortts' Retreat. This was about a mile away from the Star and Garter Pub, which was built 25 yards outside the Pietermaritzburg boundary and was therefore free to sell liquor on Sundays. Polly was an eccentric character and regular visitor to the pub. He loved his whisky, but had a fiery temper, and would often point his shotgun at anyone who annoyed him while he sat on the stoep enjoying his drink. He settled at New Brighton on the Bluff in 1869, where he lived with his wife Jane Sarah until his death on 28 February 1885. He made a living from fish-curing, a salt works and making jam.

According to Cape archival documents, Francis SHORTT and his wife Sarah Johanna Rosina HUGO adopted Portland, as he was the illegitimate son of Jane GOODRICKE and Walter BENTINCK. Walter was the Auditor General of the Cape Colony from 1808 to 1812. He returned to England on three months leave in January 1812, upon the death of his father. He returned to the Cape in May 1814. He bought the farm Rustgeworden on the Liesbeeck in October 1814. On 14 January 1816, his twin sons Walter and Portland were baptised (they were born 19 December 1815). By January 1833 he had returned to England. Sarah was the daughter of Catharina Maria CASARSE, widow of Cc.J. HUGO. Sarah's grandmother was Rosina VAN DE KAAP who was born in slavery. Francis arrived at the Cape on 15 April 1807 on-board the Fly from Portsmouth, and set up as a shipping agent at 2 Wale Street, Cape Town. He was from Annan, Dumfries. He married Sarah at the Cape on 04 August 1817. On 12 September 1817, he was licensed as a surgeon and had consulting rooms at 12 Tuinwyk. Sarah died in August 1821 and Francis applied for permission to leave the Cape in June 1822 on-board the Ann for New South Wales.

After Polly Shortts, there's Ashburton, named for the home town in Devon of William ELLIS, who settled in the area after making his fortune in the Australian gold rush. Further along the route, the sign "Lion Park" indicates the area of South Africa's first such park, established by Dick CHIPPERFIELD of Chipperfield's Circus.

Camperdown was the home of the John VANDERPLANK, a young English Naval officer who introduced black wattle to the area. His brother Charles, living in Australia, sent him the seeds, which he planted as hedges, and was surprised when they grew into trees. In 1887 the bark of the black wattle began to be used as a source of tannic acid in the tannery industry. John is buried at the Church of the Resurrection cemetery. The church's foundation stone was laid by his wife.

Cato Ridge is named after George Christopher CATO (25 Feb 1814-1893), a landowner in the early Durban days. He was Durban's first Mayor. His family were Huguenots originally named CATON, who settled in London. They were silk weaving traders, and went to the Cape in 1826, settling in Grahamstown. When he was 12 years old, his father was killed by an elephant in the Addo bush and George left to find work in Algoa Bay. He married Elizabeth GRIFFIN in 1834. In 1838, he sailed on an expedition to explore and trade at Port Natal. The following year, together with his brother Christopher Joseph, they set out with their wives and children to settle in Port Natal. The same year he sailed to Delagoa Bay in the Mazeppa to rescue the survivors of Trichardt’s trek. His trading business expanded to include a small shipping agency and a fleet of coasters, which plied between Algoa Bay and Port Natal. These tied up at the foot of Stanger Street known for many years as Cato's Creek. While the port was still under the government of the Natalia Republic, George was asked to lay out a plan for a town to be called D'Urban. When the trekkers besieged the British troops at Congella in 1842, the CATO brothers are said to have helped Dick KING and his servant, Ndongeni, by ferrying them across the bay so they could ride to Grahamstown for help. George was among 10 English settlers who were taken to the camp at Congella, and then sent handcuffed to Pietermaritzburg where they were kept in stocks as punishment for having British sympathies. In 1845 he was given unappropriated land by the British government in appreciation for his services. When the town achieved municipal status in 1854, he was elected Mayor. He died in Durban on 09 July 1893.

Drummond is named after Sir Charles F. DRUMMOND, a former director of the Natal Land and Colonisation Company.

Arthur's Seat gets its name from Arthur NEWTON, the five-time race winner. He would take a breather there, and legend has it that those runners who pay their respects by leaving a flower in his honour, will be rewarded with a successful finish. The Wall of Honour, further along the route, includes bricks purchased by finishers and reflects their names, race numbers and any little quirks they may wish to add.

The village of Botha's Hill was named after Captain Cornelis BOTHA who owned Botha's Halfway House Inn and was a former Harbour Master in Durban. He married Deborah MARITZ, daughter of the Voortekker leader Gerhardus (Gerrit) MARITZ.

Field's Hill is named after John FIELD, brother of William Swan FIELD, Durban's first Magistrate. The British government gave William a farm named Richmond in 1851 in recognition of his services and contribution to the Byrne immigration scheme. In 1867 he relinquished the farm to John. John's son-in-law, William GILLIT, named his farm Emberton, a portion of which became known as Hill Crest. Field's Hill is the longest, steepest and most damaging part of the course. At the bottom of the hill, lies an industrial and residential area that owes it's existance to the Wayside Hotel. It was established in 1849 as a place for stagecoaches to change horses while travellers enjoyed refreshments. The following year, a town was built and named Pinetown after Sir Benjamin PINE, Lieutenant-Governor of Natal (1849-1856) and later Governor (1873-1875). Pinetown was for a time the home of Lord BADEN-POWELL, founder of the Scout Movement. His original house is preserved.

Cowie's Hill is named after William COWIE, the son of Scottish settlers and a farmer who joined the Voortrekker group led by J.J. UYS and his son Pieter into Natal in 1837. He had lived in Uitenhage and married Magdalena Josina LAAS. On 11 July 1844 the farm Tafelberg was sold by Andries VAN TONDEREN to William for £225. A nearby hill, known originally as Steilhoogte, became known as Cowie Hill. William was appointed Postmaster in Durban on 22 December 1844. He died on 23 October 1856.

In 1847, two German settlers, Hypolite JARGAL and Philipp Jakob JUNG, bought land in the vicinity of Durban and named it Wandsbeck. The following year, Jonas BERGTHIEL, a British merchant, brought out 183 German immigrants on the ship Beta leaving Bremen in November 1847 and arriving at Port Natal on 23 March 1848. He renamed Wandsbeck to Westville, after Martin Thomas WEST, first Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, under whose administration most Voortrekkers left Natal. The settlers were given 210 acres each, 10 acres for growing vegetables and the rest to be put under cotton. Seed was supplied free, but they had to buy farming implements and oxen themselves. Cotton farming was unsuccessful, and the settlers changed to successfully grow vegetables and flowers. The Bergtheil Museum is named after Jonas and is situated in Westville’s oldest building, built circa 1840.

The hill, 45th Cutting, is named after a British infantry regiment - the 45th Regiment of Foot. The area is named Sherwood, after the Sherwood Foresters, a nickname of the regiment that was stationed there between 1843 and 1859 and who constructed a cutting with picks and shovels through the hill.

The first woman to run the race was Frances HAYWARD, a typist from Durban, in 1923, but her entry was refused, so she ran as an unofficial entrant. She completed the race in 11:35 and although she was not awarded a Comrades medal, the other runners and spectators presented her with a silver tea service and a rose bowl. She died in 1977.

In 1931, Geraldine Isobel WATSON, a Durban schoolteacher and another unofficial entrant, finished in just over 11 hours. She had only trained for six weeks. In 1932 she ran unofficially again, finishing in 11:56 and became the first woman to complete both the up run and the down run. In 1933 she ran her third consecutive Comrades, after six months of training and finished in 9:31. Geraldine participated in nearly every Comrades Marathon as spectator, competitor, helper and attendant since the 1920s. Geraldine was born on 05 March 1890 in Woodford, Northhamptonshire, England. She was the seventh daughter of the Rev. J.T. Watson, Rector of Woodford, and Marion Grace (daughter of Sir Courtenay HONEYWOOD, Baronet). Geraldine attended Bishop Otter Memorial College in Chichester. She arrived in Natal in 1911. She taught in Natal from 1911 to 1923, in the Cape from 1923 to 1928, and again in Natal in 1928. She lived at the Esplanade Hotel in Durban in 1932/3. Geraldine died in 1975, the Golden Jubilee Year which marked the official opening of the race to women. She donated the trophy for the last runner to finish, the Geraldine Watson Trophy.

Other women who ran in the unofficial years included the well-known ultra distance runner, Mavis HUTCHINSON (aka the Galloping Granny), who completed seven Comrades. She ran her first Comrades in 1965 and again the following year, becoming the second woman to complete an up and a down run. Her first run inspired Maureen HOLLAND who watched her run past in Pinetown, to attempt the race in 1966. Maureen ran six Comrades and had the best time for the women runners when in 1971 she completed the course in 8:32. She died in October 2011. Lettie VAN ZYL ran unofficially from 1973, and later secured three consecutive wins in 1976, 1977 and 1978. In 1967 while waiting for her husband Tony to finish his training session at Alexandra Park, Elizabeth CAVANAGH decided on impulse to give running a go. She was in her mid 30s and had never taken part in any sport before. She ran her first Comrades in 1970, finishing with 10 minutes to spare. She became the first official women's winner in just over 10 hours in 1975, and went on to earn her Green Number by completing 10 Comrades.

In 1924 the Natal Witness donated a silver tea set for first prize. Arthur NEWTON declined the prize, believing he had had more time to train than his competitors, and donated it to the runner-up. In 1928 the newspaper donated £25 as first prize.
1931 Poster
H.P. Masterton Smith
In 1931, Herbert Philip (Phil) Masterton SMITH, a youngster who the previous year had finished just 37 seconds behind the winner, went on to win the race 7:16, becoming the youngest winner at age 19. In 1932 he finished sixth and in 1933 the Great Depression saw him in Cape Town with insufficient funds to get a train to the race. As a result he took 10 days to cycle to the 1 730 km to Pietermaritzburg before running the Comrades, finishing 10th in 8:00. Lance Bombardier Phil was killed in action by a mortor bomb on 05 June 1942 while serving with the Royal Natal Carbineers in the Alem Hamza area of the Gazala Line. The single company involved suffered heavy casualties in a clash with Italian troops. The Unogwaja Challenge was initiated in his memory, as he was affectionately known as Unogwaja which translates to The Hare in isiZulu, because he preferred training in hilly terrain. Phil was the son of Percy W.R. SMITH and Alice M. SMITH, and the husband of Esther E. SMITH of Goodwood, Cape Town.

In 1935, Robert MTSHALI, a young black runner, completed the race as an unofficial entrant in 9:30. He received a special award from Councillor Vernon Lyall SHEARER. A plaque bearing his name was unveiled on 10 June 2005 at the Comrades Museum, dedicated to all the men and women who completed Comrades prior to 1975. In 2005 his sole surviving daughter, Sibongile Mtshali (43), was living in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth. Robert died on 01 June 1967, while walking home from his road works job. A car knocked him over in Ferguson Street, Port Elizabeth. He had moved to the city in the 1940s and bought the house that Sibongile still lives in.

Robert Mtshali plaque
In 1948 another Comrades tradition was born when race official Max E. TRIMBORN, instead of firing the starter's gun, gave a loud imitation of a cock's crow. That tradition continues today with his recorded voice played over loudspeakers. Max took part in the 1935 race, where he was one of two runners knocked over by cars. He wasn't seriously injured and went on to complete the race in 8:21.

In 1962 the race saw its first foreign entries as the Road Runners Club of England sent four of the best long-distance runners in Britain. One of them, John SMITH, won the up race in under six hours, missing the record by 33 seconds. In 1975 the race was officially opened to all races and women. Vincent RAKABELE finished 20th to become the first black runner to officially win a medal. In 1989, Sam TSHABALALA became the first black winner of the Comrades. He was badly injured in a motor accident in 1991. After a courageous battle, he made a comeback in 1992, claiming a silver medal. In 2008, Dave ROGERS broke the record for the most Comrades finishes when he completed his 43rd race in 11:09 at age 65. He was met at the finishing line by Clive CRAWLEY (77), the first runner to win 42 medals. Dave's first race was in 1961, taking him 10:13.

Runners have 12 hours to complete the race. This was extended from 11 hours in 2003. There are a number of cut-off points along the route which runners must reach by a prescribed time or be forced to retire from the race. A runner who has successfully completed 9 marathons wears a yellow number, while those who have completed 10 races wear a green number, which is permanently allocated to the runner for all future races. Medals are currently awarded as follows:

Gold Medals - the first 10 men and women
Silver Medals - 6hrs 00min 01sec to sub 7hrs 30min
Bronze Medals - 9hrs 00min to sub 11hrs 00min.
Wally Hayward Medals - 11th position to sub 6hrs 00min
Bill Rowan Medals - 7hrs 30min to sub 9hrs 00min
Vic Clapham Medals - 11hrs 00min to sub 12hrs 00min

Prior to 2000, only gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded. The Bill Rowan Medal was introduced in 2000. Bill had predicted a finishing time of 9 hours for himself in that first race. The Vic Clapham Medal was added in 2003 and the Wally Hayward Medal in 2007. In 1995 prize money was introduced for the first time.

From 1962 to 1994 the race was run on Republic Day, 31 May. After this public holiday was removed in 1995 by the government, the race date was changed to Youth Day on 16 June. In 2007 the race organisers bowed to political pressure from the ANC Youth League and changed the race date to Sunday 17 June for 2007 and 15 June for 2008. In 2009 and 2010 the race day changed to 24 May and 30 May respectively to accommodate football's Confederations Cup (2009) and World Cup (2010) in South Africa. It now takes place on the Sunday closest to 31 May.

In 2009, Chris MANN, honorary Professor of poetry at Rhodes, wrote the following tribute:

In memoriam Victor Clapham

Well Vic, I wonder what you'd make of this,
I mean the flag-hung square, the jostling crowds,
a helicopter clattering through the dark,
runners in their thousands, massed down the street,
and someone famous being interviewed
in a bright white glare on the steps of City Hall.

I wish you could be here, right here with us,
dressed in your baggy shorts and tennis shoes,
smelling the wintergreen, the nervous sweat
and feeling strange pricklings in your skin
as speakers boom the anthem down the street
that lifts the day from normal into epic time.

Look at the scaffolding, the tents, the bins,
the marshals with clipboards and yellow bibs.
They do this for nothing, year after year.
It's a bit like a local Olympics now,
all sorts of money-scheming hangers-on
but still, somehow, decency on a podium.

Isn't it much, much bigger than you thought?
At times I've wondered what was in your mind
when back home from the war to end all wars
you'd sit in the hot steel cab of your train
swabbing your neck and chest with cotton waste
and slowly swigging a bottle of cold sweet tea.

Tell me, didn't it churn you up inside?
watching each day across the shunting yard
the salesmen on the platform in white shirts,
the women in high-heels and fancy hats
saying goodbye with a kiss and a wave
as if their dads and uncles hadn't died at all?

Didn't you really hate it when young blokes
with slicked-back hair in the Railways Hotel
would turn away from you, beer-mug in hand,
and switch the talk to Saturday's races
the moment you even mentioned the war
and passing round the hat for a memorial?

That must have got to you, as if your pals
who'd marched their youth along the street
in row on row of boots and bayonets,
on their way north to mud and death in France,
weren't even worth a few words in a bar.
Is that why you dreamed us into this marathon?

Well Vic, each year, out of that dream emerge
not just the rugby types you started with,
that group of balding friends in boxing vests
trotting off down a farm road with a laugh,
but men and women of all sorts and shapes,
the black, the blonde, the bronze of our humanity.

Does hope, a marathon of hope like this,
you make me ask, remind the heart of grace?
Look, Vic, at what you got going with pride,
a huge, jostling ritual of human decency
whose athletes set off down a cheering street
then toil across the landscape of South Africa.

Vic Clapham bronze bust at Comrades House
Comrades Marathon: The Ultimate Human Race, by John Cameron-Dow
The Natal Witness
1933 Natal Who's Who
Voortrekker Stamouers 1835-1845, by Jan Visagie
British Residents at the Cape 1795-1819, by Peter Philip
National Archives of South Africa

27 May 2012


A previously homeless man, who was able to turn his life around, passed away on 13 May 2012. Jan Hendrik JANSEN VAN RENSBURG's employers are looking for his family. They have spent R30 000 on adverts in the Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad newspapers. Louis VAN ZYL, the owner of a toilet paper factory, and Fred MAREE, a project leader, hired Jan off the streets about 18 months ago and gave him a machine operator job in Booysens, Pretoria. Jan was one of 10 homeless people they helped with a job, as well as accommodation in Bon Accord, north of Pretoria. Jan had various health problems, and had led a difficult life until finding stability in his last job. He used to tell Fred that he had a daughter who was a teacher in Port Elizabeth. Louis and Fred would like his family to know that Jan turned his life around and was an exemplary worker.

26 May 2012


Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) items were recently sold on auction by Stephan Welz and Co. in Rosebank, Johannesburg. The items all came from the estate of the late Dr. Ryno GREENWALL who died in 2007. The highest price paid was R61 600 for a small wooden cigarette box. The catalogue valuation was R16 000. The lid of the box was decorated with a carving of the Longwood Camp buildings on St. Helena Island, where many Boer prisoners-of-war were kept. The name Longwood is also carved, as well as "Souvenir de St. Helena, 1902" and "FAIT-PAR-IN-FR-DE-GUERRE".

Another small cigarette box had the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek coat-of-arms carved on it, as well as the island's name and the year 1902. It also had "Gemaakt door KGV B.J. BEUNK. This fetched R15 680 and had a catalogue valuation of R12 000. This would be Barend Jan BEUNK who was captured at Elandslaagte on 21 Oct 1899 at age 27, and was sent to Deadwood Camp. There is a photo at the National Archives of Luitenant B.J. BEUNK on St. Helena, dated 1900. He died in 1948, and was married to Francoise Agatha Ludia HOLTZ.

A round wooden snuff box fetched R5 520. It is decorated with a horseshoe, an elephant and the words "Aan Moeder, Ceylon, 1901". A smoking pipe, made from bone, and its wooden stand was also sold, together with a wooden egg for darning socks. These were from Ceylon in 1902 and sold for R19 040. An oil painting of the Greenpoint Camp, painted by Helen WALLACE in 1900, sold for R39 200. A steel trunk belonging to a Dutch volunteer, Herman Wilhelm VON BELOW, who fought on the Boer side, fetched R3 450 betaal. It was painted with the words "H. Von Below, POW, Springs, Transvaal". He was captured in June 1900 and eventually sent to St. Helena. He was released on 01 August 1902.

22 May 2012


The Manor House Museum at the Groot Constantia wine estate is run by Iziko Museum and dates from the 17th century. It was robbed over the weekend of 19 Chinese porcelain antique pieces estimated to be valued at about R50 million. The burglars had forced open a back window. This is the third such incident in South Africa recently, and it is now suspected that a syndicate specialising in Chinese porcelain is in operation. In May last year, Chinese porcelain to the value of R500 000 was stolen from the Academy of Science and Art in Pretoria. When Manor House staff opened up on Monday morning, they discovered that items had been stolen. About 10 years ago, Groot Constantia was robbed by burglars who broke through the roof. Artinsure, the company that insured the pieces, said it would conduct an investigation into how and why the burglars were able to escape with the pieces without being detected. The items will almost certainly be exported to the East or sold undercover to a Chinese buyer in South Africa. Groot Constantia dates from 1685 when the land was given to the first Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon VAN DER STEL. The estate's collection of antiques includes furniture, paintings, textiles, ceramics and brass. The Manor House will be closed until further notice.

24 May 2012 - About half of the stolen pieces have been recovered, according to Warrant Officer November Filander. Workers found 10 pieces on a nearby farm in Groot Constantia between Monday night and Wednesday. No arrests had been made. Police were waiting for fingerprint results. There is an online register of the stolen art on the insurer's website.

16 May 2012


The S.S. Ceramic was carrying military and civilian passengers, including South Africans, when it was torpedoed in December 1942. Out of the 656 who were onboard, only one person survived. The ship was built in 1913 for the White Star Lines (later Shaw Savill) Australian service, sailing from Liverpool to Sydney via the Cape. During WWI it was used as a troop ship. In 1939 she was requisitioned for trooping but continued to carry passengers.

S.S. Ceramic left Liverpool on the 23rd November 1942, under the command of Captain Herbert Charles ELFORD, bound for Australia via St. Helena and Cape Town. She carried 655 crew, military personnel and fare paying passengers. The ship sailed in convoy until the 2nd December when she left the convoy. On the 6th December, at about 8 p.m., west of the Azores, she was hit by the first of three torpedoes fired from the German sub U-515. The crew and passengers were able to launch about eight lifeboats into the rough sea. Just before midnight U-515 fired another two torpedoes, breaking the S.S. Ceramic in two. The next morning saw a storm and lifeboats were capsized. By noon, the U-515 returned to the scene. Two Germans threw a rope out to the nearest man, A. Eric MUNDAY of the Royal Engineers, and took him aboard U-515 for interrogation. The rest of the survivors were left to perish.

Eric was sent to Stalag 8B in Upper Silesia, where he stayed until he was liberated. In 1994, he was living in Surrey, England. On the 9th April 1944, the U515 was sunk by four US destroyers & three aircraft from U.S.S. Guadalcanal. Forty-four crew, including the captain Werner HENKE, were taken prisoner. They were held at Camp Fort George G. Meade in Maryland, USA. HENKE was either shot dead during an escape attempt or committed suicide in June 1944.

Although quite a number of passengers had Cape Town and Durban as their destination, most of them were only going there en-route to other destinations. Amongst the S.S. Ceramic passengers with Southern African connections were the following (mostly civilians):

Jacqueline Elizabeth AURET — Death notice MHG 1634/46. Nurse, 28 years old, of Johannesburg. Daughter of L. AURET and the late Captain Ben AURET. Born 07 Jul 1914 in Johannesburg.

Dr. Izak Nahum BLUSGER — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10586 ref. 89755. Was 32 years old, a surgeon of Black Notley Emergency Hospital, Braintree, Essex. Son of Solomon and Sarah BLUSGER of 34 Kloof Nek, Cape Town. Solomon applied for naturalisation at the Cape in 1910 (CO 8675 ref. 22), he died on the 17th Oct 1943 (death notice MOOC 6/9/10442 ref. 88580) and was buried at Pinelands Cemetery. He arrived at the Cape aboard the Guelph in 1909. Sarah died on the 20th Aug 1968 at the age of 90 and was buried at Pinelands Cemetery.

Dr. Roland Deligne BRAWN — 22 or 24 years old, a doctor of 20 Kensington Gardens Square, Bayswater, London. Son of James Essington Oswell BRAWN and Florence Vida BRAWN (maiden name WILSON, died in 1967, death notice MHG 8719/67) of 22 Scanlon Street, Uitenhage.

Charles BROUGHTON — 20 years old, a labourer in the Royal Navy, of 28 Wardlebourne Road, Granton, Edinburgh. Son of Alice Rosina BROUGHTON of 11 Evans Road, Milner Estate, East London, Cape, and the late William BROUGHTON.

Dr. Herbert Wilford BUNN — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10529 ref. 89320. Was 28 years old, son of John Henry and Nellie BUNN, of Grosvenor Court, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth. John died in 1947 (death notice MOOC 6/9/13874 ref. 1958/47) and Nellie (maiden name WILFORD) died in 1954 (death notice MOOC 6/9/23447 ref. 6756/54)

Thomas Ralph BURKE — Born 02 Nov 1923 at Armthorpe, Doncaster. Flight Sergeant (A.T.C.) of 31 Crescent Green, Kendal, Westmorland. Son of Mr. and Mrs. M. BURKE of 14 3rd Street, Ventersdorp.

Lucy Winifred CHARLES — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10599 ref. 89837. Was 60 years old, of The Halt, Alexandra Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town. Born in Peckham, London. Wife of the late A.L. CHARLES.

William Evan CLARK — 32 years old, born 30 Nov 1910 in Durban. Second Officer in the Merchant Navy. Son of William and Eleanor Evelyn CLARK. Husband of Norah Evelyn CLARK of Durban.

Mary Stephine Doreen CROAD — 26 years old. Daughter of Mr and Mrs. WOOLLARD of Manor House, Swaffan Prior, Cambridgeshire. Wife of Paul Harry Cedric CROAD.

Paul Harry Cedric CROAD — Death notice MSCE 1013/1948. Was 25 years old, aeronautical engineer. Son of Harry CROAD (born in England, died in 1957, death notice MSCE 1823/1957) and Beatrice Ann CROAD (maiden name BEHRENS, died in 1948, death notice MSCE 1013/1948) of 394 Ridge Road, Durban.

Dr. Cecilia Johanna DIPPENAAR — Death notice MHG 35737. Was 22 years old, doctor of Royal Liverpool Childrren’s Hospital, Heswall, Cheshire. Daughter of Dr. D. DIPPENAAR of Dewetsdorp, Orange Free State.

Adriaan Foster DU PLESSIS — Death notice MHG 3899/43. Was 37 years old, civil servant at South Africa House. Husband of Helen May DU PLESSIS (maiden name HUBBALL, died in 1968, death notice MHG 6459/68) of Vaalbank, Colesburg.

Frederick Harold GREEFF — 18 years old, trimmer in the Merchant Navy. Born in Cape Town. Address: 5 Campbell Street, Observatory, Cape Town.

Lynda Winifred HALSE — Death notice MHG 4435/44. Was 44 years old, of The Cottage, Inanda, Johannesburg. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. David Edward McCONNELL of Belle Vue, Main Road, Muizenburg. Wife of Lt. Col. Stanley Seward HALSE. Lynda was previously married to George Gerald Thompson AINSLIE (divorced in 1929). Stanley was previously married to Ethel Loveday SPOONER-LILLINGSTON (died in 1939, death notice MHG 3401/39). David Edward died in 1942 (death notice MOOC 6/9/9235 ref. 80237).

Joan HILDICK-SMITH — Death notice MHG 108/44. Was 25 years old. Formerly of the Women’s Transport Service, F.A.N.Y. (Ambulance Division). Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. HILDICK-SMITH of Modder B. Gold Mine, East Rand.

Althena Margaret HOWARD — 2 years old, daughter of Joan HOWARD.

Janet Mary HOWARD — 1 year old, daughter of Joan HOWARD.

Joan HOWARD — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10027 ref. 85502. Was 28 years old, daughter of Edith BAGSHAW of Derwin, Sandown Road, Rondebosch, and the late Thomas Ponsonby BAGSHAW (died in 1916, death notice MOOC 6/9/808 ref. 20). Edith (maiden name DANIELS) died in 1947, death notice MOOC 6/9/13816 ref. 1526/47. Wife of the late Wing Commander Alex HOWARD, Royal Canadian Air Force.

Benson Leonard LEWIN — 28 years old. Son of Isadore Bernhardt and Rebecca LEWIN, of Church Street, Oudtshoorn. Husband of Betty May LEWIN.

Betty May  LEWIN — 20 years old. Daughter of Mrs. A. WALTERS of 35 Belle Vue Street, Swansea, Glamorgan. Wife of Benson Leonard LEWIN.

Elizabeth Fraser MACLEOD — 27 years old. Daughter of James and Christina MACDONALD of 17 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. Wife of Rev. Gregor MACLEOD.

Reverend Gregor MACLEOD — 32 years old. Son of Roderick MACLEOD of 2 Hartfield Street, Tain, Ross-shire. Rev. Gregor and his wife Elizabeth were on their way to the mission field in King William's Town. A small church in the area, Macleod Memorial Church, was named after them.

Phyllis Mildred MATHIAS — Death notice MSCE 1511/1946. Was 31 years old, of Lamphey Court, Lamphey, Pembrokeshire. Daughter of Alice Mildred HENWOOD (maiden name WHITE) of Entabeni, Vryheid, and the late Sidney Evelyn HENWOOD (died 1937, Death notice MSCE 25068/1937). Wife of Wing Commander Lewis MATHIAS, R.A.F., they married at Caxton Hall on the 9th Oct 1942.

Austin Godfrey MOLLETT — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10632 ref. 90071. Was 68 years old, born 22 Oct 1874 in Port Elizabeth. Mining Engineer. Son of the late Reverend Philip Richard MOLLETT of Port Elizabeth (died in 1909, death notice MOOC 6/9/620 ref. 2297)

Catherine Adelaide MOLLETT — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10632 ref. 90072. Was 60 years old. Born 12 Oct 1882 in Knoch, Ulster. Wife of Austin Godfrey MOLLETT and daughter of Mr. TODD. 

Joan Leonore MOLLETT — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10633 ref. 90073. Was 28 years old. Born 02 Mar 1914 in Bulawayo. Clerk. Daughter of Austin Godfrey and Catherine Adelaide MOLLETT.

John George MOSCOS — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10318 ref. 87669. Was 22 years old, South African Naval Forces transferred to Royal Navy. Son of Mr. and Mrs. George John MOSCOS of East London, Cape. George John died in 1947, death notice MOOC 6/9/13582 ref. 385/47.

Apolline Sarah NIAY-DARROLL — Death notice MOOC 6/9/1624 ref. 319. Was 43 years old, professor of music, of Northumberland Avenue, London. Daughter of George (died in 1946, death notice MOOC 6/9/12616 ref. 223/46) and Apolline NIAY-DARROLL of Cape Town. The Apolline Niay-Darroll Collection, at the University of Cape Town Library, includes letters (1911-1917) and family photographs.

Barbara PERY-KNOX-GORE — 27 years old. Maiden name STUART. Art teacher. Wife of Cullen PERY-KNOX-GORE of St. Michael’s on Sea, South Coast, Natal.

Dr. David Bruce RAY — Death notice MHG 799/45. Was 24 years old. Son of Dr. Robert RAY (died in 1965, death notice MHG 5949/65) and Jeannie Bothia RAY of 8 Jubilee Road, Parktown, Johannesburg. Husband of Margaret McMillan RAY. Robert possibly died in 1965 (possible death notice MHG 5949/65) and wife was possibly Louisa Augusta RAY (maiden name HILL, died in 1971, possible death notice MHG 11058/71).

Margaret McMillan RAY — 26 years old. Daughter of Mr. J. MUIR of 7 Slawanbar Road, Avonbridge, Falkirk, Stirlingshire. Wife of Dr. David Bruce RAY.

Jessie Miriam RAWSON — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10344 ref. 87874 and 87086. Was 24 years old. Daughter of John GILLESPIE of 18 Milner Road, Woodstock, Cape Town.

Moira Alice RAWSON — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10344 ref. 87875. Was 1 year old, daughter of Jessie Miriam RAWSON.

Carl Thurman RHODES — Death notice MOOC 6/9/9894 ref. 84534. Was 50 years old. Born 12 Jun 1892 in Bedford. Engineer. Husband of Nellie RHODES of Spier, Lynedoch, Cape.

Anthony ROGERS — 25 years old, fireman in the Merchant Navy. Born in Cape Town. Address: 137A Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town.

Carol Margaret RUSSELL — Death notice MSCE 361/1948. Was 23 years old, unmarried, of 79 Leinster Road, Pietermaritzburg. Daughter of the late William Allen Douglas RUSSELL (died 1942, MSCE 35876/1942) and Eleanor Ethel Mariella RUSSELL (maiden name COLUMBINE, death notice MSCE 9830).

Petrus Johannes SCNETLER — Death notice MHG 4198/43. Was 32 years old. B.Com. Son of Daniel Petrus van Huyssteen SCHNETLER (died in 1953, death notice MHG 6840/53) and Anna Sophia SCHNETLER (maiden name DE VILLIERS, died in 1951, death notice MHG 4412/51) of 130 Lunnon Road, Hillcrest, Pretoria.

Frederick George SIMES — 24 years old, stoker in the Royal Navy. Born in South Africa, son of Charles Edward and Annie Elizabeth SIMES.

Nevil Haig TAYLER — Death notice MHG 5269/45. Was 26 years old. Son of C.T. and Mary TAYLER of 8 Barnato Street, Berea, Johannesburg.

Era Ellin VAN BREDA — 50 years old. Daughter of Mrs. L. E. WALLER of Pen Park House, Charlton Common, Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire. Wife of H.J. VAN BREDA of Pumula, Umkomaas, Natal.

Florence VAN HEERDEN-MALAN — Death notice MSCE 37199/1942. Was 22 years old. Daughter of Herbert and Lucy DARLINGTON of 6 Manley Road, Sale, Cheshire. Wife of Carl VAN HEERDEN-MALAN. She was on her way to South Africa to join him.

Genevieve Clothilde WHITE — Death notice MOOC 6/9/10300 ref. 87517. Was 24 years old. Wife of Lt. Eric WHITE of Wingfield, Cape Town.

Kurt WICKERT — Death notice MHG 35826. Was 26 years old, dentist, son of W. and M. WICKERT of 8 Milner Road, Bloemfontein.

For a detailed account of the SS Ceramic, Clare HARDY has written SS Ceramic: The Untold Story. This book is the result of six years of research. Clare is the grand-daughter of Trevor WINSER, one of the those who died when the ship was torpedoed. She used diaries, memoirs, letters, documents and photographs to write this book. The sole survivor, Eric MUNDAY, tells his full story, from his rescue by the U-boat and subsequent imprisonment as a POW. There are testimonies from some of the crew of U-515. The 572-page paperback includes over 200 photographs and illustrations, and a list of all the casualties.


Heinrich (Heiner) EGERSDORFER was the man who designed the springbok emblem. The first depiction was on sport blazers and jerseys (a leaping springbok) and sport caps (a springbok head). It is believed that the first team to use a springbok badge was a South African athletic and cycling team visiting Britain and the USA in 1894. The springbok was also used in the South African military from WWI onwards. For many years, the springbok was part of the logos of the South African Railways and South African Airways.

Heinrich was born in 1853 in Nuremberg, Germany, and came from an artistic family. He saw military service in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). He trained in lithography in Germany and arrived at the Cape in 1879. In 1898 he applied for naturalisation (CO 4309 ref. E1).

In 1884 he founded The South African Illustrated News in Cape Town with partners. His drawings recorded daily life at the Cape. His first known published work in South Africa appeared in the South African Illustrated News of 11 Oct 1884. He is also credited with having started the first comic strip in South Africa. When the South African Illustrated News closed down in December 1885, Heinrich moved to Melbourne, Australia. He returned to Cape Town in 1895, with a wife Mary Jane CREANY, and two small sons, Heinrich and Friedrich. They lived at 169 Victoria Road in Salt River, before moving to Woodstock.

Mary died in 1902 (MOOC 13/1/1075 ref. 85 and MOOC 13/1/1077 ref. 183). The youngest son, Heinrich, died on the 13th Jan 1910 and was buried at Maitland Cemetery. After his son’s death, he left for Germany. Heinrich died on the 29th April 1915 at St Pancras Hospital in London (death notice MOOC 6/9/777 ref. 418). Friedrich was living in Bloemfontein in the 1960s. The only known photograph of Heinrich appeared in the Cape Argus supplement, Famous South African Artists, on the 26th Dec 1906.

Heinrich Egersdorfer: an old-time sketch book; E. Rosenthal; Nasionale Boekhandel Bpk., Cape Town, 1960


The South African Rugby Museum in Cape Town showcases South Africa’s rugby heritage. The museum is on the ground floor of the Sport Science Institute. Exhibits include a replica of the Webb Ellis Cup, first won by the Springboks at Ellis Park in 1995 and again in October 2007 in Paris. Visitors can hear radio commentary from the 1950s to 1970s by Gerhard VIVIERS and Charles FORTUNE.

The origins and subsequent changes to the Springbok emblem are also on display. You can sit on old wooden Newlands rugby benches and watch videos. The rugby boots of some of South Africa’s goal kickers such as Naas BOTHA, Joel STRANSKY and Frik DU PREEZ are on display, along with a depiction of how rugby boots are made. The careers of Springbok stars from schoolboy, to club level, to provincial team and eventually to the Springboks makes for fascinating reading. 

Address: Ground Level, Sports Science Institute, Newlands, Cape Town
Telephone: +27 (0)21 659-6768
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10h00 to 16h00


How did our rugby colours become green and gold? It was mostly thanks to the first international rugby Test and the South African captain, Barry Heatlie HEATLIE (yes, his middle name was the same as his surname).

In those early days of international matches, each country’s team captain chose a kit. The kit was either all-white or that of the captain’s club. There wasn’t a national selection committee back then, the union where the Test was played put a team together.

Barry was born in the Worcester district on the 25 April 1872, one of 13 children (11 boys and two girls). Seven of his brothers became sportsmen of note. Charles and Sydney also played rugby for South Africa, Charles in 1891 and Sydney in 1903. Barry’s Test career was from 1891 to 1903. In 1889 Barry became a pupil at Diocesan College (aka Bishops) in Rondebosch. At that time, he had never played rugby, but a year later he made the school’s first team and debuted for the Western Province provincial side. Four months after his 19th birthday, he was selected as a forward for South Africa in the second Test against the British touring team on the 29 Aug 1891. Barry was 1.9 metres tall, had broad shoulders and weighted 94 kg. He was one of the biggest players at the time. His nicknames were Fairy and Ox.

In 1896 he was selected as South Africa’s captain for the fourth Test match against the British side led by John HAMMOND. Barry, as captain, decided to use the Old Diocesans’ dark green jerseys. The club had been disbanded by then. The Cape Argus, dated Saturday 5 Sept 1896, reported that the South Africans would be kitted in “green jerseys, blue knickers and red stockings”. It was the first rugby Test that South Africa won.

When the next British team visited in 1903, led by Mark MORRISON, for the third and final Test, played at Newlands on the 12th Sept, Barry as captain, again found green jerseys for the team. South Africa won the Test and its first rugby series. The Cape Argus reported that the team wore dark green jerseys. The green jerseys were considered lucky and the players decided that in future they would only wear green. When opposition teams’ colours clashed with the green, South Africa wore white jerseys. Maybe the green did bring luck — it took a British touring team another 71 years to win a Test series in South Africa.

At a meeting of the South African Rugby Board on the 6th May 1903 in the Royal Hotel in Cape Town, the minutes show that “it was proposed by Mr. H.C. WOOD (Eastern Province) and seconded by Mr. C. ANDERSON (Natal), and agreed to that the SA colours be: green jersey with white collar and springbok in natural colours on left breast, black knickers and blue stockings with two white stripes at the top.” From 1937 onwards, the collar was gold in colour.

At another meeting in February 1904, it was decided that caps would be given to all the players who had represented South Africa since 1891. The caps were to be “green with gold trimmings, and a springbok with the letters S and A on either side of it, and the date underneath, in front”. The granting of caps and the springbok emblem were Barry’s suggestions. Paul ROOS’ cap is at his school’s archives in Stellenbosch. It has the springbok head and the date 1903 (his first Test), but the letters SA are not on there. Paul, along with Japie KRIGE and Bob LOUBSER, were the first three players to receive caps. 
The cover of a British music composition that was specially composed for the 1906 Springbok tour. It depicts Paul Roos dancing with Britannia
The 1906-07 rugby tour kit included black shorts and dark blue socks with two white stripes. The jersey had a leaping springbok. The Daily Mail in London reported that the jerseys were myrtle green. The team wore dark blue shorts and dark blue socks. This was the tour where the rugby players first became known as the Springboks or Springbokken. The name was chosen by Paul ROOS, Paddy CAROLIN and the team manager J.C. CARDEN. A British newspaper was the first to use the name, in a headline “South African Springboks play the British Lion.” A book was published afterwards by C.V. BECKER and was titled “With the Springboks in England - 1906-7”. It sold for a shilling, and had a lion and a springbok on the cover.

Barry was a popular and knowledgeable captain, having captained all the teams that he played for at school, club and provincial level. As a national captain, he was unbeaten, and he never lost a Currie Cup match. Off the field, he was secretary of the Western Province Rugby Football Union from 1895 to 1898.

In 1905 he was the favourite to captain South Africa on its first overseas tour to the British Isles in 1906-07, but personal problems dashed this. Barry was also a stock broker. Petrus Johannes (Piet) MARAIS was his biggest client. Piet lived in Pretoria and owned large parts of Brooklyn, where Charles, Rupert and Stella Streets were named after his family. He would send Barry telegrams with orders to buy or sell stock. The profits were used to buy more shares. In 1903 a depression affected the stock markets. Piet sent Barry a telegram to sell all his shares and send him the money. Barry was not able to do so and Piet laid a charge of fraud against Barry. Barry hurriedly left the country by being rowed out to a ship in Table Bay. He sailed to Argentina where he spent 20 years living near Buenos Aires and working on a sugar estate. Warrants for his arrest were sent out to the British colonies, including Victoria, Australia, where he is listed in the 1906 Victoria Police correspondence records: Barry Heatlie HEATLIE, Criminal Investigation Department, Cape Town, South Africa — Wanted on warrant for embezzlement.

In Argentina, he carried on playing rugby and helped develop the game there. He first played for the Lomas club, before becoming captain and coach of Gymnasia y Esgrima. In 1910 he played for an Argentinean team against a touring British team. In 1911 and 1912, he led his club to become the Argentinean rugby champions. Barry stopped playing in 1915, at the age of 43, when he broke three ribs during a match. He then concentrated on coaching.

In 1925 he was allowed to return to South Africa. It was the same year that his close friend and fellow player, Biddy ANDERSON died. Barry settled near Newlands and became involved in rugby again, as a selector for universities in the 1930s and writing for the book “The History of South African Rugby Football”. Barry was not as fortunate in business, as he was in rugby. After returning to South Africa, two businesses failed — a car agency and a flour mill. He passed away on the 19th Aug 1951 from serious injuries he sustained when he was knocked over whilst getting into his car on the way to an Old Boys dinner.

Thomas HEATLIE born in Berwick, Scotland, on 17 Sept 1787. Son of William HEATLIE and Ann HENDERSON. He arrived at the Cape aboard the Laurel on the 1st Jun 1809 with his brother George. In April 1814, Thomas went to Mauritius but was back at the Cape by the end of October 1814.

In the 1818 opgaaf (tax roll) he is listed as being on the farm Alexanderfontein and had “5 knegts, 2 Hottentots, 1 prize negro, 3 slaves, 32 horses, 29 oxen, 4 pigs, 25 sheep and 1 goat”. In the 1820 opgaaf he is listed at Klipheuvelfontein and had “1 knegt, 1 free black, 1 Hottentot, 8 prize negroes, 1 slave and 30 horses”.

On the 24th Jan 1824 he married Anna Catharina VAN NIEKERK in Worcester. She was the daughter of Cornelis VAN NIEKERK and Jacomina MOSTERT. A will signed by Anna in March 1840 lists her as living behind the Castle. Thomas died on the 21st Jan 1846 at Selkirk Street in Cape Town (death notice MOOC 6/9/39 ref. 8289). Anna died on the 4th Mar 1840. The couple’s children and grandchildren included:

b1) Henry born 19 Sept 1824, baptised in Tulbagh on 08 Oct 1824, died unmarried on 03 Sept 1846 (death notice MOOC 6/9/40 ref. 8587).

b2) Annie born 02 Oct 1825, married Michael UPTON on 14 Mar 1857, died in Worcester on 24 Apr 1900 (death notice MOOC 6/9/401 ref. 1663). Michael died 16 Nov 1862 (death notice MOOC 6/9/102 ref. 15).

b3) Jacomina born in Tulbagh on 21 May 1827, married Arthur James BARKER on 21 Oct 1851, died 21 Dec 1888 (death notice MOOC 6/9/264 ref. 84) and buried at Worcester. Arthur died in 1863 (death notice MOOC 6/9/102 ref. 142).

b4) Thomas Tennant born in Tulbagh on 04 Mar 1829, married Eliza Ann BEETON on 18 Jan 1853, died 15 Nov 1895 (death notice MOOC 6/9/346 ref. 2563), buried at Worcester. Eliza was born 14 Jun 1834, died 25 Dec 1911 (death notice MOOC 6/9/682 ref. 92). He bought Beck House in 1854 and in 1878 was living at Hasekraal in the Worcester district. By 1865 he was one of the more progressive farmers. Circa 1868-70 he bartered slaughter sheep for four Blackhead Persian sheep that were aboard a storm-damaged ship at Port Beaufort. These were the first Blackhead Persian sheep in South Africa. Thomas was a Member of the Legislative Council and founder of the Worcester Agricultural Society.

c1) Eliza Ann born 27 Dec 1853, died 22 Jun 1901 (death notice MOOC 6/9/430 ref. 2287) and buried at Worcester.

c2) Anna Catharina born 10 Oct 1855, married Jacobus Johannes le Seuer GLAESER on 21st Jun 1877, died in Tulbagh on 21 Feb 1882. Jacobus was born 12 Sept 1854 and died 7th Sept 1890 (death notice MOOC 6/9/284 ref. 1743).

c3) Henry Thomas born 06 Oct 1857, married Catharina Johanna (Kato) ROSSOUW, died 22 Jul 1938 (death notice MOOC 6/9/5056 ref. 58621). Catharina died in 1925 (death notice MOOC 6/9/2761 ref. 7259).

c4) William Stenhouse born 05 Sept 1859, married Jane CAMPION, died 10 Mar 1933. Jane was born 15 Oct 1861, died 13 Oct 1950 (estate papers MOOC 6/9/18924 ref. 6412/51).

c5) Arthur born 23 Jul 1861 at Glen Heatlie. Attended St Saviour’s Grammar School in Claremont. He married Lucy Anne MANN on 08 Sept 1894, daughter of William MANN and grand-daughter of Sir Thomas MACLEAR. In 1922 they lived at Meloustan in Ceres. Arthur died 10 Mar 1930 and was buried at Caledon (estate papers MOOC 6/9/3681 ref. 25746). Lucy died in 1931 (estate papers MOOC 6/9/3924 ref. 30565).

c6) Charles Beeton born 29 Oct 1863 at Glen Heatlie in Worcester district. He married Johanna Maria HUGO on 19 Apr 1899, died 01 Jan 1937. Johanna was born 29 Oct 1862, died 08 Jun 1952. Charles was a Member of the Legislative Assembly, representing Worcester. In 1922 he lived at Orange Grove in De Wet.

c7) Percy born 14 Feb 1866, died 15 Nov 1877

c8) Edwin born 29 May 1868, died 08 Jul 1877

c9) Noble Robertson born 15 Mar 1870, married 1st wife Irene Hawthorn AIexandria GRAHAM on 04 May 1898, married 2nd wife Justine Mary Bertie THOMAS on 26 Apr 1908. He died 09 Aug 1956 (estate papers MHG 5852/53). Irene was born 28 May 1874, died 07 Mar 1906 (death notice MOOC 6/9/544 ref. 1065). Justine was born 06 May 1888, died 03 Oct 1974 (estate papers MHG 11263/74).

c10) Barry Heatlie born 25 Apr 1872, married Helen (Jessie) DUNCAN on 25 Apr 1900, died 19 Aug 1951 (estate papers MOOC 6/9/18636 ref. 5008/51). Helen was born 19 Nov 1872, died 17 Aug 1944 (estate papers MOOC  6/9/11187 ref. 94396). In 1900 Barry was listed as a broker and estate agent at Colonial Mutual Chambers, 86 Adderley Street. A son, Lesley Arthur, was born on the 5th Mar 1901. Another son, Ralph Wilfred Heatlie, was born on the 31st Aug 1903. In 1939 the family was living at Roslin in Balfour Road, Rondebosch.

c11) Bertram de Vos born 15 Jun 1874, married Gladys Irene TILNEY on 24 Jan 1914, died 1945 (estate papers MHG 3325/45). Gladys was born in 1884, died 1975 (estate papers MHG 8801/75). Their son, Bertram Sydney Deane, was a lieutenant in the Transvaal Scottish when he died overseas on the 27th Nov 1941 (death notice MHG 3/42). His parents were then living in Potchefstroom.

c12) Sydney Glaeser born 03 Jul 1876, married Ruby Constance Hannah ELLIS on 16 Nov 1909, died 23 Mar 1963. Sydney attended South African College from 1895-99). In 1939 he was living at 14 Rouwkoop Mansions in Rondebosch. Ruby died in 1966.

c13) Thomas James Michael born 25 Jul 1878, married Irene St Clair MEIRING on 02 Oct 1913, died 06 Jul 1949 (estate papers MOOC 6/9/16221 ref. 3573/49). Irene was born 14 Aug 1886. In 1929 Thomas was living on the Glen Heatlie.

b5) Catherine born 17 Aug 1831, died unmarried on 29 Aug 1898

b6) William born 14 Feb 1833, died unmarried on 06 Jan 1848

30 Super Springboks; Paul Dobson; Human & Rousseau, Cape Town, 1995
Rugby in South Africa 1861 - 1988; Paul Dobson; South African Rugby Board, Cape Town, 1989
Bishops Rugby: A history; Paul Dobson; Don Nelson, Cape Town, 1990
The history of South African rugby football: 1875-1932; Ivor Difford; Specialty Press, Wynberg, 1933
The Legends of South African Rugby; Keith Clayton; KC Publications, Pinelands, 1989
W.P. Rugby Centenary 1883-1983; A.C. Parker; WPRFU, Newlands, 1983
Springbok annals: international tours to and from South Africa, 1891-1958; D.H. Craven; Mimosa, Johannesburg, 1961
Springbok rugby: an illustrated history: the proud story of South African rugby from 1891 to the 1995 World Cup; Chris Greyvenstein; Sable Media, Cape Town, 1995
100 years of rugby: the story of the Villager Football Club; R.K. Stent; VFC, Cape Town, 1976
112 years of Springbok rugby: tests and heroes, 1891 to 2003; Bokkie Gerber et al; Highbury Monarch Communications, Johannesburg, 2003
1899-1999: 100 años Unión Argentina de Rugby
The first three generations of Heatlies in South Africa; Charles Hugo Heatlie; Photo-Prints Pty Ltd, Worcester, 1981
British Residents at the Cape: 1795-1819; Peter Philip; David Philip, Cape Town, 1981


There are more than 4,000 Family History Centres (FHCs) in over 88 countries. Each FHC has it’s own collection of records, with access to more records via the distribution centre at Salt Lake City in Utah, USA, or the national main centre. About 100 000 rolls of microfilm are circulated to FHCs each month. The Family History Library (FHL) was founded in 1894 to gather genealogical records and assist members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons) with their family history. The FHL is in Salt Lake City and the FHCs around the world are branches. They are open to the public for research purposes.

The records include over 2.4 million rolls of microfilms, 742 000 microfiche, 310 000 books, journals and other formats, 4 500 magazines and 700 electronic resources. In 2003, the collection increased monthly by an average of 4 100 rolls of microfilm, 700 books and 16 electronic resources. Most of the records contain information about people who lived before 1930. Records have been filmed in over 110 countries, and filming is on-going. The FHL and its activities are funded by the LDS Church.

The master copies of all the records are stored at the Granite Mountain Records Vault, which was excavated from a mountainside in Little Cottonwood Canyon, near Salt Lake City. If anything should happen to the FHL, most of its records could be duplicated. From time to time the microfilms in general circulation become worn or damaged and are replaced by a new copy produced at the vault. The FHL is in the process of digitising all its microfilms, and it is estimated that this will be completed by about 2012. An online index to the digitised records is also being created.

The collection includes the Ancestral File database, containing more than 36 million names that are linked into family groups. The International Genealogical Index (IGI) database contains approximately 600 million names of deceased individuals. An addendum to the IGI contains an additional 125 million names. Most of these names have been extracted from birth, christening and marriage records. The Pedigree Resource File database contains over 80 million names that are linked into families.

The main starting point should be the Family History Library Catalogue (FHLC), an indexed record of more than 2-billion world-wide records in the vault at Salt Lake City. Every FHC has a copy, and it is freely available on the Internet. The LDS Church continues to film records around the world and these are added to the index frequently. The FHLC can be searched by surname, place name, or subject, amongst others. The FHL has archived over 150 000 family histories, containing not only biographical data but multi-generation pedigree charts. By doing a surname search, you will see what family histories are available for that surname. By searching on a town name, you will see what records are available for that town. As an example, here are some of the records that are available for Benoni:

Parish registers of the Gereformeerde Kerk Benoni
Christenings: 1941-1987
Memberships: 1914-1950, 1941-1950, 1942-1988, 1946-1952
Marriages: 1914-1971
Includes date of christening, name of child, birth date, parents' names (with mother's maiden name), names of witnesses, place of christening, date and place of admittance into membership.

Parish registers of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk Benoni
Baptisms: 1914-1950
Includes name, place and date of birth, date of baptism, names of parents including maiden name of mother, and names of witnesses.

Parish registers of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk Benoni
Marriages: 1914-1971
Includes place and date of birth, place of residence, names of witnesses, occupation, and status. Includes surrounding area.

Civil registration (deaths) for Benoni, 1917-1945
Death register includes name, address, gender, race, age, civil status, occupation, date of death, place of death or birth, place of burial, cause of death, duration of illness. Later registers include parent's or guardian's name if deceased before age 10.

Civil registration (marriages) for Benoni, 1909-1964
Marriage certificates include names, ages, birthplace, whether banns were read, residence, and source of consent.

The IGI is one of the largest genealogical databases in the world. Every month new names are added and it is updated on a two-year cycle. Sometimes names are found on one version of the IGI but not on the other, for example the 1988 version included the names of thousands of Holocaust victims, but the 1992 version did not. This happened as a result of a dispute dating back to 1995 between Jewish leaders and the LDS Church. Not all churches have allowed their records to be filmed for the IGI. Some that have been filmed are not yet on the IGI. Each FHC has a parish list that is updated twice each year and lists which parish records are on the IGI and the years covered.

Use the IGI search filters when searching for a common surname. Take note of the source data when you find a result. This can help in finding additional information. If the source is a batch file then it will be of limited use to you, but if the source is a family group sheet, then you could be in luck. Family group sheets were submitted by LDS Church members and sometimes show three generations or more. The microfilm number is also important as it can help locate the parish in which the event occurred. Use that number to search for the microfilm in the FHLC and details on the parish will be shown. Often there are several parishes listed on one microfilm.

The IGI is also on microfiche. Because the IGI is mainly an index of parish records, many of which have existed since 1550, it is often possible to find generations of a family in one parish. The microfiche is organised by area and then alphabetically by surname and chronologically by event. You can also photocopy pages of the microfiche.

Look for the Research Outlines for the area you are researching. These have information on the location of record repositories. The FHC has foreign language letter writing guides. These help with writing letters to parishes or government departments for records.

Ask to see the Family History Publications List, which contains a complete list of the resources available to FHC visitors. Ask whether your local FHC has genealogy CDs in their local collection. These are usually of relevance to each FHC. Popular CDs include the 1851 and 1881 British Census Index, British Vital Records CD and the World Family Tree CDs. The British Biographical Index and Periodical Index on microfiche gives historical or biographical information on many families. The FHC also has a collection of maps for many areas. Most FHCs have a collection of books relating to subjects and areas most frequently researched by its visitors.

FHC staff are mostly volunteers. They can’t do your research for you, but many are helpful if you don’t know your way around the FHC and its records.

To help you organise your family tree data, the FHC offers the free Personal Ancestral File (PAF) software. PAF was one of the first programmes developed to help computer users organise and chart their ancestors.

When using the Ancestral File, Pedigree Resource File or the IGI, please use caution as there are errors, and you should check what you find against other records.