An Arctic explorer buried in the Karoo?

The Cradock cemetery is probably one of the most interesting ones around. You'll find gravestones of settlers, frontiersmen, nuns, soldiers who fell in the Anglo-Boer War and even one Harry Potter. Another grave I learned about and one I just had to go and find belongs to Reginald Koettlitz. You're probably wondering what makes this grave different and the answer can be found in the grave's inscription. “An explorer and traveller, surgeon and geologist to Expeditions North Polar and Abyssinia…

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In search of the Aberdeen bed grave

I would like to believe that I am a true ambassador of the Eastern Cape and know a thing or two about what this beautiful and diverse province has to offer visitors and explorers. Would I go as far as to call myself an expert? Mhe... Not sure. I still have a long list of places I still want to visit and things to see. Until recently one of these was the bed grave between Graaff-Reinet and Aberdeen. The site…

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A wizard’s grave in Cradock? Here lies Harry Potter

We all know Harry Potter, the boy wizard with his little round glasses and lightning scar on his forehead, created by JK Rowling for her books and turned into a successful film franchise. But what happened to Harry after the fact? Did he perhaps exchange the cold of England and Hogwarts for the warm sun of Cradock and Africa? Cradock’s old cemetery can get quite spooky in the early mornings when the fog hangs around the gravestones of settlers, frontiersmen,…

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North End Defense Force Memorial

One of the things I discovered while in North End Cemetery is a Defense Force Memorial remembering soldiers who died in service of their country during the first and second World Wars.  According to the main plaque the memorial stones commemorate soldiers that were buried elsewhere but who's glory won't be forgotten.

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The Jewish Cemetery at North End

One of the things that really interested me when I visited the North End Cemetery the other day was the walled off Jewish Cemetery.  I didn't get to explore it though as the sign by the entrance says, "Code of Conduct. Please note that all visitors to the cemetery must wear appropriate dress. Men and women must cover their heads".  Turned out I didn't even have a cap in my car so I went no further than the door.  I did do…


The history of North End Cemetery

Over the years my interest in cemeteries has taken me to most of the cemeteries around town with the notable exception being the North End Cemetery.  Not because I didn't want to but rather a case of never really being in that part of town with time to go.  A week or two ago I found myself there though in search of information I needed as part of a Geocache multi cache put together by Commaille.  I was really surprised…

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St Mary’s and St Peter’s

St Mary's Cemetery at the bottom of the Baakens Valley dates back to as early as 1799 when it was a military cemetery.  This changed with the arrival of the 1820 British Settlers and you can still find graves of some of the original Settlers in the grave yard.  On the hill above the cemetery stands the ruins of the St Peter's Church.  The church was built in 1877 and after the people of South End were forcibly removed in…

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The Scottish Cemetery at St George’s Park

In the early days of Port Elizabeth the St Mary's Cemetery was used, first by the military based at Fort Frederick, and later for civilians with the cemetery being under the control of St Mary's Church.  As the town grew more burial areas were required by the various Christian denominations and in the 1830's and 1840's the various churches were granted small pieces of land adjacent to each other on the edge of town where Russell Road is today.  A…

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Cemetery fence at St Georges

The old Scottish Cemetery at St George's Park was established way back in 1854 on what was the western edge of town back then.  These days the western edge of town is all the way over at Baywest.

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Shipwreck memorial in South End Cemetery

Probably the biggest maritime disaster that ever took place on the Port Elizabeth coastline happened way back during the Great Gale of 1902.  On Sunday, 31 August 1902 there were 38 ships at anchor along the then North End Beach.  Rain and a south-easterly wind started to lash the bay and by midnight the storm turned into a hurricane.  By the end of the storm on 2 September 1902, 18 of the ships had been stranded on the beach, while…

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