Plaatbos forest and Storms River Pass

The Tsitsikamma is one of my happy places. It is where I go to recharge my soul and get close to nature and that is what we as a family did a couple of week ago. It wasn't a comprehensive charge, but a quick visit one just to breath in the fresh Tsitsikamma air and get away from lockdown at that stage. One of our stops for the day was the Plaatbos Forest section of the Garden Route (Tsitsikamma) National…

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Capt Francis Evatt’s gravestone

On a walk along Route 67 the other day I popped into St Mary's Cathedral and was reminded that the original gravestone of Captain Francis Evatt was located in the entrance area of the church.  Something a lot of people probably didn't know.  Captain Evatt was commander of Fort Frederick from 1817 until his death in 1850 and is often called the Father of Port Elizabeth because of the role he played in the early years of the town's development.  Among the…

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The history of St. Augustine’s Cathedral

When the first Catholic priest, Father George Corcoran, set foot in Port Elizabeth in 1840 it wasn't just a case of getting off the boat and taking up his position. No, he was shipwrecked in Cape St Francis and had to travel the last 100km to town on horseback.  Once he arrived here he found that there were only 42 Catholics in the town.  But the show had to go on and in the ensuing years the Catholic community in…

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Captain Francis Evatt’s grave at Fort Frederick

Captain Francis Evatt was born in Ireland in 1770 and arrived in the Cape Colony in 1806 with the 21st Dragoon Guards and served together with his brother for a number of years on the frontier.  In 1817 he was appointed as Commandant of Fort Frederick at a salary of 90 pounds a year (only half the pay he should have been receiving as Captain), a post he occupied until his death.Captain Evatt played a huge role in the landing…

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The King Edward Hotel by the Donkin Reserve

My fondest memory of the Edward Hotel was having our matric farewell dance in the back hall.  And eating there a couple of times.  The hotel has been closed for a number of years now and have undergone a revamp and upgrade with plans to reopen later this year.  Since the announcement the management group has pulled out again and we're yet to hear what will happen next.  But regardless of what is going on behind the scenes, the majestic…

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History on the mind

Port Elizabeth is really fortunate to have a lot of different cultures and heritages come together here over the years and if you have history on your mind, then it's just the place to be.  In this case the Donkin Street Houses behind one of the Route 72 Voting Line figures.

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Then and Now – Cradock Place

Frederick Korsten, a Dutch entrepreneur, came to Algoa Bay in 1810 and over the following years established himself as a merchant, farmer and owner of a whale fishery.  In 1812 Korsten purchased a farm called Papenkuilsfontein from Thomas Ignatius Ferreira and named it Cradock Place after Sir John Cradock who was the Governor of the Cape Colony from 1811 until 1814.  The farm changed the commercial landscape and economic future of Algoa Bay dramatically during the 1800's.  It also became the social centre for well-to-do visitors to Algoa…

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Then and Now – The Campanile bells

The Campanile, wedged between the Port Elizabeth Railway Station, the PE Harbour and the Settlers Freeway, was built to celebrate the centenary of the landing of the British Settlers in 1820.  The tower was built on the landing beach where the Settlers came ashore with the foundation stone being laid in 1921.  It was officially opened in 1923, the clock was installed in 1925 (started at noon on 28 April of that year) and the bells hung in 1936.  The…

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The wedge building in Central

A couple of years ago I got an inquiry to find out if I had any information on the "wedge building" near the Donkin Reserve in Central.  After doing a bit of research and not finding much, I posted the question on the ExPE 60's 70's and 80's page where I received a wide range of opinions and answers.  And then it happened, first hand information.  Elizabeth Wilson Botha gave the following answer.This block of four flats (two at street…

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