Oranjemund Online

ORANJEMUND DISCUSSIONS! => Things I Remember About Oranjemund! => Topic started by: Bob Molloy on May 20, 2009, 04:41:43 AM

Title: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on May 20, 2009, 04:41:43 AM
Oranjemund was filled with characters in the Fifties and Sixties; strong personalities and incredible individuals, many with meritorious war service. Among them were the ex-Pats who came from everywhere in Europe with a large contingent from Germany and the UK. The Brits were made up of nuggety Jocks, uppity Taffies, brawling Micks and brash Poms. They stamped their mark on Oranjemund for a generation. They worked hard - 100 hours overtime a month was common - and played harder. Mainly highly trained artisans, they brought huge skills to the work place, and major changes to a growing township, initiating sports and other clubs, calling management to account, upgrading working and living conditions and generally raising Cain.
At first relations between ex-Pats and locals were tense, the newcomers being seen as big-mouthed Johnny-come-latelys while the locals were written off as dumb Japies. But over time tensions eased as the separate groups wore the corners off each other, the newcomers gained a grasp of Afrikaans (spoken with atrocious accents, causing pain to any Afrikaner who valued his language but nevertheless appreciated for trying) and the Boer War quietened down to the odd joking aside. Their children intermingled and even married and today there is little trace of the ethnic tensions that once characterised these groups.
That was half a lifetime ago but for me some of those characters still stand out. George Lovett for example, a navy-trained rigger, a former Chief Petty Officer and leader of men with a yen for practical jokes and a dry sense of humour. He had two attractive step-daughters, Shirley and Delia Box, who attracted much male attention though the single guys remembered to tread carefully when George was around. His wife, nicknamed Pops, was a tower of strength in the early days of the Oranjemund Players.
George, always in great physical trim, was built like a tank and tanned to deep bronze. Though always meticulously dressed when out with his wife, at work he wore his shirt open to the waist showing a hairy six pack and wearing a pointed green pixie hat on his head. He introduced Housey at the Rec Club and called the numbers with a series of running jokes that was a class act itself.
One of a trio of riggers -The other two were Peter Bennet and Barry de Beer - George came up with the title of Roughit, Ruinit and Destroy Ltd and posted it outside their North Electrical workshop until removed by an angry foreman who - with no grasp of English satire - thought it somehow demeaned their image.
Hearing of this, George drove a steel-tracked bulldozer to the foreman's office at the G area workshops, spun it around in the carefully laid-out garden creating huge doughnuts on what until then had been a lovingly-tended lawn, left it with engine running and marched inside to confront an awed foreman. Without a word spoken he removed the sign from the man's wastebasket, dropped a piece of paper on his desk, did another doughnut on the lawn and roared off again. When the man recovered his wits he picked up the piece of paper to find it was a receipt for the sign, with George's signature on the bottom. That was the end of the matter, though the foreman was later heard to say that he feared George was about to keep driving the bulldozer right through his office and was only too pleased to let him have his bloody sign.
George, ever the jokester, also figured in another bulldozer incident this time with the General Manager whose name was Devlin. Just after the first tar seal was laid on the HMS road the engineer in charge complained it was being damaged by heavy machinery at certain crossing points. Devlin suggested he supply each crossing with short rolls of old conveyor belting which the machine operator could unroll and use to cross on without damaging the road, plus a large sign instructing operators on the procedure. This was quickly put into effect and road damage ceased.
A few weeks later, driving on the mine with a car load of visiting consultants from Johannesburg - one of whom told the story with great glee at a party later that evening, Devlin spotted George on his bulldozer heading for a crossing and stopped to observe while explaining to the consultants how the conveyor belting was saving the road from the wear and tear of heavy machinery. George had also spotted the GM and his party and proceeded to carry out one of his deadpan spoofs.
After his stopping his machine at the crossing he stood in front of the sign, spent some time reading the instructions carefully, took off his pixie hat, scratched his head as if he couldn't quite get it then gave an elaborate shrug, rolled out the belting, walked carefully across on top of it, rolled it up again on the other side of the road, went back to his machine and drove it across leaving a trail of track marks on the tar seal.
The GM was furious, raced after him and demanded to know why he had disobeyed instructions. George, still deadpan, disagreed. He had followed the instructions to the letter, he said. Adding that it wasn't his fault if the person who wrote them was an idiot. Then both walked back to the crossing sign where George pointed out that the sign read: "Machines cross here. Operators cross on belting".
"I did just that," he said, then tipped his green pixie hat to the official party and roared off, leaving them stunned.
The signs were replaced the same day.
The following night the GM brought the consultants briefly to the Housey game at the Rec Club to see the contented peasants at play. By this time the story had done the rounds. George, immaculately turned out in black bow tie and dinner jacket (yes they did that in those days) was as usual calling the numbers but this time with a slight change in description. "Number Nine, read the sign" rang out.  It brought the house down. The GM was seen to laugh as heartily as the rest.
A few years later George lost an eye in mine accident. Unable to carry on as a rigger, he was - as far as the GM was concerned - the obvious choice for Rec Club manager. He did the job superbly until retirement. He wore a black eye patch, which gave him a kind of Long John Silver appearance, but could still quieten the most obstreperous drunk with a stare from his single eye.
After retirement he worked briefly as a security officer in the old Garlicks department store where his ability to spot shoplifters was legendary, then as caretaker for the Syfrets building at the top of St George's street. It was there he carried out a kitten rescue from the Syfret rooftop that earned him a mention in the Cape Times. He and his wife retired finally to Ceres where he again distinguished himself. The community was dismayed to find they couldn't receive TV when it was first broadcast and the government advised it would be years before they could have a repeater station. Not daunted, George rallied the troops including the local TV technician to build the town's own receiver on top of the Steenberg, carrying sacks of cement and other items up the mountain on his shoulders to help out.
I have personal cause to feel grateful for his presence. In his early Seventies, still magnificently fit, he accompanied a group of us on a swim down the Witgat canyon near Ceres. There's a part of the river just under a kilometre long where the canyon's sheer sides prevent any possibility of getting out of the water. In normal conditions it isn't a problem as even the poorest swimmer can just relax and allow the quiet flow of the river to take him or her to a get out point. It was our bad luck that it rained heavily in the hills just as we entered the canyon. The freshet hit us halfway. There was nothing to do but forge on and grab the first opportunity to get out. I thought myself a fairly good swimmer and opted to fall back as tail end Charlie in case someone needed help. As it turned out, that someone was me. Everybody made it to the get-out point. I was still in the water when a second freshet hit. I missed my grip on the rock and would have been swept away if George hadn't leaned over and, one-handed, smartly hauled me out by the scruff of my wetsuit.
As I said elsewhere on this forum: George has long gone to the great big rig in the sky, may he rig in peace.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: SandyB on May 20, 2009, 03:59:31 PM
I remember  as a child   seeing Mrs Lovett  in Blithe  Spirit ..   she was good  in the role ..  even  had  people laughing   the way she tackled some of the  scenes   doing  I imagine a bit of ad lib  to  add her own  spark .. ...
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bertie Horak on May 20, 2009, 07:18:09 PM
Thanx for a wonderful post. Really enjoyed reading this!  23_11_61
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on May 21, 2009, 03:42:44 AM

Nice Stuff... Bob,please please post some more.......
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Creedy on May 21, 2009, 07:19:11 AM
Thanks Bob.  I remeber the man now.  Some more stories then????
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Richard Opperman on May 21, 2009, 05:02:27 PM
Brilliant Bob keep them coming!
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on May 21, 2009, 05:20:41 PM
That was very well done Bob, lets have some more.  Do you know where Delia went to, we were in the same class in OPS.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: barb (Fry) on May 21, 2009, 05:40:02 PM
Which Delia ?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on May 22, 2009, 12:06:19 AM
The two Box girls, George Lovett's step-daughters, probably left Oranjemund in the late Fifties or early Sixties. Shirley married Dave Thomas, an electrical engineer on the mine, and later went to live in Rivonia, near Johnnesburg. Delia trained as a radiologist and later married someone in property development who later had something to do with a major commercial development in Hout Bay. That's about the limit of my knowledge.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on May 22, 2009, 12:31:26 AM
Stunned by Sandy's acute memory. I had totally forgotten Blithe Spirit which, I think, was written by Noel Coward. It was a hilarious comedy, very professionally done by the Players. Pops Lovett, if my recall serves me well, played the part of Madame Acarti, the medium who calls up the ghost of the main character's first wife. She was a superb actor. In later years she shone even more in her backstage work where she and Joyce Hammond ran the costumes department, producing the most superbly designed costumes for all kinds of plays and musicals.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on May 22, 2009, 05:00:00 PM
Barb, I'm talking about Delia Box, Bob mentioned her name earlier.

Thanks Bob.  Would like to see some of the old friends again.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on May 25, 2009, 03:32:35 AM

The Oranjemund Ghost Train

In Oranjemund? Well, no, not quite but a little bit offshore. An offshore ghost train? Well, yes, but wait it gets even more complicated. Back in the late Fifties the gurus at head office in Kimberley had an approach from a company formed by Rolls Royce and a British tractor maker (can’t recall the name) to supply the new Rolls bulldozer for work in Oranjemund.
Those were the days when Caterpillar reigned supreme with a very lucrative contract to supply such earthmoving machinery on the mine. The Americans were quickly up in arms and lobbied the Kimberley execs to fend off the marauding British. And well they might. The Brits, having been bankrupted by the Americans to pay for World War Two, were just coming out of a long period of indebtedness and were busily expanding their export trade.
As such they were a big threat to Wall Street and needed to be put back in their box. After all, now that the War had gobbled up their Empire (and almost anything else they owned) it was important to keep these uppity Brits in their place – which was just off the French coast and not nose deep in American business. The buggers had already invented radar, television and computers, and put the Comet – the world’s first jet liner – into operation. Now a goddam fancy bulldozer? If it wasn’t stopped they’d have America back to colony status.
The story goes that the fight went all the way to the top only to find – as the Americans did to their horror - that things had changed; the door was no longer open to the bright young Harvard hustlers.  The Oppenheimer family had just had a generational handover from Sir Ernest to Harry who, rumour had it, wasn’t so enamoured of Yank push and shove. Seems he had a liking for things Brit and issued an edict that at least these new machines must be given a trial.
So said, so done. One morning a convoy of heavy duty trucks came over the bridge, headed by one Charles Hendry (or Henley or some much, can’t recall after all this time). It brought four of the most beautiful bulldozers imaginable plus truckloads of spares. Where the Caterpillar was built to move earth with little to love as far as appearance was concerned, these were things of beauty, and hell were they BIG! The Rolls diesel engines started easily, ran sweetly and used fuel efficiently. Pushbutton gearboxes made gear changes idiot-proof and speedy, and synchronized clutches ensured the tracks started simultaneously with none of that sideways lurch so typical of the old Caterpillar. Charles demonstrated deft handling in a series of tests that impressed everyone who could find an excuse to watch, including three of Caterpillar’s top customer relations team.
Within days it was clear that Charles on his Rolls could outperform any Cat. It was a disaster from the Yank point of view. But wait, this wasn’t a fair contest. The Cats were operated by locally trained recruits from Ovamboland. What would happen when they transferred to Rolls?
No prob, said Charles. A mere one-week training course had four Ovambo operators also scaring every Cat out of sight.  And so it went. A month later and it was clear the new Rolls was king. All that was required was for Charles to set up training courses for the artisans who would service the machines and the new dozers could go into service. That too was quickly and efficiently organized. It looked like the end for Caterpillar.
Worse. To ardent republicans this was not just a sales problem; it was a disaster, it was the end of the world, it was Armageddon. Time to take off the gloves.
Charles said his goodbyes and went back to Blighty. Head office, satisfied it was now comparing apples to apples, arranged a three month trial under ordinary working conditions after which, all things being equal, they would put a contract on the table.
What happened next is unclear. Conspiracy theories have it that some dirty deal was done, many greenbacks were splashed around, and when the smoke cleared Rolls had a bloody nose. There was indeed an inquiry of sorts and some careers seemed to go sideways but otherwise nothing came of it, at least nothing was ever said in public. And that, but for Caterpillar triumph, was that.
So much for scuttlebut; the facts are that Charles had barely left the country before the Rolls dozers began breaking half-shafts. In no time all four were in the workshop, and were so repeatedly until they ran out of spares. Rolls, appalled, flew Charles back into the country post-haste with more spares. Within days of his arrival days all four machines were back in action and behaved perfectly – until Charles left again. It was uncanny. Perhaps Brit machines needed Brit operators.
Old hands, mumbling into their beer in Casey’s, opined darkly that one should watch the machines in action. The talk was that they were being repeatedly driven straight at bedrock. I made a point of checking out that particular rumour, but in half an hour of observing a Rolls at work the operator behaved meticulously. Never at any time did I personally see a machine try to eat bedrock, nor did anyone else I spoke to. Such shenanigans were always seen by some anonymous observer who told someone who told someone else.
I should explain that in my free time I was the local correspondent for the SABC and several newspapers. As such I was keen to get a handle on the story, it would have been a major scoop, but could never tie down an actual witness or at least anyone who would go on the record.
But I did see the last act.
Charles flew back in and impounded all the machines. Rolls, we heard, had had a helluva bust up with the top boys at Kimberley. Harry was furious and kicked various backsides. Whatever the case, a posse of consultants arrived in town and were seen poking around the mine, talking to engineers, artisans and machine operators. Some people further up the local chain of command were looking very hassled. The rumour machine worked overtime: this or that one had been implicated in the Caterpillar slush fund; this or that one was “over the bridge” (fired).  Fortunately for those in the gunsights the witch hunt, if that what it was, was short-lived. In a week they were gone.
But nothing appeared to have changed and the machines didn’t go back into service. Gradually it filtered back that the Rolls top exec, unable to find anyone’s head to put on a pike, threw a hissy fit and withdrew its sales offer despite a request from Kimberley to keep it on the table.
The bar talk was that Rolls did so on the grounds that their peerless product was not for sale to people who didn’t appreciate quality. If I could have had the same access to information as the guys at the bar I think I’d have won a journalism award. But let’s not be cynical, let’s stick to the facts.
It was a fact that sale of the dozers had been withdrawn, information I had from several solid sources, no reasons given. Yet Charles’s behavior seemed to contradict that. He was seen busily refitting a half-shaft to one of his beautiful machines. He clearly loved those bulldozers. No, he didn’t actually croon to them but I did see him pat one on occasion.
Had Rolls-Royce repented? Where we going to see these machines on the mine after all? But no, official sources said, there would be no purchase of Rolls ‘dozers. Yet Charles did seem to be strangely employed. He asked for and was given several old coco pans and was also give permission to remove the wheels, complete with rubber tyres, from a number of old trucks in the vehicle scrap yard just norwest of town. He proceeded to strip the coco pans of their pans and flanged wheels, and refit them with the truck wheels, spending some time at a lathe in Central Fields turning up bits and pieces. Then he lined up all his machines with the working machine at the head, each linked by a chain, followed by several rubber-wheeled coco pan chassis’s laden with expensive spares including a number of Rolls diesel engines.
Ah! Now we could see what this dumb Brit had in mind. Having had his backside kicked by good ole Yankee knowhow he was intending to sneak out of town, taking with him all his British junk. Security had great pleasure warning him that such action was illegal and so did quite a few others, including some in high places rumoured to be on the Caterpillar team. He should just please stop right there and forget it. No heavy machinery, once inside the security area, ever left again. Didn’t he know that?
But Charles just nodded and smiled, checked his line of machines again and then for days did nothing at all.
The Opposition hugged itself. Bar talk was that once the Brit had buggered off we could take advantage of all those expensive spares and gain a few cheap bulldozers as well. But what was Charles waiting for?
It turned out he had his eye on the calendar and the weather report. What he wanted were the right sea conditions and a Spring tide. The long awaited day dawned bright and clear. Word quickly spread that Charles had started his line of machines and was moving them. In no time a pack of Landrovers converged on his work area just to the south of Central Fields, close to where the Tank farm was later built. I parked on a dune and had a ringside seat.
Slowly Charles drove his trail of machines a hundred metres south then stopped. We watched fascinated as he unloaded a large pipe he had fabricated in the nearby workshops, a peculiar thing with a thinner pipe welded on one side. With the help of his team of Ovambos he fitted it to the upright exhaust of the lead machine. The smaller pipe, I was told later, was fitted to the engine air intake. He’d obviously fitted it previously as it all went together like clockwork, required only the fastening of a half dozen bolts. Suddenly the front machine had a four metre high exhaust and air intake stack.
Like an impresario aware of audience attention, Charles boarded the lead dozer machine with a flourish of his hat, started that gentle rumble of Rolls diesel and headed for the beach. It was to be the last time we were to hear that sound. Suddenly everyone got the picture. I was too far away to hear but I’m sure a collective groan of disbelief went up.
The day was perfect, the sea flat calm and the tide out to maximum. In fact I’d never seen it that far out. Steadily Charles drove his little convoy out across the exposed flats, into the water and hopped off in the shallows. But the machines kept going, and going, and going until all disappeared except for the tall exhaust/intake pipe which at last, far out to sea, disappeared under the water. There was one last bubble of exhaust gas and then nothing. For some reason the observers started applauding - until they realized whose side they were supposed to be on – then quickly got into their Landies and drove away.
Charles flew out next day, leaving a behind a sense that somehow we had been cheated. There was some talk of salvage but it came to nothing. Rolls had had the last laugh.     
But what has all this to do with the Oranjemund ghost train? That name came up a couple of years later when a location for the Tank Farm was being sought. A diver, using Scuba, was given the job of scouting out a suitable spot on the seabed for the offshore pipeline. He went in just south of Central Fields and came out almost immediately, eyes standing out of his head. (I know because he was my yachting mate for a time at the newly built yacht basin in the old Pink P).
“Geez,” he told his beach crew, “there’s a (adjective deleted) ghost train down there. I kid you not, it’s a real train.”
He had found Charles’s dumping spot for the Rolls dozers. For weeks afterwards he was mercilessly ribbed for that remark, earning the nickname of ghost buster.
That was more than 40 years ago. Doubtless those bulldozers are still there, if any venturesome diver wants to take a look, a ghostly shell-encrusted train heading forever seawards, a last thumb of the nose to a bunch of colonial upstarts.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Creedy on May 25, 2009, 04:21:05 PM
Hi Bob
I had heard of the dozers- into - the sea - but had no idea it was like this at all.  I remember Norman Austin and perhaps my father who were on the mines at the time relating some story but to have a front seat must have been great!  Thanks Bob.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on May 25, 2009, 07:01:14 PM
Hi Bob,

I remember the stories that went around about those tractors.  Can you remember what the story of the Scammel trucks was all about.  I have an idea they were also used to plot the position of some unknown island or to see how far they could drive in cold salt water.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on May 25, 2009, 08:26:53 PM
Once again, a great tale Bob, and another piece of mining folklore laid to rest.....

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 02, 2009, 01:23:44 AM


A marathon pipe crawl


Doubtless every period in Oranjemund history had its share of characters who stood out as personalities, but my recall is that the Fifties and Sixties was particularly enriched by such people who, by comparison, made the rest of us appear mundane.

One such was John Heather, a true-blue Namibian long before such sentiments were common, who arrived in Oranjemund in the early Sixties as an employee of the company building the offshore fuel pipeline. Until the pipeline was installed all fuel arrived by road tanker, an expensive and on occasion not too dependable method of supply.

John was a handsome, muscular individual with a challenging stare from ice blue eyes that stopped most male opposition in its tracks. Women tended to melt when he was around but that’s another story not suitable for a family website.

He later went on to a successful career in education, holding the post of principal at several prestige schools until head-hunted by Anglo American to run managerial training for both whites and blacks, a rather courageous innovation in the apartheid years. As in most things he ventured, he was inordinately successful and pioneered many training techniques that later featured in a text book. He was later recruited by Shell to help them kick their management team into similar shape, leaving them a few years later to start his own company which he operated internationally until retirement. Still a convinced Namibian, he and his wife now live in Swakopmund where doubtless he continues to indulge in his taste in good Scotch, a yen for the ultimate fishing trip and the odd backhand comment about the New Zealand All Blacks. .

I first came across him on his 21st birthday drinking alone at Casey’s Bar having just hit town, no doubt feeling a bit morose and wondering just what the hell he was doing there. We hit it off immediately and, from very hazy recall, we had quite a convivial evening. That was nearly 50 years ago. Though in different fields and often continents apart we have maintained a friendship ever since.

All that is just a preamble to the story I was going to tell of his volunteering to crawl through the full length of the pipeline to thread it with a rope. Once threaded, the rope was used to draw through the steel cable that would pull the pipeline off the land into the sea.

I should explain that the pipeline was built on site, welded in sections mounted on bogies (the undercarriages of old coco pans) carried on a rail line built especially for the project. As each section was welded it was moved forward on the rail line, the aim being eventually to have the full pipeline ready for pulling into the sea. When complete it was 800 yards long (those were the old days of imperial measure).

To get some idea of the difficulty of this feat, imagine crawling on hands and knees along a 36 inch (less than a metre) diameter pipe for 800 yards (more than half a kilometre) unable either to stand up or go back, while up ahead all you can see is a tiny white dot of light at the other end. The pipe, I should add, was in full sun and hellishly hot; certainly not the job for the faint-hearted or the claustrophobic.   

At this stage my memory of events was so patchy that I thought I’d contact John just to refresh me on the details. His reply, typically humorous and self-deprecating, gives the story in full and is worth running just as it is:

Hi Bob
The real hero of the pipe crawl, as I learnt later, was a welder called Jimmy Stevens.   While I slept after my effort the rope broke as it was pulling in the cable so Jimmy completed the crawl in half the time with a heavier rope!  I spent too much time waving my arms inanely in the dark ahead of me convinced that a snake had crawled into the other end of the pipe.
The pipe was 800 yards long and 36 inches in diameter and was to act as a sleeve to protect the actual fuel line, a smaller 12 inch pipe, from the surf.   The Company was Land and Marine, a joint venture with Murray and Stewart and Consani who built the large fuel tanks.  The idea was to pull a pipe line out to sea where it could be plugged via a flexible hose into an oil tanker, thus saving the journey to Cape Town and back by road tankers. This was in 1962.
I was employed to x-ray the welds between each section of pipe using a uranium bomb almost guaranteed to render the user sterile.   This job was organized for me by a director of Murray and Stewart in Cape Town whose daughter I was dating.   The idea of me sterile and 700 kilometres from his daughter seemed to please him.
I was only marginally successful as a weld x-rayer and, having escaped sterilization, was propelled into the role of Bogey Wrencher.   This consisted of wrenching bogies off the rails being used to guide the pipe into the sea.  An offshore tug provided the motive power. As the pipe entered the sea the bogies fell away. They had to be hurriedly thrown onto trucks and taken back to where the long lengths of pipe welded together were being lifted onto the rails by crane. As the bogies weighed in excess of 100kgs the word exhaustion began to take on a truly new meaning.   The process of pulling the pipe into the sea took some forty hours - forty sleepless hours!
Because of the urgency of the project at that stage various CDM departments allocated personnel to help out where required. One of the people who volunteered as a temporary truck driver, a dilettante of Irish extraction called Molloy, found the physical collapse of the bogey pullers highly amusing.    He was however forgiven when he later pitched up in my room with an ice cold lager in each hand just as I wakened from a deathless sleep.
Land and Marine was headed by a huge Dutchman called Gert Groenhoff; a "can do" engineer whose previous role was salvaging wrecked vessels in storm-ravaged seas. His idea of safety would not have earned him a top Nosa grading.   Before the pipe launch started he quite seriously asked me to swim into the raging surf as far as I could while hanging onto the cable attached to the winch vessel some 2 kilometres from shore to see if there were any "obstructions" that would inhibit the pipe pull!   

When I emerged, violently battered by the surf and half drowned after barely managing 30 metres, his only comment was "I thought you were a good swimmer!"
I'm sure you would have more interesting stories regarding yourself, Stumpf and Cundill however they are probably unprintable.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: joco Mueller on June 09, 2009, 08:01:12 PM
Hi Bob, You did not mention the original plan of towing the pipe to its deatinaion.: The idea was to attach a huge plough to the front of the pipe. Due to the strong current it was feared that - according to divers big stones were floating in the water just like tennis balls - the pipe soon be damaged. Therefore the pipe should be burried into the furrow soon be covered i.e protected in the seabed.From one of our engineers I was told that Marines now threatened our mangement to cancell their contrct with CDM,rather pay the heavy fine,since now the feared that towing the pipe plus the plough was just too much for the ship's winches.They also feared that the ship ,firmly anchored, would lose the anchors (I think 4 of them) due to the vehement up and down of the motion of the sea.Finaly the plough idea was abandoned Bob,there was the roumor that the pipe was layed right next (downstream) to the Ghost Train for at least some protection.George Magnus filmed all this on 8mm for the company. I assisted him and recorded a lot of sound effects on one of my tape recorders.Privately taking some slides as well.The photo of tanks in the forum is one of them.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 12, 2009, 01:35:12 AM
Hi Joco,
           Good to hear from you and thanks for that input. I'd forgotten the argy-bargy between CDM and Land and Marine on how to protect the pipeline. It went on for quite some time and, yes, L&M threatened to walk away at some stage.
True too about the large rocks that rolled around like cannon balls in the sea. One diver came out so terrified that he refused to go back again until the sea had calmed a bit.
Re the ghost train, I imagine it will have been pretty well smashed up by now though it would be interesting for someone - on a calm day of course - to go in with scuba gear for a look and perhaps get a picture.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Creedy on June 12, 2009, 04:47:11 AM
Now there's an idea.  It would make a great topic.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 12, 2009, 06:29:55 AM
Frikkie Nel - Undertaker

Oranjemund - cradle to the grave: that was the concept in the days of CDM. Theoretically it was possible to be born there, primary schooled there, trained there, enjoy lifelong employment there, and eventually be interred in the local graveyard.
The hospital took care of the cradle side and OPS the primary schooling. After that it was necessary to leave for secondary and tertiary education. Many came back for technical education and on the job training as apprentices. Thereafter, as long as you didn't blot your copy book, you could depend on lifelong employment.
For a few whose lives were cut short there was the option of a sandy grave on the north side of town.
That's where Frikkie - a most unusual undertaker, came in. He was anything but the usual concept of the funeral director. A jolly, joking character, fond of his beer and definitely one of the boys, Frikkie really only moonlighted as the undertaker. He was normally employed as a carpenter but when needs must he switched jobs to coffin making and grave digging.
An Oranjemund grave, I learned from him, wasn't the usual hole in the ground concept. It had to be carefully dug, and well watered before the first spadeful was taken. The reason being that damp sand held its shape better. Anyone who has ever tried to dig a hole in dry sand will understand why you couldn't get far without a collapse. The edges also had to be covered with planking to ensure the funeral party didn't follow the coffin into the grave.
Frikkie's coffins were works of art. He spared nothing to ensure the deceased had a beautifully finished product in which he or she could be farewelled. They were also produced in short order, often in a single day if there was urgency.
Apart from a few of the more naive Namaqualanders who tried to avoid him in the bar, he was a popular character. His favourite joke was to sneak up behind one of the more superstitious of these, pull out his tape measure and take a reading across the shoulders of the unsuspecting drinker. The usual outcome was a howl of distress, if not a leap in the air and spilled beer. Sometimes the unhappy target took off into the night, not wishing to risk being any closer to the man who had just measured him for a coffin.
These pantomimes were repeated often, always to howls of laughter from those in the know. At times Frikkie only had to enter the bar for the more tender-minded to leave.
Not sure who does the job today but I doubt if he would be as flamboyant as old Frikkie who, I see from the calendar, has long gone to meet his own measurer.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on June 12, 2009, 08:31:20 AM

Great Stuff...... I know that a third section is now in use at the Graveyard.... Section 1 was filled way back and I see sometime in the mid 70's the 2nd section was added, which has most of the mid 70's - 80's graves. The 3rd section, where my mum is buried, is from the 90's onwards and has about 15 graves.

One cannot help but notice how many more children's graves can be seen in the 1st section as opposed to the other two sections. I put this down to medical advances?

Not to sure who organises the digging of graves these days.

There are a few graves that have jackal holes (dens) dug into the corners... Somewhere on this forum are a few pics from the graveyard.....
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Diana Rudd (Boehme) on June 12, 2009, 10:10:12 AM
Enjoyed that story.
As kids we spent quite a few hours wondering around the graveyard. The second section probably had about 2 rows when we left in 1980.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Andrew Darné on June 13, 2009, 04:20:27 PM
Please point us to any other posts on the Ghost Train, or tell the story if there's time.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 14, 2009, 02:43:01 AM
Hi Andrew,
               Re the ghost train: go to page one of this thread.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 15, 2009, 03:24:51 AM
Interesting point you made about those children's graves, Mike. There were indeed a large number of child deaths in the early Fifties and doubtless before that.
An abnormally large number of deaths in general in those days was due to cancer of one form or another, in children generally lymphoma. The suspicion was that this was due to having to pass through the X-ray so often when heading out for a weekend or on leave.
I had an inkling from the nurses that the medical department was already way ahead on this and heard that screening was later restricted. People still went through the process of standing spread-eagled in front of the large screen while on the other side the scanner could be heard buzzing up and down but it was seldom turned on, possibly only for characters who for one reason or another were under surveillance. The point was that one never knew whether the screen was on or not, so the rogues were not tempted to try anything.
This was confirmed to me by the radiologist years later, after I had left Omund and he had retired. He told me that he too had been worried about the radiation levels some people were being exposed to and had advised the company to reduce screening rates.
There did appear to be a drop in cancer rates thereafter but if statistics were kept they were certainly never published and the company didn't encourage discussion of the subject.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Gerda Cloete on June 15, 2009, 06:53:55 AM
I remember the undertaken Jan Nel who took care of my dads funeral.. is Frikkie a relation?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 16, 2009, 02:38:35 AM
Re Jan Nel: going back over 40 years now and memory is now too hazy to say whether Frik and Jan were related. It's also possible I got the first name wrong.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 18, 2009, 04:31:46 AM
Award for courage
An incredible act of bravery by one of Oranjemund's best known residents of the Sixties made the national headlines and caused CDM to strike a special gold medal to mark the occasion.
Sadly - during moves to various parts of the world - some of my newspaper files of the era have been lost including the eyewitness report I wrote of the incident. I'm sure if somebody dug around in the Advertiser or the Cape Times archives they'd find the reference but it was in pre-computer days and I doubt if the contents of those old libraries would have been digitised.
From memory I can reconstruct most of it. The event happened during one of the regular Orange River floods, with the exception that this flood eventually took away a large piece of the Oppenheimer Bridge, wrecked miles of the river bank and destroyed several fairways on the golf course.
It was a raging torrent spiked with tree trunks, fence posts trailing barbed wire, dead animals and birds, bits of wrecked cars and everything the river could plunder from some hundreds of miles of farmland along its banks.
It wasn't just a torrent, it was a maelstrom, a raging, watery hell that repelled and fascinated everyone. Virtually anyone who could beg, borrow or purloin a car came down to the river to get a glimpse of this mother of all floods.
Unfortunately for the bridge - designed to sit a comfortable three metres above the highest flood level ever reported - this flood made nonsense of such human falliblity. It came down higher than previously known, just enough to lap the bridge surface but not enough to clear the debris as it flowed over.
The result was a massive build-up of tree trunks and other wreckage that strained the bridge pillars. CDM declared an emergency and a team of workers and machinery was rushed to the bridge to help clear the flotsam. The smaller pieces were handled manually by groups of Ovambos while a couple of draglines lifted the larger tree trunks and other material across the bridge to the other side, allowing it to flow freely to the sea. For months afterwards the beaches as far north as Mittag were littered with the jetsam.
I had the easiest of jobs, ensuring power for whatever tools were used via a quick cable job and array of outlets hooked off a nearby transformer, plus a diesel-electric generator as a standby. Most of the time I stood and gaped. And there was lots of gape at; the flood held such menace that it was terrifying. Added to that was the thunder of the flood which seemed to shake even solid ground, and not least the bridge which shuddered and groaned at every blow.
Every so often the river would throw up a vicious roiling, debris-laden wave that chased everyone away from the water's edge - including me leading the rout. The first time it cost me several coils of extension cable and other gear, including a prized box of tools and some expensive test equipment, all of which joined the mad dash to the sea. For weeks after I checked the northern beaches but nary of a sign of my lost gear.
It was during one of the wave fronts that an unfortunate Ovambo lost his footing and with a terrified scream went into the water on the sea side of the bridge. By the time I heard the sound he was many metres away, only his head visible bobbing among muddy waters. He seemed to be making no attempt to swim, most likely he couldn't as in those days few Ovambos could.
Dave Lineker, one of the supervisors in charge of the gang, barely hesitated. Pausing only to strip off his oilskins, he dived headfirst into the river and took off swimming strongly after the now faraway Ovambo.
None of us gave either of them a hope, mainly because they were being buffeted in a lethal soup of mud, rocks, huge trees that struck the riverbed at intervals as they rolled over and over, flailing their branches and sometimes up-ending metres out of the water to crash down again, and all of it laced with what seemed like miles of barbed wire that the working groups had to cut from where it had wrapped itself around the bridge rails trying - in the end vainly - to free the flow.
Nothing or nobody had a show of hell of surviving even a few minutes in that cauldron. Never the less a bunch of us with an armful of light ropes raced along the riverbank trying to keep pace with them. Unbelievably, not only did the terrified Ovambo stay afloat, which seemed like a miracle in itself, Dave managed to reach him, spoke to him to calm him and, gripping him from behind, kept on swimming strongly with one arm towards the bank. When close enough, half a dozen pairs of hands eventually dragged them out. The only damage was to Dave's forearm and one leg which must have snagged something, duly stitched up later by an adoring nurse at the clinic.
The relief at their rescue was palpable. Everybody cheered. As the flood waters continued to rise the situation was reassessed and the work area was declared unsafe. All workers, machines and equipment were withdrawn and the bridge was left to its fate.
At a special ceremony, held in the Rec Club attended by the whole town, General Manager Stan Devlin awarded Dave a certificate of a bravery and a special gold medal struck for the occasion.
Dave, a very modest man, in a brief speech, insisted that he only did what anyone else would have done. I sat there in that hall and thought back to the occasion, my only recall a feeling of being almost paralysed by the sheer horror of it all. I was a fairly strong swimmer, as were most of us, but I doubt if anyone fancied their chances in the Orange River that day. Fortunately, thanks to Dave's quick-thinking, we were not put to the test.
It is not given to many to stand in the presence of real courage. When it happens, you know deep down what a gift you have received. I feel privileged to have had that opportunity. Dave Lineker, a very courageous human being, a man who showed us what common humanity really means.
I have no idea whether Dave is still with us. I searched for his name in the list of lost diamonds but couldn't find it so presume he is alive and well. If not, I'd be grateful to Mike if he would give him a special mention in that Roll of Honour.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on June 18, 2009, 08:48:22 AM
Dave Lineker is still alive and living down in the Cape, in fact I believe he attended the ex Oranjemunder pension lunch in SOmerset West last week.... his daughters Susan and Patricia are both members on this forum.....

Bob, on another note, I do believe that i am not the only person on this forum, but we implore you to put a wee book together on these tales of yours.... your writings are indeed captivating......

 msn emoticon (9)
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Mike Voden on June 18, 2009, 09:18:11 AM
Yes, Dave was at the Pensioners get together on 3rd June and looking very well I might add. In fact he lives not too far from us here in Gordon's Bay.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: SandyB on June 18, 2009, 10:00:26 AM
Wow !! what a story ..   Have in my  younger  years  seen many a vicious flood .. seems more tempered  since they built the  Dam  up river ...
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bertie Horak on June 18, 2009, 05:48:38 PM
Truly amazing story, Bob!  Thank you!
I can only echo what Mike said.... hope you started on the book already!!!!!  I'll be the first to put in my order!
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Diana Rudd (Boehme) on June 18, 2009, 09:26:15 PM
Great Bob...keep this thread going.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Patricia(nee)Lineker on June 19, 2009, 12:31:04 AM
Wow, that's my Dad!! Thanks Bob!! I somehow and somewhere in a vague memory seem to recall the "story" but it was never embellished or told as myth or legend in our family.  I will certainly ask Dad about it.  The one thing I do know is that in his younger days my dad was a life saver (surely as a cool a thing to do then as it is now??) and he used to talk to us about that at length.  I also know that that is where I got my passion for swimming as a young girl!! Thanks for the story!! I will try and find out if there is some way of getting hold of a copy of the article you talk about in your article.  Thanks, Mike, for linking me to the article!!
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Susan Kintscher (Lineker) on June 24, 2009, 09:41:10 PM
Thanks Mike....
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on June 26, 2009, 09:45:39 AM
The number of child graves in the Oranjemund cemetery, mentioned by Mike and Bob, has been bothering me.

Could the number of deaths be attributed to Polio?  I remember in the late 1940's and into the 1950's all children were given medicine to take.  At one time school sports were banned completely.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on June 27, 2009, 01:54:53 AM
Hi John,
           I have no recall of a single polio case in that period and in fact heard no mention of polio at all, though I do remember - at some stage during the late Fifties - the entire town being lined up in the ballroom of the Rec Club to receive oral - one drop on the tongue - anti-polio vaccine. 
The vaccine programme was thorough. Every resident (and every child) was checked off on a register. Others were either met on arrival back from leave for their compulsory shot or giving the option of leaving permanently. Management was very tough on that point. I heard of no-one who refused. All Ovambos were also given the vaccine.
I'm told the campaign was worldwide and so successful that Polio as a disease would have disappeared from the human gene pool and ceased forever to be a problem if it had been humanly possible to reach everyone.
As it was, the incidence of poliomyelitis declined dramatically in many industrialized countries. A second global effort to eradicate polio began in 1988, led by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and The Rotary Foundation. This reduced the number of annual diagnosed cases by 99%; from an estimated 350,000 cases in 1988 to 1,310 cases in 2007. According to Wikipaedia, should eradication be successful it will represent only the second time mankind has ever completely eliminated a disease. The first such disease was smallpox, which was officially eradicated in 1979. A number of eradication milestones have already been reached, and several regions of the world have been certified polio-free. The Americas were declared polio-free in 1994. In 2000 polio was officially eradicated in 36 Western Pacific countries, including China and Australia. Europe was declared polio-free in 2002. As of 2006, polio remains endemic in only four countries: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Dunno if you really wanted to know all this. If not, apologies, I tend to run on at length.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: SandyB on June 27, 2009, 07:24:00 AM
Yes and there  was also the TB vaccination program ,,,  the powers  of  this country have in their wisdom stopped  it .. what do we have  now  multi drug resisitant variety .. so darn short sighted .. sooner try to plug the holes with treatment with  folk who  default the minute they feel better .. Uugh ! 
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on July 01, 2009, 12:38:25 AM
John Cundill

An Oranjemunder who went on to become a successful script writer, so much so that his work dominated the early days of South African television and gained a swag of awards.  He arrived in Oranjemund in the late Fifties after graduating from the Speech and Drama School at UCT. His aim was a year on the mines to fund another year of overseas travel. 
A very congenial character, endlessly enthusiastic about his literary interests, he spent his year at HMS as an operator minding a noisy rotary crusher, which he quipped was also crushingly boring. No doubt to combat that he sought the healing arts and seemed to spend as much time in the nurse’s quarters as he did at HMS.  There were no complaints from the nurses and he stopped complaining about the crusher so either the therapy worked or he was a particularly good operator.
During his stay in Oranjemund he scripted a radio comedy based on characters in the town. It got to the stage of various readings which were hilarious. A version was eventually recorded on tape. Sadly he dropped the project at that stage and took off on his dream overseas trip. I heard from him at intervals, most of which involved beaches, red wine and the obligatory running of the bulls at Pamplona.  It all came to an end when, as he recalls, he awoke with a hangover on a beach in Spain early one morning and realized the days of wine and roses had gone on overlong.

Back home in Johannesburg he joined the Star as a junior reporter and flourished, later becoming their Gallery Columnist (a kind of political satirist) in Cape Town during the parliamentary session.  Our paths crossed a lot as I was by then a reporter for the Cape Times.

With the advent of South African television in the mid-Seventies he saw a market for script-writing and created the country’s first major soapie, The Villagers, a long-running and hugely successful series. Though based on a gold-mining community it had echoes of Oranjemund. It not only brought him enough offers to enable him to take up the work fulltime, it also launched the careers of a number of actors who later went on success in both small screen and film work.

From then on his own career flourished. Before relocating to Australia Cundill was South Africa's most prolific television screenwriter. His credits totalled over 130 hours of drama, comedy and top-rating series such as THE VILLAGERS, WESTGATE, 1922, THE OUTCAST and TWO WEEKS IN PARADISE.

His first work for Australian television, the mini-series JACKAROO (produced by Crawfords), won three Logie awards. AN UNNATURAL OFFENCE (JANUS, ABC) was nominated for an AWGIE in the Best Episode Category. Episode 7 of HEARTLAND (ABC), featuring Cate Blanchett, was joint winner of the 1995 AWGIES. A CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE, one of several episodes written by Cundill for the ABC's EMBASSY series, was nominated for a 1992 AFI Award. Other credits include MERCURY (ABC) featuring Geoffrey Rush, GP (ABC), LOVE IN LIMBO (feature film featuring Russell Crowe) and NEVER TELL ME NEVER (Telemovie, Palm Beach Pictures, featuring Claudia Karvan.)  He was also one of three finalists (for two years running) in the prestigious Noosa National One-Act Play Competition, winning Audience Choice last year with THE EULOGY.
Also staged to great acclaim was UNFORCED ERRORS, his trilogy of one-act plays, which takes a light-hearted look at the issues faced by the baby boomer generation now entering late middle age.

Cundill, who still has fond memories of Oranjemund, today lives with his wife, Marilla, in Maleny, a small town in the hills just north of Brisbane on the Queensland coast.  As a fellow scribbler I’ve often pondered the importance of the crusher in all this. Perhaps the moral is, if you want a script-writing career, spend a year watching a rock crusher. Or, on second thoughts, perhaps it was the after-hours therapy that did it.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Malcolm Bertoni on July 01, 2009, 12:58:57 AM
Hi Bob

I can speak from personal experience that watching ball mills go around and around, watch rocks being crushed to smithereens and watching ferro-silicon being pumped around pipes, does eventually affect one.  I often had to force myself into a daydream state to 1) pass the time, 2) ignore the noise (No earplugs in those days) and 3) stay sane.  Try doing that for a few years.  The only redeeming factor was the money going into the bank.

So naturally one thought of the strangest and often most imaginative things.  Perhaps it took me a bit longer to get the pen to paper.  This could have been due to many reasons, not least that I never really thought that anyone would want to read anything that I wrote.
Perhaps now that I'm (slightly) older I dont care too much about what people think.

Really enjoying your reminisces and tales.  Keep it up.


Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on July 01, 2009, 03:59:48 AM
Hi Malcolm,
                 Intrigued by your "pen to paper" remark. Did you publish any of it, and if so where is it available?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Malcolm Bertoni on July 01, 2009, 11:57:41 AM
Hi Bob

I've written all about my  Oranjemund and Affen experiences in my book 'Diamonds and Dust' and have my second book which is fiction is coming out at the end of July.  Third book almost finished and should be ready early next year. 4th and 5th book in the pipeline.  Trying to make up for lost time :-)

Finding writing fun and really enjoying it.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on July 02, 2009, 12:26:54 AM
Hi Malcolm,
                Where can I buy a copy of your book on Omund?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Malcolm Bertoni on July 02, 2009, 02:18:19 AM
Hi Bob

I dont know where you are.  In Aus its available at the Hobart Bookshop (hobooks@ozemail.com.au), in Cape Town from Clarkes Bookshop (books@clarkes.co.za) or you can order it online from Eqilibrium Books diriectly (http://www.equilibriumbooks.com/diamonds.htm).  Mike Alexander might have a few copies left.  I am sending him another batch in about 2 weeks.


Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on July 06, 2009, 01:47:10 AM
Thanks Malcolm, I have a copy ordered fromt the Oz link.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on July 11, 2009, 07:15:34 AM

One of Oranjemund’s larger than life characters, Des was a very warm human being who accomplished much in a busy life. In his early twenties he gave up accountancy to switch to medicine and, like many students of his era, soon ran out of money. Oranjemund beckoned as a way of funding his medical studies and he spent a year on the mines, returning annually throughout his student years to renew his many friendships and keep the coffers full.
He early showed his talents as a pianist and singer, leading a group known as The Bachelors Gay (not a title that would have stood up today) and ran a series of night club evenings in the Recreation Club that always attracted a full house. His repertoire ran from the risqué and raucous that shook the building, to sentimental ballads that had late night revellers in tears. His annual Bums Convention - where heaven help you if you wore anything you hadn’t found at the dump - was a rowdy Tramps Ball at which the punch was served from a series of toilet bowls and music supplied by a picaresque collection of ragged scarecrows playing everything from comb and paper to banjos, squeeze boxes, a tea chest and 44-gallon drums. Needless to say, it was always a sell-out.
Hugely charismatic, Des loved life and living, and always attracted a following. In an outstanding student career he was elected class president, chaired the Medical Students Council and was intervarsity cheerleader for two years in succession. No mean sportsman, he also represented UCT at squash. He graduated MB.Ch.B in 1966 and worked as a General Practitioner at Touwsrivier, Durbanville and Mowbray.
In later years he increasingly gave much of his time to the underprivileged. He served for 12 years as a Rotarian and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship. Des also chaired the Tygerberg Division of the Community Chest of the Western Cape, was national chair of the Prisoners Aftercare League, a founder member and executive of the Northern Areas Drug Action Committee and an executive of the Carpenters Shop - a rehabilitation and upliftment facility for the street people of central Cape Town.
As a consultant general practitioner he gave his services freely to the Khayelitsha Town Council and held various posts at Westfleur Hospital in Atlantis. He detested charlatan faith healers and fought a successful campaign against them both in South Africa and internationally.
In 1996 he was awarded the Distinguished Family Practitioner Gold Medal for 25 years pro deo service and three years later the Melvin Jones International Fellowship Award for dedicated humanitarian service - a Lions International Foundation award.
In  the last year of his life he fought a long battle with cancer which started as a melanoma and later spread to become a brain tumour. Despite his failing strength Des continued to work a full weekly shift in his free clinic amid the squatter camps of Khayalitsha in the Western Cape. On February 1, 2002, he collapsed into a coma and died a three days later. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne, and children Rori, Heidi, Sonja and Margo.
He was indeed an outstanding Oranjemunder. For those of us privileged to have known Des Stumpf, the world is indeed the poorer for his passing.
Bob Molloy
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: SandyB on July 11, 2009, 06:29:19 PM
Bob  what time   span was this  in ?  recall my Mom  mentioning his name ...  whether it was was with  contact  in  the 80's or earlier ...
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on July 12, 2009, 07:23:10 AM
Hi Sandy,
               Your parents would indeed have known Des. His era in Oranjemund covered the six year period from '61-'67.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: SandyB on July 12, 2009, 09:05:34 AM
Thanks Bob all the memories glueing together  nicely .. I recalled seeing  the tea box broomstick and string  " double bass "  being played on the music stage of the  rec club hall as a child ...  one of those afternoon practice sessions .. fascinating what one could  do with it ... 

 Under the  what our parents got up to  topic page  2 ... is a pic  of  my Mom singing  albeit not  at a tramp dance  . if you have  not visited this topic there are some faces you may remember and be able to put names to ...  click on the link  below  ... enjoy ..


Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on August 06, 2009, 02:06:11 AM
In response to a request from Freddie Riley asking what happened to Karin Richter, here is a news article I wrote in late 1963 which appeared in the Windhoek Advertiser.


Two Oranjemund residents, Dr Vittorio Lombardozzi and Sister Karin Richter plan to travel by car from Cape Town to Cairo, then on to Europe through Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia.
Dr Lombardozzi is an Italian geologist who has been in Africa for three three years, first working for Anglo American in Tanganyika and currently in South West Africa for the Consolidated Diamond Mines (CDM) Ltd.
Sister Richter came to South West Africa from Germany 11 years ago and then trained in Pretoria as a nursing sister, later qualifying in midwifery in Cape Town. In 1960 she returned to Germany for a holiday but the following year accepted a post at the CDM private hospital in Oranjemund.
The couple met here about six months ago and became engaged on August 1. They plan to be married in December in Gottingen, Germany, which is Karin's home town.
During their overland travel they will camp along the route and are taking all the necessary equipment. They leave Cape Town on August 3 where the car will be overhauled for the 17,000 mile trip.
From Cape Town they will travel along the Garden Route to Johannesburg and Pretoria where they will spend a few days. The next leg of the trip will take them through Southern and Northern Rhodesia visiting places of interest such as the Kariba Dam and the Victoria Falls.
They expect to spend some time in Tanganyika where Dr Lombardozzi worked for several years and then travel on to Kenya. In Nairobi they will investigate possible routes open to Cairo.
They hope to motor to Juba and from there go by rail and river steamer to Khartoum. The trip from Khartoum to Port Sudan will be done by car. At Port Sudan they plan to board a ship for Suez.
However, because of the rising waters of the Aswan Dam they may not be able to go via Khartoum. In which case they will go direct from Nairobi to Mombasa from where they will take ship to Suez or Alexandria.
Some time will be spent sightseeing in Egypt thereafter the route lies by road through Turkey, Greece and Yugoslavia. Dr Lombardozzi will part from Karin in Gottingen and then go on visit his family in Rome.
The journey will end when Dr Lombardozzi returns to Gottingen for the wedding in December, 1964.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: john wilson on August 29, 2009, 03:18:55 PM
Hello Bob ,Here is a wee story you might find amusing.When I worked at North Construction was assigned to Beauvalon farm for a series of electrical repairs and for some reason or another Mr Pollard and I hit if off and insisted I do all his work (dont know if that was good or bad) anyway he was developing a new area at Daberas back then and wanted a small power plant there to pump water from the river for irrigation,all that was their was a concrete pad ,and would build the building around it when finished. During the installation I got heat exhaustion and thanks to my Ovambo helpers saved the day. When Polly found out he told me he had a trailer down on the river bank I could use ,so every day I used that facility.He also had a small fridge there and when I opened it there was a bottle of Johnny Walker and cold water so the temptation was too much so had one. The next day when travelling to Daberas I could see Polly coming at least a mile away ,he travelled alone with at least six dogs in his truck. He flagged me down and we discussed the job for at least 30 min but as he was pulling away shouted, buy your own bloody whiskey and sped off.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on August 29, 2009, 03:51:57 PM
John, spot on... those are the wee tales we want to remember.... great story....
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on September 02, 2009, 01:25:35 AM
Hi John,
             Yes, Polly was quite a character. He figured large in the early Fifties when Oranjemund gardens were under development. Those were the days when fertiliser, whether artificial, in manure form or as guano was in great demand.
For a couple of bottles of Mellowood Polly would deliver a truckload of what he charmingly called "pigshit" (or by request horse or cow manure) right to your front door. The pigshit was the most potent though most people avoided it because of the smell. It all came from Beauvallon. How he managed to get it across the bridge and through security checks only God - and perhaps the extra bottle of Mellowood - knows.
Without that vital annual input your garden went nowhere. Guano was another source, and here the Sparkies had easy access. If you look at the base of any power pole in the mining area you'll find bird droppings, most of it from seagull carrying a large quantity of small fish bone. It was powerful stuff and could be used in small quantities to grow the most incredibly healthy roses.
Whale vertebrae, found in large quantities on the beach, were also prized. After drying in the sun the bone could be crushed and applied to the soil, adding all sort of useful minerals and other goodies.
Back to Polly, you probably know that in later years he was famed for his training of the mules, and Ovambo jockeys, for the Mule Derby. Every year he would pitch up with his team of willing mule riders, each dressed in jockey colours, and a selection of eager mules. The Derby was held on some cleared space to the east of what was then 13th Avenue.
It was grew larger over the years and eventually looked more like a circus than a race meeting, complete with clowns, face painting, tents, train rides for the kids, food stalls, trampolines, bouncy castle, gymnastic displays, song contests, arm wrestling and - the attraction which always had a large queue of guys eager to try their strength - the Sledgehammer. This was a test of who could ring the bell at the top of a tower with one blow of a sledgehammer on a seesaw that sent a bolt shooting up the tower. I once saw Polly do it one-handed. I never achieved it, even with both hands and two feet off the ground.
I comforted myself with the thought that as he built the damn thing he had all year to practise his swing.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on September 03, 2009, 06:37:20 PM
Bob, I had this picture on my PC, on the original, it stated, building the pipeline..... now, do you know if this was the Tankfarm Pipeline that they refer to?
 msn emoticon (9)
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on September 07, 2009, 04:52:15 AM
Hi Michael,
                   I have no recall of that picture and think it unlikely to have been taken during construction of the tank farm pipeline. My reasons are that the tank farm pipeline was 36 inches (almost a metre) in diameter and 800 yards or just short of a kilometre long. It was built in sections on rails, each section carried on bogies and welded to the next so that when complete it was one continuous length.
It was built in this manner so that when ready it could be pulled into the sea by an offshore tug. To ensure it could be pulled offshore in one ongoing operation it was essential to have the rails on a flat surface at right angles to the selected entry point to the sea. Once started, it took forty hours of continuous pulling to complete the job.
For that reason I very much doubt that the picture shows the construction of the tank farm pipeline. The background terrain in the picture doesn't look at all likely and there is no sign of 36 inch diameter pipes or rail line. Also, the picture shows an exposed rocky seabed which was not a feature of any portion of the tank farm pipeline construction work.
The picture could well have been of the later version of the sewage pipeline which originally discharged straight onto the beach just north of the old Central Fields workshops. As such it was an ill-considered abomination, a knee-jerk response to the failure of a few of the town's septic tanks and a major environmental hazard that fuelled the crayfish industry and contaminated beaches for kilometres to the north.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on September 07, 2009, 05:41:46 AM
Further to the last post, I had another look at the pic and can make the following comments. The background shows a collection of buildings which is not Oranjemund, and even if it were it would be a further pointer to the unlikelihood of the tank farm pipeline as it wasn't possible to see Oranjemund from Central Fields construction site.
Also, in the far background is a ridge line which could be a mine dump apparently either parallel to the sea or heading away from it. The only such dump which answers that description which could have a collection of buildings in front of it was the old HMS dump. The power line in the foreground is a low voltage line i.e. no high tension insulators so most likely a 500 volt line which fed the just visible transformer sitting at the base of the end pole. It ends at the work site and hence was possibly a temporary supply erected for just that purpose.
Putting all this together and adding a few guesses, I'd say the site was most likely just to the west of the old North Compound and showed the construction of the Compound sewage pipeline, again an abomination which discharged into an excavated dam site located in the desert where it was safely out of sight of passing visitors.   
However, negating all this is the fact that the shadows show it is just past noon. The sun would be slightly north of zenith which means that the shadow points south. That means the background lies to the east and the foreground to the west, an unlikely situation if the pic was indeed taken at the North Compound site.
The age of the pic is also suggested by the WW2 long shorts worn by the bloke bent over the pipe, not to be confused with today's baggies.
It could also be a section of the orginal Oranjemund freshwater pipeline from Swartkops, but then why the elaborate concrete works and why excavate down to bedrock?
We need to pick more brains here. Would anyone like to add their ideas?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Gordon Brown on September 07, 2009, 02:26:53 PM
Hi Bob
Looks to me it could be either the construction or dismantling of a screening plant water hole pump station. At 68G plant we had a similar type operation. The 38RBD (Rusten Bucyrus Diesel) dragling was used to clean the water hole which of course was used as a source of water for the wet screening operations at the plant. Initially when the plant was built, the water hole would be kept water free with pumps whilst the bedrock and any gravels found in the hole were excavated and treated for diamonds. Thereafter the hole was allowed to fill with seawater which seeped in through the seaward side. These water holes silted up periodically and the dragline was brought back to clear it. The concrete structure in the picture suggests this may be a dismantling operation. Regards Gordon
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on September 07, 2009, 06:45:58 PM
Hi Guys,

Missed a few. Was away from computers for a while  rooster

The Polly you guys are talking about, would that be the bloke that used to drive the bus to Luderitz, wasn't he a DDD?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on September 08, 2009, 06:03:56 AM
Hi John,
            There might well have been a bus driver named Polly, but the one I had in mind was Polly Pollard who for years was the manager of Beavallon Farm in the days when it was run as the company farm and major provider of fresh meat, fruit and veggies to Oranjemund.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Gordon Brown on September 08, 2009, 03:00:24 PM
Remember Polly's wife was the General Manager's secretary for many years until Polly's retirement. Along with Steph Olivier (Ginger's wife) one of the most competent and efficient secretaries at that time. Dot Eyre at Geology and Dorothy McBride(Jack's good wife) in Personnel were in the same super-secretary league.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on September 11, 2009, 03:58:15 PM
Hi Bob,

I wonder, might be same guy.  Surely Pollard is not a name you hear often.

The bloke I'm thinking of had cauliflower ears, must've been fighter in his young days.

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Alfred Boehme on September 11, 2009, 04:50:39 PM
I remember the Pollard boys or young men one of them or maybe both where very good athlete's I recall the one used to through hammer field event in athletics or could I be wrong?
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on September 12, 2009, 05:32:29 AM
Hi John,
            You may be confusing Polly with another character, a member of the DDD, who had the most incredible pair of cauliflowers I've ever seen on a human head. He was a former professional wrestler - built like the proverbial brick outhouse - but a devout churchgoer who loved nothing more than singing in the choir and had a very gentle manner.
Though come to think of it, I once saw him and Polly give a wrestling display in the Rec Club - very much blunt force trauma stuff, not much play-acting that I could see, in fact it made me resolve never to cross his path. On that score, Polly may well have had a cauli or two.
The DD guy also had two beautiful daughters who appeared to lose out to male attention as few single guys had the courage to front up to the house.
I'm guessing but think his name was Danie van der Westhuizen or could be Van der Merwe.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: John Haycox on September 13, 2009, 07:55:57 PM
Hi Bob,

No, the bloke I'm thinking of was called Pollard and he was a DDD.  In the fifties he drove the bus to Luderitz every Monday returning on Tuesday.

I wonder, is it possible that he moved to the farm later?  Or, better still, is he perhaps related to the Pollard you guys are talking about.

I seem to recall he left Oranjemund or left the DDD's during 1959.

He was a wrestler in a previous life.  We also knew him in Kimberley, before we moved to Oranjemund.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Alfred Boehme on September 13, 2009, 09:32:46 PM
John, the Pollard I'm refering to I new as "Oom Danie Pollard" he had two son's, he also stayed in the house near the farm at Sheperds Nec. I recall going through to Baevalon farm with either my folks or could be freinds of ours not sure most likely somebody else you refering tp

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: john wilson on September 17, 2009, 09:58:00 PM
Hello Again, The Pollard I am refering to is Polly Pollard the farm manager,who at some time or another was in security,he and his brother both lived on Beauvalon farm when I was there,he also had some pull around CDM as he had contacts in Kimberly,when I get time I can tell a good story about that.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: john wilson on October 06, 2009, 02:49:15 PM
As I mentioned before Polly Pollard the farm manager was treated with kid gloves and most of the formen on the mine really didnt want to deal with him for some reason.When I was sent to Beauvalon the very first time my foreman Tony Dunster told me he was taking me over to show me all the work that needed to be done there,and instructed me not to talk to anybody just show up and do my job and report to him on the progress. This I did for the first week there ,and I never saw a sole around except for the African workers. The second week on Monday morning Tony called me into his office and asked whats the problem over there and I said no problem, as I have never seen Mr Pollard anywhere ,but needless to say he was watching me. Tony then informed me that he was called into Head office as a report had came in from Kimberly of an unautherized person on the farm and demanded an explaination. This was a big deal for Tony and asked if I would go and see Mr Pollard this Monday when I arrive,this I did and arrived at his house which he had an annex he used as an office,I wasnt sure what to expect as he was quite an imposing character,so I intruduced myself to him and he just grinned and said sit down ,do you want tea or coffee, and for the next 4 hours asked every question in the book about me,that was the start of a long and pleasant relationship I had with him,he was a very interesting character and told some great stories about the region.Another great memory.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Ricky Barron on October 07, 2009, 10:17:22 AM
Hi John!
What is your surname? The reason I ask is that "Uncle Tony" Dunster lives in a retirement village around the corner from me....Maybe I could jog his memory next time I see him, I don't believe he is on-line!

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: john wilson on October 07, 2009, 02:36:42 PM
Hello Ricky,My name is John Wilson,Tony was my foreman for the first few years in Omund.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on October 08, 2009, 12:25:43 AM
Hi Ricky,
              I'd be grateful if you would also give my best regards to Tony and ask him to drop me an email. He was a thorough-going nice guy and also my foreman at one stage. Ask him if he recalls the day I wrote off the front bumper of the workshop Landy while reversing it out of the workshop.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on October 08, 2009, 06:59:23 AM
Gee! Bob, you seem to have a thing with damaging landrovers.....   laughpoint
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on October 08, 2009, 10:59:34 PM
Hi Mike,
            The front bumper incident was only a practice run for the biggie which happened a couple of years later. In between came joy rides on Sherman tanks, bucketwheel scoops, diggers, dozers, Le Tourneau scrapers and - glorious moments - creatively free in the control tower of the legendary Sauerman Scraper.
I was a slow starter but I had a great mentor in George Lovett, the demon rigger. On reflection, I think the company's bottom line improved after I left. The share price certainly rose sharply.
"Just a coincidence," my wife said. "Don't stress about it."

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Bob Molloy on October 30, 2009, 03:56:06 AM
Encyclopaedia seller par excellence

They say if you can remember the Sixties you weren't there. I'd turn that on its head and say that anyone who lived in Oranjemund in the Sixties could never possibly forget them, nor indeed the host of charismatic characters who worked there when Omund was in its heyday.

Which brings to mind Kevin Butler, one of the most engaging. Kevin was one of the annual crop of university students who used their summer break to earn hard cash on the mine. I talked to him recently to get some background material for this piece. He recalls that as a penniless student even getting to Oranjemund was a mission, you either bummed a ride in someone’s car or if lucky got a lift on the company Dakota. The first time he landed at Alexander Bay he thought the plane had made an emergency landing as the airfield was so bleak and desolate. Oranjemund wasn’t much better but the pay was good.

He first worked in the rather boring job of plant operator but later applied for, and got, the much sought-after position of barman at Caseys, then a rather tough men’s bar. He proved to be ideal for the job: cheerful, talkative, coolly efficient when the evening rush filled the bar, a calming influence on fighting drunks, a sympathetic ear for the weepy and good at crowd control. But on one occasion even his tactful charm had no effect when two beer-swilling off-duty cops refused to leave at closing time. A tussle developed.
Fortunately, as Kevin recalls it, one other bar regular was still there. It was Koos Vermaak, a hulking good-natured giant of a man who when not filling a booth at Caseys was a building foreman for Rumbles, the housing contractors. Seeing Kevin about to be annihilated by the two fired-up drunks, Koos downed the last gulp of his beer, stood up, grabbed one cop in each hand, banged their heads together and tossed them out through the batwing doors.
The doors had been specially fitted for such occasions, allowing for easy exit when propelled at speed. Oranjemund was a whole different ballgame in those days. Such incidents weren’t uncommon and as long as the offenders turned up for work next day management usually turned a blind eye.

Another bar habitué was Father Devenny, the resident Catholic priest who once arrived one empty afternoon with two other clerics of different religious denominations. One ordered a beer very sheepishly, the other a brandy, asking Kevin not to mention it to his parishioners. Father Devenny looked at both, called for a double whiskey “and you can tell who the hell you like.”   
The same priest came into the pub one evening when the bar was going full tilt, looking for a man who had just beaten up his wife. He confronted him in the bar, told him to put his glass down and then punched him onto his backside. “That’s just the first instalment,” he told him. “You’ll get the rest next time you hit your wife.” The bar cheered. There were no more reports of wife-beating. I don’t think they make priests like that any more.

Kevin, ever the entrepreneur, soon boosted his earnings by renting out a guitar for singsongs and darts by the hour, and photographing wild parties then selling the prints at, as he puts it, “extortionate prices”. Apart from the punch-ups, there were rowdy “bok-bok” games that broke furniture and bones indiscriminately. Official inquiries usually only happened when the participants landed up in hospital. Even then the explanations sounded innocuous. Hospital matron Monica Barnes, herself a very formidable character, told me a survey of the report forms would show that an amazing number of guys walked into trees and fell down steps but nobody was ever injured in a brawl. “Generally that explanation was accepted, unless they walked into the same tree or fell down the same step twice.”

In his final year Kevin hit the jackpot. Before heading north for his summer job in Oranjemund he put in a few days training as a salesman for Colliers, the big American encyclopaedia company which had just opened an office in Cape Town. Then he hit Oranjemund with a bang, armed with a sales talk that signed up most of the town while working after hours. He was charming, persuasive, well informed about his product and knew most of his prospective customers. He sold only to married couples with children, his approach being to make an appointment to talk to husband and wife together at their home, tell them of the incredible educational advantages for their children, let them page through a glossy full-colour sales brochure, than hand them a pen to sign up.
The market was perfect: before the Internet, before television, with minimal library facilities, a town with only one store which didn’t sell books or magazines, with customers in full employment with ready cash and eager to buy.

The encyclopaedia, which came complete with custom-made bookcase, was pricey – about a month’s pay if I recall correctly. But as with most small towns, when people heard the neighbours had signed up they were eager to keep up with the Joneses. Kevin made a killing. He was top encyclopaedia salesman in the world for a short period and was congratulated by the American CEO of Colliers. More importantly, his earnings paid for his university fees and all expenses at UCT for the next year.

He remembers signing several sales one evening and on the way back to his quarters noticed the lights were still on at a house. On a whim, he knocked at the door. In his own words: “I encountered a guy who after a long sales pitch said he would buy my books if I would drink with him. While it meant that I actually broke the Colliers sales record of four sets of books in one day I also fell down in the road three times on the way home. The following day I was late for work and sent to General Manager Stan Devlin’s office for a dressing down but he just laughed when I told him the story. It helped of course that I knew him well as I was also seeing his daughter Hilary at the time.”

An astute salesman, Kevin was careful to arrange for the encyclopaedias to be delivered after he left town. Not that there were any comebacks, or at least none that I knew of. There are probably still some sets of Colliers in Oranjemund to this day. I still had mine 20 years later. Kevin, a glutton for academic punishment, graduated as geologist and took a second degree majoring in psychology with economics.
He then did a post-grad two year management training course with Unilever but gave it up for the advertising world where he spent the next 12 years in London and Johannesburg. Cape Town called so he started a business there manufacturing and marketing a range of cosmetics, taking on a pharmacist and an accountant as partners. The trio made such a dent in the market they were eventually bought out by a publically listed company. Today he is retired and living in Somerset West where he is completing an historical novel.

I was going to add “and all that from selling encyclopaedias” but that would be skewing the scrum. It was all just pure luck - if you define luck as personal charm, an eye for an opportunity, sheer hard work and equipping yourself with the skills to take advantage of the luck when it comes along.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 05, 2010, 03:12:15 PM
And these Collier encyclopaedis travelled with us Bruces for decades after we left Oranjemund.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 06, 2010, 10:41:39 PM
Did any of you hear the tale of the legendary Irishman who wanted to defy death by drowning and surf off the beach at Oranjemund?


This story is what makes legends. It is a tale of bravery, missing a calm tidal window and of pitting an extraordinary man against one of Earth's worst seas on a 'surfboard' that defied the standard designs of the day.

Those 'dumper' waves and viciously dangerous backtows do not make for easy surfing. Death and serious injury were very real risks. There was only a small window of opportunity to succeed when the sea was not at its furious norm. But the window of opportunity slowly ticked away.

Who wants to know more?

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Vincent Trethewey on August 12, 2015, 05:54:28 PM
Hi Pollard was also running the farm at Beauvelon and if I remember his wife was a teacher at the school

Regards Vincent Trethewey
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Peet on August 13, 2015, 06:26:29 PM
Hey... My wife is working for SA metal and last year the director of SA metal was called in because of machines they discovered at the 3plant jetty... She has photo of the machines. I will ask her to give me the pictures they took... MAYBE THEY DISCOVERED THE GHOST TRAIN...
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on August 14, 2015, 09:13:43 AM
Hi Peet,

I think Andrew posted that photo already of the line of Bowlscrappers next to the 3plant Jetty, The Ghost train was further South down to where the old Tank Farm use to be.
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: henniek on July 10, 2016, 08:01:30 PM
A short but true story . one day Barney the recovery forman asked me for a lift back to town . Because his usual lift with Fred and the sorthouse girls in the VW combi was delayed , the Sorthouse staff  had to work overtime . One of Barney’s tasks was to clean the sorting machines . And  blow the last traces of dust out with compressed air . When we arrived at his house, he invited me in for a cup of coffee. Barney was a chain smoker  .  Lucky strike plain . and soon there was quite a number of cigaret  butts in the ashtray
While drinking coffee , making small talk , Barney fumbled with his trousers turnups. Feeling something – he took out a shiny stone , about 2 matchheads size.
Not a big deal. . he said . “  I will just take it back tomorrow and throw it back in the sorthouse bin.
Months later I asked him if he took the stone back. “no hell man , I forgot all about it – but it was no use going back later that day  . The domestic  already cleaned all the ashtrays & dustbins  , and the refuge was collected by then  , and taken away to the down’s dump .” he said
 ..Till today I still wonder . did the domestic find the stone , or is it on the towns dump 
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Malcolm Bertoni on July 12, 2016, 12:55:55 PM
Barney was the foreman at 66M while I was there. He went to the recovery at 4 plant when 66M closed down.

Smoked like a chimney and his fingers were stained with nicotine.

He was a good bloke though.  Anyone know what happened to him?

Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: henniek on July 12, 2016, 06:15:45 PM
Barney retired - baught himself a house in Parys , Freestate RSA . Learned from Robert du Preez that Barney passed away n number of years ago
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: henniek on July 12, 2016, 08:19:14 PM
Barney & x ray sorter
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Adriaan Van Rooyen on July 31, 2016, 03:18:38 PM
Mike ,i think Peet is scared the ghost train is coming for him....... trex-073
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: henniek on December 24, 2017, 02:49:39 PM
About John Cundill , the scrip writer of many plays  , I always meant to mention that the TV series " The Villagers " that was  screened on TV was filmed on site at Simmer & Jack Mine in Germiston. One of the houses use most was the dwelling of Mr Joe Chaimberlyn  Germiston
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Clive Gilmour on January 13, 2020, 05:29:54 PM
Stunned by Sandy's acute memory. I had totally forgotten Blithe Spirit which, I think, was written by Noel Coward. It was a hilarious comedy, very professionally done by the Players. Pops Lovett, if my recall serves me well, played the part of Madame Acarti, the medium who calls up the ghost of the main character's first wife. She was a superb actor. In later years she shone even more in her backstage work where she and Joyce Hammond ran the costumes department, producing the most superbly designed costumes for all kinds of plays and musicals.
Hi just noticed this...Madam Acarti was played by my mom Marge Gilmour I was the doctor and Daphne  Holland my wife. Cheers Clive Gilmour
Title: Re: Oranjemund characters
Post by: Michael Alexander on January 13, 2020, 07:23:02 PM
Hi Clive, glad to see someone still reads through all this amazing history!

Was Daphne Holland family of Terry Holland, who currently still resides in Oranjemund?