Port Elizabeth of Yore: Hobie Beach. From a misnomer to a sobriquet

Officially Hobie Beach is called Shark Rock Beach. But even that name is incorrect for two reasons which will shortly be explained. Notwithstanding the fact that the origin of the name and its derivation is inaccurately attributed, why would the sailors in their billowing Hobie Cats, the gaily coloured visitors on the Shark Rock Pier or the sun-blistered sun tanners on the golden beach care about such historical inaccuracies?

Of course, they don’t care a fig! But I do. Because I am interested in history but not to needlessly pick an unwinnable verbal brawl.

This is the saga both of the naming of this area from a misnomer to a sobriquet to uncovering its long-lost use prior to the establishment of posh suburbs in the area and the construction of the Shark Rock Pier.

Main picture: This is the oldest extant photograph of the mouth of Shark River with Hobie Beach on the tight

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Slipway in Humewood

Most residents of Port Elizabeth are unaware what the purpose of the concrete pillars jutting out of the sand between Hobie and Humewood Beach represent. It was a slipway built in 1903. By the 1850s Algoa Bay was attracting swarms of vessels of all shapes and sizes. Many used the Bay as the location to effect minor repairs before proceeding on their voyage.

It took an entrepreneur by the name of John Centlivres Chase to envisage constructing a slipway in Port Elizabeth to provide this vital service.

Main picture: Humewood 1910 with what appears to be a fishing boat being hauled up for maintenance

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