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: In the 1940s, known officially as the Shark Rock Beach, and still showing a healthy layer of sand. These people are sitting right where the Shark Rock pier is situated today
Of all the artefacts that Port Elizabeth has unconscionably lost, perhaps this rates as the worst. On the threshold of the arrival of the 1820 Settlers, a Dutch immigrant by the name of Frederick Korsten, had made his mark prior to the establishment of Port Elizabeth. Perhaps for this reason alone, aside from any architectural merits of the buildings, these artefacts deserved to have been preserved for posterity.
This blog comprises two sections. Firstly it briefly sketches the journey undertaken by Korsten to arrive at Algoa Bay and what Korsten did whilst in Port Elizabeth. In the second section, it provides an account by the final tenant of this property, who will provide an insight into the treasures hidden therein. Finally the real reason for its reprehensible destruction will be exposed.
Main picture: Cradock Place
Comedians like to jest that the shortest book per the tome, Guinness World Records, is about Italian War Heroes. Undoubtedly, a book on Port Elizabeth in 1812 would be a close second.
This extremely brief blog is a comprehensive description of the area which was yet to be christened Port Elizabeth.
Main picture: A decade before the arrival of the 1820 settlers
Of all the early inhabitants of the nascent Port Elizabeth, Frederick Korsten deserves to be remembered, yet there is no tribute to him. The most fitting monument would have been the preservation of his former magnificent home but even that now lies in ruin.
Even a comprehensive biography would have salved our conscience yet even that road to salvation has been rejected. John Centlivres did make an attempt in 1868, yet in length it is little more than that of a eulogy. What he fails to mention or even allude to, is that Frederick Korsten was his father-in-law, nor does he provide an insight into what made him tick.
Such disdain for history reflects poorly on the denizens of Algoa Bay.
Main picture: Frederick Korsten
Port Elizabeth is fortunate in having somebody prepare a list of its inhabitants at the inception of the town itself. Without a functioning civil authority, nothing is recorded, let alone a population register.
This blog lists Port Elizabeth’s inhabitants in 1822 together with a biographical sketch of some of them.
Main picture: Port Elizabeth in 1823