Port Elizabeth of Yore: Effect of the Krakatau Explosion

If Krakatau was not amongst the top three greatest volcanic explosions, I do not know what is. On a pure loss of life comparison basis, Krakatau only resulted in 36,000 deaths versus 230,000 for the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26th December 2004. Certainly, the effect of Krakatau was felt was as far afield as Port Elizabeth and South America.

 Even though its effect on Port Elizabeth was not very significant, in one person’s life it was important. 

Main picture: Contemporary map of Krakatoa

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Donkin Lighthouse – The Light on the Hill

Donkin Lighthouse & Pyramid in 1899

Because they are in such close proximity to one another, I have often considered this lighthouse and the adjacent pyramid as being contemporary structures. Nothing could be further from the truth. This blog, largely based on the 1986 thesis by Jon Inggs, provides the historical detail from the conceptualisation to the erection of the Donkin Lighthouse.

The combination of the pyramid and the lighthouse symbolises Port Elizabeth and is so integral to Port Elizabeth that it could be considered as its trademark. The unique combination very nearly never came into existence as the Harbour Master, Mr H.G. Simpson favoured dismantling the pyramid and using its stone to construct the lighthouse.

Main picture: Signal Ball at Donkin Lighthouse in 1860s

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