Port Elizabeth of Yore: Harbour Operations before Jetties

Until the 1870s, PE harbour possessed no jetties. By implication, the passengers and cargo had to be transhipped onto tiny surf boats for onward transport to the landing beaches. At the shore, the people were carried ashore on the shoulders of the Mfengus much to the distress of the females. In spite of this clumsy and archaic method of operation, Port Elizabeth rapidly processed more exports than its sister port, Cape Town.

 This blog is a verbatim extract from the unpublished notes of Mr. C.G.H. Skead written in 1939

Main picture: Surf boats in Algoa Bay in the 1860s

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Harbour prior to the Charl Malan Quay

With the expansion of industry in Port Elizabeth, the need to enlarge the port had by the 1920s become pressing and urgent. Up until then, goods and passengers had  to be loaded onto lighters at sea which then conveyed them to a tiny jetty known as North Jetty. What was proposed was to convert this jetty into a quay able to accommodate large ships alongside it. 

Main picture: Landing through the surf

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