Port Elizabeth of Yore: Harbour Day on Saturday 28th October 1933

After badgering the authorities since the mid-1850s, finally a dream would come true for Port Elizabeth, the quintessential triumph of the human spirit over adversity. An enclosed harbour would finally be constructed instead of cargo being transshipped in fragile surfboats to and from ships in the roadstead. Churning wind-swept seas prevented transfer of cargo for days at a time and in the windy October month, weeks could be lost. Despite the primitive nature of this method, Port Elizabeth held records as the most productive roadstead “port” in the world. Like the hansom cab being supplanted by the car, so the roadstead would be replaced by quays, breakwater and the accoutrements of quayside loading and unloading.

To celebrate this transition, a festival entitled Harbour Day was organised for Saturday 28th October 1933.

Main picture: Ceremony on the opening of the Charl Malan Quay. The H.M.S. Dorsetshire was the first vessel to dock at this quay

Continue reading