While reading this piece, it is obligatory to hum the tune of the song entitled My Woman from Tokyo. According to Deep Purple, “She was so good to me, Dancing in an Eastern Dream, My Woman from Tokyo”.
That evening, Monday 15th January 1934, was not going to be a good one for the ship from Osaka, Japan en route to Cape Town. An angry south easter was gusting as this steamer left the protection of the recently completed Charl Malan Quay at 19:00. Unlike the days of the sailing ships, when the wind from this direction could be a death sentence for ships at anchor in the bay, the conversion to steam had long since tamed that menace. After exiting the harbour and entering the choppy waters of the Bay, the ship veered to starboard and headed for Cape Recife to meet its fate.
Not all vessels lost in
Algoa Bay up till 1847 were as a result of high winds and rough seas. HMS
Thunderbolt was one of those exceptions. This is the saga of that catastrophe
and how this treacherous reef off Cape Recife obtained its name.
Main picture: HMS Thunderbolt en route to beaching at the mouth of
the Baakens River
Like his father-in-law, Frederick Korsten, John Centlivres Chase also had a profound influence on the development of the Eastern Province, and especially Port Elizabeth.
From the formal establishment of Port Elizabeth in 1820 by Sir Rufane Donkin, the nascent town experienced unprecedented growth for the following 50 years. For the first half century after 1820, this development is sparsely documented due to the paucity of official documents or even a newspaper.
The 1848 edition of the Eastern Province Directory and Almanac carried an article entitled “Algoa Bay and Port Elizabeth” by J.C. Chase. Clearly enamoured with its progress and prospects, he elaborates and enthuses over the development of the late starter, Port Elizabeth. This article represents one of the few original sources of information about those formative years. The article forms the basis of this chapter and is largely verbatim.
Main picture: Paddle Steamer Phoenix