Ironically just over a century ago, the puny stream which flowed through Happy Valley was well-known whereas the area through which it flowed, Happy Valley, was unknown to the resident of Port Elizabeth. It was this non-descript trickle which supplied this nascent town with its first piped water albeit that it was only to the low-lying areas as the water was gravity fed. In September 1968, this stream barely a trickle, was transformed into a raging torrent probably about 1 metres deep and 70 metres wide.
From providing a vital commodity it now only serves as an entertainment area. This blog deals with the changing character and importance of this area from necessity to a luxury.
Main picture: Frames’ Reservoir on the Shark River
A century ago was the era of the bandstand which epitomised for me the music of the brass band. Bandstands were simply a covered outdoor platform on which a band could play. No elaborate protection from inclement weather was required as this was an era prior to the use of electrical musical instruments.
Port Elizabeth followed the world-wide trend and built two during the first decade of the 20th century. Thirty years later they were gone.
Main picture: Bandstand in Trinder Square
Happy Valley was a magical place for young kids and probably still is even for the jaded visual palates of today. In the daytime it is a pleasant stroll alongside the babbling brook that is the lower reaches of that misnomer, the Shark River, where it spills out under the bridge into Humewood Beach. There are lily ponds, rockeries, gigantic palms and peaceful retreats in which to sit. Every few meters there is another delightful interpretation of a fairy tale or nursery rhyme scene to consider.
Main Street: Aerial view of Happy Valley with Humewood beach on the upper right