SERENDIPITY

Rediscovering forgotten areas

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AREAS and regions slip into the background and are so often forgotten unless highlighted from time to time.

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FRESH SUPPLIES: An artist’s impression of ships arriving with rations in Waterloo Bay at Fish River in 1846

We tend to regard “The Fish River” as such, or the “golf-course”, not appreciating the huge impact that the area played in the 1820 settlers lives.  This region was a vital link in time of drought, farming and wars.

In an effort to bypass the river bush, and to solve the problems of finding grazing for cattle transporting goods through the drought stricken countryside, a new line of communication was opened. In June 1846 a temporary fortification, Fort Deacres, was constructed on the west bank of the river, near the mouth, connected to Grahamstown by a road of sorts. A suitable site for a ferry was also chosen.

In July 1846, The Waterloo discharged the first cargo at the new site, 140 tons of forage and rations. Other ships followed.

The Norfolk, Ann and Sophia also landed supplies. The bay had been known as Chapman’s Bay (after the first ship to arrive at Port Elizabeth with the 1820 immigrants), but the authorities, apparently unaware of this, named it Waterloo Bay. Troops from the 27th Regiment, led by Lieutenant Colonel MC Johnstone, established a large camp a short distance to the east of where the supplies were landed.

The camp was eventually known as Fort Albert, the site where the famous golf course has been built.

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