SERENDIPITY – Poring over photographs

SCROLLING through the hundreds of historical photographs, and in response to the kindly and overwhelming compliments regarding Talk of The Town’s contribution to “snippets of history”, two beauties popped up in a long forgotten file.

The significance in these buildings, would obviously interest people who have lived here most of their lives, although, all the welcome “new settlers” might find them fascinating. This section of the rail yard, was known as the “shuttle service” and had a narrow gauge line, which meant that only certain trains were able to use this to offload goods. Wagons would then arrive to transport these wares to inland depots.

The very long shed, showing a train, was on the right hand side of the east bank, which was demolished, one assumes, as it was possibly derelict. All that is left of this now is the small pa-serendipity1-2shed, with a sign saying “The Tides”, after a failed attempt to sell the land for development circa 1999.

The second photograph, of similar interest, shows the first municipal building on the east bank, which is now the police station. On inspection of the police station a few years ago, we were able to clearly discern the very thick walls of old, and the beautiful teak

If one looks carefully at the photograph of the police station/municipal building, the cliffs show evidence of the blasting that took place there for the rock used in various constructions on the own.  Hidden now, and very overgrown, is a small entrance to a cave, which was used for dynamite storage.

Rumour has it, that this cave led into a tunnel across to Wharf Street. However, since rumours and hand-me-down-stories are a vital foundation of village tales, we have been unable to find the tunnel, only a very interesting cellar of sorts, in a shop in Wharf Street. This could, or might have been the exit to the rumoured tunnel in question.  Port Alfred is a young village, a mere 197 years old; we have plenty of time for investigation still.


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