Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Mckenzie Siblings - Document

The draft of the document covering the lives of the children of John and May Mckenzie, is progressing very slowly.

We urgently require more infomation about Audrey, Ralph, Grace, Mary, Victor, Lily, John, Edith, Janet and Duncan.

Any memories of a parent, aunt or uncle will add to the success of this project.
Please will all their descendants contact me as soon as possible, as I need information to complete this project. It cannot be a success without your help.

Thank you one and all. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Two Unknown Great Uncles

Family research can be quiet tedious but then out of the blue, one receives information that is quite exciting. This recently happened to me when I received a letter from Aunty John Egenes informing me that Granny Dryden had two brothers. Now, I had always known about her sister Connie who married into the famous Ball’s Chutney family… and I had always presumed there were just the two of them.

The eldest brother, Harold Woods, was a banker and lived at Hartebeestpoort. The other brother was Reg Woods, who probably lived somewhere in Johannesburg. So now the search is on to find their descendants and try to put the jigsaw pieces together.

Anyone with information on these two brothers or their descendants, please contact me.

Family News

We are looking for any family news for this blog.

As anyone celebrated an anniversary, graduation, special occasion? The birth of a new grandson, death of a cousin etc. Church confirmation, Matric results... anyting of interest.

Did any family members run the Comrades Marathon?

Please contact me for further details.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Early Memories of my Parents – Colin Mckenzie

The earliest I can remember is snow at Glenluce. I remember been very cold. I also remember Dad giving the farm workers a Christmas party behind the Glenluce house.

Dad had a truck, brown I think. He brought a huge slab of stone to make a bridge across the drain at the back of the house. It was dragged there with oxen. I was in the truck when Dad drove off the stone bridge with the back wheel and the oxen pulled the truck out.

There were oak tress down the side of the house. I climbed them all.

I was very small when Mom went to tea next door and I was left in the care of a maid. Her name I don’t recall, but she was strict with me. But, I still managed to put the sewing machine needle through my thumb. There I sat with a thread through my thumb until Mom came home, expecting the hiding that the maid had promised.

Dad had a dog called Rodger. He followed me everywhere and was very protective.

There was a gold fish pond in front of the house. I was not allowed to go there alone.

I think we moved in about 1960 when Dad went to work at Orange Grove. It was only at about this that time I started to remember my older brother and sisters. I do not recall Stella been born.

At about this time, Dad stopped in a dark spot under the pine trees on Orange Grove and showed us a sputnik, the first Russian space ship. I still look at and for space ships today.

The first time I climbed the mountain (Indumeni Platberg), I was 6 years old. Dad told Joseph (a farm worker) to look after me. He wanted to stop and smoke the whole way and I wanted to climb. He got to the top of the mountain out of breath. I climbed this mountain 65 times.

John and I were with Mom, talking to her on her bed. (I think John has this bed now). She was smoking Cameo cigarettes. She offered me one. I was about 11 years old. I took one puff and coughed my lungs out. I never touched smokes again (except to put match heads in them! *Another story for another day.)

Dad bought a brand new bakkie for R1280.00. I learnt to drive in that bakkie.

We went on holiday once a year, normally to Eden Park at ‘Tweni (Umtentweni on the Natal South Coast). Eden Park is still there today. We spent many happy hours fishing for Shad at the ‘Tweni rocks. Little did I know that we would have restrictions on Shad today. I was 10 years old when Dad bought me a strong pair of binoculars. The shop where he bought them is still in Port Shepstone and I still use them to this day.

Mom fishing
As a child I had a leaking heart valve. This made life hard as I could not run without over-heating. I went with Mom to see my cousin Edward in Johannesburg. (Dr Edward Gale). We went by train. We were about 10 km from Jo’burg when a bomb went off. We had been delayed somewhere, so we missed the bomb. We heard it but we missed it.

Christmas at the Town House was always fun. I could not work our how Aunty Mary could cut the steam pudding so it only had on sixpence. Mom and Dad would not say. One year I watched from a distance and saw how she put the tickie in each time she served. I still have a tickie from Christmas.

On New Year’s Day, we often had a braai where anybody could come. The only rule – no booze!

My brother John and I used to keep snakes. I used to take a pet Night Adder to school in my pocket. We were sitting in hall one day when the girl behind me screamed “slang”. My pet had it’s head out of the pocket. Trouble I knew was coming so in the confusion, I put it in my scants, so if I was searched the snake was safe. Luckily it did not bite me as this would have taken a lot of explaining to Mom.!

One day the dogs were barking in a strange way. Under a sheet of sink-plaat, I found a one metre Puff Adder that had just given birth to about 30 babies, which were each 10 cm long. I wanted to catch them to send to the Snake Park in Durban. I saw big bucks here. Just then, Dad pulled me back and shot the snakes with his stove-pipe shot gun. There wasn’t enough left for snake and kidney pie! Dad saved my life that day as a new born Puff Adder has a fatal bite. Dad was bitten by a Cape Cobra. That gave him a hard time!

We got home one night and the yard was full of black people. In those days, you never locked your house and Dad’s shot gun stood in the corner in his bedroom. On asking, we discovered that one of the women had been bitten by a snake. We had snake bit serum but we only had ox syringe needles, which are as thick as drain pipes!! Half went into her bum and half into her leg. She survived but had a sore bum for a while!

In Memory: Vivienne Lily McKenzie

Lily, with her twin brother Victor, were the 9th and 10th children of John and May Mckenzie. The twins were born in Dundee on the 19th April 1912. Lily died, I believe as a result of cancer, on 16 February 1966 and was buried in Dundee.

I only have two memories of Aunty Lily.  As I was only 6 years of age when she died so I do not remember much about her. My first memory was of us having a meal, probably a Sunday lunch, at the Town House. My brothers had secretly mixed salt with the sugar in the sugar bowl. Tea was served after the meal. Everyone was sitting around the table, enjoying each other's company, when Aunty Lily was the first to taste the tea! One can only imagine the reaction!!!

My other memory was of her funeral. I was not allowed to attend, as I was considered too young. I spent the time with Aunty Ursula Klingenberg at Victoria Tea Room, who kindly tried to explain what a funeral was. My parents took me to see the grave a few days later.

My brother Colin, has sent me this memory of Aunty Lily:

I only knew this Aunt for a few short years when I was young. She was a grand old lady and I still remember her teaching me at Sunday School.

One of the things she was very strict about was measuring the rain. Her father had kept rain fall records at the town house in Dundee, since he built it. One hot summer afternoon there was a very brief thunder storm. Only a few drops fell. One of my sisters and I thought we could help the storm, so we added some ice blocks to the rain gauge. Along came Aunty Lily to measure the rain and we disappeared. All we heard her say was "so little rain and I measured over two inches"

I never owned up for doing this. I know that if I had, she would have instructed me to go to the back of the yard and cut a quince stick so that she could dust my pants for me.

It would seem that this was an Aunt on whom one could pull a few pranks, as long as one did not get caught!

In Memory: Mary Eleanor Mckenzie

Mary was the 3rd child of John and May Mckenzie.

Mary grew up with the desire of becoming a nurse. However, circumstances within the family home, found her forsaking her career choice in order to become the family’s home keeper.

Mary was gentle soul who’s love for all her nieces and nephews was very obvious. She was a wonderful cook and baker. Her cakes tins were always full of treats, especially tea biscuits. She made it a habit to bake biscuits in the shape of the letters of the alphabet – being sure that there were enough for the first letter of the children’s names. The cake tins were kept in cupboards in the passage and were such a temptation to the young ones. Mary never married and her nieces and nephews filled her life with joy.

The ginger-beer which she brewed for Sunday School picnics was a firm favourite. It was served in huge white enamel jugs.

Mary’s name has to be linked to “Christmas in the good old days.” She stood up very early to begin the cooking and produced an amazing spread in time for lunch. And she never missed the Christmas Day church service! The turkey was cooked to perfection with all the trimmings. Christmas pudding always included a few coins and every year all the children hoped they would find one in their bowl.
Mary was good to her servants, who lived on the premises. They were always well clothed and ate well. I have memories of the day one of the ladies retired – I am sure there was tears in Aunt Mary’s eyes.

I cannot remember Aunt Mary saying a bad word about anyone. We always felt welcome in her home, no matter what the time of day. The front door of the Town House was always opened and we were welcome to come and go as we pleased.

Giving up the old family home was an emotional experience for Aunt Mary. Together with her sister Grace, they moved to a flatlet and some 10 years later, to the Eventide Home for the Aged in Dundee.
It was here that Mary spent her remaining days, been served by others and resting after years of serving those whom she had loved so dearly.

In Memory: Barbara May Mckenzie

Barbara was born on 4 July 1914 at Dundee. She was the third youngest child of John and May McKenzie. Barbara and her siblings had a happy childhood and spent much time on the family farm, Glenluce. On one occasion she was helping her mother in the garden on the farm when she saw two men coming across the field. She drew her mother’s attention to them by saying that there were two “tramps” approaching. The “tramps” turned out to be her future brother-in-law, Reg Pearse and his friend, the acclaimed author, Alan Paton, who were on a hiking trip. She received her school education at Dundee and thereafter worked in Dundee and Durban. She returned to Dundee during 1939.

Barbara married Wilfred Templeton on 8 June 1940 and three children were born, namely, Maureen Janet, David Wilfred and Kenneth Arthur. Wilfred was born on 21st April 1896, in Barberton South Africa. They met through her brother John who lived in the Hlobane Hotel and was working as a fitter and turner on the mine. Wilfred was also living there at that time and was looking for a book he wanted to read. John said he would ask his sister, Barbara who was working at Greenacres in Durban at the time, to buy it. As Wilfred was going to Durban on leave, John told him to collect the book from Barbara. Well, Wilfred when saw Barbara, it was love at first sight! They continued to correspond and eventually got engaged and married. The wedding took place in the old Methodist Church, Dundee and their reception in the old town hall. Because of the second world war, Grandpa and Gran McKenzie kept the reception very small. That evening they traveled to Durban by train, then caught the cruise ship to Cape Town and spent two weeks there.

They lived in Hlobane until 1955, where Wilfred was the Post Master. He was transferred to Umtentweni on the Natal South Coast and continued working until 1969. When Wilfred retired they moved to Port Shepstone and then in 1976 to Malvern, Natal. Barbara continued living there after Wilfred’s death on 29 February 1980.

Barbara was a devoted wife and a much loved and adored mother and grandmother. She enjoyed the company of her grandchildren and they loved spending time with her. Being an accomplished seamstress which included exquisite smocking, she loved making her own clothes and those of her children. Knitting, baking and cooking were also her specialties, all of which made her a versatile mother and housewife.

She was a committed Christian who loved and served her Lord faithfully. During her younger days she was a Sunday School teacher. She was a loyal member at the Port Shepstone and Malvern Methodist Churches and was actively involved in the Women’s Auxiliary. On one occasion a family were selling their home and contents by auction to emigrate to Canada. The Auxiliary were asked to do the catering for the day. After much activity, Barbara went into the lounge to collect the teapots and cups. At that stage the house was being auctioned. It was a very hot day and she picked up her hand to brush her hair out of her eyes. The auctioneer misunderstood her hand gesture and took it to be a bid for the house! When she discovered the error, she ran out of the room and of course all the Auxiliary ladies had a good laugh.

Barbara’s daughter, Maureen, shared another amusing incident which took place when they lived in Umtentweni. “We had a Boxing Day celebration and friends and relatives were invited to join the family. As David was wanting to get engaged to Esther, he requested that Esther's family be included as guests so that they could meet the Templeton family. Mom loved cooking and her specialty pudding was trifle. After a scrumptious salad lunch, out came the trifle and of course the ice cream. Mom was an early riser and had decided to make the custard for the trifle early that morning. The sugar and the salt jars were of identical design. Well, poor Mom, possibly because of a combination of the earliness of the hour and the nervousness of making a good impression on David's future in-laws, confused the two jars and ended up preparing the custard with salt instead of sugar. Everyone could not wait to get started on the dessert. David's future father-in-law was the first to experience the new version of "custard". The look of discomfort on his face in any candid camera shot would have been hilarious but he managed to retain his composure and swallowed the substance that had shocked his taste buds and then politely returned his spoon to the pudding bowl without any utterance. When the other guests sampled the trifle their facial smiles also faded into grimaces but they too remained silent. When Mom took her first mouthful there was an eruption of disbelief. She was very upset and apologetic but after a suggestion, pouring custard was made and the tainted custard dispatched to the rubbish bin. Eventually all turned out well and Mom saw the funny side of the incident.

Barbara’s faith helped her immensely during her last days when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She bore her illness bravely and was an inspiration to all who went to minister to her. She died in Durban on 16 October 1986

In memory: Arthur Reginald Mckenzie

Arthur, the 8th child of John and May McKenzie, was born in June 1911 and died 19 January 1920, at the age of 9 years. To our knowledge, he was the only child born to John and May, who died as a young child. We do not know much about Arthur, although Auntie Mary spoke affectionately of him.

Various Obituaries are in my possession but I found the following the most detailed, as it also describes a little of his character:

"Our Dundee correspondent writes: it is with deep regret that I have to chronicle the death of Arthur Reginald McKenzie, son of Mr. and Mrs. John McKenzie, the May and Mayoress of Dundee. The sad event took place at 7 o’clock on Monday evening at the Cottage Hospital. The lad complained of feeling unwell some weeks ago, and developed a high temperature. Feeling uneasy, his parents consulted the doctor, who advised his immediate removal to the hospital, pronouncing the case to be one of enteric – a disease fairly prevalent in this district during the summer season. The lad’s temperature, however, continued to cause great anxiety, running up everyday about noon, so much so that Doctors Lloyd and Fisher held a consultation. The medical men decided it was enteric. Arthur was of a active and spirited disposition, and this may have been responsible for the regrettable complication which set in on Saturday afternoon, when brain trouble began to be clearly indicated. The lad began to gradually sink, unconsciousness sinking in early Monday morning, and he passed away the same evening. The death proved a great shock to his parents, brothers and sisters, as up to Monday morning they never doubted his recovery.

The Rev. W.H.P. Clulow conducted an impressive funeral service in the Wesleyan Church at 4 o’clock, before a full and representative congregation, which included the Magistrate, Assistant Magistrate, Town Clerk and Councilors, leading business men, friends, Boy Scouts (of which Arthur was a member), and the officers and teachers of the Wesleyan Sunday School, where he was a scholar, and members of S.A.M.R. As a mark of sympathy and respect, the stores closed at 4’clock.

The preacher, in the course of his address, said that Arthur was one of the brightest, best, and most popular lads in the Sunday School. He was intelligent beyond the boys of his own age, and gave every promise of a successful future. The service concluded with the “Dead March” from “Saul”. Six of the Boy Scouts acted as pall-bearers and the troop headed the funeral procession, the Sunday School and W.C.T.U following next, then came the family and friends. The short service at the graveside was conducted by Mr. Clulow, assisted by the Rev. M.W. Davies, of the Church of England. The bereaved family have received every token of sympathy, the wreaths especially being most numerous, numbering nearly 100. "

Hereafter followed a list of people who sent letters and wreaths of sympathy…..

In Memory: Grace Jane Mckenzie

Grace was the 4th child of John and May Mckenzie. She studied nursing and eventually became matron of the Dundee Provincial Hospital.

Colin shared an memory of Aunty Grace, which shows the type of character which she had.
I was in Dundee hospital as I had fallen of my bike and cut my knee open. It was lunch time and the nurses were dishing out lunch. One of them was eating food as fast as she could. I heard a voice calmly say" Nurse come here. " I looked up and there was Matron McKenzie at the door of the ward. The nurse run out the far door. My father told me later that Aunty Grace found out that this nurse had not eaten properly for a week. She gave this nurse money from her own pocket, enough for food for a whole month.
Besides her busy work schedule, Grace was a member of the Toc-H charity organisation, and very active in the Dundee branch. She was also a much-loved Sunday School teacher for over 35 years. She taught the pre-school age group at the local Methodist Church.

Her hobbies included crocheting. She spent many evenings crocheting doilies and covers for milk jugs and sugar bowls. The crocheting was very fine art and included beading which was worked into the stitches. Many of her nieces received a set as a marriage gift.

Grace loved playing Scrabble. She and sister Mary spent many Winter’s evening playing the board game. When Aunty Isobel Brickhill came to live with them, she proved to be another challenger in the game.

Grace had green-fingers and took charge of the Town House gardens. Her annual dahlia blooms were of prize winning quality. The green-house contained wonderful ferns and other potted plants. A large vegetable garden provided supplies for the kitchen. There was also an abundance of fruit trees, which provided fruit for bottling and jams.

Grace never married and dedicated her life to her career, siblings and extended family.

Email Contacts

In order to involve more family and extended family on our family tree and history research, we require email addresses so as to contact folk.

Please forward any email address which you have, to me ASAP, or inform your family and extended family of this Blog.

Looking forward to hearing from everyone.


Mckenzie Siblings Document

This is a special request to my first cousins on my Father's side.

As many of you are aware, I am busy compiling a document on the lives of my father and his siblings (Mckenzie Family of Dundee SA). On various occasions, I have requested information and photographs for this project. Some folk have obliged and sent information to me. However, this is still not sufficient to make such a ducoment a success. Photographs are also needed. These can either be scanned and emailed to me in .jpeg format to
or posted to me at
Mrs S. L. Smuts
P.O. Box 163
Cape Gate

To make a success of this project, I need your memoirs and titbits of information, so look forward to your immedate replies and assistance.

Thanks to those who have sent information and in anticipation to those who are still going to.

Happy 2013

Ivy Maude Dryden (formerly Egenes; neè Woods)

Ivy with her daughter Laurette and son-in-law Duncan 1976

Ivy was born on 8 December 1898, probably in Johannesburg. Her father was Charles Woods, who was well known in horse-riding circles. We can not establish if he was a race-horse owner or simply enjoyed the sport or gambling. It is believed that Charles was involved in the building of the original Rand Airport, but this too has not been confirmed.

The name of Ivy’s mother is unknown. She definitely was of Irish decent as my mother often spoke of her Irish grandmother. Three other children were born to the marriage. A sister Connie, who later married into the Ball’s Chutney family of Fish Hoek; and two brothers, Harold and Reg. We have not been able to trace descendants of the brothers. Ivy often spoke of her child-hood and siblings but as none of this was ever recorded, her memories are lost forever.

Ivy married Oscar Egenes (b. 1900 d. 1986) on 15 December 1921 in Aliwal. Two children were born, namely Harold (b.1924) and Laurette Edythe (b.1928 d. 2003). Unfortunately, the marriage was a stormy one and ended in divorce.

She met and married Albert Dryden in Bloemfontein in 1955. They were happily married and settled in Dundee, Kwa-Zulu Natal where Laurette had settled after her marriage to Duncan Mckenzie. They lived in a garden flat in Mckenzie street, and later moved to the old age cottages in Colley Street. Some years later, Albert and Ivy were amongst the first residents of the Eventide Home in Dundee. They occupied a room that was sponsored by Toc-H, a welfare organisation.

Ivy was a small built woman with a strong character. Her grand-children adored her. She enjoyed their company and always had a treat of jelly waiting in the fridge. She was an excellent seamstress and produce clothing of a fine quality. One day, soon after purchasing her first electric sewing machine, Ivy accidentally sewed the needle through a finger. Albert removed it with a pair of pliers. Although it was obviously very painful for some time after that, they both saw the funny side of the accident and joked about how different “modern” appliances where to those that they were used to. Previously, she had owned a Singer hand operated machine!

Gardening was a favourite past-time and her roses were the best in the street! The only fertiliser they received were tea-leaves and banana skins. Ivy also enjoyed growing her own vegetables but as she aged, found this somewhat physically exhausting.

After the death of her beloved Albert in 1976, Ivy continued to live at Eventide until her health began to fail. Often she would be admitted to hospital and we, her grandchildren informed that the end is near. We would do our best to reach her bedside, which would cheer her so much that she would get a new lease on life! Eventually, her health became so poor and she moved to lived with Laurette and Duncan, in their farm “Fairview”. By now, her memory was failing and she did not recognise Laurette, believing her to be the matron of the old age home. As often as I visited them, Ivy would complain that Lauly had abandoned her and never visited anymore. Once she even asked me if her beloved daughter had passed on! After two years on the farm, Eventide opened a frail-care section and Ivy was admitted. By now, I was the only family member whom she recognised.

When Albert died, she had made me a promise that she would live to see my daughter. The last thing she knitted was a pair of un-even sized pink bootees, which I still have. Ivy died on 13 August 1985, three days before my daughter’s first birthday, and was buried the day before.

Ivy Maude Dryden was the best Granny a child could wish for!

In memory: Frank Ralph Mckenzie

Frank Ralph Mckenzie was the 2nd of twelve children born to John and May Mckenzie.

Known by his 2nd name, Ralph was born on 21 July 1901 in Dundee. He married Ethel Winifred (Winnie) Doidge on 9 January 1934 at Acton Homes in the Bergville Area, South Africa. Winnie was born 20 March 1909 and died 29 Jan 1972. Three children were born, Arthur Graham, Alison May, Ruth Christine

Ralph was a farmer all his life. He inherited the farm “Glenluce” on the Waschbank Road, outside Dundee, and developed it into a well established enterprise. The farm consisted predominantly of maize and dairy. He was well-known in the local farming community as a man of stature and integrity.

Ralph was a local preacher at the Dundee Methodist Church. He delivered sermons of quality and his presentation was easy to follow and yet challenged the listener. He faithfully served the church throughout his life and was very popular amongst the congregants.

Ralph and Winnie had a special ability to make any visitors feel very welcome on the farm. Many Sunday Schools picnics were held at Glenluce, where youngsters spent the day playing on the haystack, participating in the races and climbing the Indumeni Mountain.

He exhibited amazing strength of character during the illness of subsequent death of his beloved Winnie. Keeping his own emotions in check, he lovingly encouraged and served her to the end. This was one precious aspect of his character which remains fresh in the memory of the writer, who was a young girl at the time.

He died 13 Nov 1989 and was buried in Dundee Cemetery.

In Memory: Edith Mavis Mckenzie

Edith was born in Dundee on the 9 August 1906, the 4th daughter of John Mckenzie and May Alexander Brickhill. She married the well-known author R.O. Pearse (Reg), who was a highly respected School Principal, on 18 December 1928. Three children were born, Muriel Joyce, Constance Jean and Malcolm Lynn.

During 1933, between April to July, Reg and Edith toured East & Central Africa by car, leaving 4 year old Muriel in the care of her Grandparents and Aunts in Dundee. This journey was recorded in the book, “Empty Highways”, written by Reg.

They then lived a short while in Pietermaritzburg, where Constance and Malcolm were born.

Edith filled the role of Principal's wife very well and supported her husband in all his undertakings. For many years when they lived in Estcourt, she ran the tuck shop at Estcourt High School. She took a great interest in all the pupils and was loved by them all.

On Reg’s many hikes through the Drakensberg, Edith would wait patiently for his safe return. Reg wrote various books about his adventures. When he retired in 1965, they made their home in the Drakensberg.

Edith was a wonderful cook, did beautiful crochet work, enjoyed reading and gardening. Her children fondly remember that her greatest happiness was to be with her children and grandchildren. She loved every family gathering.

Edith died on 24 October 1992.

In Memory: Audrey Isabel Mckenzie

Audrey Isabel was the first-born child of John and May Mckenzie

Thanks to Dr Edward Gale for sharing his memories of his Mother:

Audrey was born 9 January 1900 in Estcourt, Natal. At the time of her birth, her father was with the British forces (Natal Carbineers) in the siege of Ladysmith. She attended Dundee High School (co-ed) and was a keen horsewoman, a good rider. She did a BSc at the Natal University College in Maritzburg (later it became the Natal University) in 1922. She met her future husband there. He qualified M Sc in the same year in order to gain scholarships and other sponsorships to study medicine in Edinburgh. They became engaged but had to part for 4 years, the only contacts been letters which took 3 weeks each way by mail ship. Who says long-distance relationships don’t work?

My mother, during those years, taught at various schools in Vryheid and Dundee, I think largely maths and arithmetic. They married in Dundee in August 1926 and went to Edinburgh, where my father qualified as a doctor in 1927, a few days before my brother Roy was born. He won various prizes, including an essay prize on Lister which was open to anyone in the U.K. (the Great Britain) and the Commonwealth.

They returned to SA as medical missionaries with the Church of Scotland in 1928 to the Gordon Memorial Mission Station (which had not been medical) near Pomeroy. There was only one other doctor in Pomeroy, and my mother often had to act as an emergency anesthetist under guidance from my father. I understand that there were no fatalities. She was also seamstress and made all of the hospital linen. There was no money. We lived in an old stone cottage on a rocky koppie alive with snakes. She had many snake stories to tell. I was born I the cottage in 1929 and to this day can puzzle nearly everyone with the name of my birthplace. We moved to Tugela Ferry after 4 years because of the water shortages.

Tugela Ferry was an idyllic existence for us and a very happy time for my parents, who together built up the Church of Scotland hospital there (founded by my father), which now has over 300 beds and an international reputation for its work on XR (extremely resistant) TB which is so common in the Msinga District. That romantic valley seems to have a life-long hold over people who have lived there and who know it. I can tell you stories about that. It’s an extraordinary place and we were all heartbroken to have to leave it in 1936.

My parents went to Alice in the Cape, where Dad had an appointment at the Fort Hare University, but fell out with the authorities over the fact that they were trying to train medical assistants (barefoot doctors), he thought that black doctors should be in no way inferior. We moved to Maritzburg and then to Benoni, where Dad was M.O.H. (Medical Officer of Health) under the municipalities. My mother was busy bringing up a family. At the end of 1938, we moved to Pretoria for another very happy spell where all 3 children (Elsa was born in Dundee in 1933) attended good government schools, and my mother under to do extra maths lessons privately. I remember her cycling the streets of Pretoria to go to her pupils’ homes. Some would come to ours. Dad had become the Chief Health Officer for the whole country (Secretary for Health).

Early in 1952, he founded the Medical School in Durban and was the first full-time Dean. We moved to Westville. My parents then moved to Kampala, Uganda in 1955 (Dad was Professor of Preventative Medicine). My mother enjoyed that as she was close to Elsa, who was then living in Kenya. They later moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 1960 and thereafter to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). They retired to London in July 1964 but a few months later Dad was offered a post in Malaysia, which is when he became visiting Prof. of Preventative Medicine in Kuala Lumpur. They finally settled in full retirement in Surbiton, Tirkin in 1969.

It was while there were living there that Elsa’s 2 eldest daughters were killed in an air disaster in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They were returning to school in England and the plane crashed immediately after take-off, witnessed by their parents, Elsa and Bill, and young sister Harriet. The family has coped with amazing courage, but of course life was not the same thereafter.

Dad died in London in 1975 and my mother stayed on in Surbiton, bravely independent and coping excellently. She was able to see Elsa and Roy & families frequently, Elsa been about 90 miles away in Malmesbury, and Roy and family living in London. Although Mom and Dad had visited South Africa from time to time while they were living in London, my mother never returned after he died – but I was able to visit her almost yearly, thanks to sponsored trips to meetings. She moved to a flat in Malmesbury around 1995 and remained independent and active until she was 95 years old. I think it was during 1995 that she had to move to a retirement home, where she lived for a number of months, and died quietly at age 96 while sitting up waiting for a cup of tea.

Audrey married George William Gale and they had three children:
John Frederick Roy b. 17 July 1927 d Apr 2005
George Edward b 9 June 1929
Audrey Elsa b. 22 January 1933
Audrey's last visit to Dundee, South Africa - date unkown.
BLR: Barbara, Victor, Mary, Ralph, Audrey, Duncan, John, Edith / FLR: Janet, Grace


Over the years, various members of our extended family, have been keen photographers. One thinks of Uncle Reg Pearse and his son Malcolm, who became well known for their amazing slide shows and photographs of the Drakensberg.

And then there are the others, such as my brother Colin and myself, who are always happy with a camera in the hand. Recently I was priviliged to purchase a Canon SX 100 and I have been having alot of fun with it. Thank goodness everything is digital these days as I can't imagine what it would cost to print all the photos I take.

I have added a slide show of some of my photos, on the left of this screen, for you to view. Should anyone wish to have their photos displayed on the slide show, please contact me.


Brick Wall

My family research has hit a brick wall. No new data has reached me for sometime now and I am at a loss for ideas. My request to my cousins to write short essays about their parents has received little response. I cannot take credit for the idea of the essays however I did think it would be wonderful to record the achievements and memories of our previous generation.

Hopefully, those who did offer their assistance may have forgotten or become busy with more pressing issues. This is quite understandable. May I offer this post as a friendly reminder to you. I look forward to any information which is sent my way.

FaceBook is proving to be a blessing with regards to finding old school friends and distant relatives. Already a few have found me and we have started a Dundee High School Alumni 1970 group. We are hoping to attract as many of the students of that era as possible. So, if you went to DHS in the 1970s, please join FaceBook and sign up.

Until next time….Stella