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Part 16 - Table Bay Harbour © Les Pivnic

Please note: All photographs, maps and text in Soul of a Railway are protected by copyright and may not be copied or reproduced in any way for further use without prior permission in writing from the compilers of this series, Les Pivnic and Charlie Lewis.  



Until completion of the bulk ore and coal terminals at Saldanha and Richards Bay, the “Tavern of the Seas” as it is sometimes known, was South Africa’s second-largest Port.

The harbour is made up of:

1.    The Alfred Basin (opened in 1870)

2.    The Victoria Basin (opened in 1905)

3.    The Duncan Dock. (opened in 1945)

4.    Ben Schoeman Dock (opened in 1977)

Combined, they are officially known as “Table Bay Harbour”.

Their wharves provided berthing facilities for the mailships, and other passenger liners as well as general cargo vessels.  However, nowadays only container vessels and cruise-liners use the Duncan and Ben Schoeman docks while the Victoria and Albert basins are used by trawlers and pleasure craft as well as berthing for the tugs. Also, at the eastern end of Duncan Dock is a yachting harbour.

Apart from numerous wharf cranes there is a floating crane that can handle loads of up to 60 tons, the James Cochrane floating dock with a length of 137ft 6in, 5 slipways (of which 4 are designed for small craft and yachts), the Robinson graving dock with a length of 529 feet (which was opened in 1882 and is said to be the oldest dry dock still in daily use) and finally, the massive Sturrock graving dock with a length of 1,181 feet which, at the time of opening in 1945, was the biggest such facility in the southern hemisphere.

With acknowledgement to Wikipedia for some of the information used in the captions, the bulk of the photos are THL images with thanks to Eurika Deminey for access to those negatives for printing in my darkroom, Yolanda Meyer, present day librarian of the Transnet Heritage Library, Eric Conradie for the scan of Thomas Bowler's magnificent painting of the ceremonial "turning the first sod" by Prince Alfred in 1860, Charlie for restoring some of the pre-1900 THL negs and David Werbeloff.  Some of the remaining colour images are by the late Roger Perry plus a few of my own. The chapter continues with an exceptional batch of colour photographs by Trevor Jones and Brian Ingpen to whom I tender my gratitude and thanks. The chapter concludes with fine photos by Dick Manton that cover a later period in the Harbour when class S2 shunters were active, plus some scenes from John Carter and Peter Micenko.  

Special mentions for Father Scott Davidson who lent his knowledge of the tugs, and Len Ward of the Crankhandle Club who provided the makes and years of manufacture of the cars in the dockside scene in photo 32.

Thanks also to Bruno Martin who has again provided a splendid map of the Table Bay Harbour complex and Andrew Deacon who, as usual, has done the formatting.

Note: Extracts from the late Captain Percy Sharp’s book “PILOT” published by T.V. Bulpin and Marischal Murray's book "Union Castle Chronicle 1853-1953" are acknowledged with thanks.

1. Whatever else, those colonials knew how to lay on a bumper party.  Thomas Bowler's rendition of Alfred Prince of Wales inaugurating the Table Bay breakwater in 1860 illustrates what a splendid occasion it must have been - despite the threatening weather. The Royal Standard plus all the British flags are prominent as well as the Dutch flag; a pragmatic touch as it was already 54 years since the battle of Blaauwberg.

2. This would be about ten years on from the Bowler sketch, showing a standard-gauge train heading for the harbour with the Alfred Basin more or less complete. There is a ship on a slipway but the Robinson drydock was still several decades away. A three-master is being towed into the inner basin by a steam tug. The breakwater is complete but still nowhere near its final extent which would have to await the construction of the broad-gauge railway - see next picture. 

3. Initially, Table Bay Harbour resorted under jurisdiction of the Cape Harbour Board which, in parallel with separate boards at Port Elizabeth and East London, had been founded in 1843. Building the breakwater without any heavy earth-moving machinery must have been tedious, although labour at that time was plentiful due to the severe penalties imposed on bushmen that required them to do manual labour on the harbour construction for offences like sheep-stealing.  However, by the early 1870's the work was beyond the capacity of manual labour and animal-drawn carts.  The Harbour board made the surprising decision to install a 7ft gauge railway to progress the harbour construction.  According to Frank Holland, the engine shown in this rare print from the Heritage Library is Harbour Board No 1 (Fletcher Jennings 148 of 1874). It is shunting two end-tipping wagons in the quarry that provided fill for the breakwater.

It is thus worth mentioning that, over the years, South Africa used a much wider range of railway gauges than is generally supposed: 7ft, 4ft-8½ins, 3ft-6ins, 2ft-6ins and 2ft.

After writing the above, John Middleton kindly provided more information (see below).  As the author of the authoritative series on Industrial locomotives in South Africa, his information has to be more reliable.  In defence of Frank Holland it should be mentioned that he did not have access to the numerous sources that John has used:

"The first 7’0” gauge locomotive at Table Bay (an inside cylinder 0-4-0ST) appears to have been built by Hughes of Loughborough for which a bill of lading exists which shows it arrived on the “Navarino” on 2 October 1862. On 19 July 1870 another report in the Cape Argus stated that “the wagons, which are of iron, discharged their loads through a trap in the bottom, were hauled along several lines of railway by two engines, one of them constructed at the works and being the first locomotive made in South Africa”. The identity of this second locomotive has remained a mystery since there is no reference to it in the Harbour Board minutes which is strange since the building of a locomotive would surely have been worthy of discussion at the time. Locomotive wheels were shipped to the Harbour Board in late 1863 and “castings” in late 1864, whether these were spare parts or parts for the second engine is unknown. There is a painting by Otto Lansberg of the breakwater under construction in 1869 showing a side or well tank locomotive at work. Since the Hughes locomotive was a saddle tank, this again suggests two locomotives were here prior to 1870.

I wonder if Photo 3 is actually the mysterious second loco – I will put feelers out in the UK as to a possible builder.

Photo 4 incidentally depicts one of the three 7’0” gauge Black Hawthorns (Table Bay Nos 4, 5 and 8 delivered in 1881 (4/5) and 1893 (8))".

4. Substantially more rockfill was needed for the new wharves of the Victoria Basin so the 7ft gauge 0-4-0ST (see bottom RH edge) was ordered from Hawthorne's of Leith in 1894. Although only the third of the 7ft gauge engines, it was allocated number 8.  Frank Holland explains* that this was a gauge-widened run-on from a batch of seven 3ft-6ins gauge engines ordered from the same firm for harbour service elsewhere.

Soon after the first world war the excavation was used to accommodate a tank farm (see photo 128) which remained in place for more than 60 years until it made way for upmarket flats during the 1990s (see photo 129).  That fortress-like structure still under construction, right horizon, was the Breakwater Prison used to house the hapless miscreants employed on the harbour works. Today it is the Breakwater Lodge hotel - a bit more luxurious than it was then.

* "Steam locomotives of the South African Railways" vol 2 p 116.

5. Unfortunately, few of the Heritage Library's negatives are dated, as with this one.  It shows at least thirty sailing ships at anchor in Table Bay some time between 1890 and 1900 and not a steamship among them. Why the Harbour was so busy is not known for certain but if it dates to the end of the decade it could be as a result of the Boer War.

6. Another undated photograph from the Heritage Library, again with only sailing ships in view.  The one in the middle appears to be a windjammer (19th century iron-hulled cargo vessel) and the one on the extreme right with the interesting rigging looks like a fishing smack.  Perhaps one of our readers could tell us with more certainty about what types of vessel they are.

7. By the 1890s steamships were rapidly replacing sail on the Cape route. In this great photograph, probably by CGR's first official photographer E H Short, vessels from the two arch rivals – the Castle line (left) and the Union Line (right), are seen on either side of No 2 Jetty which will feature frequently in this chapter. A CGR long-distance day/sleeper train headed by a Cape 1st class engine is about to depart for "up country". Don't be alarmed. The little engine would only haul the passengers as far as Monument (4 miles) where further vehicles would be added for the onward journey to the interior, probably pulled by one of Michael Stephen's 6th class 4-6-0s. 

The vessels are TANTALLON CASTLE and RMS NORMAN respectively.  Used nowadays by light tourist craft providing tripper cruises, the jetty still exists (it is diagonally opposite the Table Bay Hotel and near the V&A Waterfront Spur) and its tracks can be seen here-and-there sticking out of the tar. 

8. Holland tells us that Hudswell Clark (the successors to Black Hawthorne) No 17 was allocated to PE harbour.  Here is proof that she was in TBH when this photo was made c 1898/99. The congestion suggests the British were already building up supplies for the Boer War.  The wagons in the foreground appear to be loaded with bagged coal, possibly from south Wales, a big supplier of locomotive coal during the first four decades of the Cape Government Railways.  The ships moored in the foreground are not known but the pier is No 2 Jetty.

9. Shown departing Cape Town around the time of the Boer War, the racing lines of the Union Steamship Company's RMS "Scot" are apparent in this beautiful portrait by Peter Bilas.

She was fast.  In 1893 she took the record for the Southampton - Cape Town run: 14 days, 18 hours, 57 minutes. This lasted for 43 years. In his "Union Castle Chronicle 1853-1953" Marischal Murray tells us:

"After the launch of the DUNOTTAR CASTLE in May, 1890, the new mail steamer for the Union Line was laid down, also on the Clyde.  The DUNOTTAR CASTLE had given Scotland great advertisement. Not to be outdone in this respect, the Union Company announced that their new ship would be named the SCOT.  On the Clyde, Captain de la Cour Travers, Commodore of the Union Line, and Mr Dusatoy, Superintendent Engineer, supervised the construction of the SCOT.  Towards the end of 1890 the hull and clipper bows of the new liner took on bold outline against the background of Dumbarton Rock. As figurehead the vessel bore an effigy of the 'Great Scot' himself, Sir William Wallace, represented with hand on sword, ready to take up the latest challenge. Like the DUNNOTAR CASTLE, the SCOT, too, had her motto.  That of the Castle ship was proud, defiant: 'They say what they say; let them say'. The motto of the Union liner was more apposite: 'Ex Unite Vires": 'Strength out of Union'.

On December 30, 1890, the SCOT was launched by Miss Giles, daughter of the Chairman of the Union Line. In the Union fleet the new vessel represented a considerable advance in size, being of 6,884 tons, or half as large again as the MEXICAN (4,661 tons), hitherto the largest of the Company's ships. Her tonnage, moreover, was 1,000 greater than that of the DUNNOTAR CASTLE. Her twin screws marked an innovation and were indicative of the progressive policy now being adopted by the Union Line. The SCOT carried 208 first-, 100 second- and 100 third-class passengers, the first-class passengers being berthed amidships. The public rooms were in advance of anything seen before. Her clipper bows, tall funnels and graceful lines easily made her one of the most handsome ships afloat. She cost £254,000 to build." 

10. According to Holland the broad-gauge era at TBH ended in 1904. The sheer number of ships at anchor in the roadstead suggests that this photo was made during the Boer War (see also the next picture).  A high resolution enlargement reveals that the S-shaped viaduct on the left, which carried the broad-gauge feeder track connecting the quarry to the breakwater, had only recently been taken out of use. To the right of the mobile shear-legs that were used to raise an end of the 7ft-gauge end-tip wagons, is a new-looking and incomplete 3ft-6ins gauge ramp leading up to the breakwater. Beneath the disused viaduct are 3ft-6ins tracks that served the piers and jetties with one of the Harbour Board's Black Hawthorne saddle tanks visible outside the arch-doored warehouse that today houses the Mitchell Brewery Company's tavern.  A traction engine with four trailers is visible between the sheds in the foreground. 

By the way, that rake of disused end-tipping wagons just beyond the shear-legs is staged almost exactly where the balcony of the V&A Spur is situated today!  

11. The four sailing ships moored at No 1 Jetty as well as the white-painted steamer in the left background tell us this view was made at the same time as photo 9. What looks like the Pilot's boat seems to be on its way to the inner (Alfred) basin and a steam tug is parked off adjacent to the front vessel at No 1 Jetty.  The profusion of vessels in the roadstead suggest extraordinary circumstances and thanks to Brian Ingpen we are able to put a fairly accurate date on this and the previous picture, I quote:

"this photo is......likely to have been taken circa 1902 – the Harbour Café is under construction (completed 1902) and the 1904-vintage Port Office building on the western side of the cut into Alfred Basin is not there...... The number of ships would indicate it was perhaps [towards] the end of the Anglo-Boer war".

12. Roggebaai was in the space between the South Arm of the Victoria Basin and Cape Town's wonderful old pier.  Both the bay and the pier were buried under the fill used to create the foreshore development and Duncan Dock between 1939 and 1946.  The Sea Point railway and that to the harbour ran alongside Dock Road between the Victorian-gothic office blocks and the hordes buying fish at the Roggebaai market - a daily (except Sunday) occurrence since the time of Jan van Riebeeck.  Visible in front of the Garlicks building is the splitting home signal for Monument station, across Adderley street to the left of the Flat-iron building.  The higher post protects Monument station while the lower one is for the goods marshalling yard which was adjacent to Cape Town's passenger station, an arrangement that survived until the new Bellville marshalling yard and its connecting third track from the city were ready c 1953/4. 

12a The train is the Union Limited ready to be shunted out of the harbour after arrival from Johannesburg.  The Union Castle mailship at the quayside is either the old Windsor Castle or the Arundel Castle* - the name for whatever reason has been blacked out.

*This is before the Arundel Castle was rebuilt with two funnels or the earlier Windsor Castle which was lost in 1943 during WW2.

13.  Laid down in 1915 as  Amroth Castle but with construction delayed by WW1, the four-funnelled Union-Castle mailship was finally launched in September 1919 as Arundel Castle. She carried 234 passengers in magnificent first class accommodation, 362 in second class, and 274 in third class. The largest vessel on the South African service at the time arrived in Cape Town on her maiden voyage in May 1921, causing a sensation among local shipping folks and the general population. In January 1937 she returned to the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a complete refit that included re-engining to enable her to maintain the service speed of the accelerated 14-day mail service between Cape Town and Southampton. Her four funnels were replaced with two and she was given a clipper bow.

She returned to service in October that year, but soon after the declaration of war in 1939, she was requisitioned for trooping operations throughout the war, except for a brief voyage to Sweden under diplomatic immunity in a Red Cross prisoner-of-war exchange operation. From April 1948, she returned to civilian service for about a year as an immigrant ship, and underwent another refit before resuming her role as a mailship on Union-Castle’s Southampton-South Africa service in September 1950. Her passenger capacity had been reduced during the various refits to 168 in first class and increased to 371 in tourist class.

The photograph shows her sailing for Southampton, probably in 1936, shortly before she underwent her major refit.

The tug at the bow is Ludwig Wiener, built for the South African Railways and Harbours Administration in 1913 for service in Cape Town. With the arrival of the new oil-burning steam tug F.T. Bates in Cape Town in 1951, Ludwig Wiener was transferred to Durban and was withdrawn from service ten years later when the last steam tug to be built for operations in South African harbours, J.R. More, entered service in Durban. [thank you Brian for this and the next two comprehensive captions]

14. Sistership to Arundel Castle, the Union-Castle mailship Windsor Castle is shown here sailing from Cape Town c.1933, assisted by the steam tug Ludwig Wiener. The liner was completed by the John Brown shipyard in Glasgow in March 1922, and she was the last four-funneller to be built for any service. She left Southampton on her maiden voyage in April 1922. Like her sistership, she underwent a major refit in 1937 to enhance her power for the 14-day mailship schedule between Britain and South Africa. From the outbreak of World War 2, she operated as a troopship, and survived an aerial attack west of Ireland. Sadly, this once-popular mailship that had carried thousands of passengers in her happier, pre-war days, was sunk by a German torpedo bomber off the Algerian coast on 23 March 1943. Miraculously, 2699 troops and 290 crewmembers were rescued, and only one life was lost.

15. In 1955, Union-Castle was taken over by the British & Commonwealth Shipping Co who immediately began modernising the mailship fleet and amended the plans for a vessel already in the design phase. The 28,582 ton Pendennis Castle was the first product of this programme and was scheduled to replace the ageing Arundel Castle. While the new mailship was about to start loading for Cape Town in Southampton, Arundel Castle sailed from Cape Town for the last time on 5 December 1958. The longest-serving mailship (over 37 years in service), she was also the first of three of the older vessels to be withdrawn from the mailship service in the post-war period. 

She was scrapped in Hong Kong in 1959. 

16. In this aerial view of Cape Town's Foreshore taken in the mid-1960s, we see at the top Duncan Dock and the new railway station opened in 1964.  The Foreshore was still largely undeveloped and the Dock Road power station with its two tall stacks is on the left upper middle of the photo. The historic castle, built by the Dutch East India Company between 1666 and 1679, is prominent lower right. It was originally surrounded by a moat on the landward side and the sea on the north side, only some of the landward side is still visible today. 

17. Looking like a barren wasteland, this is the state of the foreshore soon after the landfill had been completed in 1946.  You can see the lonely statue of Jan van Riebeeck in the traffic island at the foot of Adderley St. The extension beyond, now known as the Heerengracht and lined with ugly modern office blocks, is almost exactly on the line of the old pier. The white building in the foreground is part of the Cape Government Railways main station building that served Cape Town for 100 years prior to completion of the present station in 1964.  The carriages and wagons in the middle background are standing in Cape Town Monument station, already mentioned in this and previous chapters, which disappeared during the construction of the new station.  Since posting this photo, Etienne du Plessis has written to remind us that the extension of Adderley St (known as the Heerengracht) was straightened c 1950.

18. On Monday 17 February 1947, Duncan Dock was the centre of world-wide attention when the HMS VANGUARD arrived at exactly 10am with the British Royal Family on board for an official visit to the Union of South Africa. In this opening photo of several images, we see the Royal Navy’s finest battleship being shepherded to the quayside by several SAR tugs with the T.S.McEWEN nearest the camera.  Another two first class tugs and the pilot tug following the battleship into the Duncan Dock.  Notice that all the SAR vessels were decked in bunting to honour the Royal visit.  

19. The SAR photographer did himself proud with a fine set of photographs to mark the occasion and this is another example.  It shows two SAR first class tugs and the pilot boat in attendance while the great battleship is made fast.  Note VANGUARD’s crew in their Summer whites on the foredeck with her massive 15 inch guns overlooking the scene. 

20. The SAR tugs remained in attendance on VANGUARD’s Port side while the Royal Family prepared to disembark. Royal Marines were lined up alongside the massive gun turrets as the Royal Family was greeted on board by Governor-General Brand van Zyl, Prime Minister General Smuts and, presumably, their wives.  

21. King George VI being piped ashore followed by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. 

22. HMS VANGUARD was floodlit at night in Duncan Dock. Wikipedia provides a good potted history of this fine ship:
"HMS Vanguard was a British fast battleship built during World War II and commissioned after the war. She was the only ship of her class, the biggest and fastest of the Royal Navy's battleships, and the last battleship to be launched in the world. Work on the ship's design commenced before the war because the Royal Navy anticipated being outnumbered by the combined German and Japanese battleships in the early 1940s. The British had enough 15-inch guns and turrets in storage to allow one ship of a modified Lion-class battleship design to be completed faster than the ships of that class that had already been laid down. Work on Vanguard was started and stopped several times during the war and even after construction had begun, her design was revised several times to reflect war experience. These stoppages and changes prevented her from being completed during the war.

Vanguard's first task after completing her sea trial at the end of 1946 convey King George VI and his family on the first Royal Tour of South Africa by a reigning monarch."

23. On Friday 21 February 1947 the Royal Train, with 15F 3030 in charge, steamed away from HMS VANGUARD. Hundreds of well-wishers were in the harbour to see the Royal Family starting on their extensive rail-tour of South Africa.  NOTE: For those who may be interested, the extensive tour is fully covered in my booklet entitled: “The Royal Tour of South Africa – 1947” which can be obtained from Model Train Exchange in Randburg, South Africa - Email:

24. In this presentation, where we are confining our attention to Table Bay Harbour, we continue the story with the arrival, some three months and 10,000 miles later, of the Royal Train back in Duncan Dock; again with 15F 3030 in charge. The 3rd and 4th coaches are the twin-diner PROTEA and her kitchen car, included in the Royal Train's consist to serve other dignitaries and staff.  That very same dining car is still in Cape Town lying derelict at Salt River. 

25. Soon after its arrival, 15F 3030 "City of Cape Town" at the head of the Royal Train with HMS VANGUARD in the background.  The SAR Police are much in evidence with their white pith helmets and gloves. 

26. With the Royal Family on board, an SAR tug assists in getting the battleship ready to leave Port.  Note the crowds on the quayside watching this great and unforgettable spectacle (a closer look might reveal a very young and very patriotic Charlie waving a very small Union flag).  

27.  Another close-up of the spectacle is surely worthy of inclusion. 

28. SAR’s pilot tug proceeds out of Duncan Dock to pick up the pilot after he assisted those on VANGUARD’s bridge to leave Port safely. 

29. Majestic is an understatement.  The SAR tug JOHN X.MERRIMAN assists in getting VANGUARD’S bow lined up for the exit to Duncan Dock.  Note the Royal Standard flying from the main mast, indicating that the King is on board. 

30. JOHN X.MERRIMAN in the foreground and T.S.McEWEN (left of the battleship’s bow) stand by as HMS VANGUARD with the Royal Family on board bids South Africa farewell on Thursday 24 April 1947.  It can be safely said that in the SAR's illustrious history this was the greatest rail-tour ever. 

31. From one extreme to the other!  A bucket dredger and lighter at work in the harbour.  Removing silt and maintaining the advertised depth, especially at the entrance to Duncan Dock, is a constant and ongoing job. 

32.  An SAR tourist train at Duncan Dock in 1948/49. From the left, the all-clerestory rake consists of two C-22 articulated day/sleepers, C-26 saloon No 503 (still in the 1947 Pilot Train livery of brown and cream) and a GD-6C staff and baggage saloon of Natal Government Railways origin. The tourist bus is a classic Canadian-built Brill coach. For a detailed identification of the motor cars see next picture.
The Dock Road power station was being expanded at this time and just to the left of it Cape Town's tallest buildings in 1948, the GPO, the Old Mutual building and the OK Bazaars, all just visible over the roof of a large warehouse.  

32a. A first for Soul of A Railway: Len (Jumbo) Ward of the CRANKHANDLE CLUB has kindly sent his authoritative identification of the cars (the fact that none of the dates of manufacture are more recent than 1948 seems to date this photo pretty accurately):
1. 1937 Austin 10; 2. Cadillac (?) date and model unknown; 3. 1947 Austin 16; 4. 1948 Pontiac; 5. 1946 Plymouth; 6. 1937 Austin 7; 7. 1948 Chevvy (especially for Harvey and Peter); 8. 1946 Chev; 9. 1938 Austin 12/4 (see photo 12 in System 1, Part 1: Cape Town prior to the WWII); 10. 1942-48 Buick; 11. 1938/39 Ford V8; 12. 1946 Ford Bakkie; 13. 1938 Chev; 14. 1946 Nash; 15. 1946 Austin 10; 16. 1947 Ford  V8; 17. 1946-48 Chrysler; 18. 1946-48 De Soto; 191935  Humber Snipe; 20. 1940 Chev Coupé; 21. 1937 Armstrong Siddeley; 22. 1938 Morris 8; 23. 1946/47 Hillman; 24. 1941 Studebaker. 

33. The old harbour before property developers got in bed with SAR's whizz-kid MBA executives. A tranquil scene which some years later would become the nucleus of the V & A waterfront development.  Note the old clock tower left middle background.  

33a. One day a working harbour, the next, transformed into Disneyland. Even the grain elevator got the treatment. Nowadays you can enjoy this view from the balcony of the V&A Spur while munching a hamburger (including chips and onion rings). That chap with the bluish green shirt is standing on one of the filled in tracks adjacent to No 1 Jetty and note the now red-painted clock tower, left background.  

34. The R.B.WATERSTON  and the DANIE HUGO lying astern at No 1 Jetty, await their next duty in the Victoria Basin. The grand building on the right was the Port Captain's office its twin gables carry its date of construction: 1904.  The tablecloth indicates that a strong South-easter, the Cape Doctor, was in attendance.  

The R.B.WATERSTON was launched in August 1954 and initially saw service in East London but later was transferred to Cape Town.  She had a gross tonnage of 754 tons and her engines produced 2796 IHp. She had a flat-sided funnel similar to that fitted to a Durban tug - the J.D.WHITE.  According to Father Scott: The Port Captain at East London at that time was unhappy with the WATERSTON which he described as "sluggish, unmaneuverable and under-powered"!  [This seems due to the fact that Buffalo Harbour is a narrow river port and within its confines such characteristics could be a severe hindrance] 

Brian Ingpen has provided further information about the Waterston: 

"this photo might have been taken during the time when RB Waterston was based in Walvis Bay and came to Cape Town for refit every few years. She often stopped at Lüderitz to pick up the tow of lighters for refit in Cape Town. In this photo, she looks really smart, but she does not have her bow fender or all her tyre-fenders, suggesting that she is about to return to Walvis Bay after such a refit.  In the next photo she does have some tyre fenders which she might have needed when connecting the tow to the lighters to tow them back to Luderitz".

35. Another view of the same tugs moored at No 1 Jetty really shows how well-maintained SAR tugs were throughout their working lives. They are surrounded by fishing boats and trawlers.  What would we not give to relive such scenes.  

36. The DANIE HUGO, berthed alongside the 60 ton lifting capacity floating crane.  The HUGO had a rating of 3096iHp – this time quoted from a reliable source: Father Scott, an expert on SAR tugs. 

37. The FAIRSTAR is attended by what appears to be the DANIE HUGO. Again, more information from Brian after we went to press: "The tug does look like Danie Hugo – she had the radar mast ahead of the funnel, making her distinctive from FT Bates and AM Campbell that were based in Cape Town at various stages". 

38. The SAR photographer excelled himself with this fine study of the DANIE HUGO attending the THORSTREAM in Duncan Dock. 

39. Another study of the DANIE HUGO in Duncan Dock.  She was built in 1958 for the SAR Administration, had a grt of 812 tons and her engines were rated at 3096 iHp. What splendid vessels these SAR steam tugs were; the HUGO was one of the many classics.  She is sorely missed. 

40. The Capetown Castle was Union Castle's sixth, and largest motor mailship, built by Harland and Wolff in 1938.  She is seen here sailing from Duncan Dock with the JOHN X.MERRIMAN in attendance.  It was a long-standing tradition for family members of passengers and well wishers to wave farewell from A berth.  Observe the 1946 Chrysler with “NP” (Pietermaritzburg) numberplate which dates this scene to early post-war – possibly 1946/47.

More information from Brian: "she was the sixth motor mailship built by Harland & Wolff at that time. (Carnarvon, Winchester, Warwick, Athlone & Stirling Castles were the others.) Six motor intermediate ships (Llangibby, Dunbar, Dunnotar, Dunvegan, Durban & Pretoria (later Warwick) Castles) were also built by Harland & Wolff, as were seven refrigerated ships". 

41. The finest SAR photo of all, as far as this author is concerned!  The beautiful CARNARVON CASTLE is seen in a similar position to the previous photo leaving Duncan Dock with the T.H.WATERMEYER assisting the mailship out of Port. In 1956 I had the pleasure of sailing in Carnarvon Castle between Cape Town and Durban - one of many trips on Union Castle ships and I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the voyage on this gracious veteran. 

Wikipedia provides the following details of Carnarvon Castle which serve to illustrate the eventful career she had - particularly during WW2. 

"Carnarvon Castle was built by Harland and Wolff, Belfast and launched on 14 January 1926. She was completed on 26 June 1926 and entered service for the Union-Castle Line. She was named after Caernarfon Castle. She was the first of the Union-Castle mail ships to exceed 20,000 tons, and was the first motor ship to be used on the sailings between Britain and the Cape of Good Hope. She had two squat funnels, the forward-most of which was a dummy. She served on the route until 1936, when a revised contract to carry the mails required a speed of at least 19 kn (35 km/h; 22 mph), which would result in a voyage to the Cape lasting no more than 13 and a half days. Carnarvon Castle required a refit and was reworked by her original builders between 1937 and 1938. Her engines were replaced, a single funnel replaced the original two, and her passenger capacity was altered. After undergoing sea trials on 26 June 1938, she returned to her original route on 8 July, setting a new record for the passage to the Cape of 12 days, 13 hours, 38 minutes. The record stood until 1954.

Carnarvon Castle was at Cape Town at the outbreak of the Second World War, and was requisitioned by the Royal Navy on 8 September 1939. She sailed to Simonstown naval base and was converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Commissioned as HMS Carnarvon Castle on 9 October, she sailed into the South Atlantic. On 5 December she encountered the German auxiliary cruiser Thor and had a five-hour running battle with her. She suffered heavily in the battle, sustaining 27 hits causing 4 dead and 27 wounded. Thor was apparently undamaged in the encounter. Carnarvon Castle put into Montevideo for repairs, and was repaired with steel plate reportedly salvaged from the German cruiser (pocket battleship) Admiral Graf Spee.

Carnarvon Castle's career as an armed merchant cruiser came to an end when she was decommissioned in December 1943. There were plans to convert her into an aircraft carrier, but these were abandoned and she underwent a conversion to a troopship at New York City in 1944. She remained on trooping duties after the war, and was finally released from naval service in March 1947. Returned to her original owners, she was back on the route to South Africa by June 1947."

42. The F.T.BATES arrived for service in Cape Town in November 1950.  She had a grt of 787 tons and her engines produced 3066 IHp and was yet another in a long line of classic SAR & H steam tugs.  Here she was ready to assist the PENDENNIS CASTLE that would shortly set sail from Cape Town for the UK.

43. Safmarine mailship S.A.ORANJE (previously PRETORIA CASTLE) leaving F-berth, Duncan Dock for her next port of call, Port Elizabeth, with two SAR 1st class tugs in attendance. 

44. The flagship of the Union Castle Line, WINDSOR CASTLE, being assisted to the quayside at A-berth from where she would sail for England in due course. Wikipedia describes her thus: 

"The steam-turbine engined, Windsor Castle was the second in a series of three ships planned by Union-Castle in the 1950s as replacements for the company's oldest ships Arundel Castle, Carnarvon Castle and Winchester Castle. Windsor Castle was preceded by Pendennis Castle (delivered in 1958) and followed by Transvaal Castle (delivered in 1961).

In January 1956, Union-Castle merged with Cayzer, Irvine & Co Ltd's Clan Line and a number of other lines to form British and Commonwealth Shipping, although the constituents retained their individual identities. By the time the merger was finalised, the keel of Pendennis Castle had already been laid at Union-Castle's usually contracted builders Harland and Wolff - in November 1955. Initially conceived as a sister to the 1948 built Pretoria Castle and Edinburgh Castle, new owners B&C required substantial improvements to the plans for the ship, including lengthening the hull some 16 feet (4.9 m) to enable fin stabilisers to be fitted. Industrial disputes at Harland and Wolff delayed the construction of Pendennis Castle, culminating in the vessel being launched without ceremony on Christmas Eve 1957, 14 days after her naming and blessing. She was the last Union-Castle ship to be built at the Belfast yard. Windsor Castle thus became the first passenger, cargo and mail vessel for the South African service, ordered from inception by B&C and was a very different (and more modern) ship than her predecessors

The last flagship of the Union-Castle Line was built by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders at Birkenhead, Merseyside and launched on 23 June 1959 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Windsor Castle - the only Union-Castle ship ordered from Cammell Laird - was also, briefly, the largest liner built in England, until surpassed by the 41,910 GRT Orient Line's Oriana launched on 3 November 1959."

45. An Ellerman & Bucknall  “City” class passenger ship at F-berth in Duncan Dock. The following text is provided courtesy of Messrs. D. Hughes and P. Humphries from their book - "In South African Waters - Passenger Liners since 1930":
"This class of motor passenger liner was laid down in the early 1950s to replace the aging pre-war liners which were coming to the end of their economical lives.  They were also the last passenger liners ordered by the Ellerman group.  They plied the route between the United Kingdom and South Africa for almost 20 years before the drop in demand for sea passages forced their withdrawal. They did the voyage from London to Cape Town in 15 days; their accommodation and service was of the highest standard.  The announcement of their withdrawal was received with great regret by the many who prefer an ocean voyage to a journey in an aircraft.
During 1971, as each vessel arrived back in London, it was taken out of service.  The four vessels were sold to the Mediterranean-based Greek company of Karageogis, who renamed them MEDITERRANEAN ISLAND, MEDITERRANEAN SEA, MEDITERRANEAN SKY & MEDITERRANEAN DOLPHIN respectively. They were converted to roll on/roll off style passenger and car ferries and [sailed] between Italy, Greece and the Greek and Aegean Islands."  

46. The Cunard Line's cruise-ship CARONIA is in the background with WINCHESTER CASTLE in A-berth on the extreme left with an SAR 1st class tug taking centre-stage.  Note the table cloth on Table Mountain while old van Hunks is puffing his lungs out on Devils Peak. 

47. The Cunard line's CARONIA in Duncan Dock, two SAR tugs attending, while a couple look on from B-berth.  The scene has a dreamlike air of nostalgia about it – perhaps they are contemplating going on a world cruise?

The CARONIA had a sad ending. Wikipedia tells us: 

"RMS Caronia was a 34,183 gross register tons (GRT) passenger ship of the Cunard Line (then Cunard White Star Line). Launched on 30 October 1947, she served with Cunard until 1967. She was nicknamed the "Green Goddess". She is credited as one of the first "dual-purpose" built ships: suited to cruising, but also capable of transatlantic crossings. After leaving Cunard she briefly served as SS Caribia in 1969, after which she was laid up in New York until 1974 when she was sold for scrap. While being towed to Taiwan for scrapping, she was caught in a storm on 12 August. After her tow lines were cut, she repeatedly crashed on the rocky breakwater outside Apra Harbor, Guam subsequently breaking into three sections."

48. The JOHN X.MERRIMAN assisting ROCHESTER CASTLE to make fast at B-berth in Duncan dock.  The Rochester Castle was a combined passenger liner and refrigerated cargo carrier and, since fruit was loaded from the Imperial Cold Storage warehouses along B,C and D wharves, it is assumed she was about to load fresh fruit for the UK.

49. The JOHN X.MERRIMAN was built in 1938; 621 tons gross; 2600 IHp and was capable of 13¼ knots. 

50. Built in 1925, T.S.McEWEN was an old stalwart of Cape Town.  Of 793 gross tons she was rated at 2800 iHP (below: Capt. Percy Sharp refers to 3000 iHP). She was nick-named “Smokey Sue” in her home port.  In this photo her forward mast was still mounted ahead of the bridge. The mast position was altered at a later date. Captain Percy Sharp, in his book “PILOT” wrote the following about “Smokey Sue”:

"I have a soft spot for an old ship. In both my naval and merchant service, the oldest ships evoke my happiest memories, so that I was not displeased when I was told of my appointment as Mate of the tug T. S. McEwen. Not that age was her only attraction. At the time she was in her thirty-second year of service, having been built at Paisley, Scotland, in 1925. More important was her reputation. Her four Scotch water-tube boilers provided a horsepower of fully 3 000, which was more than any other tug in the port could equal. She was well run and well maintained, and her gang of stokers were of the old breed, whose kit consisted of the well-known fifty-three articles — a pack of cards and a sweat-rag. Masters of shovel, slice and rake, they took a pride in the old tug's strength, and in their own ability to keep the steam "on the blood" under the most arduous conditions. Her tall, raking funnel, long, low hull and soaring masts were to be seen where the going was roughest. For all her famous smoke-making qualities, she was regarded with secret affection and grudging admiration by those who considered her out-dated. Today, her foremast has been shortened and re-located, but she approaches her half-century in the grand manner. Her exploits are legion, and her place in the history of Table Bay is unique."  

51. The F.T.BATES positioning herself alongside the STIRLING CASTLE at A-berth prior to the mailship sailing for the UK. 

52. This similar photo is included because it shows the F.T.BATES and T.S.McEWEN in the background, working in tandem to assist the STIRLING CASTLE at A-berth. 

53. Shortly after the previous photo was made the F.T. BATES is shown assisting the STIRLING CASTLE as she prepared to sail for the UK.  In the background at F-berth there was an unidentified Union Castle intermediate ship employed on the East Coast route to Europe and the UK.  

54. If you look closely at the T.S.McEWEN you will see a crowd of visitors on board being taken for a trip on Cape Town’s best-known tug!  Note also the later position of the foremast – now behind the wheelhouse.  

55. Another shot of the McEWEN peddling around the harbour with her guest sailors on board as she moves away from the tug berths in the Victoria Basin.  The T.H.WATERMEYER just gets into the photo to show off her pudding fender.
Regarding the "pudding fender" on the bow of SAR & H tugs: I recall reading in the SAR & H Magazine sometime in the 1950s/60s, that the last railwayman skilled in "knitting" these rope fenders was employed in the SAR Workshops in East London.  One wonders how such items were made after he retired on pension?  

56. DANIE HUGO assisting PENDENNIS CASTLE, to set sail from Duncan Dock.  It was the Pendennis Castle that did for the dear old Arundel Castle (see the caption to the latter's last voyage, photo 15).   

57. An interesting aerial view of Table Bay Harbour c 1960-62 featuring the Victoria Basin.  There is a rather lonely-looking SANLAM BUILDING on the foreshore and who can miss the majestic Table Mountain as a backdrop!
One could spend several minutes studying this photo: observe the small break-bulk tramp steamers soon to make way for giant container ships, the comprehensive rail facilities, the newly-offloaded parcels vans at No 2 Jetty and the fleet of "whalers that wintered in Cape Town prior to going south in about November when the European whaling fleets arrived at the Collier Jetty - the fleet was largely Dutch and I think the Dutch stopped whaling in 1964.  Also at South Arm [berth 1] is a coaster that I think is Induna that was scrapped in 1962").  (dating notes provided by Brian Ingpen).

With reference to Bruno's map, in the left foreground is the East Pier and those wharves to the south of it connect No's 2 and 1 Jetties respectively.  Today almost everything around the Victoria Basin has been redeveloped into the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront residential and shopping complex and the rail tracks have disappeared. 

58. The T.H.WATERMEYER is ready to assist the STIRLING CASTLE at A-berth prior to her sailing for the UK. 

59. The STIRLING CASTLE is ready, facing the exit to Duncan Dock – she will now set sail for the UK as the T.H.WATERMEYER moves astern having done her job. 

60. STIRLING CASTLE  has left the Duncan dock and T.H.WATERMEYER sits quietly in the water before returning to the tug berths in Victoria Basin.  In 1939 when this tug was completed, she was requisitioned by the Royal Navy as HMS WATERMEYER. In 1941, she was released from naval duty and arrived in Cape Town for harbour service.

61. F.T.BATES assisting the EDINBURGH CASTLE as she prepared to leave Port.  The EDINBURGH CASTLE together with sister PRETORIA CASTLE, were both completed in 1948; Ouma Smuts launching PRETORIA CASTLE by radio from her home in Irene near Pretoria while her sister was launched by Princess Margaret in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  These were the first two new Union Castle ships to enter service after WW2.  They broke from tradition in that they were turbine-driven steam ships as opposed to the immediate pre-War motor ships favoured by Union Castle. They both had a GRT of 28,705 tons and were 747ft long.  The PRETORIA CASTLE was sold to Safmarine in 1966 and was re-named S.A.ORANJE until she was withdrawn and scrapped in 1975.  Sister EDINBURGH CASTLE was withdrawn and scrapped in 1976. 

62. Another angle on the graceful lines of EDINBURGH CASTLE as she prepared to sail from Duncan Dock.  The second tug T.S.McEWEN can be seen off the mailship’s stern. 

63. T.S.McEWEN makes her way slowly back to the tug berths in Victoria Basin.  

64. The heavily-laden CITY OF SWANSEA  has the F.T. BATES looking after her as she prepares to leave Duncan Dock.  

65. A pilot tug is in attendance as the FRONTIER sails from the Victoria Basin. Brian Ingpen provides more details of this interesting ship (readers please note that we are presenting a historical account of the SAR&H thus all dimensions are in Imperial measure): 

"Steamship; length 300ft-10ins; beam 44ft-8ins; dwt 2 956

1943    Built by J. Cockrill SA, Antwerp, as Weserstroom for German use

1945    Taken as war prize; renamed Empire Galena

1947    Bought by General Steam Navigation Company, London; renamed Albatross

1958    Bought by National Lines of South Africa, Cape Town; renamed Port Capetown

1958    Taken over by African Coasters, Durban; renamed Frontier (5)

1966    Sold to Summit Navigation Company, Panama; renamed Fortune

1968    Bought by Mollers Ltd, Hong Kong; scrapped "

66. F.T.BATES and the DANIE HUGO assisting the Union Castle flagship WINDSOR CASTLE to leave Port for her coastwise trip to Durban. Note the Walvis Bay fishing vessel scurrying out of the foreground!  

67. The SAR photographer has shown considerable artistry with this shot in Victoria Basin.  Two fishing vessels in the foreground with the R.B.WATERSTON in the background.  For those not familiar with harbour craft, the floating crane in the background is not part of the SAR tug! 

68. A close-up of the T.H.WATERMEYER’S superstructure is included for the benefit of tug model-builders. 


69. This photo epitomises the swan-like beauty of the previous SAR steam tugs – the port side is shown here and the next image shows her starboard side. I may be biased but these SAR & H steam tugs were surely the most beautiful vessels of their type in the world! 

70. The starboard side of DANIE HUGO – BUILT IN 1959; 3000 IhP with a tonnage of 812 tons.  Classic elegance!  

71. With Lion's Head looming prominently in the background, an American freighter is assisted to a berth by the DANIE HUGO and the T.H.WATERMEYER. This freighter seems to have a veritable forest of derricks both forward and aft of the main deck superstructure.  

72.  In Duncan Dock the T.H.WATERMEYER was busy with the S.A.NEDERBERG while the S.A.VAAL ex-TRANSVAAL CASTLE  was moored at F-berth. 

73. David Werbeloff contributed this portrait of the T.H.WATERMEYER showing her in a quiet moment between harbour duties in April 1981. 

74. A fine study of the F.T.BATES in Duncan dock with the grand Mountain as backdrop.

75.  The T.H.WATERMEYER steams out of Duncan Dock having berthed the S.A.NEDERBERG, while the S.A.VAAL shows off her classical lines at F-berth (note her clipper bow).  She looked much more dignified in her original Union Castle livery when she was the TRANSVAAL CASTLE.  

76. The SINCLAIR PETROLORE being coaxed into Sturrock Graving Dock by the T.S.McEWEN and another 1st class tug at her stern. 

77. The JOHN X.MERRIMAN and another tug attend to a Union Castle cargo ship as she prepares to leave Port.  

78. DANIE HUGO with Devil’s Peak as a backdrop is busy with another cargo ship in Duncan Dock. 

79. Two pilot tugs wait for their next turn of duty in Victoria Basin.  Lying aft is the CECIL G.WHITE and in the foreground is probably the S.G.STEPHENS.  Details of these two pilot tugs would be welcome as the source I have in my library has proved to be unreliable.  

80. The SAR employed colliers to bring coal from the East Coast to Cape Town for its locomotives and power stations.  One of them was the ERICA seen here in the Sturrock Graving Dock undergoing maintenance. 

81. The DALIA was another SAR collier and is also shown in this photo, in the Sturrock Graving Dock. Her sister ERICA can be seen in the forward part of the dock. 

By the early seventies these three small colliers had become inadequate to supply the rapidly increasing demand for coal at the Cape so contracts were let to a private Greek shipping company. Renowned Cape Times shipping correspondent George Young soon uncovered some serious hanky-panky in the awarding of these contracts.

Not much has changed.........  

82. Another view of the two SAR colliers in the Sturrock Graving Dock. 

83. The F.T.BATES and a pilot boat in silhouette at the entrance to Duncan Dock.  By 1980 these beautiful tugs were counting their days down to retirement.  The new forms of tug by Voith-Schneider had entered service in 1974.  Unfortunately, these new tugs lacked the graceful lines of their predecessors, the grand steam tugs. 

84. The J.H.BOTHA – one of the new generation tugs escorting the S.A.ORANJE out of Duncan Dock in 1974/75.  This ship was previously the PRETORIA CASTLE.  The S.A.ORANJE was already starting to look grubby - indicating that her days on the mail service were numbered. Personally, as previously stated, I preferred the Union Castle livery to that of Safmarine.

85. I have purposely included this study of the R.H.TARPEY to illustrate the lack of graceful design in the new tugs.  R.H.TARPEY was a Deputy General Manager of the SAR - a man who had a distinguished career in the railway service.  This tug entered service in 1974 according to notes provided by Hans Hoffman. 

86. In January 1961 I had the pleasure of sailing on a coastwise voyage in the PRETORIA CASTLE.  In this scene, a Holden motor car is being loaded prior to departure. 

87. The DANIE HUGO approaches PRETORIA CASTLE to assist with her departure from Duncan Dock.  The WINDSOR CASTLE is seen at A-berth prior to her sailing for the UK. 

88. As PRETORIA CASTLE leaves F-berth, crowds of onlookers see us off from the quayside.   Those 4-ton wharf cranes, only suitable for old-fashioned, pre-container era breakbulk cargo, would before long also become redundant! 

89. F.T.BATES was the second tug in attendance for our departure for Port Elizabeth. 

90. PRETORIA CASTLE gets a gentle nudge from one of the tugs as we swing around to face the exit to Duncan Dock.  

91. F.T.BATES  creates a wash from her stern as she backs-off – having done her job. The "Pudding Fender" that was referred to earlier, is prominent in this photo of the BATES as she backs-off from PRETORIA CASTLE. 

92. As we set sail from Duncan Dock, WINDSOR CASTLE sits serenely at A-berth while lots of people gather at the entrance to the Dock to see us off on our voyage to Port Elizabeth, East London and Durban. 

93. Just outside Duncan Dock, the pilot boat, S.G.STEPHENS approaches PRETORIA CASTLE to take off the pilot.  According to the Reynolds book "A Century of South African Steam Tugs" the S.G.STEPHENS was in service from 1952 - 1982.  This pilot tug was one of three ordered by the SAR in 1952 and spent the bulk of her working life in Table Bay Harbour.  

94. The pilot is off and S.G.STEPHENS steers away from our mailship to head back to Port. 

95. At the V&A Waterfront 31 years later, in November 1992, I photographed the retired pilot tug ALWYN VINTCENT and the RSA (a research vessel).  The VINCENT has since been land-locked at Villiersdorp in the Western Cape in an effort to preserve her.  

The "Antarctic Legacy of South Africa" states the following concerning the research ship "RSA" :

"On 31 December 1961, early in the morning, South Africa’s first Antarctic supply ship, the RSA, suitably dressed with flags, docked in Table Bay on its delivery voyage from Osaka, Japan. The 1572 gross ton ship was built by the Fujinagata Shipbuilding and Engineering Company.  The keel was laid on 4 April 1961,  the RSA was launched on 28 September, undertook sea trials in Osaka Bay over 28/29 November and set sail for Cape Town, South Africa on 30 November on a non-stop voyage.

Loading for Antarctica commenced on the 2nd of January, and on the 6th the new ship sailed from the Table Bay Docks for Dronning Maud Land with members of the Third SANAE Overwintering team (S3) aboard, under the leadership of Radio Technician Marten du Preez.  Her first voyage south followed the placement of the first two SANAE over-wintering teams in Norway Station by the Norwegian vessels Polarbjørn in 1959/60 and Polarhav in 1960/61."  

More notes from Brian:

"RSA was South Africa’s polar supply vessel from 1961 to 1978 when she was replaced by S.A. Agulhas. Later, RSA was painted white and given a yellow funnel when she became a unit in the South African Navy to clandestine operations off the South West African & Angolan coasts. When this photograph was taken, she was used as a seamen’s training vessel, prior to her being scrapped".

96. Carol's beautiful shot of the SA Vaal in Duncan dock on the 16th of September 1977.  This was her last visit to South Africa and her second last call at Cape Town.  She was due to sail for Durban and then return to Cape Town before bidding SA farewell and leaving on her final voyage back to the UK.

96a. In September 1977, Roger Perry photographed the final sailing of the S.A.VAAL (coastwise or for the UK) – bringing an end to the era of Union Castle and Safmarine mailships and their close association with South Africa. Very sad indeed! 

97. Living up to her affectionate soubriquet "Smoky Sue" (well, perhaps not so affectionate on the part of passengers on the promenade decks of ships being attended), the magnificent T S McEwen produces an overwhelming display of coal smoke as she assists Lloyd Triestino's passenger-cargo vessel Europa into the Duncan Dock in January 1970. 

98. Elder statesman of the Table Bay steam tugs, T S McEwen, is shown here again, attending the Italian liner Europa as she eases to her berth in the Duncan Dock in January 1970. 

99. The pinnacle of South African post-war steam harbour tug design was reached in 1959, with the delivery from Ferguson Brothers shipyard at Port Glasgow of the F C Strurrock and Danie Hugo.  Here Danie Hugo races out of the Duncan Dock on a glorious summer morning in December 1974. 

100. The first large oil-burning tugs to be delivered to the SAR&H were ordered from the Clydeside yard of Ferguson Brothers, for delivery in 1950-51.  The first of these was the F T Bates, shown here easing out of the Duncan Dock in early-1970. Bates spent the first twenty-five years of her working life in Table Bay harbour before ending her days in Durban in the early 1980s. The tug in the distance, standing out in the Bay, is the R.B.Waterston. 

101. In the late 1950s, the SAR&H broke with the tradition of ordering harbour craft principally from UK shipbuilders, and placed an order with the Cantieri Navali e Officiene Mechaniche di Venezia for five coal-burning steam pilot tugs for service in various ports. Cecil G White was delivered in 1958 and served briefly in Durban and then towards the end of her career in East London, but was principally associated with Table Bay harbour, where she is shown steaming into the Duncan Dock, with an impressive trail of coal smoke, in early-1970.  Three of the five Venice-built tugs, including the White, were named after Nautical Advisors, the term used by the SAR&H for the senior. White ended her days in Durban where, after sinking at her berth at the Trawler's Wharf at the Bayhead in 1985, she was raised but then cut down and modified virtually unrecognisably to become the fishing trawler “Fame”. 

102. R B Waterston, completed by the Simons yard at Renfrew on Clydeside in 1954, was the last coal-fired first-class harbour tug delivered to the SAR&H. The tug is shown here leaving the Duncan Dock at sedate pace in December 1977, quite late in her career, as she was laid-up in Cape Town in 1980. 

103. The elegant T S McEwen is shown here lying "at ease" off A-berth in the Duncan Dock as she waits to take up the lines of a vessel that was about to sail. Ordered to provide the tug power to handle the larger Union-Castle mailships of the 1920s, McEwen was built at Paisley on the River Clyde by Bow, McLachlan & Co. Ltd. She served Table Bay harbour "in steam" for just short of fifty years before she was withdrawn from service in 1974 then subsequently stripped and towed out to be scuttled off Robben Island in 1977.  Safmarine’s SA Oranje (ex. Pretoria Castle) can be seen in the background. 

104. The redoubtable Danie Hugo steaming peacefully out of Duncan Dock in January 1970.  This was in the days before the construction of the Schoeman Dock and its attendant container gantries provided background clutter to "out to sea" photographs from the roundhead at A-berth.  

105. F T Bates leaves the Duncan Dock at some speed in December 1969, cutting the corner at the entrance so sharply as to catch the unwary photographer attempting a full-frame view of the tug without lopping-off the top of the foremast! 

106. The coal-fired T H Watermeyer, a product of the A & J Inglis yard in Glasgow in 1939, thunders into the Duncan Dock in early-September 1977 to stand by the final departure from Cape Town of the Union-Castle mailship Windsor Castle. The tug is well populated with photographers and passengers wanting a waterside vantage point to view the historic departure of the Windsor Castle. Their presence is evidence of the more relaxed perspective on port security that was associated with the South African ports at that time, and indeed well into the first decade of the 21st century. 

107. End of an era: the last departure of a Union-Castle passenger mailship from Table Bay docks on 6th September, 1977. The 1960-built Windsor Castle, the largest of the Union-Castle mail liners, backs away from A-berth for the last time, with Danie Hugo and T H Watermeyer in attendance. The quayside at A-berth, and the roundhead at the entrance to the Duncan Dock were packed with spectators in those heady pre-ISPS days when the public was welcomed in the South African ports. 
Last passenger mailship to leave South African waters was the S A Vaal three weeks later, but she was not carrying the traditional lavender, black and red colours of the Union-Castle Line. The mail service to South African ports ended formally on 11th October 1977 with the departure of the cargo mailship Southampton Castle. 

108. A weepworthy milestone in the annals of Cape Town and Table Bay Harbour: Windsor Castle setting sail from Table Bay Harbour for the last time on 6 September 1977.  As a mark of respect, Voith tugs bade her farewell with their fire-hoses spraying sea-water all over the place while T.H.Watermeyer with guest complement on board watched the sad event from astern.    

Bon voyage, your Majesty! 

109. Class 6D 579 at the South Arm in 1963. From here on the emphasis shifts towards the harbour railways and their role in providing a service for the thousands of cargo vessels that called on Table Bay Harbour. 

Soon after the arrival of South Africa's first standard-gauge locomotive, the contractors 0-4-2WT (later named "Blackie"), serving the wharves by locomotive instead of animal-drawn carts began. According to Holland this was most likely during 1860.  Until 1873 when the first 3ft-6ins gauge engines arrived for Harbour Service, harbour shunting at Cape Town would have been done by the road engines of the Cape Town Railway and Dock Company.  The workload would have only gradually have outgrown this arrangement but come the decision to adopt the 3ft-6ins gauge as the standard for new construction from 1st January 1873, the various Harbour Boards elected to order their own engines. 
The 7ft-0ins gauge used for the breakwater and harbour construction work from 1874, as described and illustrated above, was not used for general freight and is therefore outside the scope of the next section of this chapter.  Harbour boards were established by the Cape Colonial government in 1843 but only began to use rail to serve the ports with their own engines from 1873.  The CGR took over from the Harbour Boards in 1908 and soon after Union in 1910 the ports as well as their rail operations were absorbed into the SAR&H. Some 60 harbour engines were inherited by SAR, which promptly classified them as obsolete. About 25 were eventually used by Table Bay Harbour but the exact number changed regularly and in any case needs considerably more research than can be devoted in a work such as SoAR. 
After 1910 the use of ex-road engines in the harbours was resumed by SAR, slowly at first but with increasing rapidity from the early thirties.  By 1925 the number of ex-Harbour Board locomotives had dwindled to 25 and by 1945 none were left (although some still found employment in private industrial service).  After the Simonstown line was electrified in 1928, sixth class engines previously used to haul commuters became the standard docks shunting power and this continued until they were gradually replaced by new Krupp S2-class 0-8-0s from 1952/3.  After the opening of Bellville marshalling yard in 1955 the TBH sixes were mainly confined to the shunts.  

110. It was Alec Watson who introduced the tradition of naming engines at Paarden Eiland when he was Assistant Loco Foreman there.  14CRB 2004 named "Purdey" came to Cape Town early in 1973 after dieselisation of the Umtata branch.  She was soon at work on Table Bay Harbour haulers from Bellville marshalling yard which had been completed in the mid-fifties in order to remove all goods shunting and sorting with its attendant smoke problems from central Cape Town.   (Thanks to Peter Micenko for this superb portrait of Purdey)

111. From 1955 the rail entrance to the harbour was at its eastern end via a direct connection off the avoiding line.  This newly arrived hauler had just come in with empties from Bellville. 

At this time 3Rs were common in Cape Western hauler service although, in truth several different classes were used.  In spite of their diminutive 3ft-9½ins driving wheels they could handle 50mph with ease and thus became the preferred power for Bellville haulers until the 14CRBs took over this service. As an aside it is interesting to record that these Hendrie-designed engines were very large for Cape-gauge lines when introduced on the Natal Government Railways in 1909 and, incredibly, they retained their slide valves throughout their working lives (where else could you find a slide-valve 4-8-2 in the seventies?). During the thirties and forties all the 30 class 3s were reboilered with Watson std No 2 boilers, becoming class 3Rs in the process. 

112. Those empties behind the 3R in photo 111 could have been shunted alongside at E-berth to be loaded with rolls of Canadian newsprint off one of the Christensen Canadian-Africa line's ships*. In those days containers had not been heard of and nearly all loading and unloading of ships was done by flimsy-looking 4-ton cranes that could be, and occasionally were, toppled by gale-force South Easters. 

*Thank you Brian

113. An exception to the practice of remarshalling incoming loads at Bellville was block-loads of fruit - either with steam from Elgin as above, or behind electric units off the main line from Worcester bringing in produce from Ceres, the Hex River valley or the NCCR.  The reason, of course, was that fruit needed to reach the cold-storage sheds as quickly as possible. From the mid eighties until 2016 all fruit was lost to rail but since then some promising developments have taken place from Ceres where the operators of "Ceres Rail" have instituted block container loads of Koue Bokkeveld fruit railed direct to TBH. 

114. The GEA coming in with a block load of fruit in the previous photo would have continued for another few hundred yards before stopping to allow the dockyard S2 to collect the load and shove it into the ICS precooling sheds, which is what is happening on the left of this photo.  The S2 in the middle is assembling a train of empties on South Arm's long storage sidings for dispatching to the farming districts. 

115. The South Arm had very long staging sidings.  Only two are left today.  In March 1980 S2 3726 on the left, was shoving type O short fruit wagons into the ICS precooler while 3728 awaited further instructions.  

116. Export fruit being loaded at South Arm into the Rustenberg Castle. The pallets seem to be coming out of an upper level of the Imperial Cold Storage warehouse and not from the type OZ fruit wagons along the wharf.  The fact that none of the later type O wagons with fully-opening sides are visible and the attire of the ladies in the foreground appears to date this photo around the middle 1960s.  The passenger liner in the left background is a Dutch "Royal Inter-Ocean Line" RUYS-class ship.
Concerning the interesting example of Union Castle's cargo fleet, the following was extracted from Laurence Dunn's book on the subject (please note that for obvious reasons I have changed it to past tense): 

"The Rustenburg Castle, 8,332 tons, was one of two post-war ships in this class. She and her sister Riebeeck Castle differed in having a more compact superstructure, with the third hatch placed in front of the bridge. These two vessels measured 474ft overall x 63ft breadth, had over 400,000 cubic feet of insulated space and accommodation for seven passengers. The Rustenburg Castle, launched on 5 March 1946, was named after a small town in the Transvaal which is the centre of a famous citrus fruit, tobacco and cotton growing district". 

117. Soon to be signing off almost seventy years of service to Cape Town and the SAR, 6H 627 was shoving a rake of fruit trucks into the Imperial Cold Storage siding along the landward side of their warehouses on the South Arm in 1970. 

118. Class 6C 542 taking a lunch break at the corner of No 6 Quay and the East Pier in January 1957. The tenders attached to 6C 542, 6D 579 in photo 109 as well as 6H 627 in photo 117 all appear to be type XF as shown in the official diagram book. 

119. We have seen (photo 10) how the 7ft-gauge network was shut down early in the 20th century.  Also around this time the big quarry that had been used to provide the stone that built the breakwater finally was closed and the area it occupied used to accommodate oil storage tanks.  However, the breakwater work continued as it was extended twice more after WWI. This time the stone had to come from much further away, some 33 miles in fact - at Klipheuwel on the Malmesbury line.  When this photo was made in April 1956, SAR was still using concrete blocks to construct the breakwater; those wooden boxes were the moulds and a few completed blocks can be seen on the left.  Ever since the scrapping of the Harbour tank engines shunting the block yard was handled by sixth classes, in this case 6H 621. The huge block-yard straddle crane was a feature of the harbour landscape for almost a century. 

In later years these oblong blocks were replaced by the more effective "dolosse" (also made of concrete but using sheet-steel moulds) an invention accredited to SAR Harbour Engineer Merrifield of East London in 1963. Dolosse have since become commonplace all around the world. 

120. In March 1980 Dick found two Class S2's shortly after sunrise shunting the main harbour reception/departure sidings adjacent to the Duncan Dock. These were the sidings from where incoming trains were collected by the harbour shunters and distributed to the various wharves.  Today but one track remains here and all the catenaries and mast poles have disappeared. Reason: no more traffic (except for the brave efforts of Ceres Rail to revive some of it). 
The S2 class short-wheelbase light-axleload 0-8-0's were synonymous with shunting in the Administration’s harbours from their arrival in 1952/3 right through to the end of steam in 1982. 23 class S2's were initially allocated to Paarden Eiland rising to over 30 by the mid 70's; 11 engines handled the dock shunting on a daily basis and six or seven locos could often be seen coupled together going to and from Paarden Eiland shed at shift changes. An interesting point to make here is that due to being restricted to 25mph the S2s were considered unsuitable for the dual role of hauling and shunting. 

121. Deep into the seventies there was rail activity everywhere in the harbour, then in the space of little more than ten years it all evaporated.  Crossing one of the main dock entrance roads under the watchful eye of the flagman, S2 3726 was bringing an empty mechanical refrigerator to one of the Victoria Basin warehouses along the South Arm.  In the background S2 3717 was standing by at the Albert Basin slipway.  

122.  Dick must have run like hell to get this second bite of the apple.  Another nice one of S2 3726 showing what looks like a trawler on the Alfred Basin slipway. 

123. S2 3728 shunting wagons past the 'Harvest Aquarius' fishing vessel on the Alfred Basin slipway in February 1981. That's Lion's head keeping watch over proceedings. 

124. An S2 bracketed by already obsolete 4-ton breakbulk cargo cranes.  In the left background is TBH's 60-ton floating crane. 

125. Empty DZs being shoved to the East Pier by S2 3717. To the left are the warehouses of the North Pier which today are full of craft stuff and exotic foods you can buy.  A couple of years ago the white-roofed shed was used to house the Titanic exhibition where Charlie's Auntie Amy's silver jewellery case, which went down with the ship and had been dredged off the ocean floor, was on display!
Nowadays this corner will be familiar to anyone who regularly visits the Waterfront, it is plumb in the heart of the show.  Fast forward twenty years and the photographer could have had a jug of Bosun's Bitter in one hand - he would be standing outside the Mitchell's Brewery bar; its building first appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of photo 10. 

Oh, one small detail: today there is no trace of the railway, let alone the locomotive.

126. Beautiful lighting at the seaward end of South Arm with the Victoria Basin warehouses in the background. 

127. On 15 February 1981, the RSSA Cape Town branch organised a farewell to steam tour around the harbour in brake vans hauled by immaculate S2 3716. In fact, this special pre-dated the end of steam by almost a year with the first diesels only appearing in the harbour in May. However, by November only two harbour turns were left for steam and on 10 January 1982 steam in Cape Town finished. It mattered little, by the end of the decade almost all harbour shunting had ended. 

128. General view of the Victoria Basin looking north, taken from Signal Hill in March 1981 showing the layout of the harbour and rail sidings before construction of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront development started in 1989. A portion of Duncan Dock can be seen on the right as well as the Schoeman Basin beyond that.  It is interesting to study this photo in conjunction with Bruno's map as many of the features named can be identified.  Note the oil storage tanks.  They are all in the hollow made by the old quarry as depicted in photos 3 and 4. 

129. The same view today.  No's 1 and 2 Jetties are where they always have been but the oil tanks have made way for upmarket apartments and there is not a railway line to be seen west of the Basins.  The Alfred Basin, practically surrounded by the most expensive accommodations in the land, has been extended into the old quarry. Trust me, one needs to be a dollar multi-millionaire to be able to afford one of those flats on the edges of this inner, inner Alfred Basin.  How many of those living in these opulent pads spare a thought for the wretches who dug that quarry more than 150 years ago?
Beneath the sea-green roofs are the shopping malls of the V&A Waterfront, where one also needs to be pretty well-off to shop. That is, unless you're going for a hamburger, chips and onion rings. 

130. Bringing this epic SoAR chapter to a close: Dick's picture of the passenger liner/cruise ship "Federico C" built for the Costa Line. With her "clipper bow" she looked like a modern version of the RMS Scot; latterly operating cruises from Italy, she was alongside in Duncan Dock in March, 1980.  Note the  two SAR tugs in attendance: on the left, one of the classic steam tugs and on the right, one of the less attractive diesel "Water Tractors" as I think they are known.

The next harbour that we will visit in due course, is at Port Elizabeth – until then………