A history and some memories of a boy from UmbogintwiniMarch 2022, Last updated: March 2023In loving memory of Jenny 14.12.56 – 18.2.22
A truly brilliant read resurfacing many childhood memories a time sorely missed and never to be repeated
Thanks ken, what wonderful memories you shared, we were your neighbours in Highbury road, the Schwegmann’s, Carol, Colin, Linda and Sharron
How wonderful to be able to read this ! As current principal of Umbogintwini Primary ,I am saddened at the loss of our wonderful village and a history that is all but forgotten. It is my intention to share this with our current learners and staff, so that they too can appreciate the rich history that surrounds us.
Allan Fearon was my dad
Thanks Ken for bringing back all of these memories – well written! Like you mention – Twini was a self-contained village – everything you needed – even great local dramatic productions. I was born in the hospital when we lived in Highbury Road – then moved to John Coke – used to see Mr Stander walking up the hill to UGS in the morning. At about age 6 we moved to 9 Reservoir Rise, Athlone Park (not Radar Crescent, but close). Worked for Mrs Marisch at the bottle store in the vac, like you. A distinctive sound was the steam train grinding up Twini Hill – Chuf-Chuf- ChChuChuChu! – I think with the wheels spinning when the tracks were wet. When I saw StPatricks being vandalised about 5 years ago I photo’d the tombstones also and gave the photos to Star-of-the-Sea church in Toti where the ashes were moved.
I so enjoyed reading this. Thank you for all the research into these interesting places.
Thank you for this. I worked at Twini Primary for many years and lived in Highbury Rd for a few years in the 90’s.
Some of the most beautiful houses were in the village.
A very interesting read. It brought back memories of my childhood although I did not live on the coast.
Your account of your Twini boyhood closely parallels Gerald Durrell’s life on Corfu in My Family and Other Animals. You only left out the local taxi driver – Peter McNaught-Davis.
Another memory – the mule-pulled lawnmower doing our lawn in John Coke Road.
Hope you’re fit – good to see your name.
Yup, a few memories of a wonderful time in our lives although sad to witness the loss of our heritage.
Michael we had that book at school on Corfu so many years ago – Regards boet Stewart Boyd
Thank you so much for the memories. I still have a picture or two of your folks, sitting on the back steps of your house, with all you children, my Mom and Dad in law and Uncle Fred and his wife. Sorry her name slips my mind.
I found it interesting to compare your experiences growing up in Twini to that of mine growing up in country Victoria. I have to admit you’re were involved in a lot more activities many of which were different to mine and some quite dangerous eg. your encounters with snakes. I agree that it is a great pity that the lifestyle for young boys today is so different. As I said before, Ken, you never cease to amaze me…congratulations on a great document.
Thanks for writing and sharing this – we lived in Ocean View Road. Certainly brought back a lot of memories and there were so many things I did not know.
Brilliant recollections documented. I am currently writing a book on Kingsburgh and the early days. I know exactly how much research and effort went into writing this well done
I so enjoyed reading the article. I lived in Chamberlain Road for a few years in the first semi detached house then we moved to Udal Road. My late father Arthur Grimes worked in the dip plant then went to Security where he started the Dog Unit. We had such a great time living in the village. Everyone was so proud of their gardens, even remembering the village having competitions for the best kept gardens. It was very sad when all the houses were demolished. I still get a lump in my throat when I drive passed.
Wow ! Thank you. I was born in the Umbogintwini hospital in 1954. Lived at no Beach road before the bridge was built. Moved to 16 McGowan road and then to no 4 Udal road. By I remember the Grubb’s Mr. Grubb’s love of his Hillman cars. Used to hang around with Clive ( camel) .We left the village in the 70’s and lived in school rod Athlone park
My Grandfather worked at AE&I and retired in 1938 my father Lawrence worked there 42 years. We also kept horse’s at the old dairy.
It was a very different world
wonderful memories, thanks.
We were married in Umbogintwini church in July 1971 and celebrated our Golden Anniversary last year on Dornoch Golf Course. Fond memories.
Thanks for the memories.. ! .. although I grew up in Athlone Park I had many Twini friends so spent a lot of time in the village. It still pains me to drive past Galleria etc thinking of the beautiful golf course that I spent many an hour on as a youngster …. best regards ….. John … (son of Dixie D’Amant .. the Twini Club legend … 😅)
Hi ….so enjoyed your writings here. I went to Umbogintwini school still have friends from that era.
Lived in Linscott Rd and spent most of my time on Umbogintwini Beach. So many magical memories of a life style gone. I do have some pics to share if anyone is interested.
Live in N Italy now with my husband who I met at Kingsway in my matric year. Many I am still in touch with.
Thanks for the memories
Denise nee Arthur
Ken Grubb thankyou so much for the magic memories – cannot believe you found that snip of my scouting days at 1st Umbogintwini Scouts – I was astounded at what you have found so long ago about our beloved little village Umbogintwini with us living in Dawn Place & previously Iphala Rd My very best regards Stewart Boyd
Wow, what a great journey into the past ! One of the best things I remember is being able to take long walks from my home, all the way down Kingsway, into Linscott Rd, then Dick King, and back home without having to worry about safety. My Dad was Dr ‘Bonzo’ Brand, and delivered many an infant at the hospital. My Mother Audrey was also heavily involved in the Highland gatherings, especially on the fund raising side. My late older brother Frank went to Highbury and then to Kearsney, and my younger brother Mark also attended UGS and then Kearsney
I attended UGS for grades I and II (’63/’64), I do believe I had Mrs Harvey and Norman if I remember correctly. If anyone remembers me, I was about as round as I was tall. Lovely to recognise all these names
Wonderful. I lived in your old house from 1988 to 2008, was the last person to leave the village. Loved the village and tried so hard to save it, to no avail. I did start a museum at the AECI offices but have now retired so don’t know if it is still going. Kept some old photos and memoirs if anyone is interested.
Hi I would love some photos
Brilliant all round research. I did not know much of this. My parents bought below Kingsway on Windy Corner in 1964. Beautiful home and view to die for. I still go and look at the property and could easily live there today.
Thank you so much for that, I really took a trip down memory lane. We lived in Chamberlain Road, I Went to Twini school, had a photo taken with Karen Muir, got married in the Presbyterian church and had my reception in the Jubilee Hall with Mrs Rice as the caterer.
Jenny was one of my friends and I often used to go home with her after school. Your mom used to fill the bath with cold water on hot days and we would put on our bathing suits, hop in and she would bring us lunch to eat in the bath! True story 🤣
Oh my word. Reading all this brings tears to my eyes. We were so happy there. Big yards to run around ,the houses were beautiful and huge inside. We stayed at 13 Udal right next to Kevin and Kerryn Wherle’s grandparents. We played in the streets until late at night roller blading and riding our bikes. My grandfather worked at AECI Mr. J. J. Kloppers and then my dad Louis.B. Kloppers thereafter dad went over to Polifin. I was about 16 when the plant shut down then we moved to 1 Linscott Road. I remember the graveyard as we always use to say it was haunted. Not far from the graveyard the Swanepoel’s and de Witt’s stayed which were family friends as well as the Viljoen’s on Oppenheimer road. I never wanted to move but had no choice as it was company properties. There use to be a playground to the top with slides and swings which we always went to. The swimming pool and golf course were close to the train station which everyone went to. Playing golf with dad was so much fun and playing tennis on the courts. The small library was one of my favourite places to go to had everything we needed and around the corner from there was our cafe and local butchery where Jessie worked and now it’s a McDonald’s and Shell garage. We had the best Christmases there and don’t forget the fireworks at AECI soccer grounds where the clinic was. Wow so many memories. My dad went to Umbogintwini Primary as grandpa stayed in the village as well later he went to Kuswag. I spent my 12 years in Kuswag and had great academics and sport experiences. We use to run around the block practicing for athletics, my sister and I.My dad would’ve loved to read this, but he has passed for 2 years now. Thank you for bringing back such inredible memories.
Loved reading all the details in your writing. I too have wonderful memories of our time in Athlone Park and going to the Beach and walking under the railway bridge onto the Red Sandune across the highway pre 1974.
Running to the Beach when the plane crashed with My Brother Mark Daniels. He was friends with your Brother. The scout Hall where I attended Guides. Not to forget the weddings at Jubilee Hall and Tennis Lessons. The post Office Next to the Huge tree. Garage and Shops.
Such Special times at the beach with our family.
So many of the famous names you have mentioned also bring wonderful memories back too.
Hi Ken, my name is Joy Herbst (nee Whiteley). It was wonderful to read all the history of our lives living in Twini. It really was a special place. Jean (76) , our eldest sister, lives in Auckland with her family; Jennifer (72), lives in Hillcrest & is about to remarry on Saturday 16th April after her beloved first husband passed away 3 years ago from cancer; Laura Jayne (62) who was born in the Kynoch Hospital & delivered by Dr McCleod when we lived in McGowan Road is living in ‘Toti and myself (74). I live in Knysna. My Dad Jimmy sadly died when he was 57 and had been boarded from Kynoch perspex division due to a bad heart. My mother Joan died at 84 years in ‘Toti in 2011. She never left the area.
I have many wonderful memories of the milkman who parked his cart at the Jubilee Hall. The Frangipani tree outside our house at 19 Highbury Road where my sister Jean hung upside down most afternoons. Bert Burness bunking school brought back wonderful memories. Felicity Sangster was my best friend up the road Kevin & Cheryl Cole lived over the road. The many Variety Concerts at the Jubilee Hall which our family were a part of. And. And. Thanks for bringing it all back, some of which I had forgotten. Joy
We lived in number 18 until it was demolished, such great memories in that house
Thank you for a very interesting read…
My mom and Dad, Jimmy Acker and Pauline Acker lived at 16 Chamberlain then 18 Chamberlain Rd for many years. (1970 to 1983 ish) I recall ken Grubb? Or was it Ben…We had a wonderful child hood in Twini, from my sister doing Pottery at the Hall in the grounds around Jubilee Hall, to playing around the village…wonderful memories.
Wow, great memories!
We didn’t realise then, how good we had it!
Thank you for this it brought back so many memories. My parents and myself when I got married lived in the Village. I remember the Kynoch Xmas parades and sports days as well as the Nativity plays.
I will see if I have some photos from my parents
What a fantastic read, it brought back wonderful memories of my early years in the area. I lived in Prince Street and my sister Helen and I went to Twini School after arriving from England in 1967. Friends for life were made at Twini Primary, Kingsway Junior High and Kingsway Senior High. Thank you so much for writing this Ken.
Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories of Twini village,I worked at AE&CI for 23 yrs and lived at a few addresses in Twini Village.
Lived in Chamberlain Rd in 1975 and attended Umbogintwini primary school. Wonderful memories.
A great read – which I plan to reread! Thank you for documenting our fortunate lives, growing up in Twini, Kenneth! Wonderful memories! I went to Twini school with you! My Dad, Allan Druce was the Assistant Chief Chemist at AECI all his working life – and was also very active in the music scene – teaching and playing the piano and organ -at most of the churches – and even for “Cocktail Hour” at the Twini Club! I now live in Qld, (near where I believe Mark is!)
It was so good to see your comment.
I remember you and your Dad so well. He played at our wedding at the St John’s Anglican.
I was very good friends with Lesley.
Thank you Ken for such an informative read on Twini. Although I was a Warners girl, we ended up at 616 Kingsway for my High school years and have very fond memories of the Twini that was. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article!
Wow, what great memories. I lived on a small holding in Old Main Rd Toti in my early years but went to Twini primary. Later we lived in Wave Crest Rd and then Dawn Place before getting married and moving to Warner Beach. moved to Australia in 1983.
Had lots of friends in Twini Village so spent some special times there.
Thanks so much for sharing these memories.
Thank you for taking me on a journey about my childhood.
I must have been in your class at Twini Primary and then in Std6 at Kingsway.
We lived at 21 Oppenheimer Road. My dad Bill Bell was Instrument Engineer for many years,
Thank you Ken for wonderful memories of a great place to grow up in. We lived in Blewett road then moved to Highbury Road opposite the Jubilee hall. Have wonderful memories of happy times and great friends from twini . Started school at twini in 1957. Before moving to Toti primary. Then Old Kingsway High. Got married at the Athlone Park Presbyterian church in 1970. Now living in Australia. In the same road as Tony van der Westuizen. We lived opposite in twini village. How’s that for coincidence. Thanks for the memories. Much appreciated
In 1964 Pop Fearon persuaded me to try the High Jump event. From then on to Matric, Kenny Grubb, Robin and I competed. Kenny always first with me getting 3rd or 4th positions. Kenny’s best – was it 5 foot 11 and a half? Or his own height?
Jumping scissors into a sawdust pit! Teaching Fosbury to my jumpers at school over the years somehow came easily. The first 15 or so years, I was able to impress my pupils by jumping scissors onto the mat, at heights some could not achieve.
Lots of memories brought up here. Thanks Kenny! Memories in your back yard and the tamed wild birds under your care. That crow of yours!!
Can’t remember who all was there when two Peters, Ian and ? were returning from nesting and exploring Isipingo Flats side, We had to cross the Twini river. The others were ahead of me when I sank past my knees in quicksand. Desperate screams brought my rescuers back. That was scary!
Having taught in East London for 26 years, I missed all the hype about Twini Village being obliterated. St Johns, Jubilee Hall(remember the sessions there) Mrs Marisch’s Bottle store ( I also worked there. Remember having to enter every single purchase in the register, under spirits, fortified and unfort.ified wines! ) Theos and the village. All gone! I believe there is a lot of controversy over the condition / fate of the Catholic Church. This country of ours is so far behind the world in historical places. The systematic neglect and destruction of our”baby” history depresses me no end.
I have been retired and living in Assagay/Hillcrest for the past 8 years. House is on the market and heading to join my daughter and granddaughter in England,
Military training at 1SSB in Bloem and teacher training followed by 9 years teaching in Ixopo then East London for 26 years, separated me from friends and home. This I regret so much, and so reading your story brought back so many memories. Thanks for that.
Reminder. I was Roderick Saunders up until about Std 8, when I chose to have my birth name. Cherryll Barry and Shirley my siblings. 8 Hudd Rd Then 21 Marshall Rd
What a wonderful environment to be brought up in – no high walls, electric fences or security gates. Our only security was the patrol men with knob kerries which you mentioned – and the 10 o’clock curfew siren from the factory. Many of the names were after my time but the places brought back awesome memories of long ago. We stayed at No 20 McGowan Road and both my parents were very involved in the dramatic society which held amateur productions at the Jubilee hall from time to time. Great memories – thank you.
Hi Ken and other twini-ites,
Thanks for all the memories. Yes we had it good to say the least.
Other memories were teacher Miss Tandie who was passionate about SA history especially the battles of Rourkes drift, Isandluwana etc. Miss Pascoe was my favorite.
Glynn Crossley (Hawk) the scout master. Go cart races down John Coke hill. John had the best cart. Movies at Jubilee hall. Especially Game capture in Rhodesia when Kariba was filling. The “session’s” and Discos. Guy fawkes at the club and at “yokkies” house. Swimming at Mrs Andersons pool on Ocean way. Bicycles, skate boards, surfing, fishing, birding, camping on Sandy bank. Derek, Malcolm, Richard, Robin, Cederic, Jimmy, Niomi, Ken, Martin, Ann, John, Marlene, Karin. Mrs mac Naught Davis. Steven, Judy, and many others. I also served time at the Bottle store.
Photos would be appreciated.
Currently living in East London area.
…many many others!
So good to see your message. So well remember the times we all shared in Chamberlain Road, at the scout hut, on Sandy Bank and at school. Many memories came flooding back reading your account. I think I remember that you had a little dog called Bandy – am I right? We had many good times together with the other guys you mention in your post. I presently live in the Netherlands with my wife and kids and grandkids.
Ken, thankyou for this blog-brought back many memories. Actually lived in Athlone Park then and did Std. 4&5 at Twini school in 68/69.I recall knowing Jenny when I went onto Kingsway High… not in same class but in same standard. Sorry to hear of her passing.
Some names crop up in your blog.. Vim and Corine were our neighbours. I am again only now in contact with Wim again after all these years… thanks to fb!
Allan Druce used to play at our methodist church in Athlone Park..great musician.
Once i got my drivers licence, i used to shoot down daily to the twini station in our beetle to collect my dad arriving from working in durban.
It was a delight for me reading your history of Umbogintwini. I wrote an account of our family’s time in the village from 1942 to 1947 as a nostalgic need, remembering happy times in my youth. I am re-writing it and making additions from what I have since remembered, triggered and inspired by your article. This so that my children and grandchildren may possess some history to reflect on in addition to other writings I have done on their forebears.
I was younger than you were and not as aware, to the degree that you were, of many things in your story. I shall, of course stick to my memories and cannot, unfortunately, add anything of significance or any photographs to your story. I was very pleased to have, from your writings confirmation of what I remembered and a most interesting wider knowledge of the village, and geological and other history.
Ken, thank you for the many hours of work you have put in here, brings back so many memories. I’m so sad to hear about the loss of Jenny, we were both good friends but circumstance and time pulls people apart, she had good heart. We lived in 23 Chamberlain Rd, next to the Inngs’ home before the new FM’s house was built before moving to Windy Corner and Toti.
I sit here in Perth Australia but as I read this my mind is in Umbogintwini in the 1980’s. Thank you so much Ken for the wonderful trip down memory lane. My Dad (Errol Hulley) worked at AECI and we lived in Chamberlain Road before moving to Shepstone Road where I spent most of my childhood. Memories of riding around Twini on my bike getting up to all sorts of adventures have come flooding back. I have often tried to find old images of Umbogintwini without much success, so this has made my day!
I’m most impressed with the detail of my old stomping ground, having grown up in Athlone Park but so very often venturing across the main highway through the bush path and down the ash road to Twini Station to catch a train to Durban. It’s a remarkable piece of writing which brings back so many memories. Thanks a ton to the author who I recall in name as well as the other individuals mentioned. The mention of Durban City and Durban United were significant as I spent many years writing Soccer Through The Years 1862-2002. Well done to Ken for keeping the area’s rich history intact for generations to come.
Great read – well done – I have fond memories of living at 35 Highbury Road opposite the little church. Amazing changes have taken place since then !
Gordon Blackwood – now living in Scotland
This was such a surprise to have come across. I’m part of a much younger generation that lived in twini. I went to Umbogintwini Primary School and then Kingsway High. Which I then started nursing training at Kingsway Hospital. From 1991 until 2000 we lived in 23 Highbury Rd. I possibly had the best upbringing living in the village. Us kids would be out on the streets from the moment our eyes were open until midnight for most of the school holidays or wknds. We were known as the village kids but I would not trade that nickname for anything in the world. And the amazing thing is, all us kids then are still in contact. The club pool was a huge hit for us and I remember doing karate at the “Club hall”. The army camp was also a highlight for us on highbury Rd, as well as the park which we spent hours at. Challenging each other to see who could ride their skateboard or Rollerblade all the way from the top of John Coke road to the bottom without wiping out was always a fun time as well, hoping our back fences to get to friends houses. It is such a pity that such a beautiful village was destroyed. Thank you for bringing back this memory for all of us to relive again.
Wonderful narrative, thank you Ken. Such wonderful childhood days. I lived in Emoyeni Drive, Amanzimtoti in the 50’s through 70’’s. My Dad, John Walsh, was assistant chief electrical engineer at Kynochs for many years. I went to school at Toti junior school but then high school at Marist Brothers in Durban after a stint of boarding school in Kloof. My brother Howard went to Kingsway High. My sister Sue was at a convent in Malvern. I did arts and law at Howard College, then after articles of clerkship in Durban I worked in East London and later Johannesburg as an attorney before settling in Australia. I now live on the Queensland Gold Coast at Mt Tamborine. One of many scatterlings of Africa, I treasure memories of Twini and Toti. Thanks so much for your wonderful history of those early days. Alan Walsh
What amazing memories. We loved growing up in that village. I was part of the other Kelly Family. My Dad was Leo and my Mom Lyn. There were 6 of us kids that lived in Twini. My older sister Rhonda was married by then. Which left Arthur, Colette, Shevaun, Leo, Maire & Faron. We started out in 12 Highbury Road then moved to 10 Highbury and 9 Highbury Road. Our last address in Twini was 6 Oppenheimer Road opposite Theo’s, next door to the Anglican Church. Growing up with us in Highbury Road we’re the Winnings, van der Westhuizen’s, Bohmer’s, Thorley’s, Heroldt’s, Nortje’s, Scott’s, De Chelin’s, Grubb’s, Rountree’s and Eggy’s family.
We had the best childhood and made lifelong friends in the village.
I so exited that someone put pen to paper,( thanks so much Kenny) and wrote about the best place to grow up as a child and teenager. All your exploits about fishing, walking for hours in the bush and on the beach brought back wonderful memories for me. I used to tell my grand kids about the life we shared. Now to hear from others who shared in our youth. Watching the new south coast highway being build was a nice past time every day after school.
Once again we were so very blessed to have been part of the Athlone Park, Twini and Toti experience.
Hey Jimmy! I don’t know if you remember me but here goes anyway – Rob Willis, lived in Umbogintwini, went to Umbogintwini Primary school and then Kingsway High School. Very much remember your mom who was a friend of my mother’s. Great to know you are still around.
Hi I lived next to Eggy in Highbury Rd 1968 to 1974 My name is Mike Cain my closest friend were Gill Emesly Don Roundtree and Mario Chelen. Thank you for the memories and info. We were so lucky to grow up inTwini. All the best to you All
Hi, absolutely loved reading your article..my late dad Mr RG de Greef worked at the AECI in 1961 for several years and I was born at the factory hospital in 1962 Brigitta de Greef . Lived 2 years in Umbogintwini Opperheimer St then moved to Amanzimtoti till 1989 where my brothers and i all went to school. Am interested in reading the book on the history om Amanzimtoti …where can i buy this? Tx
When I was young my father used to work for Titan umbongintwini please update me about that Company
Robin , its good to know you still around and are sharing our amazing history, soon we may all be gone but our legacy must continue to give hope to those who can only but dream of what we had.
Were do you live now.
Wow… awesome to find. Thanks so much Ken. My dad was Dave Williams industrial chemist who worked in the lab 1966 – 1982 with a few years in Modderfontein. I was born in 1967 and we lived in 10 Chamberlain Road until I was 5. I was a springbok scout at 1st Umbogintwini in 1984. I remember Wim Hoffland. My mum Wendy (Gwen) Williams was part of the Woman’s Institute. Thanks again. Bill
Oh my goodness. Such memories of a wonderful childhood. Thank you so much Ken, I remember you well. So many memories came tumbling into my memory with all the names of people and places. We moved to Athlone Park around 1958/9 (lived in Ocean View Road, Chelsey Drive and later Kingsway) and I went to Umbogintwini Primary School and the onto Kingsway High School. My life long friends are Penny Sheares and Deanne Tunmer (Deanne has recently passed away). And so many names already mentioned I remember. What a great carefree childhood we all had? Took it for granted and thought it would last forever. So sad to read about all the changes. Married at the Presbyterian Church and had my reception the Jubilee Hall. Myfather worked for Saiccor. I now live in England and retired from nursing, teaching and owning a few businesses. Now in the world of story telling so this is right in my line of interest. Thank you so much.
Gee what a blast, had to share this will all I knew from ‘Twini.
Don Falconer and my brother Neil moved there circa ’61/61, after my Mum Pam remarried Harry Rowntree, into 7a Oppenheimer Rd, a semi.
Schwegmann’s over the road, Smit’s and Devantier’s tribes on the other corner and Hewitt’s next door, Terry being a great friend.
Tony Roost the then PSHS Drum major up the road.
We had such a great time there in the bush to the river, tree house etc, and the bush trail to UGS via the amphitheatre.
My 2 other siblings were born viz. Mark and Ann Rowntree.
It’s always been a bit confusing in most circles whether Neil and myself were Falconer’s or Rowntree’s. We opted to retain our birth name.
We later relocated to 13 Highbury Rd opposite you.
What great memories I have of all the things we did for ‘Twini. Raising money for ‘Twini Park FC strip and tour, Youth club behind tennis courts to keep us off the streets at night etc.
I went to PSHS where my siblings all attended Kingsway.
I might mention, When Maudy Smith and I used to go surf in town, Addington, Crane, Pumphouse area, we were known as ‘Toti Trash, and them we referred to as Town Clowns.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.