This story was given to me in 2001 by Wendy Hofmeyere of Voelklip – her brother Peter Hartford worked with Edith Hardwick for whom the story was written by her uncle.
In a newspaper article which appeared recently (1979), describing Hermanus of sixty years ago, reference was made to the efforts made by the Town Council to keep the harbor area clean. This anecdote has a bearing on the matter.
On joining the Post Office I spent nine months in the Telegraph School at Cape Town, and on qualifying I was sent to Hermanus as my first permanent appointment. I was very fortunate to have Mr. Sidney Shaw as my first Postmaster, because he went to great pains to give me excellent training, because of the variety of business which we transacted. There was no bank there, and so we handled fairly large sums of money. The post office was the only government department represented there, apart from a lone policeman, and so we were required to do work for other departments, such as the issuing of trading licences and the collection of taxes, custom revenue and so on. The General Manager of Railways, Sir William Hoy, was a lover of Hermanus, and when he was pressed for a railway to be built he thought that it would spoil the greatest charm of the place, its isolation, and he decided to install a Road Motor Service, the first in S.A. To control costs the Postmaster was told to act as “Station Master”, and because the service was immediately a success I was sent there to help out.
The sole representative of the law, Jan Joubert, was no doubt an excellent Policeman, but unfortunately he was almost illiterate. Because of this the Postmaster was asked to “help him out” and was given the unusual title of “Issuer of Process”. This meant that, if any arrest was made, we had to prepare various forms (charge sheets, summonses, subpoenas etc.). As a result Policeman Jan regarded himself as a member of the Post Office Staff, which was a convenience to everyone concerned. Fortunately Hermanus was a law-abiding community.
Article extracted from SJ du Toit – Whale Capital Chronicles I, Page 105.
Should you wish to use any of her stories please contact SJ du Toit directly.