The Port Edward Holiday Resort is rich in history as the resort is part of the historical developments of the town of Port Edward. The area where Port Edward is today situated, has had its fair share of military adventures by the well-known Zulu King Dingaan, the demise of settlers such as the Flynn Clan and off course a regular occurrence of ship wrecking.
The tragic demise of the Flynn Clan and a number of local tribes people under the hand of the Zulu Impis during 1831, took place on the hill called Isandlundu just North of where the resort is situated today. This event led to the hill, shaped like a hut, to be referred to as Tragedy Hill.
Folklore has it that if you search deep enough, you may still find bones of those poor souls that perished under the spears of the Impis.
Many ships that plied the route along the coast of Africa has fallen victim to the raging waters and the treacherous weather of the Indian Ocean on this stretch of the coast line. The most well-known ship that was wrecked on the Port Edward beach in 1887 was named “The Ivy”.
Eventually the developing town was named Port Edward in honour of the Prince of Wales who became England’s King Edward VIII. Considering those tragic events over so many years, it is ironic that the same area today serves to be an exceptional popular and busy holiday destination for thousands of visitors.
During World War II, about 1942, the Prime Minister, General J C Smuts commandeered police members into the South African Police Brigade which was sent to North Africa as the Sixth South African Infantry (Police) Brigade. On arrival they were overpowered at Tobruk by General Rommel and taken prisoners of war. Back home, family, friends and the public started collecting money and gifts in the same way as the Southern Cross Fund has done decades later. However, due to the lack of logistics, they did not succeed to get the collected funds and items to the POW camps.
The monetary and other contributions were managed by the “S A Police Prisoners of War Comforts Fund” (SAPPWCF). Lack of logistics prevented that contributions could be sent to the POW camp.
After the end of the war it was decided that land must be bought at the coast which could be utilized by members of the Police for holidays. The SAPPWCF has changed name to the “South African Police Holiday Camp Association” (SAPHCA). The farm Umtamvuna, covering 714 acres, bordering on Tragedy Hill, was bought for forty five thousand pounds. This project was the first step for the development for of the current Port Edward town.
On 1st November 1947 the SAPHCA took possession of the farm and the development of the holiday resort was initiated. On 17th April 1958 the Resort was registered as a Section 21 company.
In 1948 the resort housed its first holidaymakers in tents, with the town of Port Edward offering, at that stage only, three shops, a hotel and butchery. Fresh produce was supplied by the Association. The excellent fishing opportunities also contributed to the provision of food for holiday makers.
During the late 40’s the Association decided to start with recreational facilities including tennis courts.
Only during the 1950’s modern commodities such as hot water on tap, electricity and stoves were installed.
In the years following, the resort established more buildings, and the original older units built with compressed paper, cement blocks and thatch roofing, were demolished.
The resort was originally reserved for members and retired members of the SA Police Force. Eventually the resort opened its doors to all holiday makers and in 1994 changed its name from Port Edward Police Camp to Port Edward Holiday Resort.
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