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 Post subject: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:43 am 
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EARLY DAYS

There was an estate in Lanarkshire on the Avon River near Larkhall, Scotland, called Fairholm that belonged to the Hamilton family.The Hamiltons connection with Fairholm can be traced back to late in the fifteenth century.

James Stevenson who had been commissioned with the rank of Captain in the 12th Royal Lancers in 1860 , married Eliza Hamilton in 1866.

To this marriage, there at Fairholm, a boy was born in 1867, one of nine children, who would later in his life turn many things around in the northeastern part of the Transvaal province South Africa early in the twentieth century.

This boy started his schoolling at Ardenlee, Helensburgh, a small boarding school for boys.Teaching was excellent and the discipline strict. Later he went to the famous school at Rugby, he wasn't a very keen student as he loved the outdoors with its wildlife and adventure and also could not wait to complete his schooling as he was keen to join the Army. Attending his fathers Regimental review parades alway gave him tremendous pride. His fathers Regiment was always the best.

This youngster left Rugby in 1883, quite pleased to do so. His dream came true and following a very proud tradition this son of an aristocrat (Colonel James Stevenson ) entered Sandhurst during March 1887.

After his examinations and training he qualified as a Cavalry Officer.He passed out from Sandhurst in 1888. This boy was later to be called Skukuza, as from 13 March 1888 became Second Lieutenant James Stevenson Hamilton of the INNISKILLING DRAGOON GUARDS.

On approximately 17 March 1888 Second Lt. J Stevenson Hamilton was ordered to prepare for his Regimental posting - a small town populated by approximately nine thousand whites and a hundred kilometres inland. Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.

The duty of the Unit was to defend the Colony and its people.

The young officer (nicknamed Sos ) with adventure in his blood visited Zululand a few times and here his love Africa and its landscape was born.
Days were filled with training, drills, attending to their horses, maintaining equipment, formal mess dinners ( all dressed up ) and not much action and he became restless as opportunities to make name for himself, in action were very few and being the most Junior Officer was often assigned to the less pleasurable duties.

He visited Johannesburg the new Utopia with unimaginable riches of gold in 1989, a dusty unplanned place, there he went down a mine lowered by rope and crawling through long low tunnels he saw miners toiling for the precious quartz the yielded the presious gold dust.

The young 2nd Lt was disappointed when advised that their deployment in Pietermaritzburg would come to an end late 1890, he was not very happy about this, the seed of love for Africa and its game, sun, peoples and landscape had been planted in very fertile soil and was germinating.

Upon his return to Britain the young Officer was unhappy and was longing back to . . . . . . . . of the wonderful continent far away called AFRICA.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:42 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson - Hamilton First Warden of the KRUGER N
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 11:49 am 
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Thank you for that information. I am a great admirer of Stevenson-Hamilton. We owe him a great debt indeed.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:10 pm 
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LONGING BACK TO AFRICA

After the return from duty in AFRICA the INNISKILLING DRAGOONS were quartered in the Preston Barracks in Brighton for three years.Stevenson Hamilton and fellow officers spent much time hunting and doing things young offricers at leizure do, as there was no war to be fought.All was not leizure as courses had to attended and exams written. James did not enjoy being at Brighton and often felt depressed. Who wouldnt after being in AFRICA.

He was promoted to Lieutenant during January 1891, then 23 years old.
James was bored, he applied for a transfer to Queensland, Australia but was unsuccessful.The ill fated Jameson Raid in 1896 gave him hope of a war to to be fought, but it not being successful , again faded his hopes and enthusiasm.

John Watkins Yardley, a friend, became aware of an expedition to Barotseland, in the Eastern area of then North Rhodesia ( now Zambia ) being organised by Major A.St Hill Gibbons for the Royal Geographical Society, James was told about the expedition and despite warnings of having to pay his own fare and possble hard living as well as malaria, his mind was made up. Trekking and exploring through the Zambezi Valley and the land of the Barotse and possibly the Lakes of the Great Rift Valley and later return to England seemed very attractive. James applied for leave of absence from his Regiment and when granted, was overjoyed about the great adventure that awaited him.

Together with Captain F.C. Quicke also a Cavalry Officer but from the 1st Kings Dragoon Guards, Lt A Boyd-Alexander an ornithogist, old Dr. Smith the medic, an engineer C Weller, A Swiss T Muller, who died of dysentry in late 1898, and approximately 100 porters James' dream started - The Gibbons Expedition 1898 - 18998 . . . . . . into Africa.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:48 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:37 pm 
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Who would have known at that time where his dream would take him.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:14 pm 
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RETURN TO AFRICA

The time arrived and the expedition set off, first by steamer from England to Durban where supplies were obtained after arrival in June 1898. Amongst others Maj. Gibbons designed three aluminium hulled boats which could be dismantled and re assembled as required at the rapids of the great Zambezi River. Each boat was powered by an approximately three horsepower steam driven engine.

While in Durban, James acquired a black Great dane which was his companion for approximately eight months, before succumbing to the diseases of AFRICA.

Upon arrival at Chinde on the coast of Mozambique the expedition hired a steam powered river boat to convey the first 650 km. up the great river - a journey that nearly lasted a month.

The day after leaving the steam boat they encountered the first rapids of the Great Zambezi, the aluminium boats now had to be dismantled and carried past the rapids and then be reassembled.

Travelling a further 160 km. took nearly another month. Reaching the little village of Chicoa the river ran fast and shallow. A further 5 days were spent dragging and pulling and sweating the boats over the shallows and sandbanks over a distance of nine km.It took a further month to travel another 160 km. before reaching Zumbo on the border of Mozambique and North - and South Rhodesia.

Today people pay to go whitewater rafting - the expedition had enough of it - all included again and again and again.

After encountering the rapids at Kariba the porters threatened mutiny and it took a lot of tact , many threats and pleading to get them to continue.

Up to now six months was spent, progressing much slower than planned.There were very few smiling faces, except that of the young Lieutenant, he was happy despite all the hardships - he was in AFRICA.

The expedition now split up with only Gibbons,Quicke and Stevenson Hamilton continueing, the others returned to Chinde.

He toasted the new year 1899 with a glass of Port and remarked
"'This is life, how happy I may be in England , this is the life for a man ".

The Lieutenant was promoted to the rank of Captain in his absence during February 1899, while toiling in AFRICA ,his dress of worn, tattered and patched clothing in no way resembled that of a proud officer of the INNISKILLING DRAGOON GUARDS, the neatly trimmed military moustache also now made place for a wild looking beard. Never for a moment resembling neither a soldier or a Scottish Landlord. The letter informing him of his promotion was carried to him by a runner. Captain James Stevenson Hamilton must have smiled while folding the letter and filing it in his attache.

One of their tasks was to survey that area, as the Portuguese in Angola were claiming part of the land to the west of the Zambezi, of which the Mineral Rights were given to Cecil John Rhodes' Chartered Company in exchange for British Protection from the plundering Matabeles from down south, by the the Barotse King - Lewanika, as the king did not know the extent of his land.

Rhodes eventually called upon the Italian King to act as arbiter in the matter.

Gibbons, a staunch supporter of British Imperialism was adamant in proving that the Headman in the Kwando River area were supporters of King Lewanika, which in turn would prove his ownership and also benefit Rhodes' Company.

The young Captain was in his element - this is where he wanted to be - AFRICA.

Here in the Barotse he learnt a lot about game and hunting , he had to hunt for the pot that fed himself and nearly fifty porters.

Very soon he was an able stalker and shot of Impala, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, and Wildebeest. He often saw Lion and Leopard but they always escaped.

He spent this year, with his art classes at Rugby coming to good use while doing his water colours, the stars of the universe were his navigational instruments, his freedom in the AFRICAN air was more than enough compensation for the tough times which included the large swarms of mosquitos.

While the clouds of war were appearing on the horizon much further south, these three wanderers in dark AFRICA, were enjoying themselves and were oblivious to those less important facts in the outside world.

The expedition completed, three parted at Lialiu on the banks of the Great Zambezi, Gibbons going to Kharthoum as described in his book "Africa from North to South " Quicke travelled westwards to the Atlantic Ocean, he reached his destination after some months of trekking and nearly dying of malaria. He was later killed in action during the Anglo Boer War.

James trekked eastwards and was the first white man to see the Kafue Falls. He reached the confluence of the Kafue and the Great Zambazi on 6 September1889, the same place they passed on their way up more than a year ago.

There he obtained a dugout and travelled down the rapids within 24 hours , the same which took the expedition f5 days on their way up.

At Zumbu he heared the news of the war in South Africa.

He immediately set off for the coast where he boarded a ship also with German Officers and Flemish and French Nurses on their way to Delagoa Bay, to assist the Boers. Judging from his appearance it never crossed the minds of his fellow passengers that they would soon be enemies. On the way their ship was stopped by a British Frigate and ordered to Durban.

His wild appearnce now became a stumbling block in his effort to rejoin his Regiment.The neatly dressed Intelligence Officer interviewing him found it hard to believe that this wild looking young man was in fact a Captain of the INNISKILLING DRAGOON GUARDS. What would such a man be doing on a vessel full of Boer supporters, he clearly was a spy for President Kruger and the Boers . . . . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:17 am 
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SOME BACKGROUND HISTORY

Throughout the whole of what today is known as South Africa the game population was high and well spread out with species more suited to a specific habitat being more concentrated in their preferred areas.

However with the arrival of firearms the slaughter of game started - as word of this paradise spread - the slaughterings increased, and the population of game declined. Game was also pushed out as human habitation increased. The game populations in many areas just disappeared.

Soon the authorities realised that certain areas had to be put aside where the game could live in peace as they used to, undisturbed by man. Opposition to this idea was immense and many heated debates took place before the proclamation of Game Laws and Game Sanctuaries were approved. Even after proclamation it was said by many that the Game Laws were not worth the paper they were written on ( not unlike many of the Laws we have today ).

The Pongola Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1894, with the Hluhluwe and Umfulozi Reserves in 1897.Paul Kruger President of the ZAR ( later called the Transvaal, now Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces of the RSA) proclaimed the GOVERNMENT GAME RESERVE on 26 March 1898 being the area between the Crocodile River ( Southern Boundary ) and the Sabie River ( Northern Boundary ) , the Lebombo Mountains (also the Mozambique border ) in the east ) to the Nzikazi River in the west. However this proclamation was nullified during the the Anglo Boer War (1899 - 1902). After the peace agreement (31 May 1902) the area was reproclaimed with area to the Olifants River added and called the Sabie Game Reserve. During 1903 the area between the Letaba and the Limpopo Rivers was proclaimed as the Singwitsi (Shingwedzi) Game Reserve and was an added responsibility to the Warden of the Sabie Game Reserve.The area between the Olifants and Letaba Rivers was added during 1914. the area North of the Levubu River was excluded by Proclamation in 1913. The Sabie and Singwitsi Game Reserves were consolidated in 1916. This all happened under the Authority of the Old Transvaal. Unification of South Africa took place on 31 May 1910. On 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was passed in the Parliament of the Union of South Africa, and the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK as known today was born.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:26 pm 
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INVOLVED IN THE ANGLO BOER WAR

Apart from being seasick and a bit of malaria and the questioning by the IO the trip to Durban was uneventful for the young Captain Hamilton ( he was now 33 years of age). By now the IO also realised that this bearded rascal indeed was Captain James Stevenson Hamilton of the INNISKILLING DRAGOON GUARDS on his way to report for duty to fifgt a war for Queen and Country.

On reaching Durban he was informed that his Regiment was now near Colesberg in the Cape Colony. He was then sent to Port Elizabeth by ship from where he travelled by train to consisting of three Cavalry Squadrons - commanded by some of his old friends, the Captain now felt more at home. The Regiment was part of the Mobile Cavalry Formation under the overall command of Major-General John French.

The British strategy was to take the two Republics' capitals, being Bloemfontein and Pretoria and then in doing so ,force the Boers to surrender.This sounds easy but was not quite so easy, this process took three years. Long logistical lines were set up, supplies had to be brought up by train, with the Railway lines being sabotaged, these had to be defended, a long row of forts had to be built, conditions had to be adapted to. Eventually the British Army had approximately 300 000 soldiers fighting the war.

Captain Stevenson Hamilton's experience in Barotseland came to good use
when survival skills, bush craft and observation skills were required. He enjoyed life now that ability, success and achievement was recognised, not upbringing or snobbery as in the billets. There was classless interaction, you no longer have to be a noble man to be recognised, a commoner was just as good - a double barrelled surname meant nothing when the fun started and the lead and shrapnel was flying. The Captain enjoyed being able to be rid of strict discipline and now being able to make field decisions and then to see that they were carried out. The dangers and adventures of WARFARE made his blood flow, this was the life he preferred - the life of a true man.

Major- General French gave the Captain command of a section of about sixty men, mainly Tasmanians and his first posting was the farm Jasfontein. His first real experience of being under fire was when a bullet scraped his helmet during a skirmish at Slingerfontein - February 1900.
After a battle there was very often a short truce under the white flag, to collect and exchange the wounded and bury the dead of and from both sides. Captain Stevenson Hamilton learnt great for the Boers and many of their personal encounters were quite in good spirit, they often shared a smoke and rations not much rations from the Boers as they did not have much.

He reached Bloemfontein in April 1900 and he was transferred to the Infantry and as no likes being in the Infantry, The Captain followed suite. He was now part of a big conglomorate of the soldiers and civillians - the Military and the Burocratic Administration. James was now becoming bored and dejected Fortunately he was soon transferred back to the Cavalry and James was appointed O C of C Squadron and became part of of the advance to Pretoria - weather conditions, long supply lines with resultant late arrival of supplies, confusion, and many other normal things that happen in the military orchestrated the normal SNAFU that is an integral part of soldiering.

The Boer Forces changed their strategy to Guerilla Warfare ( mainly by Genl Christiaan de Wet ) which in turn required changed thinking in the British way of fighting a war.

Johannesburg fell without much resistance however after Pretoria was taken the Boer Forces spread out into the rural areas and tormented the British in a big way.War was now quite different from being envisaged before by James, end 1900 the war of destruction escalated as the British High Command realised that the Boers lived off the land, getting their supplies from the farms, this was prolonging the war,a decision was made to intern the wives and children in Concentration Camps and to burn the Farms - this caused much hardships and created much hatred from the Boer side. James found the resultant looting of the civillian population unacceptable and was becoming more and more disgruntled. James now spent much of his time in the south eastern part of the Transvaal, now as a Brevet Major - more responsibility same pay, where he saw many of his fellow soldiers make the highest sacrifice.

Also in the far eastern side of the Transvaal there was a small unit of scouts commanded by an Austrian, whom Major Stevenson Hamilton would meet later in his life " Colonel " Ludwig Steinacker .The Steinackers Horse lived a life of leizure in the Lebombo Mountain Rea.

James liked being on his own with his own men and enjoyed being sent on assignments away from HQ .

Later on James was ordered to the Orange Free State , and his OC with whom he was not realy in good standing was furious ( James was happy ). The OC Dauncy bore an active grudge against the outspoken James for the rest of their association. Fortunately Colonel Rimington quite liked James otherwise the crossing of swords between James and Dauncy may have ended differently for James. James though that Dauncy gave was ineffective , he gave poor orders, did not plan well, was a liar, a poor leader and liked the bottle too much.Eventually the two of them were called up before the Colonel ( Rimington ) and James had to opologise to his OC - which he did very reluctantly - and afterwards said he would no longer serve under him. He arrived in South africa full of enthusiasm and energy - now he was disgusted and due to politics and personal animosity - decided to resign from his Regiment.

The peace treaty was signed in Pretoria at Melville House on 31 May 1902 and James did not want to return to Scotland or anywhere else he love AFRICA and wanted to stay in AFRICA.

It seldomnly snows in the Transvaal and even less in Pretoria. On this rare happening at function in snow covered Pretoria James' good fortune arrived - he met the man who would soon become Commissioner of Native Affairs - under whose control the Sabi Game Reserve was - Sir Godfrey Lagden . . . . . . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 2:33 pm 
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A WARDEN IS APPOINTED

On 11 June 1902, 11 days after the peace treaty was signed, Stevenson-Hamilton in a discussion with Godfey Lagden mentioned that he was looking for a civillian job. Within two weeks Lagden offered him the position of Warden of the Sabi Game Reserve, Salary five hundred pounds per annum plus an allowance of one hundred and eighty pounds. James considered the offer and was appointed during July 1902. He was also told to make himself as unpopular as possible in the area of his authority - he was soon to learn the reason for this strange instruction.

A new dawn arose on James' horizon - challenging, interesting, adventurous and new.

James was well aware of what awaited him, his enthusiasm and joy for life was unmeasurable, he could now work in AFRICA and work where he enjoyed it most - in the veld with it's fauna, it's flora,it's landscapes, it's mysteries and it's people. He was now 36 years of age, and had to learn the languages spoke in the area, as well as of the whims and woes of the area.

The Rinderpest of 1896 nearly exterminated all the mammals of Southern Africa including those of the area bordering the Lebombo Mountains. The few animals that survived the Rinderpest then still had to outlive the ravages of the war and now after the war the poachers. The first head of Game he saw after his arrival, the fifth day was a Reedbuck ewe, a Duiker and two Jackals and later a small herd of thirty Impala.

The area was inhabited by a few Black settlements and to many whites the area was prime hunting area, indeed challenging. There were farms within the boundaries of the Reserve, these had be be bought out as well as the Black settlements and the occupants resettled.

Major Stevenson Hamilton appointed Major A.A. Frazer a real frontiersman who loved the Scottish liquid obtained in bottles, Warden of the Singwitsi Game Reserve and some more early appointments were Harry Wolhuter, Rupert Atmore, Gaza Gray, Thomas Duke whose name lived on in the Duke waterhole and of course the famous tusker, as well as Dick de Laporte also living on today in the name of the Laporte water hole, last two named were also known to Stevenson - Hamilton from his early war days.

James was appointed Native Commissioner for the area as well as Justice of the Peace. He decided that for the time being entering the area would be restricted to the minimum and that anyone whomever he may be had to obtain a permit from him prior to entering. He was a good administrator and enjoyed the freedom he had in doing his job. He could do it his way - the main reason of his success. After negotiations even the police left the area and the staff took over the policing responsibility.

His first big arrest was when he laid charges agains two senior members of the Police for shooting a giraffe in the Reserve, this caused quite stirr eventually involving the Chief Staff Officer of the Police, the Lieutenant Governor and the High Commissioners office. James decided that should these charges be squashed he would resign, eventually the offenders appeared in Court and found guilty and convicted.

Very often buraucratic astumbling blocks were put in his way this only made him more determined to make a success of what he was doing and also to reach the goals he envisaged for his beloved Reserve.

A tale about his arrival, is that on a chilly August morning in 1902 he stopped to let the train passand was met by rifle shots - bored soldiers from Komatipoort on the train on their way to guarding the Sabi Bridge ( now Skukuza ) saw something brown ( James' horse)in the bush and took a few pot shots at it, not seeing him on his mount and also fortunately not making a hit and also fortunately for them, the culprits could not be identified . . . . . . . . . . .

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:02 pm 
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A big thanks gmlsmit

I was so deeply involved in reading actually forgot I was at work now. :doh: Concentrating and trying to picture the scenes.
:popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:17 pm 
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Thank you G!! Can you believe it snowed that day in Pretoria :dance: !!
Looking forward to the next instalment.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:08 am 
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SOME EARLY DAYS IN SABI GAME RESERVE

James realised that he really knew very little about the area of which he was appointed Warden. He often went on long expeditionery trips, often lasting up to three months. Him being a confirmed batchelor up to late in his life, was therefore relieved of being concerned about what was happening at home while being away.

Three months today seems a long time, but considering the large area he had to cover, 20 000 sq km, and his favailable resources : no 4 X 4 as we have today, only horses, donkeys, mules, wagons, carts, no roads, his routine was : plan - pack - pitch camp - strike camp - maintain - repair - control staff - administer - make notes . . . . and . . . . . and . . . . . . , one will then realise that he was quite busy.

He loved the Tsokwane area and spent much of his time there, away from his Headquarters - originally at Crocodile Bridge and later Sabi Bridge.

James often wondered whether he had made the right decision - resigning from the Army and giving up a Genlemans life in Britain, for what he was doing. During a visit to Britain during 1910 he visited his old RHQ and many of his younger days' haunts and came to the conclusion - he was doing what he realy wanted to : being the Warden of the Sabi Game Reserve far away, in his beloved AFRICA.

Although living away from it all, James never lost contact with the outside, he often while on leave visited other parts of AFRICA. He subscribed to many magazines of his interest, he also corresponded with many other sharing his interest. He lived the live of a Colonial/Country Gentleman, often he invited a few friends and their families over for a meal served on a well set table, covered in white starched linen with the well polished silver cutlery, shining where placed outside the white orcelain crockery. Afterwards a smoke and a glass of port or whiskey was enloyed in his growing study.

James was a keen writer, he used to keep a diary and also many journals were written by lamp light in his study, smelling of books, a bit of cigar smoke and AFRICA. He wrote quite a few papers that were presented at Natural or Geographical Society Congresses.

James was a keen artist and he enjoyed doing water colours of his surroundings, preserving old AFRICA for posterity. He also was a keen and able amateur photographer, many of his photographs are in the library, named after him in the Kruger Park Main Camp. Many of his writings may be viewed, now on ageing yellowing paper, ones mind goes back into history and you start visualizing and dreaming old AFRICA and his little CINDERELLA of which he reared and nurtured and protected over a period of 44 years ( June 1902 to retirement April 1946 ) .

Many photos depict this remarkable man short, stockey, wearing a wide brimmed hat, shaven, neatly ironed shirt, often wearing a tie, neat riding breaches tied by a well polished and shined belt. He believed that one should never lower your standards not even while on your own while others were not watching.

James was a keen horseman ( ex Cavalry ) , he enjoyed fishing in the rivers and during a leisure period also just sitting in the shade of a tree listening to the birds and the insects, watching the clouds come and go and also sometimes a dainty Steenbok family with a newly borne fawn . . . . . . .

James also spent many a leisure hour on one of his very special places Shirimantanga Koppie where he could look over this wonderful wilderness which had been entrusted to him, here he dreamed, planned and envisaged about what had to be done to build and preserve it for those stil to come to see and enjoy it as it was still hardly touched by man.

James was extremely well disciplined, he not only made and enforced rules - he also obeyed them - one of the reasons for his success.

During one of the visits by Sir Godfrey Lagden and a few high ranking officials, Ali the Swahili cook dressed in a fez and the appropriate long white robe, announced : " SUKUZA, the meal is ready to be served ". Lagden enquired " Skukuza - what does it mean ", the Warden replied " that is what the call me ", Lagden " yes but what does it mean ", the Warden with a smile " he who turns everything around ". They went to the well laid table and were served the normal rations issued. Lagden expected something more lavish than what was served and remarked that maybe an Impala cut would be enjoyable. Later James took his rifle and went to shoot an Impala, he returned empty handed and reported that there were no Impala. This was hard to believe, so he offered to take a few out on a hunt. They walked many miles through scrub and bush, crawled through thorn thickets, climbed over rocks up hills and down dales.

Eventually the hunters sighted a few Impala, in silence they crept nearer, when close enough James enquired from the group whether anyone would like to complete the hunt, an eager volunteer came forward James handed him the loaded rifle. The sports man took aim, squeezed the trigger, the rifle fired and . . . . missed. The quarry disappeared. James decided that they were out to get an Impala so off they went and repeated the process af the stalk. Eventually more Impala were sighted, again the sports man took slow careful aim making very sure about his shot placement, pulled the trigger, the rifle fired . . . . . and missed., again the Impala disappeared. By now it was late and the party decided to return to base. Again the walked and krept and walked and sweated and climbed untill the sweaty, dusty, scratched, thirsty, tired worn out arrived where an eager crowd enquired about the results of the two shots they had heared. The blushing sportsman explained about the difficuilties they had experienced and that despite all their efforts both shots were misses. James was standing close by listening to all of this and did not think it necessary to add that rifle sights were set at maximum range.

James had to often attend meetings in Pretoria where he met many high ranking Government officials as well as Cabinet Ministers and even the Prime Minister General Smuts, he also met many other influential business people, these associations and friendships in later years, assisted greatly in transformation and the nurturing of little CINDERELLA.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:48 pm 
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JUST A SHORT LITTLE STORY

The Cook mentioned earlier was named Ali Sharif and hailed from the Comores. His reading was not very good, especially his English reading.

The meal for last evening of the Lagden party was supposed to be curried
bulley beef and rice. When served Stevenson-Hamilton noticed the colour being different from what he had expected to be and the smell was also a bit different from the expected spicey aroma. He called Ali aside and asked him to please bring him the packet from which the curry for the meal was used.

Ali disappeared and promptly returned and smiling presented the host the packet labled : " Cooper's Sheep Dip ", which contained arsenic and a few other potent items used for dipping animals in the control of external parasites.

Needless to say the menu was changed and the meal served a little later.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:54 pm 
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Thanks Smittie for a lot of unknown history. I drove past his last residence, Gibraltar, again today and thought about your posts.

Thanks and keep going.

Bouts.

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20 min. from the nearest gate! I think the Park is calling. Again.


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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:19 am 
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Bouts you are very privileged to live where you do.

The Gibraltar referred to is the little farm in the White River area, where the Stevenson - Hamilton family moved to after James' retirement from Kruger in 1946.

The garden was up to the end of the Longmere Dam, a rock jutted from the water and this reminded the owners of the Rock of Gibraltar - hence the name.

After leaving the Kruger National Park the family often visited Fairholm, his birth place. The estate was a bit run down, so some restoration took place. Attending the village church, James, Hilda, Anne and Jamie sat in the " Fairholm " bench.

The Scottish winters always ensured that the family returned to sunny AFRICA.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:11 pm 
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SOME PROBLEMS AND HIS VISION

Stevenson - Hamilton in the early days had many hurdles to overcome in keeping the Sabi Game Reserve from being deproclaimed.

One was an endless battle with the State Veterinary Department who wanted all game destroyed as they were carriers of disease which would destroy the cattle herds of the nearby farmers.

Others were mining companies who wanted to mine in the Reserve, especially for the coal deposits in the Crocodile River area.

Others of cause were farmers who had an eye on of rich grazing in the Reserve - and then the inevitable hunters/poachers who felt deprived of what they regarded as their right to hunt where they wanted to.

Stevenson - Hamilton soon after arrival realised that the Sabi Game Reserve could not be a burden to the State, he envisaged that the area be :

1. A Game Sanctuary where animals could live and multiply in peace in a place similiar to what it like was before being touched by man.

2. A place where paying tourists could come to and enjoy nature in a place similiar to what it was like before being touched by man.

3. A place where once when the game population had sufficiently recovered, game could be captured and sold to interested parties, and also as a last resort - where certain areas could be set aside for controlled hunting.

Fortunately both 1. and 2. materialised as well as the first half of 3. may it never happen that the latter part of 3. above become reality.

_________________
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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