Thursday 29 March 2012

Rhodesian Memories 1949 - 1954

By Canon William (Bill ) Girard

Etienne John Girard b. 1908 came to S. Rhodesia in January 1948 and worked at the Rezende Mine Penhalonga. In June he was joined by his wife, Nine Benita Girard b. 1909 and their twosons, William Nicholas Charles b. 1935 and Peter John b. 1940. At first they lived on the hill where the Mine and plant were situated and later moved to the house (picture 4) situated on the road towards the Old West Mine and S. Augustine;s Mission. Near to the house was the Penhalonga tennis Club.

In 1950 or thereabouts Mrs. Girard's sister, Nora von Schilling (picture 1) came to live with the family. Nora was a photographer who had worked prior to the war in Estonia from where the family originated, then throughout the war years in Germany. While in Southern. Rhodesia she worked for E.T. Brown, Photographer, Umtali amongst whose photographic archive there are likely to be examples of her work. She stayed only a short while in S. Rhodesia before returning to Germany.

Some of the listed photographs may be her work: otherwise they are by her sister.

The photographs are numbered in pencil on the reverse, the locations being as inscribed already in the handwriting of Mrs. Girard. Otherwise unknown. Precise dating indeterminate.

W. Girard.
Ferrar House,
Little Gidding,
Gt. Britain.

1, Rhodesian Memories
1. Penhalonga. Nora von Schilling.

2, Rhodesian Memories
2. Penhalonga. Etienne John Girard with dogs [Gremlin cross Ridgeback/Mastiff & Lixie].

3, Rhodesian Memories
3. Penhalonga. William (Bill) Girard.

4, Rhodesian Memories
4. Penhalonga. House, Girard family (looking towards Jeffeiys Kop).

5, Rhodesian Memories
Penhalonga. Ornaments.

6, Rhodesian Memories
6. Penhalonga. Tennis Club (looking towards Jeffery's Kop).

7, Rhodesian Memories
Penhalonga. Possible mine sand dumps in background.

8, Rhodesian Memories
8. Penhalonga. Imbeza Forest.

9, Rhodesian Memories
9. Odzi River.

10, Rhodesian Memories
10. Odzi River. Odzani Fails (?).

11, Rhodesian Memories
11. Inyanga.

12, Rhodesian Memories
12. Inyanga. Road track. (Love the old gate)

13, Rhodesian Memories
13. Inyanga. Rain imminent?.

14, Rhodesian Memories
14. Umtali. 7 (?) Park Road

15, Rhodesian Memories
15. Birchenough Bridge.

16, Rhodesian Memories
16. Sabi River Motor car is a Model A or T Ford.

17, Rhodesian Memories
17. Sabi River.

18, Rhodesian Memories
18. Salisbury Park

19, Rhodesian Memories
19. Salisbury, Cecil Square Flower Sellers.

Please see for the flower sellers of 1978

20, Rhodesian Memories
20. Borrowdale.

21, Rhodesian Memories
21. Domboshawa.


Thanks to Bill for sharing his memories and photographs with ORAFs.

Special thanks to Lynda Rushby for her help, she brought the photos from the UK and then took them back.

Comments are welcome - please send them to Eddy Norris on

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At 9 December 2018 at 06:50 , Blogger Lesley Davies aka Lee said...

For a couple of years I lived in Penhalonga in fact my eldest sister, myself and my twin began our schooling in a one roomed class for all students. It could have been in 1952/3. On a couple of occasions I went and frolicked on the soft sand of the mine dumps. I remember too the trollys that travelled on cables high up off the ground. Lee Davies


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