Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 8, October 1967


Table Mountain in the dawn is a sight that can never leave the memory. Imposing in its massive grandeur it rises sheer from the low lying mists that hide Capetown nestling at its foot. It dominates the scene, a mighty wall of rock, dark, flat-topped, and clear against the lighter sky, guarded left and right by sentinel peaks the one smooth and cone shaped, the other rough-hewn and rugged like the mountain itself. Exciting and awe-inspiring is this first view from the ship's deck of these giant ramparts of Africa towering high above the tranquil sea. Impregnable strength touched with indescribable beauty, this was once the solid and strategic bastion of our far-flung Empire, no longer able now to pass her ships upon their lawful occasions through Suez, nor to claim this outpost.

My thoughts turned to home, to Paeroa, to those men of Paeroa who, 68 years ago, when the dissolution of this Empire was first threatened, sailed from home to this same place, here to offer their lives for its preservation. And as they sailed away, as they looked their last upon this mighty buttress, they left, away there beyond these unchanging ramparts - on the vast high veldt - the lonely grave of their comrade, Bradford, the first to fall, and in my thoughts is forged a link between this mighty monument of time and history, and a solitary fountain on a gently moulded hill at home. I am remembering that George Rowland Bradford came from Paeroa, and terribly moving is the thought this morning of that fountain lying shattered by vandal hands.