MOMENTOES FOUND IN SCHOOL ENTRANCE COLUMN – 1968
A sealed glass jar containing commemorative mementoes of the laying of the foundation stone of DHS in 1894 was found in a cavity of one of the main entrance columns at the school.
This discovery was made by Richard Boffa and Terrance Timson, both who were boarders at DHS. Richard recalls: “Terrance Timson and I were waiting on the front veranda of Blackmore that day for a lift to a sporting event. While we waited, we began scratching around the two front pillars which had two large chunks of stone removed to be used in the new building. A few minutes later we dislodged another small piece of stone and there lay a bottle in a small cavity in the brick work. We took it and handed it in”.
Among the contents was a copy of The Natal Advertiser (now known as the Daily News) dated Monday July 2, 1894, The Natal Mercury of July 3, 1894, the order of the service for the laying of the foundation stone by Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, Governor of Natal, and coins of realm.
This discovery created great excitement at the School. The existence of this container was known for some time but remained a mystery. Early in 1966, when the school was nearing its centenary, a man reported that his father had been employed on the construction of the School and had told him that a bottle had been sealed-off in one of the main columns.
As a result of this report a portion of the marble was carefully removed for the re-laying ceremony on Centenary Day by the late Mr. Gordon Noyce, Chairman of the DHS Old Boys Trust. Despite a careful search at the time no signs of a possible cavity in the column could be found.
Further sections of the marble had to be removed for the re-laying on Founders’ Day, May 31st, and this completely exposed the lower section of the brick. By this time nobody was looking for any secret cavity but for the curiosity of Boffa and Timson and their interest in that one loose brick., the mementoes would never have been fund until the final demolition of the column.
The Founders Day ceremony on the 31st May 1968, will reecho this discovery, when the foundation stone of the new Blackmore House was laid by the Director of Education, Mr. P.R.T. Nel. A coupon copper casket was placed behind the foundation stone. It contains coins of today, current newspapers, illustrations of the three old building, plans of the new school and the order of proceedings for the Founders’ Day ceremony.
Who knows what these relics of 1968 will rediscover?