Foreword : Professor Joy Brain
The history of St Francis Xavier Mission on the Bluff is a long and interesting one, inextricably bound up with the development of Durban and the steady white occupation of the Bluff itself. This has been admirably described by Malcolm Wright in his Bluff Parish celebrating 125 years.
It was Saturnino do Valle, a Mozambican Catholic living on the Bluff with the Zanzibars in the 1870’s, who persuaded Durban’s first priest, Father Jean-Baptiste Sabon and then Father Alexandre Baudry to extend their pastoral care to the Zanzibaris. Bishop Charles Jolivet then bought the land on which the first church was built and the first Christian families settled.
Malcolm and the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier have found and reproduced an amazing number of photographs, going back to the nineteenth century. Some of the older folk have shared their memories of the Bluff as it used to be, recalling their way of life in the early days. The result is an interesting and informative book of which they can be truly proud.
Congratulations Malcolm and your team on an outstanding piece of historical research.
Prof. J. B. Brain
Message from Cardinal Napier | Message from Fr Stuart Bate OMI | Forward: Professor Joy Brain | Introduction | A history of the St Francis Mission | Establishment of the Church at Fynnland | The Church at Wentworth | Centralisation of St Francis Xavier and Building of the New Church | The Building of the Parish Hall | The Building of the New Presbytery | The Building of the Wall of Remembrance | The Architectural meaning of the New Church | Your Church in Rhyme by Fr Andy Slowey | The Human Contribution to the Growth of the Parish | Groups and Organisations that have contributed to the Parish | Current Groups within the Parish | Local Vocations | Awards and Recognition | An Armchair tour of the Parish | The Shrine to Our Lady of Natal | Landholdings of the Catholic Church on the Bluff | A Portrait of the Life and Times of St Francis Xavier | Picture Gallery | Timeline of incidents of the Bluff Parish