oa Historia - Lower Albany, 1919-1939 : prospects for industry

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



From the very beginnings of the 1820 Eastern Cape British settlement the prospects for the economic development of the coastal and adjacent area of the district of Albany, known as Lower Albany, centred not as much on the success of the intended farming enterprise as on the development of a harbour cum centre for local industry, especially fishing at the mouth of the Kowie river. That prospect remained alive right through the inter-war period from 1919 to 1939. This paper examines the vicissitudes of that project during this period as well as some of the general economic trends for this region, not least in the context of the global depression ushered in by the Wall Street crash of 1929. There is, therefore, also a focus on alternative industrial and related prospects, including mining as well as some little contemporary awareness of how the informal sector of the local economy might have been encouraged. But by the end of this period, it was the long established fruit and dairy farming inland, and expanded tourism at the coast and the prospect of Port Alfred as a growing centre for permanent residents (though sometimes thwarted by the infighting and short-sightedness of Port Alfred's own citizenry) which formed the solid basis of the Lower Albany economy as it exists today.

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