There’s Peace in Baobabwe


Baobab Trail near Tshipise northern Transvaal                   Height 24m (79 ft), Circumference 23m (75 ft), water content 200 tonnes (441000 lbs),     Wood 50 tonnes (110000 lbs)                        One of many drawings by Chatty.

There’s Peace in Baobabwe

I remember having lunch at Parliament House in Salisbury when my Dad was  a backbencher in Sir Edgar Whitehead’s government  in 1958.  Mr. Cyril Hatty, the Minister of Finance, cut a fine figure.  He was tall, bespectacled, with the perfectly folded white triangle of his handkerchief sticking out of his breast pocket. Sir Edgar, a brilliant bachelor, almost deaf and almost blind, relied on Mr. Hatty as his right-hand man.  He was later knighted for services to the country.

There were other sides to Mr. Hatty that  we didn’t see then.  In semi-retirement, with his elder son, they turned their hands to mixed farming near Norton. Eventually, he withdrew to  a dimension called Baobabwe to paint and write under the pen name Chatty.

There’s Peace in Baobabwe


Chatty’s  little book There’s Peace in Baobabwe, published in 1987, is still in print today.

Baobabwe sprawls south of the Sahara desert, wherever baobab trees grow, in hot dry lowland areas. Madagascar and Australia are outposts of Baobabwe, where they were growing before the land mass Gondwanaland split over a hundred million years ago. Individual specimens like the one Livingstone estimated at over 4000 years old are not uncommon.  These old giants we can see today were in middle age at the time Christ was born: the oldest living things in the world.

Chatty details  the baobab’s place in geological time and the four stages of development from seedlings to maturation, flowering and pollination, fruiting and seed distribution.

He explains how these trees become naturally hollowed out.  They have been made to serve as a bus shelter, church meeting place, Mosque Swallow nesting site, prison, blacksmith’s forge, and flush toilet.

In the waterless wild the hollows store water.  Many birds and animals have a symbiotic relationships with the tree. The tree provides many remedies and survival foods from its different parts for many tribes.

Chatty poses a lot of questions for us to ponder, and includes a suggested reading list.  In an aftword he speculates about scientific discoveries and  gives us a reading list.

The book has lovely illustrations, and sage advice from baobabs.

Contact Sir Cyril’s son Paul Hatty for a copy:

Mopani Bush Lodge

Very many thanks Bob Atkinson and Paul Hatty for sharing this gem of a book with me.


  • Dorothy Neville (nee Hatty)

    Reply Reply April 20, 2015

    I contacted you a few years ago as my ancestors came from Bushmills (not far from Ballimony(?) My son has now retired and he is passing time doing family trees. Also, next year he will be going to Sth Af.for 3 months – perhaps he could contact you and you may know more about our ancestors.
    Have you still got copies of There’s Peace in Baobabwe”? I so, cost and delivery?
    Aus. has these trees in the Kimberleys & Pilbara (lovely areas).

    • Diana

      Reply Reply April 22, 2015

      You can get a copy of There’s Peace in Baobabwe from the Hatty Trust, P.O. Box 37078, Birnam Park, Jhb, SA or Paul Hatty at the Mopane Bush Lodge

  • Stephen Berry

    Reply Reply March 9, 2017

    Alexander Hatty came to Australia from Bushmills Ireland. He is my 4th. Great Grandfather.I have started a Hatty Family Site in Australia. It is named THE DESCENDANTS OF ALEXANDER HATTY AND JANE McKendry. It is on Facebook and is a closed Site. I can include Paul if he is interested in all the Hatty’s from Australia.

    Regards Steve Berry.

    • Diana Polisensky

      Reply Reply March 20, 2017

      Paul and Bob Atkinson both sent me copies of Cyril’s book but I haven’t heard from Paul in a number of years. With you permission I will forward your email to him and you can go from there. (Confirm permission to share)

  • Chris Hatty

    Reply Reply April 8, 2023

    Paul Hatty is still in Johannesburg, South Africa. Best email address is Paul sold Mopane Bush Lodge several years ago. I believe he still has copies of ‘There’s peace in Boababwe’.

    • Diana Polisensky

      Reply Reply April 23, 2023

      Thanks for the update on Paul’s whereabouts. I received a copy of There is Peace in Baobabwe from Bob Atkinson. I used it to give a talk on Baobabs to my garden club on Arbor Day several years ago.

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