Sobering Up After Repairs

Loading Gervas Hughes wagon with logs for the Globe and Phoenix Mine, 1929.

Sobering Up After Repairs

By the mid 1930’s Gervas Hughes was doing well. He had built a new building to house a mill and a larger office which Mrs. Byerly, sister of Mesdames Birch and Malloy, managed very well. He had ten ox-wagons on outside contract to the three biggest mines in the area: Sherwood Star, Gaika and the Globe and Phoenix. He had mule-trolleys for town work, and the first two and a half ton Model A Ford truck in town, straight from America via Mr. Matherson’s Garage. Repairs were inevitable.

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The Depression, Que Que’s Lucky Break

Solly Sloman's Trading Store on the Gaika Mine 1925

The Depression, Que Que’s Lucky Break
Most of Rhodesia’s pioneers came for gold expecting another Witwatersrand. But 10% perished in the two rebellions in the 1890’s. Many left in poor health and out of pocket. But there were exceptions.

By 1925 Solly Sloman had the usual wood and iron store on piles on the Moss Mine. ‘At one end he chopped up meat. There were burst bags of rapoka and everything all over the floor. At the other end of the counter he sold mirrors and pocket knives. Behind him were shelves of blankets of all sorts and rolls of limbo,’ remembers Gervas Hughes.

‘The mine flooded loosing the stream pumps. Meanwhile, Solly was thinking of getting married and worried about building huts that would be comfortable and acceptable to his wife, but moveable and saleable too if the mine finished.’

The Moss Mine closed in 1927.

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Making a Fast Buck by Ox Wagon

Gervas Hughes' ox wagon outward bound on the Gokwe Road, 1929. N.B. Gervas' Grand GK3 and the Rhodesian yoke

Making a Fast Buck by Ox Wagon

For the third time in seven years Gervas Hughes arrived back in Que Que in 1928 having recovered from polio. The first time his father had fetched him home to England under protest when his crops washed away in a flood, the second time his father had rescued him when he was stricken with polio. Gervas wanted to see if he could make it on his own.

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Milking a Recovery

Dorothy Crowther-Smith (far L) and Gervas Hughes (far R) baling hay at her farm during his recovery from polio at Bordon in Hampshire. (N.B. Gervas' withered R arm and shoulder)

Milking a Recovery

After a month at the two bed hospital G&P Hospital in Que Que, under the care of Dr. Davey, Gervas Hughes could walk a little. With the diagnosis of polio from Dr. Godfrey Huggins confirmed in Salisbury, he wired his father, Charles, in England.

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The Lure of Africa

The-Lure-of-Africa

The Lure of Africa

Gervas Hughes arrived in Que Que at the age of 20 from England on completion of his studies at University in agriculture. He travelled by ship to Cape Town and then into the interior by train in 1921 to stay with is half brother Tom (Reginald) who was an engineer at the Globe and Phoenix Mine.

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Different Spokes for Different Folks

Different Spokes for Different Folks

Charles Rudd trekked 600 miles by mule transport to obtain the concession Rhodes wanted from the Matabele chief Lobengula to occupy what would become known as Southern Rhodesia. The journey took 35 days of hard travel. The pioneer column soon followed with 62 wagons and 200 volunteers which trekked from Macloutsie, Bechuanaland into Mashonaland in 1890. The track cut up from Tuli was the only ‘road’. Remarkably, in the space of just a dozen years, the steel tracks of Rhodes’ private British South Africa Company railways connected Southern Rhodesia with the east and south coasts.

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