Victoria 250 years | 17 September 2019
On the 1st September of 1908, a society called ‘La Charité’ was established for the purpose of raising by subscriptions and voluntary contributions, a fund for the relief and maintenance of the old, sick and infirm. Its creator was William Marshal Vaudin (1857-1919) the superintendent of public works.
On the 2nd September of 1893, Bishop William Walsh (1837-1918) of Mauritius arrived in Seychelles, and on the 7th September he consecrated the St. Saviour’s Church at Anse Royale.
On the 3rd September of 1954, at a meeting of the producers and shippers of cinnamon leaf oil, a motion calling for the termination of a contract by which oil was sold to a single agent was unanimously accepted. The 61 persons present called for a free market system.
On the 4th September of 1801, thirty-eight deportees from France arrived on ‘La Flèche’. They were the second batch of Jacobin terrorists that had planned to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte on 24th December of 1800. The first batch arrived on the 12th of July, of the same year.
On the 5th September of 1973, five fishermen of La Digue drowned after their pirogue capsized at around 5p.m. They were Freddy Constance, Raymond Crispin, Gabby Lesperance, Lambert Ernesta and another named Michael. They left La Digue for a fishing trip to Felicite. Their pirogue was found floating upside down to the north of Curieuse with Freddy Constance, clinging to it. The bodies of the four fishermen were never found.
On the 6th September of 1935, the first issue of L’ActionCatholique, the organ of the Catholic Church came out. Printed by the Clarion Press, the paper’s proprietor and editor was Marcel Lemarchand (1886-1959). It cost 5cents. In 1957, the name of the paper was changed to L’echo des Iles. 3,000 copies of this first issue were printed.
On the 7th September of 1953, the prison of Union Vale was established. There was one block for first offenders and other for recidivists. Prisoners were forwarded daily to the PWD or Botanical Gardens to work. At the prison, the main tasks of the prisoners were breaking stones, beating coconut fibre and mattress making.
On the 8th September of 1965, Mgr. Olivier Maradan (1899-1975) blessed the Ste.Thérèse Church of Plaisance. It was a relatively modern structure designed by the Government architect, Tomlin. The parish of Plaisance was established in 1949.
On the 9th September of 1793, Jean Baptiste Queau de Quincy (1748-1827) arrived in Seychelles aboard L’Aimée to assume the administration of Seychelles as Governor. In 1812, he was appointed Juge de Paix, a post he held until his death in 1827.
On the 11th September of 1881, the British General Charles Gordon (1833-1885) arrived at Mahé aboard Godavéry, to assess the defensive measures of the Seychelles Islands in the event of an enemy attack. He promulgated a facetious theory that the Vallée de Mai on Praslin & the Coco de Mer palm is the Garden of Eden and The Tree of Knowledge mention in Genesis 2:9, 17; 3:6!
On the 12th September of 1943, the Ste Elisabeth convent was blessed by Mgr. Olivier Maradan (1899-1975).
On the 13th September of 1971, the first patisserie to be established in Seychelles was opened by the Hon. James Mancham. It was located at the junction of Harrison Street & Royal Street.
On the 15th September of 1894, the Stone of Possession was removed from its site in the grounds of Hotel Equateur by a French General and placed aboard the S.S. Austalien bound for the Museum of Fleury at Paris. Upon discovering the theft, the administrator, T.RiselyGriffifth ordered it back. The stone returned on the 16th of November.
On the 15th September of 1965, Radio Seychelles made its first ever live broadcast of a cross country cycle race. For sport cycle and standard cycle Joseph Moses won in the sport cycle category taking 56 minutes to complete the 14 mile course. The standard cycle category was won by Joseph Azémia in 51 minutes.
On the 16th September of 1971, a public procession took place in Victoria. Organised by the SPUP, it involved the participation of about 2,600 pepole who demonstrated against the National Provident Fund and clamoured for Britain to give Seychelles immediate independence.
On the 17th September of 1953, the church of St. Francois D’Assize, at BaieLazare was consecrated by Mgr. Olivier Maradan (1899-1975). After extensive renovation work on the building, the church was‘re-consecrated’ on the 24th September of 2006 by Mgr. Denis Weich.
On the 18th September of 1969, Lord Shepherd (1918-2001), the Minister of State in the Commonwealth office and the Deputy Leader in the House of Lords arrived in Seychelles. His visit was to assess the Social, political and economic problems in the Colony.
On the 19th September of 1867, the Mariste Brothers, arrived in Seychelles and took up the administration of the St. Louis College in Victoria.
On the 20th September of 1853, Father Jeremie de Paglieta (1820-1870) and Theoplhile de Chateauneuf (1826-1889) arrived in Seychelles to establish the Catholic Mission.
On the 23rd September of 1864, L’Emryne, the first ship of the Messageries Maritimes arrived in Seychelles. It was the start of a shipping service that lasted until 1918. Steamers of the Messageries Maritimes left Marseille on the 25th of each month calling at Aden, Diego Suarez, Tamatave, Seychelles & Mauritius.
On the 24th September of 1804, the second capitulation of Seychelles to the British took place. The capitulation treaty was signed by Commandant Jean-Baptiste Queau de Quincy and Captain M. Wood aboard the “Concorde”. The terms of the capitulation were favourable to the Colony. All conditions proposed were agreed upon except that the British took possession of a brig “Zephyr” which had arrived at Mahé, the day before.
On the 25th September of 1859, Louis Poiret, a 70 year-old planter of French origin died on Mahé. When he arrived in Seychelles in 1804, he claimed to be the Dauphin, the son of the ill-fated Louis XVI of France and Queen Marie-Antoinette. He first stayed on Ile Poivre and later moved to Cap Ternay.
On the 26th September of 1915, Mgr. Bishop Bernadin Thomas Edward Clarke, the Catholic Bishop of Victoria passed away in the Victoria hospital. He was 60 years old. He was the only English Catholic Bishop to be appointed to the Diocese of Victoria. He first arrived in Seychelles in 1883 as a priest.
On the 27th September of 1994, the National Assembly passed a bill which allowed the Islamic society of Seychelles to be constituted into a corporate body. There were about 700 followers of the Muslim Faith in Seychelles. A mosque was opened in 1982.
On the 28th September of 1931, the Governor De Symons Montagu George Honey (1872-1945) was informed by an inhabitant named Morel, of an outbreak of dysentery of a severe nature at Anse Aux Pins. Two dozen cases were reported. During that year 89 people were hospitalized and 15 died of dysentery.
On the 30th September of 1882, the Legislative powers of the Seychelles became independent, as well as the Justice Department. It was the first step towards the separation of Seychelles from Mauritius.
On the 1st October of 1975, Seychelles became a self-governing Colony. The occasion was marked by a parade in the stadium at Victoria at which Mr. James Mancham (1939- ) was sworn in as the country’s first prime minister by H.E. the Governor Colin H. Allan (1921-1993), watched by a crowd of between 5,000 and 6,000.
On the 2nd October of 1972, the stadium (StadPopiler) in Victoria was officially opened by Princess Margaret. During the one-week celebrations to mark the bicentenary anniversary of the first arrival of settlers on Mahé (1772). The Princess was accompanied on her visit to Seychelles by her husband, Lord Snowdon. The stadium was built on reclaimed land.
On the 3rd October 1963, Mr. AfifDidi, leader of the Addu Atoll Group who opposed the Central Maldivian Government arrived in Seychelles abordHMS Lock Lommond. He was accompanied by his family. Her Majesty’s Government had granted him permission to reside in the Colony.
On the morning of 4th October of 1950, Mgr Olivier Maradan (1899- 1975) blessed the first stone of the new church BaieLazare. In the afternoon, a funfair was held as well as the drawing of a lottery, to obtain funds for the construction.
On the 5th October of 1963, the first issue of the Seychelles Weekly came out. It was the organ of the Seychelles Democratic Party. It cost 25cents.
On the 6th October of 1969, Mother Angèle Morel passed away. She was the first mother superior, co-founder (with Father Maurice Roh 1896-1963) of the Ste. Elizabeth Convent. She was 89 years old. She was buried in the Beauvoir Cemetery at La Misère.
On the 7th October of 1896, a law was passed that allowed corporeal punishment for prisoners who commit certain offences such as escaping from custody. The corporeal punishment was flogging. This was 15 strokes in the case of adults and 10 strokes in the case of juvenile offenders not beyond sixteen years of age.
On the 8th October of 1918, Sir Eustace Edward Twistleton Wykeham Fiennes (1864-1943) arrived in Seychelles to take up the post of Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Colony. His salary was Rs.18, 000 per annum. He left in 1922. During his tenure, he initiated various Social Welfare Schemes and built the Fiennes Institute at Plaisance and the Fiennes Esplannade.
On the 9th October of 1935, the firm Adam Moosa signed a memorandum of survey, giving the Government of Seychelles, the site where the Pierre de Possession was originally placed on the 1st November of 1756. The site which is on the property of the firm is accessible to the public.
On the 11th October of 1979, school children in Victoria demonstrated against the proposed National Youth Service. The protests continued the following day when hooligans who infiltrated the children’s ranks committed acts of sabotage, looting and arson. The National Youth Service opened in 1981 and closed in 1998.
On the 12th of October of 1862, an avalanche occurred after torrential downpours during two days caused extreme devastation in Victoria. Masses of earth and rock from the Trois Frères Mountains collapsed on the town of Victoria, filling up a body of water to create a large playing field which became the Gordon Square (the actual Freedom Square). Eighty people perished in the calamity.
On the 13th October of 1883, Marianne North (1830-1890) the famous English painter and globe trotter arrived in Seychelles. During her three months sojourn, she visited many places on Mahé as well as on Praslin where she made paintings of forest and coastal sceneries. She visited the Christian Missionary Society Institution (Venn’s Town) for children of liberated slaves at Sans Soucis where she made a magnificent painting of the establishment. One of the endemic timber trees that grew there, Kapisen, was named after her- NortheaSeychellarum. Fourty-Three of her paintings are on display at the Natural History Museum in Victoria. A gallery of her paintings is at the Kew Gardens in London.
On the 14th October of 1944, the Seychelles Seventh-Day Adventist Mission was constituted into a corporate body with the right to purchase, hold and possesses immovable for charitable, religious and educational purposes. And to receive and accept donations and legacies. The Seventh - day Adventist mission was established in 1933.
On the 15th October of 1953, quadruplets were born at the Seychelles hospital to Louise Marie. It was a first in the history of Seychelles. Rachel, Therese, William & Jessie were offered a free supply of Cow & Gate milk food by the Cow & Gate Company Ltd of London which also published postcards of the Seychellois Quadroplets.
On the 16th October of 1948, St. Paul’s primary school was opened. It was located at the Freedom Square near the actual site where the ‘Tobruk’ building (1952)stands. The school which provided accommodation for 216 children of primary school age had a staff room, a library and a store.
On the 17th October of 1953, William Addis (1901-1978) arrived in the Seychelles and assumed the administration of the colony as Governor and Commander-in-Chief. The population was around 37,000. He left on the 16th of October of 1957. He was succeeded by Sir John Thorp (1912-1961).
On the 18th October of 1848, Commissioner Charles Mylius (1795-1873) wrote to the Governor of Mauritius, asking that a Catholic clergyman be sent to the Seychelles for the spiritual needs of the old population.
On the 19th October of 1964, the first batch of coir fibre was produced by a privately-owned coir factory on Mahé. In December of the same year, a first shipment of coir fibre from the factory was exported abroad. The factory which was located at Les Mamelles employed about 100 people.
On the 20th October of 1960, the German consul-General in Nairobi, Baron Von Stackelberg arrived on S.S “Kampala”. It was the first time a German consul had visited the Seychelles. He was accompanied by Baroness Von Stackelberg.
On the 21st October of 1920, a law came into force that required the price of a bag of maize of 95 kilos to sell at Rs.20, being 24cts per kilo and 12cts per half kilo.
On the 22nd October of 1936, a Seychelles Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition was held on Gordon Square (Freedom Square) under the distinguished patronage of His Excellency the Governor Arthur Francis Grimble (1888-1956). There were prizes (Rs6) for best decorated rickshaw, and best decorated bicycle (Rs3) as well as a baby show and a pig-race. There was also a lottery, with tickets costing 5cts each.
On the 23rd October of 1969, the island of Silhouette had its first-ever public film show when the Government cinema Unit entertained the inhabitants with a 2 ½ hours show. The schooner Silence carried the projectionist and his assistance, the electricity generator, the film projector, the boxes of film and coils of cable and the screen to Silhouette.
On the 24th October of 1961, a symposium to mark the 16th anniversary of the United Nations was held at the Seychelles College under the distinguished patronage of the officer administering the Government (the Governor, John Thorp having drowned in August) Ian Woodroffe. The subjects by the three speakers were sixteen years of U.N.O-A Retrospect, Our Fight against disease. We and the U.N.O.
On the 26th October of 1969, the American Geophysical Survey Ship “United Geo” arrived in Victoria Harbour. The ship which had been conducting oceanographic surveys round the coast of Africa for the last two years was on its way to the Far East when it encountered engine trouble and had to drop anchor at Mahé to wait for spare parts to be flown from the U.S.
On the 27th October of 1973, British writer Alec Waugh (1898-1981) and his wife, author Virginia Sorensen arrived in Seychelles for two week’s holiday. Alec Waugh had visited the Seychelles in 1950 when he spent 10 weeks at Northolme Hotel. He wrote a book ‘Where the clock chimes twice’ about his experiences here.
On the 28th October of 1992, the Mize Koko at Val de Près, Au Cap was opened by Minister Danielle Jorre de St Jorre (1941-1997) during the 7th Creole Festival. The Mize Koko contains assorted items made from a variety of materials obtained from the Coconut Palm.
On the 29th October of 1972, three young boys died in a horrifying accident. David Lablache 15, Tony Camille 17 and Ralph Green 19, were all killed when a pick-up truck in which they were passengers hurtled off the road and smashed against a tree at Bel Ombre.
On the 30th October of 1979, Father ValèreDousse passed away at Victoria, at 73 years old. He arrived in Seychelles in 1934, where for many years he was the residential priest of Bel Ombre.
On the 31st October of 1935, the decoration of knighthood was conferred for the first time on a Seychelloise lady, Alice Paule Lanier by his Excellency Governor James Lethem (1886-1962) in front of the court houses and before the Legislative council. She was presented with the Insignia and the Grant of Dignity of member of the most excellent order of the British Empire.
On the 1st November of 1756, Captain Nicholas Morphey (1724-1774) took possession of the Seychelles for France and the Pierre de Possession was placed as confirmation of French Sovereignty.
On the 2nd November of 1977, the Soviet Movie Week was launched, at the Stadium in Victoria, in the presence of the President of the Republic of Seychelles, France Albert René and the Russian Ambassador, Alexandre Startsev. Seven movies were shown during the week, including a ballet movie of Spartacus. The Soviet music week was organised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Great October 1917 Revolution.
On the 3rd of November 1983, the first American Ambassador to be based in Seychelles presented his credentials to President France Albert René. Until then, the United States had been represented in Seychelles, since 1976, by a chargé d’affaires under the US Ambassador in Nairobi.
On the 4th November of 1956, a cross was placed on the summit of the Trios Frères Mountain (2,293 feet) by the youths of Seychelles. They were students of the Seychelles College and scouts of the districts of Victoria who wanted to commemorate the arrival of the Duke of Edinburg, Prince Philip, on the 19th of October of that same year.
On the 4th November of 1883, Marianne North (1830-1890) an English Lady painter wrote in her journal that; ‘real distress is beginning on Mahé, for want of provisions, trade being all stopped by this quarantine in Mauritius. The poor cannot afford to buy rice at the present price, and are too weak to face sickness. These lovely Islands are sadly neglected. I am in perfect paradise with most genuine and energetic people...’
On the 5th November of 1849,Commisioner Charles Mylius (1795-1873) sent a petition by the inhabitants of Seychelles to the Governor of Mauritius, asking for a catholic priest to be sent to the colony for the “Religious welfare of the population”.
On the 6th November of 1965, Governor Julian Edward George Asquith (1916-2011) opened the Barclays Bank Building opposite the Carnegie Library on the Independence Avenue.
On the 7th November of 1768, the Marion Dufresne expedition arrived at the Island of Praslin which it named after César-Gabriel de Choiseul-Chevigny, Duc de Praslin, the French Minister of Marine. It was on that same day, that the marvellous Coco-de-mer nuts were discovered.
On the 8th November of 1975, the Mahé Beach Hotel at Port Glaud was opened by the Prime Minister, James Mancham (1939- ). Designed by Graham Mc Cullough, the 352 bedroom tourist establishment represented an investment of Rs.60 million. It had a complex of suites, restaurants, bars and swimming pool.In 1998, The Mahé Beach Hotel was the venue for the Miss World Beauty Pageant.
On the 9th of November of 1903, Ernest Bickham Sweet-Escott (1857-1941) was sworn in as the first Governor of the Colony of the Seychelles. He arrived in Seychelles in 1899 to take up the post of Administrator. In 1901, he initiated the erection of the Victoria clock tower. A road in the south of Mahé bears his name.
On the 10th November of 1965, the Government announced the setting up of the British Indian Ocean Territory which would be composed of the Chagos Archipelago (formerly, part of Mauritius), Aldabra, Farquar and Desroches (formerly, part of Seychelles). The Territory was administered by Governor Julian Edward George Asquith in addition to his duties as Governor of Seychelles.
On the 11th November of 1928, Governor Montagu George de Symons Honey (1872-1945) unveiled a war memorial at the Mt. Fleuri Cemetery. Constructed of coral blocks, it bears the names of the Seychellois men who died in East Africa during the First World War (1914-1918). Every year, on Armistice Day, a ceremony is held at the site. The inscription on the cenotaph reads: “To the glory of God and in memory of these men of the Seychelles carrier corps who risked and lost their lives for King and Country in East Africa in the years of the Great War and whose graves are unknown.”
On the 12th November of 1922, a party of 24 ex-chiefs who had been banished into exile together with King Prempeh in 1900, were repatriated to the Gold Coast in SS Karagola. Among their families was a Seychelloise wife of a deportee.
On the 13th November of 1990, the Duke of Edinburg Prince Philip husband of Queen Elizabeth II, made a stopover in Seychelles and left the next morning. He was welcomed at the airport by the Administration and Manpower, Minister Joseph Belmont and spent the night at the British High Commissioner’s residence. It was strictly an unofficial stopover. It was the third visit of Prince Philip who was the Patron of the Worldwide Wildlife Fund. In 1956, he planted a coco-de-mer tree in the Botanical Garden. In 1972, he accompanied the Queen on an official visit here to inaugurate the International Airport.
On the 14th November of 1966, the Seychelles Supreme Court passed sentence of death on a 50 year-old man. Arthur These who was convicted for the murder of eight-year old Jenny Philomena Isaac at Desroches on July 25th. The trail began on November 2nd with a jury of seven men and a woman.
On the 15th November of 1926, private houses in Victoria were supplied with electricity for the first time. This was available twelve hours daily from 6p.m to 6 a.m, and was generated by a 30 kilowatt belt driven by a steam engine powered by a wood fuel boiler.
On the 16th November of 1893, the first telegraphic message was sent to Seychelles by the secretary of State for the Colonies to the administrator of the Seychelles, Thomas Risely Griffith.
On the 17th November of 1954, during Parliamentary Debate in the House of Commons, when he was asked about the intentions of the Seychelles Government concerning the Island of Aldabra, the Secretary of State for the colonies replied that the government was proposing to lease the Aldabra group of islands to a Mr. H. Savy who intended to develop commercial exploitation of mangrove timber on the island.
On the 18th November of1970, the first meeting of the council of Ministers was held at the Government House. His Excellency Sir Bruce Greatbatch (1917-1989) handed the instruments of appointment to the Ministers and the members of the Council then took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office. The meeting followed general elections after which James Mancham (1935- ) was appointed Seychelles First Chief Minister.
On the 19th of November 1973, Colin Hamilton Allan (1921-1993) was sworn in as Seychelles new Governor. The ceremony took place in the stadium (the actual StadPopiler) at 5 p.m. He was 51 years old and married 3 children. Before being appointed to Seychelles, Colin Hamilton had been Resident Commissioner in the New Hebrides since 1966. He was the 18th and the last Governor of Seychelles which became an Independent State on the 29th June 1976.
On the 21st November of 1938, the inhabitants are taken aback at the sight of two submarines in the harbour. Le Tonnant and Le Conquérant had come from Diego Gracia heading for France. They left on the 26th of November.
On the 22nd November of 1742, LazarePicault (1700-1748) arrived at Mahé, where his two ships Tartane and Charliedropped anchor at Anse Boileau. Ashore, sailors gathered hundreds of coconuts and giant tortoises which they took away. The expedition had been organised by Mahé de Labourdonnais (1699-1753). He was the Governor General of Mauritius.
On the 23rd November of 1968, the first Beauty Pageant to be held in Seychelles was at the Beau- Vallon Beach Hotel. The winner was Marie France Lablache of Hermitage. There were fifteen participants.
On the 23rd November of 1964, a law was brought into force to control the quarrying of sand along the foreshore. This was a measure taken to curb the indiscriminate removal of sand from beaches.
On the 24th November of 1967, the Legislative Council passed an ordinance ‘to provide for the control of development of land in the Colony’. The bill was an urgent reaction to preserve the scenic beaches and the natural beauty of Seychelles for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors.
On the25th November of 1981, a group of 45 South African mercenaries arrived at Seychelles International Airport aboard a civilian flight from Swaziland in the guise of a beer-drinking club called “Ye Ancient Order of Froth blowers”. Their leader was Colonel Mike Hoare (1920- ), the mercenary commander during the Congo uprising in the early 1960’s.
A gun battle with the SPDF ensued after which most of the mercenaries fled back to South Africa aboard a high jacked Air India plane, and a few were left behind where they were caught by the Seychelles forces. In 1986, Mike Hoare wrote a book about the ill-fated mission called “The Seychelles Affair”.
On the 25th November of 1992, the Ministry of Health reported the first AIDS case in Seychelles. The announcement was made on SBC radio and there was an interview with an HIV positive man who had developed AIDS. There were 28 known HIV positive cases then.