MIMOSA PARK FARM
Work in progress
Annie writing about life (on Mimosa Park?) on the eve of Hugh's departure to WW1.
"The Split", between the brothers R.A. and Pat
The Curse of Mimosa Park
The farm probably took its name from the common iSinga (Acacia karroo)
which like to grow on heavy soils in riverine areas. They fix rhyzobial nitrogen
in the soil, and are therefore often undergrown with lush grass. Soyabean crops
in such localities are often planted with infrequent seed innoculation.
But the "Rain Tree" ( Lonchocarpus capassa), the subject of this section,
often grows on poorer, even stony, ground and on the granite derived acidic
An example of the latter can be seen in a photo from Zimbile. The citamuzi are
the tall ones on the right. The line of rounded trees in the distance are marulas.
The old road from Zimbile to Drummond ran nextto the marulas. The boundary
fence in nearby, on the right.
Citamuzi trees on Zimbile
"....one of the trees particularly favoured late in the dry season by a species of
froghopper (Ptyelus grossus), which sucks its sap and causes it to "rain", hence
the common name". Common Trees of the Central Watershed Woodlands of
Zimbabwe. Robert B. Drummond. NRB, Salisbury, 1981.
In Ndebele it is called "citamuzi" ( cita= to spill. muzi = dwelling), in the sense
somewhat of the Fall of the House. Regarding pronunciation: the "c" is a front
N.F. to Peter Cook, near Manjimup, WA. 11 April 2008
Have become caught up a bit in material coming in for our website on Mimosa Park.
When we came for lunch we spoke about the subject, and you seem to have had a lot
of anecdotal stuff. Please could you send me all info you have on the subject, cutting
the trees, previous owners and the mis/fortunes, anything on Ian Forbes etc etc...
You don't have to make a literary essay. Just jot down the bits and pieces as they
come to you, in any order....
Seems like weather for hot curries is on its way!
Herewith a few bits and pieces that I can recall . .. My folks were friends of the Forbes
clan and we went out to Mimosa as kids, the two boys, I think they were Ross and Stuart,
Ross being the younger one. Ian at that time was married to Anna, having recently left
his first wife Isobel. Ian and Anna didn't have kids. There was also a daughter from the
first marriage, I took her out on a date but buggered if I can remember her name. The
boys had an old Vanguard which was cut down, basically had front seat and a flat bed,
they and me had great fun on the farm skidding around, especially after the rains.
Apparently the boys had just washed the car spraying it with the hosepipe, they at the
time had a garage that was concrete base and was on a bit of a slope, Ian was standing
down against the back wall directing the car in, the brakes were wet and whoever was
driving pinned Ian against the wall and crushed his legs very badly. He used crutches
and sticks after that but apparently never really recovered fully and it wasn't too long after
that he died. Anna was a qualified nurse and ran the Princess Margaret Creche in
Borrow street for a long time after that. I presume they then sold the place. The Cummings
were after them I presume. I went out there when Bruce Ehlers had it but they were not
too successful at cattle farming, Dr Kok and his partner bought it but I am not sure when
or what happened to them.
Hope this helps. Pip might remember as he I think was a friend of Dick Cumming ??
Did you ever hear the legend about the cutting of the trees though? Or anything about
the early family murder-suicide?
Yes, Pip is a friend of Dick Cumming. I also knew Dick when we were quite young in the
days when he was a day scholar at Fairbridge and I was boarding with the Cranswicks
there. Dick went to USA a long time ago. His father Harry had a farm in the Heany area -
it might even have been Springs.
Do you know anything about the murder by the dissidents on Mimosa Park during the
Dr de Kok_Ehlers era.?
I remember Ian Forbes who seemed to appear like a sudden comet out of nowhere in
the Byo farming sky. He was going to teach everybody how it was done. He was very
energetic and enthusiastic about everything. My parents saw a lot of him.
He even cut some teak I believe, and was going to make things. He borrowed a folding
three legged stool with a leather seat my father made. Ian was going to commercialise
them. But he suddenly disappeared from the sky. I had forgotten about his accident.
In the early Nineties Mimosa Park got bought to run ostriches. Young Peter Cunningham
(his mother a Connolly from the Figtree-Kezi family) was involved with Indonesians
in the ostrich(?) business there. [N.F. to Peter Cook]
Dear Celia - after scanning and sending the Annie letter about Hugh going off to war,
I recalled that Syd Longden in his memoirs had a story, and one which he often recounted
to us, about the return of the brothers from the War. I thought it would make a contrasting
ending to Annie's reverie, and dug out Syd's book to have a look, - only to find also a
number of anecdotes of interest relating to stuff already on the website, and in particular
to the Mimosa Park legend of the cutting of the trees. Like often happens, there is now a
slightly different version of the story..... [N.F. to Celia]
From Syd Longden's Memoirs
From Flick. 18 April 2010
The horses 'picture' ..for want of a better word...
...according to Dad, Rob bought Mimosa voets toets (hope that's how its spelt!) and in
the room which was his (Dads) bedroom was a very large wardrobe and for some
reason it became a challenge for him to climb to the top. I gathered he was fairly small
and the wardrobe was very tall! Anyway after several attempts he made it and on top of
the wardrobe was a framed embroidery of two horses heads. The rats had gnawed a bit
of the frame - but other than that it was well preserved and hung in his room till they left
It always hung on the right of the door to the kitchen from the dining room at Umvutcha and
I have always been fascinated by it and loved it - and when I was very young Dad told me
he had embroidered it .......and for years I believed him!!!! As I said I was very young and
...not an important story for the family but special for me - I'm still fascinated by the
embroidery - I would love to know its history! In the photo including the frame you can see
where the rats gnawed it at the bottom left above and behind the glasses.
[voetstoots. Afrikaans term widely used in South Africa and Rhodesia, often at auctions,
meaning straight away, without picking and choosing, without guarantee, etc. N.F.]
Peter : "RA went in with F.E. Woods on Mimosa Park"
The story that RA lost it because he was away in the bush when a payment became due....
RA letter to Harsant 23 October 1917 addressed "Mimosa" JP Fletcher Papers (Robbie)
File Created:16th March 2010. Last Archived: 17 March 2010
Composite - Mimosa Woods - Annie's handwriting
Hugh Family Collection (Celia)
"June holidays at Redbank" - possibly the Oakley family.
An embroidery acquired with the purchase of Mimosa Park.
It later went to Umvutcha.