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Summary: The page now loading contains information on the Larsen Family - Norwegian Roots - Debora Expedition - Aldabra Atoll - Hordnes - Salbu - Fana - Norwegian History - Norwegian Immigration

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Home - Hobbies - Origin

Our Home in South Africa - between the cities of Pretoria, Centurion and Johannesburg


There is still much to do on these homepages but this is a start - I "Grabbed" the images out of my video camera and then compressed them to save download time.

We have a small farm (60 hectre) between the cities of Pretoria, Centurion and Johannesburg, we are close to these large cities yet we live "in the country" as we adjoin a game reserve. The reserve is the home of rhino, buck, Zebra, Jackal, birds of all sorts, including ostrich. There are many varieties of water fowl on the two lakes within the reserve - no lions or elephants. The buck shown in the photograph are Impala.

Our property is very rocky and all of the buildings shown in the images that follow this text are built of stone collected on the farm.

protea.jpgMy wife, Ursula, is very involved in the farming activities and takes a great interest in the garden - she has plantations of Proteas and sells the flowers on the local market. We have Donkeys, sheep, cattle and a variety of duck, fowl and other birds on our farm.

Being a keen radio ham (ZS6DN) my "farming" includes looking after the rhombic, yagi and the many other types of antenna systems we have on the property.

In the 1950s my hobby became my profession when I was apprenticed to SMD (Pty) Ltd in Pinetown, Natal. In the early 1960s I became a founder member of Racal-SMD Electronics in Pretoria and later became Chief Executive Officer of Racal Electronics South Africa. I retired when we sold the controlling interest of the business to Ola Grinaker in 1978. The late Ola Grinaker, like myself, was a South African of Norwegian decent. For the next 15 years I ran my own Research and Development (R&D) establishment.

I am now 63 years old and retired (hopefully) for the second time and act as a consultant to my eldest son James and youngest son Mark. James and Mark have taken over the family R&D business and my middle son Gernot runs the farming and property management operations.

My brother Roy (ZS6QU) is a keen radio ham and retired in August 1993. Roy spends a lot of time on the ham bands using Morse code to talk to his friends around the world.

I am still using a MAC 2FX and I have recently purchased a MAC 8600/200. You will read more about my computer interests on the other WebPages.

Farms Salbu and Hordnes located on the Fanafjord - south of the city of Bergen

We still have family at the farms Salbu and Hordnes located on the Fanafjord in the district of Fana, Norway. The "Fana Bygdebok" lists the one hundred and twenty one farms that encompass the Fanafjord. My son James visited the Hordnes family last year. When I visited the farms some twenty years ago this was the first time in over one hundred years that we had any contact - the Norwegian family were pleased to have news of us. At the time of my visit, Hans Hordnes was running the farm and living in a 300 year old house - the house had been the home of many generations of the Hordnes family. The brothers Hans and Karl Hordnes recounted the story that their grandfather had told about the tragic drowning of my great-grandfather Sivert Andersen Hordnes when his fishing boat, loaded with herring, was caught in a storm and capsized near the entrance to the Fanafjord. They recalled that Sivert's widow had married a local farmer and taken his (Sivert's) three young sons to Africa. The farms Salbu and Hordnes are located south of Bergen in the rural district of Fana.

The Norwegian guide book to the City of Bergen reads:- After participating in Fana Folklore, many visitors are heard to say that this is the most beautiful memory they will take back with them from Norway. In a private home on the old Rambergstunet farmstead in a picturesque woodland setting, Fana Folklore attempts to reflect in every detail the way of life of a rural community on a festive occasion - in this case "a country wedding".

See Fanakirken (municipal map 8) - The guided tour of Fana begins with a visit to the 800-year old Fana Church and a concert of old folk tunes played on the church organ with vocal accompaniment. Following this is an evening meal of traditional Norwegian festive food. Wedding specialties like cured ham (spekemat), sour cream porridge called rømmegrøt, pretzels, home baked crispbread (flatbrød), coffee and home made waffles are served. During the meal, you will be entertained with folk music again but this time played on the Hardanger fiddle. There is lively dancing and singing as well. And you are welcome to join in the dancing and festivities. Many do! And it's not just the foreigners who come; many Norwegians also enjoy these Fana Folklore evenings, and that gives you a chance to cross the boundaries of language and culture.

Fanakirken: The Fana church was built of stone in the middle of the 12th century. During the Middle ages, this church was a pilgrimage site as it possessed a silver cross that supposedly performed miracles. At the time of the Reformation, the churches treasures were confiscated and shipped to Denmark (unfortunately, the ship sank in a storm during its voyage and the treasures were lost). The Fana church was at one time almost destroyed by fire and nearly destroyed again in 1870 by an unfortunately disastrous attempt at restoration. The church has twice been restored to correct the mistakes made by the 1870 disaster. The Fana church can be reached by bus from the Bergen city centre in one half hour.

Our Home in South Africa
Twelve pictures of our home - the images are loading now, please wait
My office overlooks the duckpond
The office has five rooms
Office and duckpond
East windows of main house
North section of main house (east side)
North section of main house (west side)
My office and the MAC
Myself in office - see duckpond behind me
Sheep north of office
Cattle northeast of office
Small Koi (Japanese Carp) fish pond as seen from the office
Large Koi (Japanese Carp) fish pond as seen from main house

The Building of our Home - Period 1965 - 1995

The following composite image shows the evolution of the main house from a simple 'shoebox shaped' timber frame structure to the present 'stone' house. All of the stone used to build the house, and the other buildings on the farm, was found on site. The yellow rectangles and lines show the location of the start of the stone work that enclosed the original timer frame building.

1- The preparation of the slab.
2- The timber frame structure ready for plastering.
3- The first layer of plaster being placed over the wire-mesh covered 'compressed cement/straw' panels.
4- The third bedroom being added behind the house.
5- The front section of the house plastered and painted.
6- The start of the north veranda section that runs the length of the front section of the house.
7- A 1999 image of the north section of the main house.

On the RHS of the 1999 image a part of the new eastern extension is just visible.
CLICK HERE for a panoramic view of this section of the house.


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