4.1 HJJ McCarthy

Hercules Jacobus Johannes McCarthy

If I think back about my Dad:

  • I am a kid, we are driving somewhere, a car is standing next to the road, and a man is bent under the bonnet, trying to fix his car. My dad stops, gets out and in a small while the problem is sorted out. 
  •  After his death I was astonished to find out how many people he has helped in his lifetime, without any gain, fixing motorcars, assisting needy people relocating, fixing windmills on farms, helping the old people, and visiting family.
  •  Today I understand my dad, he remembered that we are but part of God and life is about giving not about gaining, wherever he went, he made a difference.
  •  Thanks for the most amazing example you set, that love and life is a wonderful unselfish act of being love and giving without expecting something back.

 Hercules Jacobus Johannes was born on the farm Kliplaatdrif in the Ventersdorp district on the 14 Oct 1928. He was christened on the 27 January 1929 in Ventersdorp in the Dutch reformed church. His certificate was issued by the scribe J vd Heever. He grew up in Brakpan and attended President Brand School. He later passed his standard eight at Johannesburg Technical College.

 His standerd 7 certificate was issued to him in 1947.His subjects were: Afrikaans, History, Accounting, geography, Natural sciences, art, Health and wood and metal work. He was initiated into the Ducth reformed church on the 27 April 1947 at Venterspost.  He was 19 years old at the time.The preacher was a J vd Berg. He wanted to do a mechanical apprenticeship, but none were available. He started his work career in Johannesburg in the main post office in Crosby close to Langlaagte. 

Eventually he got accepted for an apprenticeship in Blyvooruitzicht on the 21 st August 1947. He stayed with his dad in 19 I st avenue, Blyvooruitzicht. There he did his apprenticeship.  His apprenticeship duration was 5 years. He did a first First Aid course after one year apprenticeship on 16/06/1948. He was issued with a car license in 1953 at the age of 25. 

He then qualified and started working as a fitter underground in the Blyvooruitzicht mine till 12/03/1955. He was issued in this same year with a motorbike license. He was then transferred to the surface and worked as a surface fitter till 28/06/1958. He met his wife Elizabeth van Staden in Groot Marico when visiting a nephew of his dad, Piet Mc Carthy and his wife Lenie. They were farmers in the district Derdepoort. His mode of transport was a motorbike.On a visit to his Uncle Piet he experienced mechanical problems with his motorbike. It broke down close to the farm of his future bride to be. The Van Stadens assisted him and here he met his wife to be: Elizabeth Johanna Maria van Staden. 

Before he got married he traveled in Europe for a year specialising in diesel mechanics. He travelled by ship and visited most of the european countries.

 On his return he married Elizabeth Johanna Maria van Staden on 28 April 1956. 





They went to the south coast for their honeymoon on a motorbike. He resigned his work as a fitter at Blyvooruitzicht on 28/06/1958 to join in a business venture with his sister’s husband Jan Antoon Swaters in Makwassie. They started a Service Station and he stayed for 7 Years in Makwassie. I still remember as a child when we arrived in Makwassie we stayed in the only Hotel.  It was fun for a child meeting all those interesting people at the hotel. I still remember a group of Japanese visitors staying in the hotel. They were amazingly well mannered. If my mom approached the dinner table they will stand up and wait for her to sit. In this period I remember getting arch eyes. What did I know, a person was welding and I was fascinated by the brilliant white light. The next day I could not look out of my eyes. 




We later rented a house with a big galvanized dam. 





a Few years later my father and his brother in law built themselves houses in Makwassie. We were really proud of our first house.

He always took a keen interest in life. I found a voters registration form completed in 1958 in Makwassie. Amazing how little we know of our folks. Now trying to get to know my deceased father, I found a certificate of a course he did in 1963. It was a course in selling. Eventually with the droughts my father decided to move out of the business, and moved back to the Carletonville area. He joined the Western Deep Levels mine on the 29/07/1966. He worked at the number two gold plant as an artisan. I still remember my mom and myself stayed for a period in Makwassie, while dad looked for a job.


When we saw him again, he bought our first new car a volksie.

Dad started as a surface foreman and acted later as foreman at the uranium gold plant. We moved to Fochville for a year and then relocated to the mine property of Western Deep Levels. He was promoted to a foreman fitter of the Uranium plant in 16/04/1979. I found another first aid certificate that he completed in 1970. Another interesting document is his provident fund form issued in 1972. He got reissued with a car license on 31/12/1973. I assume that is when the identification books changed format. 


Mom loved a bit of luxury when they were on holiday. We use to go to the Four Seasons hotel in Durban for a week. I still remember the ice creams that the friendly waiters served with the coconut you can put on as a topping. He was very involved in the Afrikaans reformed church his whole life and served as an Elder in the church for many years. He loved his preachers and in fact quit spoilt them. Dominee Mulder was his favourite, he was the preacher of the Afrikaans reformed church in Carletonville. He was also involved in party politics and was part of the Losberg national party and canvassed and served on the committee. What a great finding, going through old books in 2008 I found minutes taken by mom where my dad was the Chairman of the local National party branch. My mom is even commended for the refreshments served. She supported him in all his undertakings. Astonished in his old minutes I found a speech written by PW Botha the Prime minister. The document consists of 2 pages. 

He was always involved in the community and got invited to join the Rapportryers in 1977 at the age of 49. The annual fees were 10 Rand. The cultural group met in Blyvooruitzicht. He loved to create new ideas or concepts, He would not read story books, but loved to read encyclopedias. He always had a project going. I found a copy of a license issued to him in 1978 for a trailer that he had built himself. He later bought a house in Carletonville. 

  Dad retired in March 1992. He was a dedicated employee who spent 25 years working for the mine without missing a single day. He was a very active and physically hard working man and was still very healthy and fit when he retired. He worked for Western Deep Levels till his retirement in 5/03/1992 at the age of 63.

After his retirement he started doing mechanical installations on contract for my father in law Michael van den Berg. I still remember his little 1300 cc Mazda bakkie packed and loaded to the brim. He loved work and to be busy. He loved people and his family and would make a point of it to pop in and greet family when traveling around. He was a real work alcoholic and felt that only lazy people did fishing. He could never understand why I loved fishing so much. He was gifted mechanically and could even solve the most difficult and complicated issues on any enjin. 

He had immense patience, my mom was sick for her last 10 years. He never complained, but assisted her non stop. It was not strange to me that my mom died 2 months after my dad, she could not live without him. I remember the familiar routine on a Saturdays, we had to do the garden, wash the cars, then tackle the dogs, tired in the afternoon we would have 2 beers together.

He was a great grandfather, my children knew if they landed, Grandfather had a chocolate stashed away in the fridge, he loved children. I would never forget the tears in his eyes the day we baptized my oldest son and named my son after him. It was the greatest honour I could bestow on him. 

An amazingly amicable man that loved people and served his fellow men, elders and any person that had problems. A Healthy man that never new a sick bed.

It was a shock when I received a phone call and was told my dad died of a heart attack in Ligtenburg on 27 Dec 1995.He was buried in Carletonville at the age of 67 years. (His Estate Number: Pretoria 784/96 id. 2810145019089)

 Historical Timeline:                           

  • 1898 – 2.3 Hercules Jacobus MCCARTHY got married to Susanna Cecilia Stoffelina Elisabeth Therblanche on the 21 st June 1998
  •              in the Ducth reformed church Lindley, district Bethlehem. 
  • 1905 – His fourth child 2.3.4 Hendrik Gert Rautenbach MCCARTHY was born on 14 Apr 1907. 
  • 1906 – Elsje Rachel van der Merwe born on 11 October 1906 in Wolmaranstad 
  • 1927 – Elsje Rachel van der Merwe got married to Gert Hendrik Rautenbach McCarthy in Ventersdorp on the 26 of July 1927. 
  • 1928 – Elsje`s oldest son Hercules Jacobus Mc Carthy was born on the 14 Oct 1928 
  • 1929 – Elsie and Hendrik McCarthy relocated to Brakpan. 
  •         – Hendrik started working on the 19 Oct 1929 at Brakpan mine 
  • 1930 – Elsie`s second child Aletta Sophia born on the 12 March 1930 in Brakpan 
  • 1932 – Elsie`s second son Willem Sterrenberg born on 31 Dec 1932 Brakpan  
  • 1937 – Elsie`s son Gert Hendrik Rautenbach was born on the 13 July 1937  
  •         – 25/01/1937 Hendrik McCarthy started working at Consolidated mines. 
  • 1941 – Elsie and Hendrik moved to a farm at Welverdiend. 
  • 1942 – 7/09/1942 Hendrik started working at Blyvooruitzicht mine. 
  • 1943 – Elsie and her husband moved to Blyvooruitzicht. 
  • 1946 – Elsie`s son James Mc Carthy was born on the 20 Apr 1946 in Randfontein. 
  • 1947 – Hercules is issued with a standard six certificate on 28/03/47.
  •           – Hercules started as an apprentice on the 9 th of April 1947 at Blyvooruitzicht.
  •           – On the 27 April 1947 Hercules became a member of the Ventersdorp Dutch reformed church. 
  • 1948 – Her son Gert Johannes Mc Carthy is born on the 11 May 1948 at Kliplaasdrift, district Ventersdorp. 
  •           – Hercules McCarthy stays in Brand street in Wolmaranstad 
  • 1949 – On 1/08/1949 Hendrik became a surface foreman 1951 – On 23/08/1951 Hendrik received his first payment being
  •              diagnosed with silicoses 
  • 1952 – Hercules McCarthy qualified as a fitter at the Blyvooruitzicht mine. 
  • 1953 – A driver’s liscense is issued to Hercules McCarthy in Fochville. 
  • 1956 – On the 28 april 1956 Hercules Jacobus McCarthy got married to Elizabeth Johanna Maria van Staden in Groot Marico. 
  • 1958 – He resigned his work as a fitter at Blyvooruitzicht on 28/06/1958
  •           – He relocated to Makawassie to start a business with his brother in law 
  • 1959 – Maria Johanna McCarthy (Furstenberg) passed away on the 1 st of July 1959 at Hendrik Potgieter street, Klerksdorp at the age
  •             of 80 years. 
  • 1960 – Hercules died on the 24 May 1960 at Odendaalsrus and was buried in Klerksdorp. 
  • 1966 – He left Makwassie and joined the Western Deep Levels mine on the 29/07/1966 
  • 1968 – On the 30 th of April 1968 Hendrik retired and he and his wife Elsie moved to Makwassie.On 10 may 1968 Hendrik and his
  •              wife celebrated their 50 th wedding anniversary in Carletonville 
  • 1977 – He joined the Rapportryers in 1977 at the age of 49. 
  • 1979 – He was promoted to a foreman fitter of the Uranium plant in 16/04/1979 
  • 1985 – Elsie Rachel van der Merwe passed away on the 21 Oct 1985 at Makwassie. 
  • 1991 – Gert Hendrik Rautenbach Mc Carthy died on the 4 th of April 1991 in Brakpan.  He was buried on the 12 April 1991 in
  •             Makwassie 
  • 1992 – Hercules McCarthy worked for Western Deep Levels till his retirement in 5/03/1992 at the age of 63. 
  • 1995 – Hercules Jacobus McCarthy died of a heart attack in Ligtenburg on 27 Dec 1995. 

One comment

  1. Barbara Moscicki

    Read your dad’s story Hendrik. He sounds like a person one could only be proud off. I will most definitely be reading some more over the next couple of weeks.

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