Tag Archives: Christianburg

THE PILOT – by Peter Halder

Guyana Stories by Peter Halder


by Peter Halder

       I was deeply engaged in studying a file on a timber matter which I was to prosecute in court the next few days when I was interrupted  by a knock on the door of my room at the District Administration Office, Christianburg, Upper Demerara River.

Looking up angrily, I saw the Forest Ranger Berthold Baird open the door and push his head in.

Father Kilkenny is here to see you on an urgent matter,” Baird said.

“Okay, offer him a seat and tell him I will see him in a few minutes,” I replied.

I couldn’t concentrate on the file contents any longer so I closed the file and gave some thought to Fr.Kilkenny.     Read More »

THE CHANTEY – by Peter Halder

Guyana Tales by Peter Halder


    by  Peter Halder

     Fr Alfred MacTaggart was the Priest -in-charge of St.Aidan’s Anglican Church at Wismar, Upper Demerara River.

The Church’s congregation was made up of persons from Wismar, Christianburg, Silvertown, Silver City, Wismar Hill and Mackenzie.

Fr. MacTaggart hailed from Scotland and his Scottish brogue oft intrigued his congregation when he delivered his sermon on Sundays.

His elocution, for whatever reason, was often punctuated by thin streams of spit.

The Father was also well- known for his strong  tenor voice. It gave vibrancy and appeal to the Hymns sung in Church on Sundays.    Read More »

John Paterson 1816-1898- The last of his generation – Dmitri Allicock

John Paterson 1816-1898- The last of his generation – Dmitri Allicock 

From a British Guiana Chronicle Newspaper Clipping 1898

The priceless value and meaning of an 1800′  obituary tells many tales of the forgotten times and paints a vivid picture of contemporary life. It testifies to the passing of time, it illuminates, vitalizes memory and brings us tidings of antiquity. The British Guiana Daily Chronicle carried such a death announcement of the last member the Paterson’s family who once held the reign of success and became legend in the early history and the building of British Guiana. This historical newspaper clipping was saved by a descendant of John Paterson and has survived for 115 years.

John Paterson was born the third child of John Dagleish Paterson and Elizabeth Hill at Plantation Christianburg, Upper Demerara in the year 1816. He was the last member of his generation to pass on.   [Read more: The 1898 Obituary of Brandy John Paterson ]

The Pattersons of Christianburg – by Dmitri Allicock



By Dmitri Allicock

 The reign of business alongside the peaceful Demerara River was once held firmly for almost a century by one of the most successful families that ventured where so many others failed. The Paterson’s family accepted the enormous challenges of 1800’s frontier life and became legendary in the early history and foundations of British Guiana.

“These rivers know that strong and quiet man
Drove back a jungle, gave Guiana root
Against the shock of circumstances, and then
History move down river, leaving free
The forest to creep back, foot by quiet foot
And overhang black water to the sea.”           

 It was in the early 1800s that Scotsman John Dagleish Paterson {1775-1842} settled at Christianburg, Upper Demerara and founded the family concerns which grew to be one of the most noteworthy and prosperous in British Guiana. He was of the trios of Britons known in the history of the district as Three Friends, who arrived together to settle in Demerara as the colony capitulated to the British in 1803. The three men, Paterson, Spencer, and Blount, established themselves separately on estates on the Upper Demerara.       Continue reading

Tribute to Manly VHL Binning 1899-1986 – By Dmitri Allicock

Manly Binning

Manly Binning

Manly Binning is remembered as a great father by his children. He was a brilliant coworker and mentor to the many workers of the bauxite industry in Upper Demerara, Guyana and to all his extended family one of the most important relative that ever lived. Manly was born with many exceptional talents. He was intelligent, creative, imaginative, skillful, ambitious, and very hardworking. Manly stood out as a leader among his peers and is remembered for all his great qualities.

The importance of Manly Binning to his family heritage is sacred. He was one of the few to document and record the lives of his family. He travelled by boat, train or bus to visit relatives where he conducted interviews and recorded by writing down their information and family history. He documented, organized his work, and then protected it for the future generations that can now benefit from this precious information of family heritage.    [Read more: Tribute to Manly VHL Binning 1899-1986 ]

The Street Characters of Upper Demerara 1960-1980 – By Dmitri Allicock

The Street Characters of Upper Demerara 1960-1980

By Dmitri Allicock

Upper Demerara was not unlike other parts of Guyana and had its full share of Street Characters. Whether driven to the streets by mental, emotional or social derailment, or “dropping out and turning on” by free choice, they remain indelible in memory, symbolic of the life and times. Like the politicians of the day, street characters had the ability to attract attention. Colourful characters who paraded the streets daily and providing spontaneous street theatre.

HERBIE, for most Upper Demerara residents was and is still a living legend that rivals “LAW AND ORDER” the former king of Guyana’s street people who was known throughout Guyana.
There were other vagrants like TIGER, which was both father and his daughter, ITUNI DOG, NUMBER FOUR and a few more that provided public theater, free of charge in the days of no television or rare entertainment.

Continue reading

The Fortunes of Bauxite – Part 1 – History

The Fortunes of Bauxite – Part 1 – History

By Dmitri Allicock  – for Guyanese Online

Read complete article: THE FORTUNES OF BAUXITE- HISTORY – Part 1

For 100 years Bauxite dominated the lives of the people in the Upper Demerara River. The town of Linden is synonymous with bauxite. The discovery of bauxite in the Demerara shaped every aspect of a family’s life. The community grew from a small and sparsely populated one to become the second largest town in Guyana.

Bauxite is not a rare mineral. Over eight per cent of the earth’s crust is composed of bauxite. It is mined only in areas with access to mechanical transport. Though the large deposit of bauxite at Linden was costly to mine, the cost was offset by the fact that Guyana’s bauxite is exceptionally rich in quality.


Bauxite was found at Christianburg and discussed as early as 1860 before its full potential was realized. Interest in this ore peaked as aluminum became of age.   Continue reading

Report: Wismar, Christianburg, Mackenzie Disturbances -1964

Editor’s Note:  This is the official report on this subject as commissioned by the Governor of  British Guiana in September 1964.  Most Guyanese alive today were too young or not born in 1964, so they may be  influenced by words like “massacre” and “holocaust” that are used by many commentators when discussing this unfortunate subject.  The great loss of life here was the sinking of the Sun Chapman with a bomb, where 38 persons of African descent perished.

These words should not be used for this event  – a massacre is when hundreds of people are killed, a holocaust is the systematic killing of thousands and even millions as occurred in Nazi Germany. As Guyanese, we should seek to heal the wounds inflicted on us by past generations.  We have to seek the truth and try to report “true history” and not continue instilling fear by embellishing and twisting facts.  Lies, often repeated, become “facts”.  Be aware!

This report should clarify the historical details of the unfortunate loss of life, injuries to innocent people, and the extensive loss of property.


Chapter 1 – Statement of the Proceedings of the Commission
Chapter 2 – Recent Disturbances at Wismar, Christianburg and Mackenzie
Chapter 3 – Conduct of the Security Forces
Chapter 4 – Account of Number of Deaths, Extent of Injuries, Loss and Damage
Chapter 5 – Conclusions and Acknowledgements

Continue reading



By Dmitri Allicock

The once popular and well known 1897 Demerara to Essequibo railway symbolized Upper Demerara and served as a cornerstone in its development before Bauxite dominated. This railway provided valuable and safe transportation for commuters and cargo between Essequibo and Demerara. It was Guyana’s first inland railroad – The Demerara Essequibo Railway (DER).

Hugh Sprostons entry to British Guiana in 1840 saw a dire need for transportation across Guyana’s waterways and its hinterlands. He established steam-powered vessels across Guyana and built Guyana’s dry dock in 1867, where damaged vessels could be repaired and new ones constructed.

Sprostons had steam brigs or vessels plying the Georgetown route as far as Lucky Spot up the Demerara River since the 1850s. They were also other privately-operated vessels of that period. Access up the mighty Essequibo River was a different matter. Navigation was very dangerous due to the many rapids and waterfalls. Many people drowned as they tried to navigate the torrent Essequibo and boats capsized more often than not.  Continue reading

It’s all in the name – the story of Linden

It’s all in the name – the story of Linden

An Article by Sherene Noble

Nestled in the heart of Guyana, amidst lolling white, grey and red sand hills, brown water creeks, blue water lakes and clear water springs; in the lush green of Guyana’s Amazonian vegetation, is the sleepy little bauxite town called Linden.

The story of how the town came into being is by no means a mystery. Three communities, Christianburg, Wismar and McKenzie merged into Macmarburg, then Markenburg;  and eventually became a township on April 29th, 1970. We have been told how George Bain McKenzie, that adventurous American discovered bauxite in the area in 1913 and commenced mining operations, paving the way for the development of McKenzie, after him. We know of how the Germans inhabited the land on the opposite bank of the Demerara River, 65 miles from the capital Georgetown, and named it Wismar, after a town and seaport in the northern regions of their native land. We have also heard stories of how the Dutch occupied the area immediately north of the boundaries of Wismar and combined the names of its then Governor, Christian Fenet, and his wife’s family name, Burg, to give Christianburg its moniker. Continue reading

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