10 fascinating things about the Aurora Chimney, Essequibo

If you've ever traveled to the Essequibo Coast through Supenaam, you may have noticed a chimney on your right as you drive down the coast. It rises up from a distant piece of land as you pass through the village of Aurora. This chimney and its surroundings have a fascinating history.

Read on to learn about a few and to see some of the fantastic images!

1. This Chimney is one of the 3 remaining chimneys in Guyana, harking back to early days of sugar cultivation. The other two chimneys are located in Anna Regina and at Chateau Margot.

2. The chimney was built by Dutch and is a remnant of Aurora's days as a Sugar estate, one of the 37 estates in Essequibo. The chimney played a dual role - not only in the sugar cultivation process, but also in providing a beacon that vessels could identify from the water. 

3. The bricks on the inside of the chimney are positioned in such a way that one can climb to the top from the inside. Apparently, only one person has ever done that before! 

4. The land still contains remnants of the area's Dutch & sugar heritage - Upon purchase, a punt was on the site. Dutch bottles continue to be unearthed, and there is a wheel from the sugar mill, which still stands.

5. The 2000 acres of Aurora land was purchased by the Misir Family (specifically, Mr. Harry Sahoy, JP) in 1930. It was purchased directly from a Dutch gentleman named Mr. R. Pajay who owned the entire Aurora Estate. The Misir family has maintained the property and the chimney since then. 

6. The Chimney itself has a plaque on it with a date of July 1 1908, and the actual history behind this remains a mystery. Some stories are floating around, but none that have been confirmed. 

7. The great house that stood at the time of purchase has since been renovated, and the large water tank with the date 1869 stamped on it still remains in remarkably fantastic condition. When the tank was first cleaned, the owners came across old Dutch dishes in the tank!

8. There is a ghost story attached to the Estate also - apparently a previous Dutchman killed himself right in that house. To add to the lore is a burial ground about 1km away from the chimney, where many of the Dutch settlers are buried.

9. Some reports indicate that the Plantation was abandoned in 1876, but when the land was purchased, sugar cultivation was still happening on the land. Rice was later planted and became the primary crop.

10. About 20 years ago, the land around the chimney started to erode, and over the years the sea has crept up to the base of the chimney. Many attempts were made to have the area rehabilitated by the Government, and the REO of the area eventually stepped up and fixed the area. Nevertheless, erosion still remains a notable threat.

There have been false starts with regard to designating the Chimney a National Monument under the National Trust, and at the Benab we hope that preservation of this site is revisited since this chimney has definite tourism potential. 

We'd like to thank the Misir Family, specifically Thakoor Misir for obliging us and giving us a tour of the site on their private land as well as providing us with a lot of the information in this article!

Also, we want to thank the President of the Guyana Drone Operators Association (GDOA) for capturing and sharing some of these never-before-seen aerial views of the chimney. Remember: if you are the owner / operator of a UAV, make sure to obtain the relevant permissions from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority and register with the GDOA

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Sources:

- Thakoor Misir

- Omeshwar Misir

- Who is who in British Guiana - 1945-1948 - Erwin Brewster

Links:

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2016/opinion/letters/07/07/world-beyond-georgetown-means-lot-guyanese-left-homeland-long-time-ago/

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2016/sunday/beyond-gt/06/19/aurora-estate-part-1/

http://guyanachronicle.com/2017/03/19/aurora-a-once-thriving-sugar-plantation

http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news022/ns211227.htm

https://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news022/nc211246.htm

https://www.stabroeknews.com/2016/sunday/beyond-gt/06/26/aurora-village-part-2/

https://www.pressreader.com/guyana/stabroek-news/20160707/281629599595985

 

Monuments
Architecture
Dutch