History of Oasis Shellhole

Oasis Old Bills since 1959

YearOld BillYearOld BillYearOld Bill
1959F Kirchman1981N Rowe2003M Hart
1960F Kirchman1982P Eaton2004M Hart
1961R Roberts1983B Mirfin2005P Mclean
1962N Billett1984M Hart2006P Mclean
1963V Brown1985R Olsen2007D Burnett
1964V Brown1986R Olsen2008M Hart
1965V Brown1987B Mirfin2009M Hart
1966W Bullen1988K Ford2010M Hart
1967C Miller1989K Ford2011M Hart
1968G Alexander1990P Cloete2012M Hart
1969G Alexander1991P Cloete2013A Fenner
1970H Wilkinson1992P Cloete2014A Fenner
1971H Wilkinson1993P Cloete2015A Fenner
1972L Shaw1994K Ford2016M Hart
1973L Shaw1995M Rowley2017M Groenewald
1974C van Drau1996M Rowley2018M Groenewald
1975C van Drau1997M Rowley2019M Groenewald
1976C van Drau1998P Mclean2020M Groenewald
1977C van Drau1999P Mclean2021M Groenewald
1978B Mirfin2000P Mclean
1979A Gisby2001P Cloete
1980N Rowe2002P Cloete


Oasis was conceived in a Barber Shop – of all places – way back on 10th May, 1959, by one Maurice Fineberg, a Hairdresser in Craighall, who would button-hole all his customers to find out if they were ex-servicemen. If you happened to be one of this breed, Maurice would ask you to keep in touch, as he was hoping to get enough blokes together. After some time, sufficient prospects were obtained and on the10th May 1959 the first meeting of Oasis Shellhole took place at the Hyde Park Hotel.

After the Hyde Park Hotel, the Shellhole moved to Craighall Tennis Club and later moved to Banbury Cross in North Riding and in June 1973 it moved to Westpark Commando later known as Sandton Commando. The Shellhole now holds its meetings at Cottesloe Cottages in Fairlands due to the Commando system been closed down.

It was around March 1960, when it was decided the time had come for the Shellhole to have its own banner. We were fortunate in that Zoma Billett, wife of one of our members undertook to do the making of it. After various designs had been examined, that of Has Haslem was accepted. Finally late in 1960 Zoma started work on the new banner. She made a magnificent job and on 5th December 1960, at a Special General Meeting, the Rev. Pearson dedicated our banner. Since then it has been proudly displayed at many formal MOTH Parades.

The story of how the Shellhole came to Westpark Commando is an interesting one. It was learnt by some members that the Commando had been told of a dis-used pre-fabricated hut been available to the Commando, but this was situated somewhere in Heidelberg, and it would have had to be dismantled, transported to and re-assembled at Commando Head Quarters. The cost of all this would amount to some R1500.00 and it was decided that members of the Commando would subscribe on a voluntary basis, over a period, to raise these monies. When the Shellhole members heard of this, they too k it on themselves to arrange the dismantling and transporting and this was done over a weekend. The Shellhole members also laid the foundation and with the help of the Commando personnel, the hut was erected at Head Quarters, where it stands today and is used for, amongst other things, Shellhole meetings and Shellhole Dance and other occasions.

Like all MOTH Shellholes, Oasis comprised of a bunch of ageing World War II veterans until the problems arose on our borders. These problems made our young soldiers eligible for the MOTHs and Oasis must be unique in the Order, in that there was an immediate reservoir of young eligible recruits. The aging Shellhole received a transfusion of young and virile blood and with an almost 50 – 50 proportion of veterans and young soldiers, the Shellhole has taken on a new lease of life and enthusiasm is as high today as it ever has been.

One milestone in the life of the Shellhole has been the building and thereafter the maintenance of Oasis Cottages. These cottages, 19 in number, were erected by members of the Shellhole on ground at Muldersdrift, which belonged to Warrior Shellhole. For a small Shellhole (less than 40 membership, those days) this was a magnificent effort, which was borne by all members, but mainly by the following who all received Life Membership of the Shellhole for their efforts:-

Doug Snelling

Alec Alexander

Jim Hay

Bill Bullen

Our other Life Member is Bert Mirfin, who also earned his honour the hard way, by his ceaseless efforts for the Shellhole, not the least of which is his Skittle Group who always give of their services to the Shellhole so willingly and cheerfully.

Oasis is justifiably proud of their Cottages at Muldersdrift – not only because we built them, but because those cottages and their tenants have remained our responsibility and in this connection a verbal bouquet for the old stalwarts of the Cottage Committee, would not be out of place. The Shellhole has always been solidly behind them, but they are the front-line troops and the blokes that sort out the myriad of problems, which inevitably crop up in a complex of this type. Of the six present members of the Cottage Committee, four have been associated with the scheme, virtually since its inception, namely, Eric Montgomery, Harold Wilkinson (Oasis Shellhole) and Jim Hay (Chairman) and Shorty Weber (Warrior Shellhole)

The Shellhole as a whole, keeps in contact through the Cottage Committee, but also has personal contact in that one Shellhole meeting per year is held at Warrior Shellhole, where the residents are invited to attend and once a year all members who wish can accompany the old folk on their Christmas Outing which is organised and naturally paid for by Oasis.

Like any Shellhole that has been in existence for 21 years, Oasis has seen its members and comrades called to higher service.

We will remember them.

This history was written by Moth Dickie Roberts dated 31st January 1980.

History of the Oasis Vacant Chair

The chairs were donated by the Late Moth Peter Cloete and then Captain to Sandton Commando Regimental Association to use at their Mess Dinners. The larger of the two was the Mess Presidents chair and the smaller was for the Mess Vice President. This second chair was not padded and it was there to make the junior Officer or NCO to be as uncomfortable as possible. On closure the two chairs were placed into storage at the cottages. When a Unit is closed down any donations of paintings, chairs, statues, etc it is customary for the Unit to try and contact the donors to see if they wish to have their donation returned. Luckily for us we have managed to speak to the late Peters family and they have given their blessing for the chairs to be given to Oasis Shellhole to be used as the Old Bills chair and the Deputy Old Bills chair. No guessing who is getting the uncomfortable one. It was decided that the chairs would be cleaned up and also to be used for the Sunset Calls and the other for the past Old Bills of the Shellhole as we don’ t have our own hall or room to display these type of shields. Today with us is Peters daughter (Penny Groenewald) and I would like her to come up and unveil the chair.