When FleetWatch got word that Old Joe – the N4 Toll Route’s most recognized rock – is celebrating its 90th birthday, we just had to feature this famous landmark as many of you will know it. In fact, many of you will have stopped and taken photographs next to it – from your childhood through to today.
To celebrate the occasion, Old Joe has undergone yet another transformation. However, this time the coat of paint Joe is donning is familiar to ‘him’ as ‘he’ previously wore it back in 1969. The recent makeover is to commemorate Old Joe’s 90th birthday following discussions on social media relating to the rocks’ history and previous outfits.
The rock was discovered in 1927 during the construction of the first road through Schoemanskloof. It was found by construction workers who thought it bore a likeness to their site supervisor Joe Barbados, who was well liked by his crew. They painted and erected it along the Patatanek Pass in honor of their supervisor’s dedication, passion and efficiency during the construction phase.
Legend has it that Old Joe looks after the road users of the N4 Toll Route and therefore it is important to hoot or wave to him when passing to ensure a safe journey.
Since Old Joe has crept into the hearts of all TRAC employees – and clearly many of the road’s users – TRAC wanted to make this anniversary special and allow Old Joe’s ardent fans to reminisce about days gone by. After uncovering a photo of Old Joe from 1969, well-known Lowveld artist, Ghost, set to work on the transformation. It took Ghost approximately four hours to restyle Old Joe’s outfit, but the effort was certainly worth it.
TRAC is confident that the road users of the N4 Toll Route will thoroughly enjoy Old Joe’s new (yet old) look and appreciate the historical meaning behind the rock.
If any of our readers have photographs of Old Joe from days gone by, please email them to us. I’m sure I have one in my old albums from when I was about 12-years-old and my uncle would always stop there on the way to Mozambique. I’ll look for it. Let us have your pics by email to The Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short description of the occasion and memory.