Start your walk around historical Dundee from the War Memorial at the traffic circle in Victoria St.
Keys are available from the Dundee Tourism Office in the Civic Centre Gardens.
This memorial commemorates the men of Dundee and the surrounding areas who gave their lives in the cause of freedom during the 1st World War. Their sacrifice is remembered by an annual MOTH Parade at the memorial on the closest Sunday to 11th November.
Of particular interest is the name of Lt. Green who survived Delville Wood, won two Military Crosses and was killed late in 1917.
Another person of interest is Brother Richardson, a local member of the Masonic Lodge, who drowned on the SS Mendi.
The MOTH order (Memorable Order of Tin Hats) was established in 1929 to remember the men and women who died in the Great War 1914–1918. Memorial tablets from the MOTH memorial from Glencoe have been relocated to this memorial, and a number of memorials to remember the men and women from this area, in all theatres of war, have been installed here.
The current facade of this hotel, dating from 1953, is reminiscent of the Tudor Age. This hotel has been trading on this site since the late 19th Century.
However this is not what the building looked like originally. It was a single storey building that had pieces attached to it as it expanded and occupied adjacent buildings. In 1908 they were advertising accommodation for 60 guests in 26 bedrooms, dining and billiard rooms, stabling for 30 horses, tennis court and attractive gardens as well as a vegetable garden to supply the needs of the hotel. By 1949 additions and alterations had incorporated all the free standing buildings. The hotel was recommended by the Royal Automobile Club and boasted lock up garages and wide sunny verandahs to enjoy the fresh air.
The double storey construction in 1901 incorporated part of the original Masonic bar and hotel. This double storey building with broekie lace edged verandahs boasted 30 bedrooms, a first class dining room, ladies sitting room, a smoking room and billiard room (with 2 tables), stables with accommodation for 60 horses, a blacksmith’s shop and electricity throughout.
In 1908 they advertised that a bus met all trains to transport passengers to the hotel.
In 1927 the manager, Mr Osborne was advertising skilled mechanics on the premises to assist with guests vehicles. The hotel was recommended by the Natal Car Club and the Transvaal Car Club. Alterations in the late 1950’s removed the iron pillars and broekie lace and replaces with square brick pillars and brick verandah walls. The hotel was modernised in the 1970’s and renamed the El Mpati hotel. The original verandahs were enclosed to create bathrooms for the bedrooms. Today this building is an Adult Training Centre, which provides sheltered accommodation and employment for handicapped adults.
This was the third Methodist church to be built in Dundee. The original Methodist church built in 1889 is today the AGS church in Gray Street. The second Methodist church was on the same site as the present one but was rebuilt and enlarged in 1951. The first services of which there is any record were conducted by Rev. George Blencowe in 1864. He paid a quarterly visit on horseback. In 1866 the Ladysmith circuit was formed and Dundee fell under this circuit. During 1870 donations were sourced and a church built of burned brick on four acres of land at “Coalfields.” This was an interdenominational church.
With the declaration of the town of Dundee in 1882 church services were held in a local hall. In 1889 the first church (sandstone) was built in Gray Street and opened for worship in 1892. During the Anglo Boer war it soon became apparent that the church was too small and with military assistance the next church was built. The foundation stone was laid in November 1902 and the church opened for worship in August 1905. The final cost of the church was £3,737. In 1959 a church hall was built.
In 1966 it was decided to renovate and improve the appearance of the church. When tenders were called in 1968 it was found that the costs of renovation were the same as construction of a new church and it was decided to demolish the old church and build a new one on the same site.
Building began in December 1968. The Memorial windows of the old church were retained and the foundation stones of the previous churches retained. The cost of this new church complete with organ, furniture, fittings and furnishing was R25,035.
On the opposite side of the street this double story building was erected in 1906. It housed the original Johnstone & Keith builders merchants (which later became Blaikie Johnstone). Both Mr Johnstone and Mr Keith were local men who had settled in Dundee from England and Scotland. They had met while working as carpenters at ”Jumpers Deep” mine on the Witwatersrand in the late 1890’s. After losing their jobs they set off for Natal where they had been led to believe work was more plentiful. Their train was delayed in Glencoe and they left the train and found work in Dundee for Hansen & Thorland.
After the battle of Talana they left Dundee with the Town Guard but were captured by the Boer forces and sent to Pretoria as Prisoners of War. They returned to Dundee at the end of the war and proceeded to start their own business, the first contract being for a house at 1 Douglas St. In this venture they were financed by Peter Smith. The partnership of Johnson and Keith was converted into Johnson & Keith (Pty) Ltd and registered in 1928. They built a business that survived for many years until the advent of the big conglomerates. During the Second World War in 1942 they manufactured and supplied 5000 Mortar Bomb Boxes.
The Company progressed with the times – from the original two carpenters, unskilled helpers and two apprentices to a business that employed 550 people. Mr Johnstone built himself a fine home, Woodside, in Dundee (today 10 Beaconsfield St). He died in 1930. Mr Keith retired in 1942 and died in 1954.
Not only was it used for Masonic meetings but could be used by the public for dances, theatricals, concerts, private entertainment and church services. In 1891 it was agreed to purchase a piece of land for a new Lodge, as the public hall had been acquired by the Presbyterian church. In 1892 land was purchases and a Masonic hall built.
This Masonic hall was built in 1892 at a cost of £ 475. By 1897 is was agreed to sell the hall and build a proper Masonic Temple. The land was purchased on the corner of Gladstone and Beaconsfield streets for £ 150. The building was erected at a cost of £ 2010. This was financed by the issue £ 5 debenture shares. The foundation stone was laid on2 December 1898, and the first meeting was held in the hall 18 May 1899.
The upper floor was the Masonic meeting hall and the bottom hall was used for entertainment – dances, theatre and cinema – and was widely regarded as the finest theatre in Northern Natal.
No Masonic meetings were held during the Boer occupation of Dundee. However, documents removed from the Lodge by the Boers were kept by the Resident Magistrate in Vryheid and returned to the Masons after the end of the war. In 1901 the furniture that has been looted from the homes in town during the Boer occupation was piled up in this building for the local residents to claim and remove, after their return to the town. At the end of the war, the “Treason Trials” of the Natal rebels were held in this building.
From 1904–1909 it served as the home of the Dundee and District Club and in 1924 was host to the inaugural meeting of the Natal branch of the National Party (political). In 1929 the Masons sold the building for £ 1600 to Mr Atwell, who was responsible for bringing some amazing cinema shows to Dundee. He also used the front offices as his photographic studio.
The Masons retained the piece of property behind the Hall, which fronted onto Beaconsfield street, and here they built the next Masonic Temple. They moved into their new Lodge in 1930. This served its purpose until its closure and sale of the property in 2019.
The name Boswell’s derives from its purchase by Ralph Boswell Robertson MP in 1935. For many years Boswell’s was a grocery and general dealers store and then a wholesaler. It has seen service as a bank, warehouse, office accommodation and now serves as a church.
This is a unique building, both architecturally and historically. It is the last remaining pre-Boer War theatre in KwaZulu-Natal. It was declared a national monument in 1989. This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
Mohandas Gandhi was tried in this court in 1908 and again on 11 Nov 1913 for inciting Indians to leave Natal and cross the border into the Transvaal (this was illegal for Indians as they required a permit) and sentenced to a £60 or 90 imprisonment with hard labour. He chose the 90 days but the next day was sent by train to Pretoria. On 14 November he appeared before the magistrate in Volksrust. On 28 November he was back in Dundee addressing large crowds in the grounds of the Hindu temple.
This court house served Dundee until 2013 when a new magistrate’s court was built and this building is no longer used as a court house. Portion of the building houses departments of the South African Police.
The court room has become a new museum reflecting the history of Mohandas Gandhi, his fight for justice and rights for the Indian population, and his particular links with South Africa and Dundee.
The key is available at the police station next door or from the Dundee Tourism Office.
- Key available from Room 2 Dundee Police Station (next door)
- Open Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm. Weekends and holidays by appointment
- Contact Talana Museum 034 212 2654
The church has many fine furnishings donated by parishioners to commemorate loved ones. Beautiful wooden frontals stand in front of the choir stalls – these were carved by Mr Magni of the Swedish Mission.
Numerous memorials line the walls of the church. However, the most outstanding is the Anglo Boer War brass tablet on the west wall. This lists all the men “who fell in battle or died of disease in the Dundee sub-district during the war.”
There are six military graves in St. James’ churchyard, Boundary Road. Maj. Gen Sir William Penn Symons was mortally wounded whilst directing the attack near Talana and died on 23 October 1899. He was buried after the British force evacuated Dundee. There are also graves of two soldiers, one of whom was Lt. WHJ Hannah (of the 1st Bn. Leicestershire Regt.) who was killed on 21 October 1899 when the British camp, after having been moved the first time, came under enemy bombardment. Maj RB Blunt (of the Lancashire Fusiliers) died of wounds received in February 1902 in the Vryheid district and also lies buried here. Also buried here is the Rev Bailey, Vicar of St James, who remained in the town during the Boer occupation to look after the wounded soldiers and the few remaining civilians.
Inside the church, on the west wall, is a brass plaque on which are inscribed the names of 231 soldiers of the Imperial and Colonial forces who died in Dundee and the surrounding district during the war. On a longitudinal wall is a marble panel which displays the names of the Natal Volunteer Composite Regiment who lost their lives during the war.
During the occupation of Dundee by the Boer forces Rev Bailey remained in the town to succour the wounded and to conduct church services. He buried the flag in which Gen Penn Symon’s body had been wrapped under the church floorboards, together with valuable church items. Under the carpet in the aisle the roughly cut hole that the Rev Bailey made to hide the flag and other items can still be seen. The original flag is now on display in Talana Museum.
In 1896 a decision was taken to sell the property to the Swedish Mission Church but this didn’t happen. St James was built in Dundee and the property at “Coalfields” sold to the Dundee Coal Company in 1917.
With time and the growth of the town of Dundee, the area where St Philips was became known as “Coalfields” – the name of the farm. This church was vandalised by the Boer forces during the war of 1899-1902. St Philips was moved to it’s present position in 1902 to serve as the church hall.
By the 1960’s there were 60 graves in the cemetery. In 1995 the remains of only 28 could be found and when the headstones were finally removed to Talana Museum for safe keeping in 2011 only 22 remained.
Today this little building on the corner of Boundary and Grey Streets is used by the church as on office and by the pre-primary school as a storeroom.
Mr Fred Williams arrived in Natal from the UK in 1895. He worked for a Mr Sheperd who had a contract to supply 10 tons of bread daily to Ladysmith during the Boer War. In 1902 Mr Williams acquired a small business in Dundee and started a bakery. He later bought out his opposition, rebuilt the buildings and incorporated a grocery and tea room. He was joined by his 2 sons, who continued the business after his death in 1933. The Model and Hygenic Bakeries were then run as one business until they were sold in 1952 to Mine Stores. The business continued under the original name until finally closing in the 1980’s.
Corner Beaconsfield St and King Edward St.
Until a hall was built on the corner of McKenzie and Gladstone Streets in 1884, worship was conducted by a minister from Newcastle at Talana, home of Mr and Mrs Peter Smith. In June 1899 the Rev Ireland became the first minister. The Anglo Boer war caused services to be held in Boswells building as the church hall was being used for the war effort. In March 1902 Ann Smith laid the foundation stone for a new church, which was consecrated on 15 March 1903 with a service, followed by a public social in the Civic Hall on 16 March in the evening.
The first minister, the Rev. J T C Ireland served in the First World War and died at sea when his ship was torpedoed. The Roll of Honour inside the church was unveiled in 1920 and records those men of the district who died in the First World War. There are also other memorial tablets on the walls.
In 1924 the church hall was built, a gift from Mr and Mrs D G Johnson, and proved invaluable as a Sunday School.
The war memorial hall was built to honour the service and sacrifice of the men and women of Dundee and the area who served in the Second World War. The funds for the building were raised by the citizens of Dundee in memory of the men of the district who fell in military engagements , members of the MOTH and BCESL (British Commonwealth Ex-Service League) members.
The MOTH organisation had been founded by Charles Evenden in 1928 to “help fellow servicemen in need and to remember all ex-servicemen and women who had died in war and peace time”. The Endumeni shellhole was founded in the late 1920’s. The BCESL was founded in 1921 by Field Marshall Haig, Jan Smuts and Gen Lukin to ”relieve the plight of soldiers who had returned form the horrors of the battlefields of France and Flanders in the Frist World War. The organisation provided care, employment, housing for former soldiers. In the 1950’s Dundee had both a men’s and a Women’s Auxiliary branch.
Towards the end of the Second World War a group of Dundee citizens got together to consider an appropriate memorial to the local men and women who had served and died in the war. It was decided not to erect another memorial – like the one for the First World War – but to build a living memorial that would be useful to the community.
The first step of the project was to build the shellhole so that there would be a home and venue for MOTH meetings. When work on the hall started there was not sufficient money and so the MOTH’s decided to offer their skills and labour free to help build the hall. Building was slow as it was done over weekends but eventually sufficient funds were raised to allow a bank bond to be raised and Johnstone & Keith to complete the construction. The hall was opened on 13 October 1956 by Gen Klopper, head of the South African Defence Force. The Natal Carbineers with their pipe band paraded through the town. For many years fund raising events were held to pay the bond on the building.
Inside the foyer is a memorial tablet to the men of Dundee and district who died in the war. This is not a comprehensive list for the whole town as other memorial tablets are found in the Anglican and Presbyterian churches and in Dundee High school.
There is also a memorial tablet to Alexander Harvey Biggar, after whom the range of mountains around Dundee is named (Biggarsberg). He died in the battle of Opathe Kloof in 1839 while assisting Boer forces in their battles against Zulu forces.
The Indumeni/Isandlwana Shellhole has a superb collection of military memorabilia dating from the Anglo Zulu war of 1879 to the present. It is open on Fridays evenings from 17:00 and welcomes visitors.
Contact Pat Rundgren 072 803 2885 to make arrangements to view the museum.
By 1908 the Ermelo church was too small and the Methodist church in Gray Street was bought. This very soon also became too small and an agreement was reached with the Methodists that they would swop services for “nagmaal” services and would have the use of the new Methodist church.
In 1917 Dundee became a congregation in its own right. The need for a larger church was becoming very apparent and in 1919 it was agreed to raise funds to build a new church. The first architects plans proved too expensive and in 1921 plans by Gerard Moerdyk were accepted and work begun on a church to seat 750 people at a cost of R21,298. The property on the corner of Willson and Beaconsfield was bought from Mrs Willson. The building was completed in 1922, with the official inauguration being held on 8 December of that year.
On the clock tower of this building is an impressive Anton von Wouw sculpture and plaque commemorating the Boers who fell in the battle of Talana. This commemorates the battle of Talana and the suffering of the women . Although these men were originally buried on the top of Talana hill, their remains were reinterred under the clock tower in 1929. The list of names was renewed in 1960 as the original list had weathered badly and was no longer legible. Repairs were also undertaken to the relief.
In the garden near this memorial, is a concrete slab, in which are etched the marks of the wagon wheels from the wagons of the 1938 centenary trek as they made their way through Dundee and on to the site of the battle of Blood River/Ncome.
In 1963 the magnificent pipe organ was used for the first time.
During the Anglo Boer War with the large numbers of British troops stationed in the town the church, in Gray St, was too small to accommodate the soldiers for Sunday services and an arrangement to “swop” churches was made with the Dutch Reformed congregation, who had a larger church.
In 1925 a private owner, Mr Blogg, bought the church. He, in turn sold the church in 1933 to the Nederduitse Hervormde Church of Glencoe. It changed hands again in 1954 when it was sold to the Ou Apostoliese Churh, who in turn sold it in 1976 to the AGS of SA (The Apostoliese Geloof Sending van Suid Afrika. They undertook considerable restoration to return the church to its original state and to preserve this historic building with its yellowwood ceiling.
The hole like markings on the sandstone blocks are not bullet marks as some people believe but are from the pincers that were used to lift the blocks into position. This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
On 10 December a function was held to officially switch on electric lighting to the Swedish hospital. The cost of the installation was borne by previous patients and local townspeople.
In 1928 the electrical engineer was able to report on a successful reconstruction of the Power Station. The old wood and iron building had been replaced with the fine red brick building you can still see today. The cost of this new building was £2010 and the equipment a further £2025. The sale of the old boilers, piping and building brought in £350 to be off set against the cost. As there was minimal call for electricity on Saturdays afternoons and Sundays the generator was switched off and the small amount required was supplied by a battery system. After the costs were calculated over a five year period it was decided in 1928 to do away with the battery system and acquire another generator.
By 1930 there were 500 consumers in the town and power was available 24 hours a day.
The theatre had 2 entrance doors. It was through the side door that ”Africans” were admitted for film shows and the “white’ entrance was through the front. All films shown were hired from around South Africa.
He had a special “give-away” fan made of parchment that was printed with a photograph of the exterior of the building as a means of attracting paying customers.
He retired in1929 after 16 years in the bioscope and photography business. The last bioscope show was held on 30 Sept 1929.
Sadly the windows and door have been modernised but the facade is still the same. The extension on the right side which served as a tearoom later became offices.
Not only was it used for Masonic meetings but could be used by the public for dances, theatricals, concerts, private entertainment and church services. In 1891 it was agreed to purchase a piece of land for a new Lodge, as the public hall had been acquired by the Presbyterian church. In 1892 land was purchased and a Masonic hall built. In April 1903 the “Talana” lodge, a Scottish lodge was instituted in Dundee. They took over and used this building as their Masonic hall.
In June 1916 a notice in the Dundee and District Courier advised the citizens that due to numerous public requests an up to date and fully equipped butter factory would be established at Dundee. They purchased the Talana hall and alterations were undertaken. 3,500 public shares were also made available. The Dundee Creamery was a branch of the Newcastle Creamery, established on a co-operative basis. By March 1917 they were in full production and advertising regularly in the local newspaper. In 1923 they became part of the Natal Co-operative dairies (NCD), which eventually evolved into Clover.
It has served as a number of business offices since then.
This early start of printing and book binding grew into a commercial business. The work came in and more machines had to be purchased. Two skilled workmen – one from Sweden and one from England – were employed for the more difficult tasks.
Bear in the mind the task he had set himself . First he had to teach himself the art of printing and book binding before he could teach others. He had to master the technical know-how of the machinery and familiarise himself with the terminology of everything required in the printing and book binding processes. As his correspondence was with British firms he had to express himself in English, thus becoming fluent in this language.The mines became valuable clients with their needs for thousands of labour cards. This income kept the fledgling business afloat.
The forerunner to the Dundee Courier, the Dundee and District Advertiser, was printed by the Ebenezer Press in 1901, as was the Courier until taken over by R.A. Burns in 1970 and then Caxton Publishers. Izwe la Kiti –Our Country- was a weekly English/Zulu newspaper published by the Ebenezer Press from 1912-1915. This newspaper was founded and published as “an inter-denominational united Christian, educational and political newspaper for the Zulu people.” Although sponsored by white missionaries it was an important protest vehicle as it acted as a means of expression of African opinion in Natal and published articles on and by members of the ANC. The first issue appears to have been incorrectly numbered – vol6 no1- since there are no known copies of this newspaper before September 1912.
The Ebenezer Press was congratulated in 1913 on the quality of its printing and the relatively few typographical errors particularly in Zulu. Mr Norenius was also congratulated on seeing the need for the printing of Zulu literature.
The weekly printing of the Courier and Izwe la Kiti was only a part of their printing business.
A Zulu newspaper “Isitunya (The Witness) , a monthly children’s paper “Eyetu”, a the half yearly “Umsizi Wab Ondhlayo”, “Izaziso” ( a monthly paper of Missionary Notes and News) as well as Zulu hymn books, Bible histories, catechisms, almanacs, diaries, grammar books, reading charts, labour books, marriage registers, posters, wedding cards and a whole variety of different print orders were skilfully printed here. The first issues of Izwe la Kiti carried photographs on the front page -it took until the 1960’s for the Courier to have this feature.
At one stage this newspaper had 1500 subscribers.
By 1911 the church Council was concerned about how the printing business had developed and withdrew their financial support. Peter Lars Norenius faced the alternative of closing the printing press or going it alone. He resigned his position of missionary in charge and went into printing as a full time business. He had to raise funds for machinery, a building and more staff. Although the first years were tough, together with his wife and children helping out they managed. He eventually returned to full time mission work. As time progressed they eventually published in ten different languages and dialects.
On 12 January 1899 Betania hospital was blessed as well as “Imbewana”, the nurses home. The first matron of the hospital was Baroness Posse (1899-1901), she had previously taught in the mission school at Rorkes Drift. She had personally paid for the construction of the hospital and nurses home and until 1903 paid all the running expenses of the hospital and the salaries of the nurses.
The hospital literally had a baptism by fire , when on 18 January 1899 they had to deal with a number of European and Zulu casualties from a mine disaster – many were badly burnt.
During the battle of Talana, Rev J E Norenius ( brother of the missionary L P Norenius) offered the use of the hospital for wounded soldiers and the church was used as a hospital ward. There is a military cemetery just behind the church. Today it is a Wesleyan church. In the military cemetery, 15 British soldiers and 4 Boers, all of whom died of wounds in the hospital building near the church, were laid to rest. Amongst them are two British Officers: Capt. F.H.B. Connor (of the Royal Irish Fusiliers) and 2nd Lt. C.J. Genge (of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers). Also buried there is Tpr. R.A. Cunningham (of Bethune’s Mounted Infantry) who died in May 1900 during the British advance through northern Natal. There are also 4 Boers in this cemetery and the memorial is the only one in South Africa to record British and Boers names on the same memorial.
The introduction of the Group Areas Act in 1953 spelt the end of Betania hospital and mission. Situated in a declared “white area’ they were forbidden to expand and they continued to operate and serve the wider community treating wide ranging diseases. They were finally forced to close in 1970 and with the closure went a place of care and healing for the community.
Today the site is once again a mission. The original hospital – with its 1930’s additions and enlargement, the original “Imbewana” and church are all still there. Many of the buildings that grew over the years still exist and other like the school building have been altered and reconstructed for modern use. Elements of the original buildings were retained and still be seen in the buildings today.
The church is again is use. The small cemetery where both British and Boer soldiers are buried, remains as a record of the historical links that Dundee has with so many events that effected this country. This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
It took time to proclaim Sibongile township – although discussed, planned and surveyed in 1966 it was not formally declared until 1968. Sibongile incorporated the original area of farm “Doctor”, which had been established By Dr Abraham in 1917.
The first batch of 340 houses were built in 1960 along Langa, Jobe, Luvuno, Xaba, Mngadi and Madonsela streets. Further developments took place in the later 1960 and over the years since then.
Farm “Doctor” – B of Coalfields No.2273 ( 1173 acres), was purchased from the Coal Company of Natal , in 1914 for an amount of £4,617,10,0 and with the addition of transfer duties and taxes this came to £5,297,13,0 . This was authorized by Ordinance 16 1914 and section 3 therefor provided for the sale or lease of plots of this land( which became a part of the Town lands of the Borough) to natives. The farm was originally purchased from accumulated funds of the Native Beer Administration Fund. This was disallowed and the rest was transferred to the Borough Fund in 1917. Originally it was proposed to acquire this property for the purpose of cutting it up into plots for sale or lease to Natives. The majority of the burgesses were apparently strongly opposed to the outright sale of such plots to Natives as in their view such sale would have conveyed a permanent right of occupation to the Natives and it was decided rather to lease the plots to the Natives.
On a recommendation to the Chief Native Commissioner, Natal it was decided that the removal of African people would commence on the 8th August 1950. It has been decided to accommodate the stock owning tenants of Doctor on the Trust-owned properties in Flint and Blaauwbank in this area, and the endeavours are being made to find suitable farm on which the remaining families could be accommodated.
It was reported that a letter has been received from the Secretary for Native Affairs addressed to Mr. A W Maree, MP stated that it was only possible to settle twenty-one families from Farm Doctor in farm Flint and Blaauwbank (March 3, 1950).
In his annual report, submitted by the manager of Native Administration Mr. De Wet stated that plans passed by the Council for the closer settlement of the Native village north of the river, provided for 588 residential sites, with sites for recreational grounds, public business sites and for other purposes. Four standard types plans of houses have been approved for natives wising to build their own homes. Streets in this area have been shaped, graded and traveling has been made much easier. A commencement has been made with the water reticulation scheme, £ 1,500 having been spent for this purpose. An approved hostel scheme for the accommodation of 704 males has been placed before the Native Affairs Department and the Natal Housing Board (September 7,1956). As a result of the visit to Pretoria by the officials of the Council, l the lay outs of the location on the Farm Doctor will be amended to meet the requirements of the National Housing Commission. The hostel scheme will also be amended to provide accommodation for approximately 1400-1500 natives, the number being double the original scheme. It was decided to make application to the Bantu section of the National Housing Board for a loan £ 127,000 to finance the hostel scheme and the erection of 200 native dwellings. The plans for the proposed beer hall on the Farm Doctor will also be re-designed to provide a beer garden. as well as a hall, a ticket office, a private lounge and a veranda. (Report September 13,1957)
In 1933 the nuns reported that “St Francis Native School in our grounds in growing with currently 100 pupils”. They also noted in December of that year that there had been a terrific hailstorm and that the school train to Glencoe had had most of its windows broken. In 1939 the pupils repeated their May Day Procession for the benefit of the visit of the governor General Sir Patrick and Lady Duncan.
In 1944 the records reflect that they were refusing admission to the boarding facility as they could not accommodate the numbers and “as some are the children and grandchildren of past pupils.” In 1947 extensions to the buildings made provision for extra classrooms. In 1950 and again in 1952 memorial services were held on the deaths of Jan Smuts and King George V.
In 1972 the school closed and the buildings used by Dundee High School.
The buildings became the home of Pro Nobis school, for mentally and physically challenged children, which is what continues to be.
This home built by Edward Ryley, Minister of Agriculture in the Natal Parliament in 1903, stands on the position of the British camp at the time of the battle of Talana. The bricks for the construction of the house were supplied by Dundee Brick & Tile. The floor and verandah tiles were all imported from Holland. The rise on which the house stands and the land extending to the east, ((Across the present road that enters Dundee) known as Ryley’s hill, was the tented British camp. The small stream below the house was where the horses were watered.
After being shelled by the Long Tom on 21 October the British camp was moved across the valley and set up in the vicinity of where the NLK silo’s are today. They assumed they would be out of range of the Boer field guns but were mistaken. Not long after setting up their camp the Long Tom opened fire and found the range of the camp. The decision was then made to move the camp once again and this time it was on to the lower slopes of Indumeni mountain on McKenzies farm.
The camp was now so far out of Dundee that it was not possible to defend the town from this position. Gen Penn Symons was carried, mortally wounded off the battlefield, to the British camp on Ryley’s hill and it was here that he died. His coffin draped in the Union jack flag, (which can be seen in Talana Museum), was carried along the streets of Dundee to the St James churchyard where he was buried.
The main sikhara has a very fine sculpted quality with carefully made figures. Gandhi worshipped at this temple and in the grounds addressed crowds thousands strong in 1913 to encourage them to strike and join the march across the Transvaal border, as a peaceful but powerful message to the South African authorities that the unjust legislation concerning Indians needed to be revoked.
Interesting Snippets & Buildings not open to public
On the one corner is the First National Bank – the bank has occupied this position since the beginning of the 20th Century, first as the Natal Bank, then Barclays and now First National.
On the opposite corner was the Standard Bank which occupied the corner from 1889, when the bank first opened for business in Dundee, until the new Standard Bank was built in the 1990’s. While a bank, the clock on the front of this building was always regarded as the official time in Dundee.
There is a wonderful story of how the gold from the Standard bank was carried to safety out of Dundee in coffins, just before the battle of Talana. Legends and myths add colour to the actual historical events.
From Victoria turn left into Gladstone Street and walk along the row of shops to the Methodist Church. This row of little shops was built and operating by 1905 as photographs of the major snowstorm in that year show.
In 1935 McKenzie Street was renamed in honour of John McKenzie, mayor of Dundee. The street had originally been Ladysmith Road and was the main thoroughfare into Dundee from the Ladysmith direction and out towards Vryheid.
Built in the mid 1890’s this home was originally set in a large property. The entrance gates led off Smith Street. However, with subdivision of property all the land surrounding this lovely home has been developed and it has lost is magnificent setting, although still a superb example of the architecture and wealth of the time.
Built in the mid 1920’s by Mr Johnstone of the from Johnstone and Keith. Magnificent mahogany bookcases and shelving units were imported from London to be fitted into this house. At the same time as the house was being built Johnstone and Keith also had the contract to build the Dundee Club. They had ordered a curved stained glass window for the club with the letters DC entwined in coloured glass, but on its arrival found that the space that had been left was too small and the window did not fit. Mr Johnstone then built it into the dining room of his own home. Unfortunately due to poor planning controls by the local municipality, this building has been extensively and very badly altered and the entire façade and all historical elements have disappeared.
Built in 1894 this property was part of the original Orange Grove Dairy. The bluestone buildings which were used for selling milk stood among an Orange Grove (hence the name), but sadly over time and with the sub division of the property all but one of the original dairy buildings have been demolished.
The house at the corner of Gladstone and Albert St was the home of Mr “Sniffy” Smith, mine manager of the Dundee Colliery.
Shembe is a combination of Zulu culture and Christianity and has gained popularity in recent times. You will see circles of white stone which demarcate the prayer area. A number of these exist on the fringes of the town. The followers of this religion wear white robes and have their services on a Saturday.
Memorial plaques in the school record the Old Boys who gave their lives in service of their country in both the First and Second World Wars. Mr Gary who had been headmaster from 1909 left in 1923 and was succeeded by Mr Pape for a very short time before he was promoted and thus succeeded by Mr James Black. And the years rolled on, the school grew, expanded, new buildings went up, academic standards were upheld. Expansions to the school from 1977-1982 saw the school become very much what is still is today.
In 1934 a much needed library was built at the school and named in honour of Lucy Meakin, who was the English teacher from 1921-1944.Read More
The first battle of the Anglo Boer War of 1899-
1902 took place on the slopes of Talana hill on Friday 20 October 1899.
There are many places in Dundee and Glencoe associated with the battle.
There are a number of positions which the artillery occupied throughout the town during the battle. In the camp were batteries of the 13th, 67th and 69th batteries of artillery. The 67th battery remained in camp to defend it against any possible attack while the other two moved through the town to get closer to Talana hill to improve their range and accuracy. They took up position in what is now the bridge in Colley Street and then later moved to the banks of the Steenkoolspruit.
Towards the end of the battle they moved into Smith’s nek but did not fire on the retiring Boer forces. A number of reasons have come down over time for this:
- They heard the all clear being sounded
- They mistook the Boers for British cavalry
- They had already earlier in the day fired on their own men on the slopes of Talana hill and did not want to repeat the mistake.
The Casualty clearing station for men wounded in the battle of Talana was at the bottom end of Victoria Street. Wounded soldiers were carried from the battlefield to this position, given basic first aid treatment and then carried further into the town to buildings that had been commandeered as hospitals. Many of the Indian traders or storekeepers who had remained in the town came out to act as stretcher bearers and carry the wounded off the battlefield.
The museum recounts the action that took place across the grounds and around the Smith cottage, Talana house, and farm buildings during the battle and the subsequent events in Dundee until the end of the war. The verandahs of both the Smith cottage and Talana house were used as British dressing stations during the battle. British soldiers were buried in 2 mass graves on the lower slopes of the hill but were moved into the Smith family cemetery in the 1960’s. The stone walls on the hillside, built by Peter Smith, as part of his farming exercise were used by the British troops as cover from the murderous and accurate cross fire of the Boer forces on Talana and Lennox hills. Exhibits in the museum explain many aspects of this battle and others in the area. A self-guided trail with explanatory markers follows the route of the British soldiers up Talana hill. The museum also has a memorial to Mohandas Gandhi in the grounds as well as a permanent exhibit on the 1913 Passive Resistance march led by Gandhi. This exhibit includes information of the indentured Indians who came to work on the coal mines.
This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
On the farm Adelaide there existed a cemetery which contained the graves of four troopers of the 18th Hussars. These men fell in action at the farm Adelaide after Col. Moller and his men sought refuge when the Boers, led by Lt. Col. Trichardt, cut off their escape back to camp. The graves were located some 70m west of the old horse stable, the walls of which still bear marks of Boer shell-fire. Their remains were exhumed and re-interred in the Dundee cemetery. Today a private home, special arrangements need to be made to visit these buildings.
The stone barn has collapsed in recent times.
In 1871 a dispute about grazing for animals at “nagmaal” services at the Ermelo church led to families from the Helpmekaar district removing themselves and setting up their own church. As minister they called Rev Döhne. They built a small church on ground from the government. With the death of the Rev Döhne in 1878 a calling was made to Rev Kriel of the Ladysmith area. In 1880 Helpmekaar became part of the Ladysmith church region. It became apparent that the church was not central enough. The misty climate at Helpmekaar also proved a problem for church attendees. A more suitable position was sought.
The Judith church was built on 100 acres of land was donated by Mrs Judith van Tonder, in memory of her husband, for use for “nagmaal” services. The church cost R1,600 and the costs were shared by each of the men on the building committee. To prevent any dispute grazing rights were obtained on neighbouring land. The church was inaugurated in January 1885.
During the Anglo Boer war the church suffered damage to its contents. The seats were restored and the organ replaced at the end of the war. Church services were held monthly and “nagmaal” once a quarter. During the 33 years that Rev Schoon took the services, he was only absent once. This was quite remarkable as in the early years the minister travelled from Ladysmith on horseback to conduct services. As he was unable to do a return journey in one day a small room was built on to the church for him to stay overnight. In 1953 the church committee decided to cease services in the Judith church. “Nagmaal” would be held at the Voortrekker church and the pulpit bible was kept by the Dutch reformed Church in Dundee.
This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
Started in 1905 the mine closed in 1955. The buildings were converted for agricultural use and many have been continually used since then. However stand empty as a testimony to the vibrant mine community that existed in this valley.
Amongst the fine brick buildings is a small Hindu temple that retains part of the story of this lovely valley and the men who worked the mines. This temple is unique in that, it has the symbols of temples from northern India on the northern face of the building and symbols from southern India on the southern face.
This is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
Mr Payne who had arrived from Cornwall in 1880 and settled in Glencoe Junction in 1889, first rented and then purchased Glencoe farm. The hotel which he built, originally had accommodation for 10 guests, billiard, dining and sitting rooms and hot and cold baths. It was the only hotel in Glencoe for many years.
He also had the local store and all three buildings were in close proximity to each other.
Today the hospital building is a private home and the hotel has been converted into the Ayran Benevolent Aged Home.
This beautifully peaceful church was originally a Roman Catholic Church that had fallen into disuse and was purchased by the Greek community in 1992 and restored as a Greek Orthodox Church. This was done in memory of Kiki Adalis who was killed in a car accident. Icons decorate the iconostasis and the walls of the church.
Built in 1973 this church has the most amazing walls of stained glass. The shaped walls on opposite sides of the church have floor to roof height glass panels that are the shape and size of a brick set into a concrete surround.
The multicoloured walls create extraordinary light effects within the church.