• VENUE: KwaMUHLE MUSEUM Bram Fischer Road [Ordnance Road] Durban.
  • TIME: Meeting commences at 17h30; Refreshments will be served from 16h45.
  • PARKING: Off Bram Fischer/Ordnance road [next to the Museum]; security person is present who will raise the boom; please wait for him
  • FEATURE: We are fortunate enough to have another member to speak to us this month. HARDY WILSON is the Speaker and his topic is “INCHANGA STATION and RAILWAY MUSEUM – an important part of the first 150 plus years of railways in South Africa.” The first railway in Africa was opened in 1856 between Alexandria and Cairo, followed by, in June 1860, Natal’s Point to Durban Market Square [where the old Durban station is] When the Old Main Line ran from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, Inchanga was a very important stop halfway to Pietermaritzburg. Hardy Wilson, using a presentation made at the Natal Museum Conference last November, will tell us more about this fascinating subject and early railway history in Natal


KEN GILLINGS spoke of the Prince Imperial and his journey “From Chislehurst to Farnborough via Zululand”. The Prince Imperial arrived in Durban in 1879 to join Lord Chelmsford. On 1 June 1879 he joined a small British reconnaissance patrol led by Lt Carey, who later died in India, into the Jojosi River Valley, where a small party of Zulus ambushed them. The Prince, unable to remount his horse, was pursued by several Zulu warriors and killed along with two Troopers; his body was recovered and reached England on board the HMS Orontes a month later. He was [at first] buried at St Mary’s, Chislehurst; his grieving Mother went on a pilgrimage to South Africa in 1880 to be at the place where her son was killed where she kept an all-night vigil. A memorial cross has been erected at the site as well as a large memorial cross at Chislehurst. Later Empress Eugenie built a mausoleum where her husband, her son and she herself are entombed; she died in Barcelona in 1920


Brady G’sell (PhD student, University of Michigan) is requesting assistance from Society members for her dissertation research. She is writing a history of Durban’s Point neighbourhood from 1920-present day with a focus on child welfare and child support. She is seeking present and former Point residents, hospital employees, social workers, volunteers, municipal administrators, etc., who might be willing to give an interview or offer guidance on where archives of the neighbourhood’s history might be found. If you have any suggestions, please contact Brady at or 0722820680. Brady spoke briefly at our last meeting.


It took until 1854 before “D’Urban” achieved Municipal status when its name was changed to the present day Durban. George C Cato was its first mayor and the newspaper, the “Natal Mercury” was then two years old, having appeared on the streets for the first time on 25th November 1852. The oldest of the Natal newspapers, the “Natal Witness” had started publication in 1850.

Now that the holidays are over the fact of ‘roadkill’ can be considered —- thousands of collisions occur annually between vehicles and wildlife or domestic livestock, which has negative consequences for both people as well as South Africa’s wildlife. However in Botswana – thanks to SPANA – tags for donkeys that shine in the dark have been introduced. Because of the poverty of the owners, donkeys and livestock in Botswana commonly roam free on roads in search of grazing. Around ten per cent of road accidents in Botswana are caused by livestock and donkeys. SPANA was founded in 1923 by Kate Hosali and her daughter Nina, after they witnessed the suffering of animals on their travels through North Africa. Demand for SPANA’s free veterinary care grew rapidly and centres were established. Kate, who died in 1944, devoted 21 years of her life to saving animals. Nina continued SPANA’s services after the Second World War and extended the humane education side of SPANA’s work. Nina, who died in 1987, dedicated the rest of her life to SPANA; she was awarded an OBE in 1976. Kate and Nina’s amazing compassion remains at the heart of SPANA’s work to this day. Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes or shark attacks.

Launched in July 2003 and arriving on Mars in January 2004 NASA’s Opportunity rover was built for a three-month mission, but continues to return valuable scientific data 10 years later. It landed three weeks after its twin, named Spirit. Both rovers made important discoveries about wet environments that could have supported microbial life on ancient Mars. Spirit stopped communicating with Earth in 2010. Opportunity is continuing to provide scientific results, and is currently investigating the rim of a crater 14 miles (22 kilometres) wide.

A long way from steam trains! Hardy’s talk should be most interesting – see you there!

Naureen Craig


Newsletter February 2014