• 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
  • FEATURE: “THE TRAPPIST TRAIL: a pilgrimage through some of the southern Natal midlands Mission stations associated with Marian Hill” is the title of STEVE KOTZE’S talk.


Hardy Wilson was the Speaker and his topic was “Inchanga station and Railway Museum – an important part of the first 150 plus years of railways in South Africa.” A most interesting talk with photographs from the early stages of the development of the rail line from Durban; because of the difficult terrain in the Port to Durban line there was even a photo of the rails mounted on ‘pot-lid’ sleepers! Hardy has also asked that this be included: Members who enjoyed the Railway Historical Society presentation and would like to see more of the Inchanga Railway Museum or ride one of the Umgeni Steam Railway trains are reminded that pre-booking is essential. The steam train runs on the last Sunday of each month. The morning train leaves Kloof at 0830 and the afternoon one at 1230, running to Inchanga and back. Contact Bruce Bennett on 082 353 6003 to book.


A fellow member has sent this to the Society for Sunday morning:

You and your friends are invited to join DURBAN ART DECO SOCIETY (Affiliated to ICADS – International Coalition of Art Deco Societies) at a visit to the recently opened Mary Stainbank Memorial Gallery at Stainbank Nature Reserve, 90 Coedmore Ave., Yellowwood Park, to view a selection of this renowned local sculptor’s work.The visit will happen on the 2nd March 2014 starting from 10.15 a.m.

The Wilderness Leadership School have for a number of years occupied the old outbuildings at Coedmore, which included Mary’s studio, the granary, dairy and cow sheds from where they promote wilderness conservation, trails and environmental training. Through their outstanding efforts it has been made possible for the collection (described as the largest “intact” art collection of its kind in South Africa) to be moved back to the studio where it was created and to be displayed. In view of its size the exhibits will be changed from time to time.

COST: Members: R40 / Guests: R45

Please book by email:, or phone (031) 301 1951

Bring yourselves, friends, family, tea and the proverbial sticky buns which you can enjoy afterwards in the Coedmore garden where you may even see the ‘friendly zebras’.

Mary Agnes Stainbank (1899 – 1996)

Mary Stainbank was born on the family farm Coedmore. She was encouraged to continue her studies at the Royal College of Art in London and enrolled at the college in 1922 graduating with distinction 4 years later. She was awarded a travelling scholarship in her final year; an accolade which, owing to her not being a resident of London, she had to concede to fellow student Henry Moore. She was unrivalled in her ability to create large public sculptures, carving directly into stone with uncanny confidence, but sadly because she was a woman she was overlooked in favour of artists of lesser stature. Upon her return to South Africa, Mary established the Ezayo Studio at Coedmore (over the cowshed), where she worked alongside her fellow-student and companion Wilgeforde Agnes Van-Hall. Together, they executed commissions for public buildings and private patrons, and continued to do their own creative work. In 1945, unable to live from the proceeds of her work, Stainbank reluctantly accepted a post at the then Natal Technical College (D.U.T.) in West Street (Dr Pixley KaSeme) where she taught for 26 years. Her many public sculptures in Durban include the ‘Flower Sellers’; her really fun gargoyle-like figures on the old Receiver of Revenue building; the pediments and ceramics at the old Addington Children’s Hospital and the bronze sculpture of John Ross standing on Durban’s Victoria Embankment. In 1989 Andries Botha curated a retrospective of Mary’s work which toured the major centres of S.A.


Ian did mention it at the meeting, do you have any ideas?; Ken Gillings kindly sent this on:

The Municipality, together with the Amafa aKwaZulu-Natali (Heritage KZN), calls for public comment on the an alternative site which would be suitable for the relocation of the historic Vasco da Gama clock and drinking fountain, currently situated on Margaret Mncadi Avenue.

The Vasco da Gama memorial clock was erected in 1897 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Portuguese explorer’s voyage to India, during which he named this area Natal on Christmas Eve, 1497. Manufactured by Macfarlane’s Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland, in cast iron to a design selected from their catalogue, it was originally placed at the corner of Mahatma Gandhi (Point) Road and Southampton Street near the Point Docks. It was relocated to Margaret Mncadi Avenue in 1969.

The clock/fountain is included in the Municipality’s Listing of Important Places and Buildings in Durban and is also protected under the KZN Heritage Act as a public memorial. The 1984 survey of historic buildings and objects noted that the present site was considered inappropriate, as the position was arbitrary with no historical or spatial significance other than possibly the Navy’s SAS Inkonkoni building, now the BAT Arts Centre, across the railway tracks. Furthermore mature trees in the gardens tend to obscure clear views of the memorial except from close by.

The Municipality first requested citizens to make comment on proposed relocation sites in 2010. However, after some consideration, the Municipality felt it important to re-open this platform to allow for more public comment.

The alternative sites to be considered are:

  • Margaret Mncadi Avenue, opposite Samora Machel (Aliwal) Street, on the city side of the railway but visually linked to the Maritime Museum. Approximately 200m from the present location.
  • As close as possible to the original site at Mahatma Gandhi Rd/Southampton St at the Point
  • Within the developing Point Waterfront area.
  • The final option is to leave the clock at its present site.

Interested parties can submit their comments and suggestions to:

The Director Amafa aKwaZulu-Natali, 195 Langalibalele (Longmarket) Street, Pietermaritzburg or by post to Box 2685, Pietermaritzburg, 3200 or email to Comments can also be sent via the eThekwini Municipality facebook and twitter accounts.

For more information contact the Municipal Spokesman, Mr Thabo Mofokeng on 031 311 4820 or 082 731 7456 or e-mail

Lots happening but hope to see you on the 11th

Naureen Craig

Newsletter March 2014