A mystery!

posted in: InfoRequests 12


I wonder if anyone can help out with an question about the location of  a gold mine in Bellair which was  first raised by Graham Brown on this site a couple of years ago. I did forward the question to Durban history buff Donald Davies who is interested in gold mines in the Durban area and he recently got back to me to report that he had made no progress on the location. He asked if there was anyone out there who knew where the mine was; perhaps a former firemen who remembers the cat incident.

Graham wrote:

As a child I recall hearing of a Gold Mine situated in or near Blairmont Avenue in Bellair which had actually produced a few ounces, or maybe a few grams, of gold before it was closed. The hole must have remained for some time because I remember, as a child, my parents discussing a newspaper article about cat that fell into the hole and had to be rescued by the fire brigade!

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12 Responses

  1. derek austin
    | Reply

    Having lived near Coedmore quarries I would suggest that the shaft would be one sunk as a test hole looking at the quality of the rock underground and would be surprised to find any gold being discovered there. I have a number of friends who grew up in that area and will make some enquiries.

  2. Keith Gardiner
    | Reply

    I too recall hearing about the gold mine in that exact Blairmont avenue area when I was a kid, living in Bellair in the late 50’s. In those days, the area was largely bush as was the Dickens road to Coedmore quarry area! I will ask my Mom (who is in her nineties) and lived in the Bellair/Hillary areas as a child as well.

    • Donald Davies

      Allan San,
      I came across this entry in the Annals of BellAir written by the BellAir Womens Institute, namely a Ms Joyce Roach, … quote
      ‘There is a story about two bros. who lived at the old BellAir Hotel way back in 1880’s, they had a GoldMine which is supposed to have been … behind the Hotel, and they actually produced gold’.


    • Gerald Buttigieg

      Can’t help with this but located the Bellair Hotel (if it still exists) at 956 Sarnia Road. That was in 1938 and still there in 1968.

    • Keith Gardiner

      I asked my mother about this but she cannot recall any tales about it so I’m not sure who I’d heard about it from. Possibly my aged Aunt who is long gone. She was a regular diner at the Bellair Hotel for their delicious Sunday Roast!

      So, there nevertheless seems to be some evidence that a gold-mine once existed!

  3. Carolyn
    | Reply

    Can anyone give me any information about The history of Bellair Primary school?
    My son has a project to do and we cant find any info on the internet!

    • Donald Davies

      ROACH, Joyce M. The history of Bellair School, 1872-1981. Durban,
      Knox, 1982.

  4. Hazel Culverwell
    | Reply

    Joyce Roach was a sister to Ken Tebbut. The Federation of Women’s Institutes in Pietermartizburg should have a copy of the Area Annals of Bellair..

  5. Barry C Roper
    | Reply

    There were several Gold mines from Bellair to Paradise Valley. A Pit mine was in the Blairmont Rd area. Another at the base of the cliffs along the Umbilo river. Another one in the Moseley area and the last one near Paradise Valley. This is the info that I got from my eldest Brother Roland Roper. Our Great Grandfather bought himself out of the Army after the Zulu War and built the first Bellair Hotel. When he died our Grandfather took over and proceeded to drink the place into bankruptcy. My Dad sold up and moved to Doonside in 1968 and as a child he would tell us about the mines and that they closed because there was not enough gold to make them profitable. He never gave us the exact location for fear that we would try and enter them. There was a lot of Iron Pyrites (Fools Gold) in the area as well

  6. Malcolm
    | Reply

    interesting conversations

  7. E Chetty
    | Reply

    could someone please tell me what was Bellair first called (2 names) as well as a short history of Bellair, my kids need it for a project

  8. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    Hi E Chetty
    Quoting from The History of Bellair School 1872-1981 by Joyce M Roach.
    Quote : “in 1820 Alexander Harvey Biggar as leader of a party of 55 persons set sail on board the “Weymouth” for South Africa. On arrival in May 1820 he and his party were settled near Lombard’s Post in the Eastern Cape. Alexander and his second son, George left for Port Natal in May 1836 to join Robert his eldest son who had settled there 2 years earlier.
    Alexander raised a unit caled the Port Natal Volunteers to assist the Voortrekkers in their cause against the Zulu King …Dingane. In 1838 George was accidentally shot during the Zulu attack on the laagers at Bloukrans River and later Robert was killed while leading a force of Englishmen at the Battle of Tugela. Alexander took part in the Battle of Blood River and was present at the destruction of Dingane’s Royal Kraal. (This was the battle to avenge the murder of Piet Retief and his party). On 27th December 1838 during a skirmish against the Zulus at the White Umfolozi River, Alexander H Biggar was killed.
    Robert Newton Dunn had married Ann Biggar and applied for land for himself and his mother in law, the widow of Alexander H Biggar.
    On 1st December 1847 Grant No 823 was made to Robert Newton Dunn for a piece of land containing “5170 acres situated in the district of Natal being the farm Saunder’s Kraal now called Bell Air ” . This proves that the name Bellair ” existed since 1847 and it was changed from Saunder’s Kraal some years previously. Bellair emanates from the French “Belle Aire” meaning “Beautiful Air”. End of quote.

    Bellair lay outside the original D’Urban boundaries being, the Umbilo River, the Umgeni River, Ridge Road and the Indian Ocean and therefore was regarded a Durban District until about 1932 when Durban’s outlying suburbs were incorporated in to the borough of Durban proper. Durban achieved City status in 1935.
    Hope this helps.

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