Coalmining began in this area in the early 1860’s. Peter Smith had found coal on his farm “Dundee” in 1864 and his neighbour , Mr Pascoe, had also begun mining operations on “Coalfields”.
Peter Smith was persuaded by his son, William Craighead Smith and by Dugald MacPhail and Charles Willson, to establish a town as well. 1000 acres of “Dundee” farm was used for this purpose. The original town came to an end at Boundary Road as this was the boundary of his farm.
This township was called “Dundee Proper”. Two years later, in 1884 the Government established “Dundee Extension”. Until 1896 when they were all joined together , Dundee was divided into three parts: “Dundee”, “Dundee Proper” and “Dundee Extension”.
Important business came to the small mining town, which grew so rapidly that it became known as “Coalopolis” and the “Capital” of Northern Natal.
Many of the fine buildings, splendid churches and homes still exist in the town. See photos
They are protected by the South African Heritage Act so that they cannot be knocked down and incorrect changes made to them.
Note the following
1. The map is laid out in chains – this was a very old and early form of measurement. Since then we have had imperial – yards, feet and inches and now metric kilometres, metres, centimetres. The original chain used to measure the size of the properties is on display in Talana Museum.
1) The chain is a unit of length equal to 66 feet (22 yards). ... There are 80 chains in one statute mile. In metric terms, it is 20.1168 m long.
2. 2) Note that Oldacre Street was originally named Newcastle Road as it was the main road out of Dundee towards Newcastle.
3. MacKenzie St was originally named Ladysmith Road as it was the main road in and out of Dundee towards Ladysmith. This name was changed in 1935.