Talana Museum South Africa  


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Coal Mining

Shortly after moving on to “Dundee” in 1864, Peter Smith discovered a coal outcrop on the slopes of Talana hill.  He began mining and selling his coal in bags on the market square in Pietermaritzburg.

The coal mining brought people to the area and this was the beginning of Dundee town. 

March to June 1879, the British Army made the valley their headquarters for the Second Invasion of Zululand and built Fort Jones.  Nothing remains of Fort Jones which was near where the airport is today. The mine and the store did good business with all the soldiers in the fort.

The “Dundee Coal Co.” was in existence in 1886 and in 1889 was launched on the London Stock Exchange. By 1889 at the outbreak of war it was operating thirteen shafts on its property in the valley.

The coal was of a high quality and with brought businesses to the area to supply the mines.

The first shaft was sunk near the river at the bottom of present day Ann Street. The coal was brought to the surface using buckets, attached by rope to a pulley, operated by a pair of oxen. This mine, under the name of Doone Colliery, continued to produce coal until 1935.

Coal shafts were sunk along Lennox and Talana hills and where the golf course is today.

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Coal Mining