Talana Museum South Africa  

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Smith's Cottage


The Smith cottage provides an evocative picture of the lives of the hardy pioneer farmers. A founder of Dundee,

Peter Smith, farmed and mined coal on this site. His restored home and farm buildings house cultural, agricultural

and transport displays.


Tom and Peter built this simple cottage in 1859. The land, 3000 acres, had been bought from a Voortrekker,

Mr Dekker. The brothers lived by exploiting the clay and coal deposits of the valley, Tom brickmaking and

building, and Peter, farming and mining coal from Talana hill. Their products were sent to Pietermaritzburg

by ox wagon, where they were sold.

In 1882 Peter developed the town of Dundee "Proper" on a portion of his farm.


      Points of interest:


  • The roof of the original cottage was thatch.
  • The iron roof dates from 1901.
  • The cottage is built on an outcrop of natural sandstone - there are no foundations.
  • The original cottage consisted of the two front rooms.
  • The kitchen, pantry and bathroom were added in the 1870's.
  • The main bedroom and drawing room were added after the Anglo Boer War.


Take a quiet walk through this home of yesteryear and marvel at the hardships that Ann Smith had to endure in bringing up 5 children.

The nearest town for supplies was 2 months return journey from their farm. The shopping list had to be very comprehensive - when you ran out there was no nipping down to the nearest store.

Food had to stored and preserved. All the clothes for the family had to be made by Ann Smith.