Talana Museum South Africa  

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Dundee Street Names

Argyle Street

After Duke of Argyle, employer of Dugald Macphail, who was given 2 dining room chairs as a wedding present which are in the museum


Boundary Road

It was the original boundary of Peter Smith’s farm which is why it is the only street that runs at an odd angle.


 Friis Street

When the block between Union and Douglas streets was subdivided into plots and the access road created, Eric Friis requested that it be named Friis Street after his father Eigle Friis from whom Eric the eldest of 4 children inherited  the land after the death of Eigle in 1959. Eigle was a driller and established Good Hope drilling. Eric and Mary lived in Friis Street at one time in their long marriage. (imagine the potential hilarity when a clerk – or some such person - requested your name, and then your address). 

 Jones Street

Named after Samuel Benjamin Jones. He was a member of the Newcastle Mounted Rifles in the Zulu war of 1879 and was with Lord Chelmsford at Mangeni.

He served in the Dundee Town Guard during the Boer War and fought at the battle of Talana.

He was a member of the Town Council during the late 1890's and early 1900's.


Macphail Drive after Dugald Macphail.

He was born on 26th April 1840 in Inveraray, Argyllshire, Scotland and came to live in Natal in 1864. He travelled all over South Africa and in 1870 he visited the Dundee district and stayed with Peter Smith and his family on the farm “Dundee.” Two years later he returned and bought the farm “Craigside” and married Isabella Petrie Smith, the daughter of Peter Smith. Isabella died in childbirth 3 years later, leaving him with 2 young daughters. She was 22 years old and is buried in the cemetery at Talana. Two years later Dugald married Annie Susanah O”Leary from Oudtshoorn.

In 1873 he joined the Buffalo Border Guard – a local group of soldiers - and in 1879 was the Quartermaster and managed survived the Battle of Isandlwana.  He was the last man to escape the Zulu warriors and brought the message of the battle to Dundee.

In 1896 Dugald sold the first plots to Indians and 2 years later there were twenty Indian families settled in the town. 

He took part in the Battle of Talana during the Anglo Boer War as a member of the Dundee Town Guard. He had to leave his farm and the town which was looted by the Boers. After the war he returned to the farm, where he farmed and mined coal. He had buried some of his valuables under a hydrangea bush and was able to dig them up after the war. For his 100th birthday there was a great ceremony in the town, when he was presented with a set of gates at the entrance to his farm by the town of Dundee.  Today these gates are at the entrance to MacPhail Park in Smith Street.   

In 1940 he enrolled as a member of the Police Reserve – the oldest reservist in the Empire and also the oldest ex-serviceman. He died in 1941 and was buried in the Smith Family graveyard at Talana


Norenius Lane,

in appreciation and esteem of the more than 30 years’ service of Mr LA Norenius as a Municipal Councillor and on two occasions Mayor. He served as mayor in 1944 and 1946.                                 



Generations of school kids attending Dundee High have walked down Oxborrow Street to enter the school by the back gate by the swimming pool, but I bet that most of you have never given a thought about how or why the street got its name?

 Well, Mr. Arthur James Oxborrow owned “The Commercial Bar and Billiard Room”, in the old Market Square, where the Taxi rank is now situated..The original Dundee Club had its premises in his billiard room. Mr. Oxborrow later purchased the Royal Hotel on 01 December 1902.

 According to the Talana Museum records, he was present @ the battle of Talana in the Dundee Town Guard. A prominent citizen at the time, he was a member of the Works, Water and Cemetery Committee of the Local Board in 1901, as well as a member of the Dundee Agricultural Society Committee and the Dundee Sporting Club. He acted as Paddock Steward of the local race meetings. He was re-elected to the Local Board on 11 June 1902.

 Formerly a Master Mason in the Eshowe Lodge, in 1901/1902 he was Junior Warden of the Biggarsberg Unity Lodge. In 1903 he was a Committee Member of the Dundee Amateur Gymnastic Club.



Arthur James Oldacre was born 30 November 1860 to Walter and Helen Oldacre.

 Arriving in Natal in 1881, he established himself as a wholesaler and retailer, operating a simple wood and iron emporium in Ladysmith. He married Gertrude Mary Pike (28 November 1870–14 October 1952) on 03 July 1895. His father-in-law, Steve Pike, farmed at “Watersmeet”, which had once belonged to the famous Blood River Voortrekker, “Hans Dons” De Lange. De Lange later gained notoriety for killing a black man (in itself not an unremarkable occurrence in those days) who had had an affair with De Lange’s black mistress. What WAS remarkable is that he was eventually hanged for the offence, despite serious efforts by the authorities to allow him to escape.

 His mother-in-law, Mary Pike, died in August 1916, aged 77.

 Arthur Oldacre moved to Dundee in 1897 after selling his business to the Illing Brothers. He lived in style @ “Stonehenge”, kept a carriage and pair and both he and his wife enjoyed riding. She was very musically minded and entertained lavishly. .

 He operated a general store, “The Dundee Chemical Company” and warehouse in Victoria Street, the latter being one of the buildings used to house the wounded immediately after the battle of Talana. The store initially escaped looting from the Boers, but was later plundered, according to Bailey, “in a more genteel manner”. He also owned a smallholding with some milk cows.

 According to “20th. Century Impressions of Natal”, A.J. Oldacre & Bro. could supply “Ladies Millinery, Mens Outfitting, Footwear, Groceries, Wines and Spirits, Hardware, Building Materials, Agricultural Implements, Furniture, Patent Medicines, Kaffir Truck etc.” They purchased wool, hair and hides to the value of 30 000 Pounds annually.

 He also had a store at Laffnie’s Drift on the Zulu side of the Buffalo River. His nickname was “Ngozola” – the rat with the long nose.

 Mrs. Oldacre and her niece Bessie Carbutt escaped to Durban on the last train out of Dundee before it was occupied. Arthur Oldacre, however, remained behind.

 Jimmy Durham (Talana Museum archives) remembers:

 “Wolmarans was the Magistrate. Mother went down to see him and told him that her husband, a Sergeant in the Carbineers (153 Sgt. James William Durham K.I.A.), was in the siege of Ladysmith. We got a permit to go to Oldacre’s Store. Mr. Heath was running the store then. We had to draw our rations of meat from Turnbull’s Butchery (approximately where Pearson’s – Dundee Bakery – is today”.

 A.J. Oldacre remained in Dundee for most of the Boer occupation of Dundee. He was arrested on November 24 “ … we were all startled by the news today that Messrs. A.J. Oldacre, Reed, D. McKenzie, Man, Hill, Norman, Hodgson and another had been placed under arrest. All are located in Mr. A.J. Oldacre’s house … evidently the Boers mean to reduce our numbers … it is policy to get rid of all British (residents)”. He was evacuated to Pretoria on 6 January 1900 (page 100, Bailey Diary).

 According to family tradition, though, he escaped and made his way via Komatipoort to Lourenco Marques, and turned up out of the blue at Steve Pike’s house in Musgrave Road, Durban.

 According to the “Natal Almanac” of 1900, Arthur Oldacre was a Committee Member of the Dundee Permanent Building Society and Amateur Athletic Club and Vice President of the Dundee Cricket Club, He was Mayor of Dundee 1907 – 1909 and again 1930 – 1933. To add to his civic duties, he was Vice President of the Cricket and Golf Clubs.

 He was appointed Justice of the Peace in September 1909. There is street named after him in the Mpati suburb of modern day Dundee. The street was originally named Newcastle Road and was changed in 1935.

 According to the Dundee Centenary publication, in the 1930’s “Dundee’s roads were a hazard though. A “desperate” motorist wrote of “unhappy, nerve-shattered people who have to co-erce their cars over the rugged roughness” and pointed out that after the rain Dundee was cut off from Vryheid, lacked a direct link to Waschbank and was undiscoverable for lack of signposts from One Tree Hill”. W.T. Heslop was photographed looking into a chasm into which his slithering car had disappeared!

 Mororists tangled with bicycles, horses, wagons and donkey carts and A.J. Oldacre, the Mayor, even faced up to an S.A.R. loco”.

  He was still active in business in 1940, but died on 04 July 1944 aged 83 years. Both he and his wife are buried in the Dundee Municipal cemetery.


Penn Symons Street

Named after General Penn Symons, Commander in Chief of the British forces stationed in Dundee at the time of the battle of Talana. He was mortally wounded during the battle and made his way back to the camp after reputedly telling his troops " to carry on boy's, I'll be out again tomorrow." 

He is buried in the St James Anglican churchyard.

His surname was not hyphenated, Penn was his second name, his mother’s maiden name. Related to Penns of Pennsylvania, they were Pilgrim founders.



 Reynold’s Street is named after William Henry REYNOLDS.  Born in Ross on Bye in 1867, he married Annie Thomson, previously Keith (1878 - 23 April 1918, aged 54) on 19 December 1898 in Dundee. The couple had three daughters. The family lived at 94 Victoria Street, which is currently occupied by Anderson Vogt.

Formerly a Sergeant in the 3rd. Dragoon Guards, he had also served a year in the Natal Police.

He was the Proprietor of the Masonic Hotel prior to it being taken over by S.E. Johnson in December 1901. .

 According to S.B. Jones’ “Reminiscences of the Fighting @ Dundee”,

 “On August 28th. a meeting of Dundee residents was called, and the matter (of preparing to protect their homes) was discussed.

 Reynolds was elected Commandant (Leader) of the Dundee Town Guard. The Rev. Bailey Diary pages 12 – 13 continues the saga:

 “The latter infection (rumour mongering) gave rise to a Town Guard for the defence of Dundee. A public meeting was called for one Sunday afternoon. Patriotic speeches were delivered. “Rule Britannia” was sung with great gusto, a commandant was elected in the person of the proprietor of the Masonic Hotel (Reynolds), and some half a dozen lieutenants were chosen to assist him. Names to the number of one hundred and fifty were enrolled: and Government was appealed to for arms”.

 Reynolds’ family was evacuated to Durban.

 After the war he spent some time in England, but by 1901 he was the proprietor of the Masonic Hotel and a Director of the Dundee Electric Lighting and Power Company. By 1904 he was operating “W.H. Reynolds and Co., Produce Merchants. Forage, Mealies, Seed”. He was Deputy Mayor of Dundee in 1919 and Mayor during the Prince of Wales’ Tour (1922 - 1923). Founder Member of the Dundee Agricultural Show. .

 In 1899 he was Senior Deacon of the Biggarsberg Unity Lodge. He was Secretary to the Dundee and District Bisley Association in February 1928.

 William Reynolds died on 17 April 1930, aged 63, and is buried in the Dundee Municipal cemetery.



Smith Street

The two Smith brothers who emigrated to Natal, Thomas and Peter, were the sons of Thomas Smith and Mary Paterson.  They lived on Mole Hill farm in Forfarshire, near Dundee, Scotland. Thomas Smith left home in the 1850’s and went to the Australian gold fields, hoping to find gold and get rich. 

He spent five years there before coming to Natal.  He got here in 1855 and was granted 3000 acres in Northern Natal and named his farm “Dundee”. He was a building contractor and farmer. He built a lot of houses in Dundee.

Peter Smith was born in 1828.  He married Ann Craighead and they had three children before coming to Natal:  William Craighead, Isabella Petrie and Elizabeth (Bessie).  In 1859 they arrived in Natal, in Durban on the ship “Lady of the Lake”.  The street is named after Peter Smith.

In 1864 Thomas built a small cottage on “Dundee” and persuaded his brother, Peter and family to join him.  Thomas focused on building and Peter on farming and mining coal on the side of Talana hill.

Peter and Ann lived in their simple cottage (now part of Talana Museum) and had another 2 children: Thomas Paterson, born in March 1864 and Peter Craighead, a year later. 

In 1882 he, together with Dugald MacPhail, William Smith and Charles Willson founded the town of Dundee.

Peter, with his wife, Ann, continued to live in the cottage they had built until their deaths. Peter and Ann are buried in the family cemetery on the slopes of Talana hill, overlooking the town they founded. Ann died on 15 August 1908, aged 84 years. Peter died three years later, aged 83. Nearby lies Thomas. He had died in 1880, aged 62.  


Tatham Street

George L Tatham was a land surveyor who surveyed, amongst others, the property that Jenny and Waldo Tholeown.The house was built in 1894. He never lived in the house. He was chairman of the Local Board 1902-1904.


The Tathams had lived in Pietermaritzburg where, with his father and another brother, Gus had been a wheel- or wagon-wright, but when he became a district agent for the South African Mutual Life Assurance Co., they moved to where the money was, the coal-rich town of Dundee. Gus was active as a town councillor, a committee member of the Dundee District Political Association, a member of the Dundee Public Library and of the Dundee Rifle Association, and Tatham Street, the road on which the present High School stands, is named after him. When the Anglo-Boer War broke out he joined up and he “had some interesting experiences”, being captured by Boers as he covered the escape of five of his comrades at Makhatiya’s Kop and ending up with both the Queen’s South Africa and King’s South Africa Medals (with bars for Talana, Laing’s Nek and Transvaal).


Willson Street

After Charles Willson, the first Mayor of Dundee. Charles Willson was born in London in England. He was a little boy when his family landed in Natal in 1852.

While travelling up country in 1873, he met William Craighead Smith, who was travelling down to Durban.   He told him how good the land was in the Sterkstroom Valley and so he made his way here. Peter Smith leased him four acres on his farm “Dundee” and Charles Willson opened the first store.

Thirty three years later, on his way to England for a visit he confessed that when he first came to Dundee he “hadn’t enough to buy a match”.

He was recognised as one of the “four Fathers of Dundee” and had a long record of public service.   He became the first mayor of Dundee.

A Justice of the Peace, he was also a member of the Legislative Assembly and had served Dundee’s interests diligently.

He was responsible for arranging the water and electricity supply to early Dundee and in bringing the railway line to Glencoe.