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I am greatly indebted to the following people for granting me interviews and supplying me with information: 

Professor Bleksley of the University of the Witwatersrand; Mr. Anton Hendriks, Director of the 
Johannesburg Art Gallery; Dr. G. Theiler, of the Staff of Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute; Dr. 
Richard 5toy, Director of the Cape Observatory; Mr. Van Rensburg, Director of the South African War 
Museum, Bloemfontein; Professor, Dr. W. J. de Kock, Editor in Chief of the Dictionary of South African 
Biography; Miss Anna Smith, Chief Librarian and Director of Africana Museum, Johannesburg; Mrs. De 
Wet, Curator of Africana Museum, Johannesburg; Dr. Gordon Leith, Architect and one time student of both 
Sir Herbert Baker and Anton van Wouw; and Dr. Killie Campbell. 

I wish to thank the staff of the Johannesburg Public Library, and particularly Miss Jaffe of the Africana 
Section, and her assistants, for their co-operation at all times. I would like to single out Miss Farmer, of the 
Gubbins Library, University of Witwatersrand, and thank her for her patience, unstinted help and suggestions 
given me at all times. 

Finally I would like to record my gratitude to the Photographic Section of the South African Information 
Service, Pretoria, for supplying me so promptly, and free of charge, with the following photographs: Union 
Buildings, Pretoria; Groote Schuur; Dr. James Barry; Lady Anne Barnard; and print of Thomas Baines' 


From the time the sea route to the Cape was discovered way back in the 15th Century, men and women from 
all walks of life and all corners of the globe have found their way to South Africa. Many of them merely 
called in at the Cape while on their travels further afield. Others however, who landed in Cape Town, soon 
discovered the magnetic appeal and great potential of a young, richly endowed and beautiful land. They 
stayed, or ventured into the interior of unknown territory, and in time they helped to build our country. Many 
of them became famous, both here and abroad, and they left their mark on different fields of our national life. 
This book, based on historical facts, is intended as a small tribute to them and to their lasting work. 


1 Lady Anne Barnard - Socialite 

2 William J. Burcheld - Botanist 

3 James Barry - Doctor, Social Reformer 

4 Andrew Geddes Bain - Engineer, Geologist 

5 Thomas Baines - Artist, Explorer 

6 David Gill - Astronomer 

7 Baden-Powell - Soldier, Chief Scout 

8 Arnold Theiler - Veterinary Surgeon 

9 Emily Hobhouse - Social Worker 

1 Sir Herbert Baker - Architect 

1 1 Anton van Wouw - Sculptor 

12 Arthur Elliott - Photographer 


Lady Anne Barnard 

Andrew Barnard 

William J. Burchell 

Interior of Burchell' s wagon 

Dr. James Barry 

Thomas Baines 

"Victoria Falls-Leaping Water", 1863. Painting by Baines in Africana Museum 

"Bushmen Hunting". Painting by Baines, 1849 

David Gill 


Arnold Theiler 

Emily Hobhouse 

Herbert Baker 

Andrew Geddes Bain 

Front of Groote Schuur 

Union Buildings, Pretoria 

Anton van Wouw, Rome 1898, with sentries for Pretoria Kruger Monument 

Anton van Wouw, with head ofDe la Rey 

. .'-' ; 

Lady Anne Barnard 

From a miniature by Cosway 
First Lady at the Cape of Good Hope 1796-1802 

Lady Anne Barnard - Socialite 

Set in the heather-covered moors of Scotland, 
within view of the Firth of Forth, stood a tall bleak 
castle. There was a lake below the fortress, and 
sheep wandered on the surrounding hillside. This 
spot, only three miles from the sea, was Balcarres, 
and the Castle was the home of our heroine, Anne 
Lindsay, who was born there in 1750. She was the 
eldest of a large family. All told there were three 
girls and eight boys. Their father, James, Earl of 
Balcarres, married very late in life-when he was 
sixty years of age. His wife, Anne Dalrymple, was 
only twenty-two years old when she became his 
bride. She was a cold, hard, severe woman who 
raised her family in the strictest discipline. So 
much so that one day the children rebelled, and ran 
away from home. They were only half way across 
the adjoining fields however, when a shepherd on 
their estate, Auld Robin Gray, saw them and gave 
the "alarm". The children were brought home in 
disgrace and duly punished. As in grim fairy tales- 
they were whipped and given a spare diet of bread 
and water. Fortunately in the evening of her life, 

Anne's mother mellowed, and she spent her last 
years happily with her children whom she had 
disciplined so severely. 

A strong bond existed between the young Anne 
and her father. Even as a young girl she was a 
pretty, friendly, amusing and charming compan- 
ion. She was also a great dreamer, and one can but 
only wonder if, in those early reveries, she ever 
imagined herself travelling across the ocean to a 
far, distant land? To a country called South Africa. 

Anne spent her youth in Scotland, mainly at 
Balcarres, but she also made frequent visits to her 
grandmother, who lived in Edinburgh. It was on 
these visits that she made the acquaintance of 
David Hume, the celebrated historian who wrote 
History of England, and also that of the famous 
Dr. Samuel Johnson, one of England's greatest 

After the death of her father in 1768, Lady Anne 
moved to London where she set up home in 
Manchester Square with her widowed sister, the 
beautiful Lady Margaret Fordyce. Here the two 

sisters soon became the centre of a number of 
famous and brilliant people. Included in their 
circle of friends were Mrs. Fitzherbert and the 
Prince of Wales (George IV), who referred to 
Anne affectionately as "Sister Anne". Other 
constant visitors to their home were William Pitt, 
the brilliant statesman and orator who was to 
become Prime Minister of England, and Richard 
Sheridan, who was regarded as the greatest British 
comic dramatist of his day. He wrote The Rivals 
and School for Scandal. Through Sheridan, Anne 
and Margaret met the great English artist Thomas 
Gainsborough, who was famous both as a 
landscape painter and a portraitist. The reigning 
beauties, aristocrats and statesmen flocked to his 
studio. On meeting the Lindsay sisters he was 
immediately taken with Margaret' s beauty, and he 
asked her to sit for him. His miniature of her is in 
the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, to- 
day. Edmund Burke, the writer and parliamen- 
tarian, the Duke of Queensbury and Lord 
Mansfield were other bright members of this gay 
social set. 

Henry Dundas, later to become Lord Melville, was 
one of Lady Anne's closest friends until his death. 
He was a powerful Scottish Statesman who held 
the positions of Secretary of State for War, and 
Treasurer of the Navy under Pitt. He was already a 
married man when Lady Anne met him, and it is 
believed that she was in love with him for several 
years. Later, when Dundas became divorced, he 
hinted at marriage to her. While she was still 
considering his proposal, he met Lady Jane Hope, 
the daughter of one of the most powerful and 
richest men in Scotland, at a ball. She was a good 
deal younger than Lady Anne, and Dundas, 
dazzled by the thought of such a brilliant alliance, 
proposed to her. Lady Jane accepted him. 
Although Lady Anne was more than surprised at 
the turn of events, she was far from heart-broken, 
and she and Dundas remained firm friends 
throughout their lives. 

It was at this time that Lady Anne wrote her 
famous ballad, Auld Robin Gray, which made her 
name immortal. 

When she was first introduced to Andrew Barnard, 
the good-looking son of the Bishop of Limerick, 
Lady Anne was thirty-eight and he was twenty- six 
years of age. Barnard had already spent a few 
years in the army. He proposed marriage to Anne 
soon after their first meeting, but she rejected his 
proposal and offered instead, in humour, "to be an 
aunt to him". At the time she was deeply in love 
with William Windham, a Latin and Greek 
scholar, and a gentleman of fashion. He was one of 
the most popular, fascinating and moody figures of 
his day. A portrait of "Weathercock" Windham, as 
he was known, by the famous English painter Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, hangs today in the National 
Portrait Gallery in London. For years he and Anne 
were close friends, but he was an unstable man 
and could never make up his mind whether to 
marry her or not. 

Soon after Barnard's proposal of marriage, Lady 
Anne moved to Berkeley Square where she bought 
a house for £2,600 (R5,200). The main motive 
behind this move was that her new home 


He sought the welfare of our country, and he loved 
its inhabitants. 

commanded a good view of Windham's house, 
and she could also be near him. Eventually nothing 
came of the romance between the two of them. 

Andrew Barnard persevered in his attentions to 
Lady Anne, and finally he won her hand in 
marriage. Her family and friends were delighted 
with the match. They were married on the 31st 
October, 1793, at St. George's Church in Hanover 
Square. The bride was forty-two, and the groom 
only thirty. Soon after their wedding they went to 
Ireland where they spent a year with Barnard's 
mother. They then returned to London to live in 
Lady Anne's home in Berkeley Square. Their 
marriage was a great success, and in her journals 
and diary Lady Anne refers constantly to her 
supreme happiness with her husband. 

Soon after her marriage, Henry Dundas, Secretary 
for the Colonies at the time, called on Lady Anne 
and left a message with her, offering her husband 
the post of Colonial Secretary at the Cape of Good 
Hope under his friend Lord Macartney, who was 
being sent out there as Governor. The salary 
accompanying the Secretary's position was to be 

£3,500 (R7,000) a year. Lady Anne encouraged 
her husband to accept the post, which he did. Later 
she wrote "It was in Africa that I spent the 
happiest days of my life". 

The Barnards set sail on the vessel Sir Edward 
Hughes, on the 23rd February, 1797 from 
Portsmouth. Included in their baggage were bales 
of carpeting, Windsor and rush-bottom chairs, 
silver, stationery, glass, beer, wines, lamps, deep 
red silk and linen figured-curtains, cutlery, a post- 
chaise and an open carriage or curricle. They took 
boxes of plants with them, and their domestic 
animals, their dogs and horses, also accompanied 
them on the voyage out to the Cape. Lady Anne 
was a woman of foresight, and she included 
anatomical maps, of an ox and a sheep, in her 
personal luggage. This, she explained, was in case 
the Dutch butchers at the Cape "might cut their 
meat awkwardly". At a later date she mentioned 
that these maps had been of great help to her. 

The Barnards landed in Cape Town on the 4th 
May, 1797. At the time of their arrival there, the 
European population was approximately 6,000 

persons and the non-European population was . 
estimated to be 11,000 people. 

A few days after their arrival at the Cape, the 
Barnards took up residence in the Government 
House within the Castle. This house was very 
spacious, having a hall of sixty feet, a dining-room 
of twenty feet, a drawing-room of forty feet, and 
three supper-rooms besides many bed chambers. 
Lady Anne immediately set about making her new 
home bright, clean and comfortable. She had the 
existing black floors painted yellow, and the 
ceilings painted white. Three ship's carpenters 
came to her aid. They laid her carpets, hung her 
curtains and made her bedsteads out of old timber, 
as there was no new wood available. 

Lady Anne, who was known as "the wife of the 
Secretarius" welcomed both the Dutch residents 
and the young men of the English garrison to her 
home. She became the centre of social life, and the 
fashion-leader of Cape Town. It was she who 
started the vogue of women attending race 
meetings at the Green Point race track. In fact she 
was the "first lady" of the Colony. 

Her journal and memoirs, written throughout her 
stay at the Cape, are of great historical value and 
interest today. Her brilliant pen described vividly 
the people she met and their way of life at the 
Cape in the 18th Century. She wrote, that at the 
time of her arrival in Cape Town the men of the 
garrison could supplement their diet most 
inexpensively. Beef, mutton and bread cost only 
three to five cents per pound, and a bottle of Cape 
Wine could be purchased for a mere five cents a 
bottle. Another culinary item that attracted her 
attention was the frequent inclusion of ostrich eggs 
in the daily menu. These eggs were usually hard- 
boiled, then removed whole from their shells and 
eaten with oil and vinegar. 

With her imaginative turn of phrase and 
descriptive powers, Lady Anne wrote poetically of 
her impressions of Cape Town and its surrounding 
beauty: "I love these bold strokes with which the 
Almighty has separated the dry land from sea in 
His chaos". She was also an artist of no mean 
talent, and her sketches throw added light on the 
mode of dress of the Cape residents, as well as that 

of the Bushmen and Hottentots; on the occupations 
of the residents in the Colony; and on the type of 
architecture to be found both in Cape Town and in 
the neighbouring districts. She drew "Donald the 
Tailor", who made her a Greatcoat; "Mentor", her 
non-European Table Mountain Guide; her female 
under-cook and husband who was "hangman to the 
Government;" and Ryno van der Riet, the 
landdrost, or magistrate, of Stellenbosch wearing 
his tricorn headgear. She also made numerous 
sketches of old Dutch farm houses, churches, the 
Dragoon (cavalry) Quarters at Rondebosch, the 
Gorge as seen from the top of Table Mountain, 
and the Drostdy (the official residence of the 
landdrost or sheriff) at Stellenbosch. There were 
drawings too of ox-wagons, loaded with barrels of 
wine, being pulled by teams of oxen. There were 
even sketches of both the old Cape method of 
candle-making and cooking in deep three-legged 

Lady Anne was a vital, versatile woman of great 
charm and an ever-present sense of humour. She 
had a warm heart and a generous nature. While at 

the Castle she savoured life to the full, making 
friends with great ease and delighting her 
companions with her anecdotes and ready wit. As 
Lady Macartney did not accompany her husband 
to the Cape, Lady Anne deputised for her and 
acted as hostess at the many lavish banquets and 
balls given for the townspeople at the Castle. 
These affairs were attended by both English and 
Dutch persons, as well as the scarlet and blue 
coats, the dashing young men of the garrison. On 
some of these occasions "Covers for supper were 
laid for 150 persons". 

While at the Cape, Lady Anne climbed Table 
Mountain with a friend of the Barnards, John 
Barrow. He was one of Lord Macartney's private 
secretaries. He was also an explorer and naturalist. 
In later years he wrote a book, Travels into the 
Interior of South Africa, which gave an important 
account of the country. He was knighted in 1835, 
and was also the founder of the Royal 
Geographical Society. Together, he and Lady 
Anne climbed to the summit of the mountain in 
three hours. The two companions tied tin cases 

round their shoulders for the plants which they 
hoped to collect on the mountain top. Lady Anne 
described the mountain as being mainly composed 
of "iron stone". She gathered dozens of small 
white pebbles on the mountain top to make "Table 
Mountain ear-rings" for her women friends in 

The Barnards had the use of a small week-end 
cottage, called Paradise, besides their official 
residence. This cottage was government property, 
and it was situated near Newlands Avenue, on the 
mountain slopes. Its garden boasted a mountain 
stream as well as many fir and fruit trees, pines 
and silverleaf bushes. Often monkeys, or stray 
wild dogs, wandered through these grounds from 
the neighbouring mountain. The couple spent 
many happy hours at their country retreat. 

The spirit of adventure was strong in the heart of 
Lady Anne, and she accompanied her husband on 
a number of official visits and holiday-hunting 
trips through the Cape districts. They visited 
Stellenbosch where she made notes on the 
district's wine industry. Both she and her husband 

appreciated the Cape wines, which they frequently 
served to visitors at the Castle. The Stellenbosch 
farmers used one thousand vines to make a barrel 
of wine. The Barnards travelled on to Paarl where 
Lady Anne enthusiastically described the "paint 
stone" in her diary. These different sized stones 
were found in large quantities in that area. They 
were in all colours except green, and they 
contained a finely ground impalpable powder. 
When the stones were broken, out spilled the 
powder! The country-folk mixed this powder with 
oil, and then used it as paint to add colour to their 
houses and wagons. The couple also visited the 
"Waggonmaker's Valley", now known as 
Wellington, as well as Caledon, Genadendal, 
Hottentot Holland, van Rhenen, Swellendam and 
Tulbagh on their tours. 

Due to ill-health Lord Macartney left the Cape in 
November, 1798. A strong bond and an affec- 
tionate friendship had developed between him and 
the Barnards. After his departure from the Cape, 
the Barnards wrote frequent letters to him 
describing subsequent events there. Lady Anne's 

other collection of lengthy, detailed and most 
informative letters were written regularly from the 
Castle to Lord Melville, Henry Dundas. These 
letters, which included tit-bits of gossip, as well as 
more serious matters of State, have made her a 
legendary figure in our country. 

After Macartney's departure Andrew had hoped to 
be appointed Governor in his place. It was a great 
disappointment to him when he heard that General 
Dundas was to act as Governor. In Andrew's first 
letter to Macartney he described in detail the 
disastrous fire at the Dragoon stables the night 
after Macartney sailed. A strong south-easter wind 
had aggravated the flames, and only eight or nine 
horses had been saved out of a total of 140. The 
fire had spread to two nearby storehouses, and 
large quantities of coal, timber, wheat, salt, tea, 
wine, bricks and "Nankeens", cotton trousers for 
the troops, had been destroyed. 

Andrew did not see eye to eye with General 
Dundas, and he confided all his grievances to 
Macartney in his letters, often asking him for 
guidance and advice on matters of importance. 

The new Governor, Sir George Yonge, was not 
popular with the Barnards. In fact he was most 
unpopular generally at the Cape. He was an 
extravagant man with lavish taste, and he was 
recalled in 1801. 

In the latter half of 1800 the house at Paradise 
became uninhabitable because of its extreme 
dampness. The Barnards decided to build them- 
selves a new cottage, which they called the 
Vineyard. This house was built just below 
Newlands House, and the same seeds planted there 
by Lady Anne over 160 years ago, are still 
standing today, in the form of high trees. 

Lord Glenbervie, an old friend of Lady Anne, was 
due at the Cape as the next Governor after George 
Yonge. Unfortunately for the Barnards he changed 
his mind and decided to stay on in England as 
"Lord of the Treasury". Once again the Cape was 
under the command of General Dundas. 

After four years spent at the Cape the Barnards 
were most anxious to return to England. But 
according to the Peace of Amiens, the Cape was to 

be returned to Holland, and Andrew felt it was his 
duty to stay on for a few months "to hand over the 
business of his department to the new masters". He 
managed, however, to persuade his wife to return 
home before him. She left for England, without 
Andrew, on board the Scarborough, at the end of 
1801, and on her arrival in London she went to 
live with her sister, Lady Margaret Fordyce. 
Although Lady Anne had the pleasure of renewing 
her old friendships with Pitt, the Prince Regent and 
many other good friends, she waited impatiently 
for Andrew to join her. Many delays followed 
before the Cape was finally handed over to 
Holland, and Andrew Barnard remained faithfully 
"at his post". Finally, after nearly six years spent at 
the Cape, he felt entitled to sail for home. He and 
his wife were joyously reunited, and they set up 
home at Wimbledon just outside London. 

In 1806 England recaptured the Cape, and the new 
Governor appointed to take over command there 
was young, twenty-nine year-old Lord Caledon. 
He was the son of an Irish Peer, who was to prove 
himself a popular leader during his four years at 

the Cape. He heartily disapproved of slavery, and 
because of his strong convictions he sold the 
Government's slaves while he was in charge of the 
Cape Colony. Andrew Barnard was invited to 
accompany the Earl of Caledon to the Cape and to 
act once again as Colonial Secretary to the 
Governor. His health was poor and his purse 
nearly empty at the time this post was offered him, 
but as no other job was forthcoming he accepted 
the position. This time however, Lady Anne did 
not accompany him. They had agreed that the cost 
of her boat ticket was an expense they could ill 
afford and they had decided that Andrew should 
go out to the Cape on his own, for only a short 
period of about six months. 

He became very ill on the voyage out on the 
Antelope, but by the time he reached Cape Town 
he had fully recovered. He and his wife exchanged 
frequent and endearing letters while they were 
parted from one another. Andrew died suddenly 
while on a "journey up country", and Lord 
Caledon had the unhappy task of writing the sad 
tidings to Lady Anne. 

Andrew's body was brought back to Cape Town, 
and he was buried in the old Dutch Reformed 
Cemetery near Green Point. This cemetery was 
closed many years ago, and its vaults were 
removed to Woltemade. The following touching 
inscription appeared on Andrew's original 

Sacred to the Memory of 

ANDREW Barnard, Esq. 

Colonial Secretary at the Cape of Good Hope. 

Departed this life the 27th October, 1807. 

Aged 45 years. 

His afflicted widow, who at a distance deplores 

her loss, has erected this tablet as a mark of her 

liveliest sorrow. 

Colonist! Drop a tear to his memory. 

He sought the welfare of your country and he 

loved its inhabitants. 

His grief- stricken widow went to live with her 
sister at Wimpole for a while, and then she 
returned to London. Slowly, over the years she 
picked up the threads of old friendships and 
former interests. In 1810 two of her friends, 

Windham and Henry Dundas, died. In her later 
years Lady Anne formed a valued friendship with 
Sir Walter Scott, the distinguished poet and 

The Castle in Cape Town contains many 
reminders of her happy years spent at the Cape. 
Her beautiful piano stands in a corner of the First 
Reception Room, while her miniature, painted by 
the famous 18th Century miniaturist, Richard 
Cosway, hangs on a wall near by. An early portrait 
of Lord Macartney, and a small oil painting of 
Lady Anne bathing in her own "bathing place" in a 
pool at Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain, are on 
display elsewhere in the Castle rooms. 

After having drunk more than her fill, from the 
cup of life, Lady Anne died in 1825, at the age of 

■ ■ 

William Burchell - Botanist 

William John BURCHELL 

The botanist, as a young man. 

It is the 5th December, 1810, and a short, slightly 
built young English bachelor is partaking of a 
picnic breakfast in Cape Town, in the company of 
a slave -boy. The picnic spot chosen is "under 
some beautiful Silver-trees, by the side of a brook 
of clear water which runs from Table Mountain". 
Under normal circumstances there would be 
nothing noteworthy about this episode. But this 
Englishman was no ordinary young man. After 
breakfast he continued his ramble up the mountain 
slope towards Kloof Nek, followed by the young 
slave who was carrying his boxes. In four and a 
half hours these boxes were full to over-flowing 
with 105 different species of flowers carefully 
picked in the short distance of one mile. There was 
no more space in the specimen boxes for the 
collector to add the new Pelargoniums, Ericas and 
Proteas which he discovered with every step he 
took. Regretfully he turned his steps homeward; 
quite convinced that at least 200 other species of 
flowers grew in the small area he had already 
covered that day. 

Photograph of Burchell's drawing of the interior of his wagon used on his travels in Southern Africa (1811 
1815). The original drawing (1820) hangs in the library of the Hope Museum in Oxford, England. 

This young man was William John Burchell, 
destined to spend nearly five years in South Africa 
as an ardent botanist, traveller, writer and artist. 
He was born on July 23rd 1781 in Fulham, 
London. It is not surprising that he became an 
eminent botanist as his father was a wealthy 
nurseryman. William was educated at a private 
boarding-school in Surrey, and at the early age of 
thirteen he already showed a great interest in 
botany. At fifteen he was given private lessons in 
landscape drawing by Merigot, a talented French 
artist then resident in London. He received a good 
all round education. After leaving school he 
worked for a time at the famous Royal Botanic 
Gardens at Kew. 

At the age of twenty-four he left for St. Helena to 
take up the position of botanist and schoolmaster 
on the island. He was qualified to teach drawing, 
mathematics, and modern and ancient languages. 
In addition he had already acquired an excellent 
knowledge of Chemistry and Natural History. At 
this time he was engaged to be married. His 
fiancee, an English lass, sailed for St. Helena in 

1808 to join him there. On the voyage however 
she fell in love with the captain of the ship, and 
agreed to marry him. Crossed in love, Burchell 
remained a bachelor all his life. While on the 
island he started his research work, and 
experimented with the growing of cotton and 

In October 1810 he sailed for the Cape of Good 
Hope, landing there a month later. During the next 
few years spent in our country he made a 
magnificent contribution to our future knowledge 
of South African flora and fauna. He was a 
scientific and enthusiastic collector, highly 
qualified in the fields of zoology and botany. Not 
only did he collect specimens in every field of 
natural history, but he also recorded his 
observations in minute detail. Systematically he 
listed the plants - over 40,000 - which he had 
discovered, adding notes about the dates and 
places of their discovery. This work resulted in his 
Catalogus Geographicus, which was the first 
scientific catalogue of this nature. It comprised 
fourteen volumes, in Burchell' s neat handwriting, 

which are still in the library at Kew today. On his 
return to England he took 265 different species of 
birds and 120 skins and skulls of animals with 
him, which he presented to the British Museum. 
Included amongst these animals were two 
Camelopards, which we know today as giraffes. 
Most of the species he brought back were new and 
unheard of in England, and today they bear 
scientific names commemorating the work of this 
patient and painstaking man. It was he who 
discovered the zebra Equus (Quagga) named after 
him. At the time, the comment in England was 
"There can be no such animal". This animal is 
now extinct. Its head and neck were striped like 
that of the zebra, but the rest of its body was plain 
brown in colour. The only example of the Quagga 
left in Africa today is in the Museum in Cape 
Town. Burchell was also responsible for 
discovering the White Rhinoceros and the Blue 

In his own words, Burchell embarked on his 
travels in Southern Africa "solely for the purpose 
of acquiring knowledge". He set out on his four 

year expedition without any companions or 
assistants. Throughout this period he only had the 
help of a few Hottentots. All told he covered a 
distance of over 4,500 miles during which time he 
collected more than' 63,000 objects-plants, animals 
shot on the journey, birds and skins. He also made 
about 500 drawings on these travels. Two 
volumes, containing some of these drawings have 
been published and may be seen in the main 
branches of the Public Library throughout the 
Republic. They are called The South African 
Drawings of William T. Burchell. Volume I 
contains pencil and coloured sketches of the 
Bachapins, a Native tribe found in Litakun 
(Kuruman) in Bechuanaland. Volume II is a 
pleasing collection of landscape drawings. 

Before embarking on his expeditions Burchell 
studied Dutch in Cape Town, so that he would be 
able to converse with the Boers he might 
encounter on his travels. For seven months he 
explored the natural beauties of the Cape 
Peninsula, which he found to be a venerable 
botanist's paradise. During his sojourn there he 

went for a walk to Camps Bay one day, gathering 
no fewer than 109 new species for his herbarium, 
or dried collection of plants, on the way. He also 
climbed to the top of Table Mountain in under four 
hours. He described the magnificent view, and the 
great variety of "curious" plants which he found 
growing on the summit. Being a most observant 
man he made notes, and often sketches too, of 
everything he saw. Of the way of life at the Cape 
amongst the English and the Dutch, and the mode 
of dress and life of the Hottentots and Malay 

Burchell ordered a wagon to be built in the Cape 
Colony specially to his own specifications. This 
wagon was fifteen feet long and two feet nine 
inches wide. The framework was of bamboo cane 
and the whole was covered by a water-proof sail- 
cloth. There is a model of this wagon in the 
Africana Museum in Johannesburg. It is built to 
scale and measures approximately three and a half 
feet in length. The botanist also ordered two teams 
of oxen. They, together with the wagon and his 
equipment cost him Rl,200. Inside the wagon 

were five large chests. They contained, amongst 
other things, carpenter's tools, water casks, 
provisions, medicines, books, arms and ammuni- 
tion. There were goods too for bartering with the 
natives as well as presents for their chiefs. These 
included tobacco, snuff, knives, looking-glasses, 
porcelain and glass beads, gilt and ornamental 
buttons, and blue check handkerchiefs. There were 
also wagon stores of ropes, sacks, spare bamboo 
whips, lanterns, fish hooks and lines. In addition 
Burchell took his water colours, prepared canvas 
and oils, camel hair brushes and China-ink 
necessary for his drawing and painting. The 
bedding and karosses of the Hottentots, and his 
cooking utensils, were fastened on the step frame 
underneath the wagon. 

By the 18th June all was in readiness for the trip. 
Philip, the Hottentot driver mounted his seat, 
cracked his whip, and shouted to the oxen "Loop" 
(Go). Together with his five other Hottentot 
helpers, Burchell set off on the first lap of his long 
journey into the interior of Southern Africa. The 
party moved in easy stages so as not to tax the 

strength of the oxen. On reaching the Groote-Berg 
River, where the waters were deep and rapid, the 
wagon and entire party were ferried across on a 
pont. The botanist likened the ferry boat to a 
"floating platform with rails at the sides". On 
reaching Tulbagh he purchased another light 
wagon to assist the party on their way. They 
crossed the Breede River and struggled slowly 
through the Heks River Kloof. At the entrance to 
this Pass Burchell saw the Euphorbia Mauritanica 
bushes growing for the first time. The milky sap of 
its branches, when thickened, was used by the 
Bushmen as one of the poison ingredients applied 
to their arrowheads. 

They crossed the Great Karroo wasteland, where 
in sections the "road" was mere stone or sand. 
Burchell described these African roads as being 
"nothing more than the space cleared from shrubs 
and plants, by the passing and repassing of 
wagons". En route he noted the clumps of Thorn- 
trees usually found near rivers, and the great 
variety of succulent plants growing everywhere in 
this arid area. He also observed many different 

varieties of birds such as the Cotton bird, or 
Capocvogel, so called because it built its bottle- 
shaped nest out of "cotton-like down", collected 
from plants. One of the oxen died in the Karroo 
from fatigue and illness. The Hottentots 
immediately set about removing its hide which 
they cut up into small pieces. From this skin they 
made themselves hide-shoes, or Veldskoene. 

On they travelled through the Roggeveld 
Mountains to the Spotted Hill or Bontenberg. 
Here, along the bed of the Reed River they found 
pools containing fish. These pools were believed 
to have been made by Hippopotami, and were 
called Zeekoegatten or Sea Cow holes. The 
Hottentots living in this area used the rushes 
growing in the river for making mats, while the 
colonists of Roggeveld used these reeds for 
thatching their huts. Near here Burchell caught his 
first rock rabbit or brown Dassie. He also shot a 
Wilde-gans (Wild-goose) which proved good to 

It was in this area that he saw his first Namaqua 
Partridge, which was a very small type of grouse. 

There were many small finches, known as the Red 
Beak or Roode-bekjie flying about in the vicinity. 
On the way to Gariep, on the Orange River, the 
botanist saw another interesting bird known as the 
Little Shepherd or Skaapwagtertjie. It received this 
name because of its practice of flying near the 
Hottentots when they were tending their sheep. 
When they reached Dwaal Rivier's Poort, a pretty 
mountain pass, Burchell climbed a high crag 
where he found a specimen of the beautiful 
Gladiolus Tritonia. This plant had orange flowers 
and a most delicate perfume. Here too, at the 
Dwaal River he saw for the first time a species of 
Hibiscus which the Hottentots called Wilde 
Kalebas or Wild Calabash. 

Frequently the party found ostrich nests, often 
with as many as seventeen eggs within the nest 
besides many more scattered around without. The 
latter provided food for the young ostriches. 
Burchell and his small group of Hottentots often 
varied their meals with dishes made of these eggs. 
They also caught and ate fish. A favourite with the 
botanist was the two foot long, yellow-green carp 

known as the Yellow Fish. It had a particularly 
delicate taste. Crabs, both lemon and olive green 
in colour were also found in the running waters of 
all the Roggeveld rivers. 

On reaching the borders of the Cape Colony the 
small caravan crossed the Sack River and entered 
Bushman country. Their course ahead lay over 
bare, hard, open ground. Many beautiful antelope, 
the Springbuck, were now to be seen. On meeting 
his first band of Bushmen, Burchell made two very 
interesting observations. He noticed that the 
women wore Cowry shells as ornaments in their 
hair. These shells were not to be found in this part 
of Africa, but had been passed on from tribe to 
tribe during the course of barter. He also learnt 
that the teeth of the Bushmen did not decay with 
the passing of time. Instead, like those of sheep, 
they became ground down with use in old age. 
Lack of water throughout this land, made the 
traveller's journey a slow and unpleasant one. 

When they reached Zand Valley (Sand Pool) they 
found water in abundance. Here the botanist 
picked up what appeared to him to be an oddly 

shaped pebble. It turned out, instead, to be a plant, 
a new species of Mesembryanthemum, or "stone 
plant", which was the same colour as the stones 
where it was found growing. This incident 
certainly indicates the magnificent powers of 
observation possessed by Burchell. No plant 
faintly resembling a tree was to be seen in this arid 
land between the Roggeveld Mountains and 
Gariep, a distance of 360 miles. 

Burchell was enchanted with the beauty of the 
scene which met his eye when he reached the 
Gariep River. He found willow trees there in 
abundance. They differed botanically however 
from the "Weeping Willow" and the Doornboom. 
He discovered red poppies, four feet in height, 
growing along the bank. Birds in great variety 
were nesting in the trees. He identified the noisy 
Hout Kapper (Wood Cutter) or Barbet, so called 
because of the noise made by its beak against tree 
branches while it searched for insects. He also 
recognised the beautiful Green Thrush (Groene 
Spreeuw). The wagon train traversed the river at a 
spot called Shallow Ford, which fortunately lived 

up to its name as the water here was never more 
than two and a half feet deep. Each wagon took a 
quarter of an hour to cross, while the oxen were 
driven and cajoled across the water by the 
Hottentots. The party now entered new terrain. 

Here, while wandering along the river bank 
Burchell caught a Hoopoe bird which was a 
magnificent deep purple in colour. He now came 
across his first genuine Hottentot Kraal. He found 
the local Hottentots, living in the village of the 
Kloof, a friendly people. They showed him the 
blue coloured Doeksteen, or handkerchief stone, 
which, when rubbed between the fingers crumbled 
into a "soft cotton-like substance". These stones 
were a product of the local mountains, and were in 
fact a type of asbestos. On exploring the 
mountains himself Burchell also found another 
beautiful stone, sometimes blue in colour and 
sometimes of a golden hue. On his return to 
Europe, mineralogists identified it as the semi- 
precious stone called Cat's-eye. The intense heat 
in this area forced them to call a halt for a week. 
Half an hour after leaving the Asbestos Mountains 

the botanist recognised quartz stones scattered 
over the plain, and quartz rocks jutting out above 
the soil. 

They plodded along in the hot sunshine, with 
Philip, the wagon driver dozing in his seat, when 
suddenly they hit an Anteater's burrow and the 
wagon lurched to one side nearly overturning at 
the same time. Burchell scrambled out unhurt and 
caught the Anteater. At a later date he presented its 
skin to the British Museum. We know this 
mammal, with its long cylindrical tongue, as the 
Aardvark or Earth Hog. On reaching a nearby 
spring called Wittewater the botanist was surprised 
to find olive trees, twelve feet high growing near 
the water. The Hottentots living in this area were 
known as Koranas. Burchell noticed that the 
surrounding land was dotted with hard blue and 
green rock, which is technically known as 

Sixteen months after leaving Cape Town Burchell 
reached Klaarwater, a Hottentot mission station. 
He encamped here for three weeks, and then spent 
the next three months touring its environs. During 

this time he made an extensive study of the 
Hottentots and their way of life, all of which he 
wrote down in his Journal. He observed insect life 
too and made notes on the nocturnal visits he 
received from a new species of Mantis which often 
settled on his book while he was reading, or flew 
around inside the wagon managing sometimes to 
extinguish Burchell' s lamp. He christened this 
dusky coloured, inquisitive little creature the 
Mantis Lucubrans. Knowing it to be a harmless 
creature, he recommended that future travellers 
treat it with "kindness and mercy". Meanwhile the 
Hottentots in the party went hunting and shot a 
number of Hippopotami whose meat they 
devoured greedily. They left the bones, head and 
offal by custom as titbits for wandering Bushmen. 

Burchell discovered the Wilde Hond (Wild Dog) 
near Klaarwater. This dog was a new species of 
Hyaena. He also added some new birds to his 
collection, which included the bee eater, and the 
oriole which is a tropical type of thrush. Its nest is 
spherical in shape and woven out of grass. The 
oriole attaches its home "between two reeds 

overhanging water." After one of his Hottentot 
assistants had killed a Puff adder, one of the most 
venomous serpents found in Southern Africa, the 
botanist set about trying to preserve its skin 
without detracting from its colour. Lack of space 
in his wagon accounted for the omission of 
preserving spirits among his supplies. He decided 
to experiment, and was most successful in this 
case. He planned to dry the skin in the same way 
as he would have done with a large leaf. He cut 
open the reptile, which measured three feet seven 
inches in length and seven inches in girth, from 
top to tail along its underpart and easily stripped 
off the skin in its entirety. Here, in his own words, 
is a description of how he proceeded. "The skin 
was then spread on a sheet of large strong paper, 
and placed between a number of other sheets to 
absorb the moisture. It was put into the press, 
leaving the head out so as not to re crushed, and 
kept there till perfectly dry; taking care every day, 
or every other day, to remove the sheets that had 
become damp, and replace them by an equal 
quantity of dry paper, but the skin itself was never 

separated from that sheet to which its inner side 
had adhered." 

Burchell had probed many secrets of Bushman and 
Hottentot lore since he had left Cape Town. He 
knew that the Bushmen collected the Amaryllis 
toxicaria plants because of the virulent poison 
found in their bulbs. They thickened the sap, either 
by boiling it or exposing it to the heat of the sun. 
They then mixed it, either with the poison of a 
large black deadly spider, or with the venom of 
snakes. The resultant sticky substance was applied 
to the tips of their arrows. These arrows were 
made of reeds. The result of a wound caused by 
one of these arrow-heads usually proved fatal. The 
botanist once passed his tongue lightly over this 
arrow-poison, and found it had a sharp and bitter 
taste. Many a summer evening Burchell sat next to 
a camp fire and listened to strange music breaking 
the heavy silence of the clear night air. The 
musicians were Bushmen, and the instruments 
they played by mouth were called Gorahs. The 
Gorah was made of reeds which had sinews 
stretched across its length. 

From Klaarwater they moved on to Graaff Reinet, 
which because of its fertile soil, is known as "the 
gem of the Karroo". They crossed the Sundays 
River and Burchell noted the rhinoceros-bush 
growing in profusion on the slopes of the neigh- 
bouring mountains. The colonists used this shrub 
frequently and successfully for firewood. The 
main village street was lined with lemon and 
orange trees which were laden with fruit. Quince 
trees and a variety of vegetables were growing in 
the small private gardens. Meat was particularly 
cheap here, and mutton and beef each cost one 
cent a pound. After hiring more Hottentot 
assistants in the town, Burchell returned to 

He next visited the land of the Bechuanas, and 
resided for some months at Litakun (Kuruman) 
where he made a study of the Bachapins, the 
African tribe living in that area. A short distance 
from Litakun he made his greatest zoological 
discovery, that of the white rhinoceros. En route to 
the Great Fish River one of his Hottentot helpers 
shot another rhinoceros, and there was great 

rejoicing and a feast that night around an open fire. 
The botanist also partook of this new dish, which 
he likened to the taste of beef and pronounced it to 
be palatable and excellent fare. On other occasions 
they ate boiled buffalo tongue which the 
Hottentots prepared in a form of curry. 

One morning while on their way to Grahamstown, 
the Hottentots noticed some bees entering a hole in 
the ground. The thought of a meal of honey filled 
them with delight. They knew how to extricate the 
honey from the nest without being stung. 

Burchell stood by watching interestedly as they lit 
a fire near the hole before they commenced 
digging. They kept on adding moist fuel to the fire 
to maintain a cloud of smoke. The idea behind this 
prodecure was to prevent bees returning from the 
fields, from approaching the party. At the same 
time, the bees which flew out of the nest were 
driven off by the smoke to a great distance. 
Altogether three pounds of wild honey were 
collected. Although the texture of the honey was 
very thin and watery in appearance, it had a 
particularly delicate and sweet taste. 

Slowly the party wended its way back to Cape 
Town via Port Elizabeth, Plettenberg Bay, George, 
Mossel Bay, Riversdale, Swellendam and Stellen- 
bosch. On the way home Burchell frequently went 
off on short excursions on his own. On these 
occasions he equipped himself not only with his 
compass, his note book and drawing material, but 
also with an ingenious leather cup. This cup was 
made out of a single piece of leather, without any 
seams, and it could be folded quite fiat to fit into 
his pocket. 

He arrived in Cape Town in April 1815, and sailed 
for England four months later. He spent the next 
few years writing two detailed volumes on his 
travels, called Travels in the Interior of Southern 
Africa. These books have been referred to as 
"among the classics of English travel". He 
received R3,000 for these writings. Today these 
books are valuable Africana, and if obtainable the 
two volumes may fetch as high a price as R80 for 
the pair. Burchell also devoted years to arranging 
and classifying his botanical collections. 

In 1825, he sailed for South America via Lisbon, 
and landed at Brazil. He spent five years there, 
during which period he spent three years exploring 
the interior. He visited Santos, where he lived in a 
hut on his own in the middle of the forest for three 
months. He travelled on to Sao Paulo where he 
was fortunate to rent an eight-roomed house for 
fifty cents a month. He was the first Englishman to 
enter the city of Goyaz. Burchell went as far north 
as Portoreal on the river Tucantins. He later 
descended this great river which he described as 
being "at all times rendered dangerous by nume- 
rous rocky falls, rapids and whirlpools". By the 
middle of 1829, he reached Para in the densely 
forested rubber plantations of Brazil. The 
following February he embarked for England. 
Throughout these years he added largely to both 
his zoological and botanical collections. He shot 
and preserved 362 species of bird, and collected 
over 7,000 specimens for his American Catalogus 
Geographicus. He also found between 16,000 and 
20,000 species of insect. 

He returned to England in 1830, and except for 
three short trips to the continent, he spent the rest 
of his life at Fulham. There, until his death at the 
age of eighty-two, he devoted all his time to his 
collections. In 1834 he received the honorary 
degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University 
of Oxford. By the beginning of 1850 he had 
completed the stupendous task of classifying his 
herbarium of 140,000 specimens. 

He died by his own hand and it has been suggested 
that the many long years of laborious work spent 
on his collections probably caused his final 
unbalanced state of mind. 

Today Burchell's portrait hangs in the herbarium 
of the famous National Botanic Gardens at 
Kirstenbosch in Cape Town. While resident at the 
Cape he visited the slopes of Kirstenbosch and 
probably he was the first man to suggest the 
establishment of a Botanical Garden on that site. 
He was an accurate and talented artist. His original 
leather-bound sketch books, together with 
hundreds of his water colour sketches drawn in 
South Africa and South America., are housed in 

the Gubbins Africana Library at the University of 
the Witwatersrand. 

He was a courageous, shy and resourceful man. He 
had a highly sensitive make-up and was the 
possessor of great mental power. Burchell's name 
will live, in our country in particular, as long as 
people will continue to love and revere animal life 
and the wonders of nature, as he did. 

Dr. James BARRY 

The army surgeon who combined prison and social reform 
with his medical work.. 

James Barry - Doctor 

The temperature was below zero and the snow was 
banked high on the side-walks of Montreal that 
December of 1857. Suddenly a patch of colour 
was seen approaching down the street. A 
magnificent red sleigh, driven by a coachman, 
with a footman in attendance, came into view. As 
its silver bells jingled in the cold crisp air, the 
sleigh drew nearer and its occupant became 
visible. A small figure, wrapped in musk-ox robes 
sat huddled inside, trying to brace himself against 
the icy blast. Although he was over sixty years of 
age, this slightly built, gallant little man was 
setting out on his daily visit to the troops in the 
local barracks. This was no social visit, but his job 
and duty, for he was the Inspector-General of 
Hospitals in Canada. While he rode along, Dr. 
Barry was thinking about his recent report he had 
submitted to the medical authorities. Would they 
take heed of his demands and suggestions, he 
mused to himself. Would they change the 
monotonous daily diet of the troops, and perhaps 

also consider his recommendations to improve the 
overcrowded living conditions of the soldiers? 

Canada was his last military post. Two years later 
he contracted bronchitis and was compelled to stop 
work. He sailed from Quebec for Liverpool. When 
he appeared before the Medical Board in June of 
that year, he was pronounced medically unfit for 
active military service. After reaching the top of 
his profession, he was told he would receive half- 
pay for the remaining years of his life. Sadly and 
unwillingly he accepted his enforced retirement. 

Barry's life has always been shrouded in mystery, 
and very little is known of his youth. He was one 
of the most controversial and romantic figures 
associated with the Cape during the 19th Century. 
During Barry's student and army days, in fact 
during his entire life, he was always accepted as a 
man, both by his manner of dress and behaviour, 
but on his death at the age of seventy-one, it was 
dramatically disclosed that "he" was in actual fact 
a woman! 

It is believed that James Barry was born about 
1795, in London. There are no documents 
available to provide any details of her parentage. 
She did however refer to James Barry, R.A., a 
small, hot-tempered and brilliant artist, as "uncle". 
She was also influenced in her extreme youth by 
two men - David Steurt Erskine, the 11th Earl of 
Buchan, and General Francisco de Miranda. In 
1812 she dedicated her medical thesis to these two 

James Barry Junior was about five feet tall and 
very slight in build. She had reddish hair, big eyes, 
a pale complexion, and a prominently long nose. 
Her hands were particularly small. While attending 
college she differed in her mode of dress from her 
fellow students. Whereas they usually wore 
shooting coats to their lectures, Barry always wore 
a long overcoat, or 'sur-tout'. 

In 1809 she went to the University of Edinburgh, 
where she enrolled as a medical and literary 
scholar. She commenced her studies there a year 
later. Accompanied by her aunt, Mrs. Buckeley, 
she took furnished lodgings in the city. Her 

particular friend at the University, John Jobson, 
stated in later years "that he had never suspected 
her of being a woman, although he had been 
disappointed that he could not teach her to box". 

After a year in Edinburgh, Mrs. Buckeley returned 
to London, and the Earl of Buchan took Barry 
under his wing. She was obviously a born scholar, 
and she spent many hours studying in Buchan' s 
Library just as she had done before in Miranda's 
magnificent library. The latter was believed to 
contain 6,000 books valued at £9,000 (Rl 8,000) 
making it the finest private library in London at 
that time. 

In 1812, Barry received her Diploma as a Doctor 
of Medicine. While at the University she had 
attended a most diverse series of lectures covering 
a wide range of subjects. These included Anatomy, 
Botany, Chemistry, Midwifery, Military Surgery, 
Medical Jurisprudence, Greek, and Natural and 
Moral Philosophy. While she was still a medical 
student she had also attended St. Thomas' and 
Guy's Hospitals in London as a pupil for six 
months. In addition to passing examinations in the 

above listed subjects, she also presented a thesis 
for her final M.D. examination. On the final 
graduation day she had to "defend" her thesis 
before receiving her degree. She obviously was an 
excellent Latin scholar as the major part of the 
final examination was conducted in the language 
of the ancient Romans. Although it was not 
appreciated or publicised at the time, Dr. James 
Barry had made history by becoming the first 
woman doctor in Britain! 

Being of a studious disposition and a highly 
ambitious nature, she was determined to further 
her studies. She decided to study surgery under Sir 
Astley Cooper, of Guy's Hospital, who was at that 
time the most famous surgeon in London. For an 
entrance fee of £20 (R40) she was enrolled as a 
"pupil dresser". This meant that she assisted 
surgeons at operations, both at Guy's and St. 
Thomas' Hospitals. At that time these two famous 
hospitals were situated opposite one another, and 
they were known as the "United Hospitals". It 
must be remembered that anaesthetics had not yet 
been introduced, and Barry must have had nerves 

of steel to be able to watch, and assist at operations 
of an internal nature, as well as amputations, under 
these conditions. As a "dresser" she had to assist 
at. what we now refer to as the "out-patient 
department", of the hospital. She also took her turn 
in acting as house surgeon. It is believed that in 
January 1813 she was passed as a Regimental 
Surgeon by the Royal College of Surgeons. She 
also passed the Army Medical Board examination 
in June of that year. After these successes she was 
appointed Hospital Assistant and Regimental 
Surgeon at the Plymouth garrison. 

Barry was now established, and accepted as a 
brilliant young doctor. Two years later she 
received promotion when she was appointed 
Assistant Surgeon to the Forces. She arrived at the 
Cape in August, 1816, the year in which her old 
friend and benefactor, Miranda, died. Her position 
at the Cape was that of Assistant Surgeon to the 
garrison of Cape Town, which was under the 
Governorship of Lord Charles Somerset. Barry 
was no longer a shy, dowdy scholar but instead 
she appeared as rather a dashing young officer of 

His Majesty's Forces. When on duty as a military 
doctor, her uniform included the wearing of a 
sword and long spurs, while a tricorn, or cocked- 
feathered hat, adorned her head. She was very self- 
conscious of her lack of height, and she was 
sufficiently vain about this thorn in her side, to 
have the heels of her boots heightened and to put 
three-inch false soles inside her shoes. Being 
ostentatious in her attire, she dressed conspi- 
cuously for special occasions. When attending 
balls at Government House, she wore tight-fitting 
trousers, a satin waistcoat, and "a coat of the latest 
pea-green Hayne". The Cape Coloured people 
referred to her as 'the Kapok doktor', and they 
accused her of padding the shoulders of her 
military jacket with cotton wool, to create an 
impression of extra breadth. In spite of her 
flamboyant mode of dress, she lived simply in a 
boarding house in the Heerengracht (Adderley 

Although she had a girlish and youthful 
appearance, Barry had by this time developed an 
air of self-confidence. She felt quite at home at 

Government House, and she was on very friendly 
terms with the Somerset family. She was devoted 
to the Governor, and he, in turn, was indebted to 
her for saving his daughter' s life. 

A year after her arrival at the Cape, Somerset took 
Barry with him, as his medical officer, on a four- 
month tour of the Colony. Charlotte and Georgina, 
Lord Charles' two daughters, also accompanied 
their father on this expedition. They all travelled 
on horseback as far as the Great Fish River, 
covering a round trip of hundreds of miles. Soon 
after this tour Barry was appointed Physician to 
the Governor's Household. This appointment 
included a salary of 600 rixdollars a year (a 
rixdollar was worth about fifteen cents, or one 
shilling and sixpence). She was also given her own 
house in the grounds of Government House. 

Her popularity and fame, both as a doctor and 
consultant, spread rapidly. She was highly 
respected by the medical profession at the Cape. 
She was called out one stormy night to attend a 
woman who was dying in childbirth. Quickly and 
efficiently, Barry performed a caesarean operation 

on the patient, thus saving the lives of both the 
mother and child. In gratitude the mother, Mrs. 
Munnik, named her baby, James Barry, after her 
surgeon. Subsequently James Barry Munnik' s 
godson, carried on the name, by being christened 
James Barry Hertzog. In later life, from 1924-39, 
he became Prime Minister of South Africa. 

Frequently Barry would prescribe baths, in Cape 
wine, for her patients. She believed that the wine 
contained "antiseptic properties". She also intro- 
duced the revolutionary idea of opening the 
windows of a patient' s bedroom, thus encouraging 
the circulation of fresh air in the sick room. 

In the autumn of 1818, Lord Charles became 
critically ill with dysentery and typhus. All credit 
went to Dr. Barry for the Governor's complete 
recovery. In the middle of the following year she 
was sent to Mauritius to assist the doctors on the 
island to combat a cholera epidemic. She returned 
to Cape Town in February, 1820. 

Barry was known to have a quick and fiery 
temper. It is recorded that she fought a duel, with 

pistols, with Captain Josias Cloete, aide-de-camp 
to Lord Charles. Fortunately neither of them were 
hurt in the skirmish, and subsequently they 
became fast friends, until Barry's death. 

By now she was a familiar figure in Cape Town. 
People no longer stared at her as she rode her pony 
through the streets. Being an eccentric, she was 
followed wherever she went by her little black 
dog, and her faithful tall Cape Coloured servant. 
The fact that while at the Cape no woman could 
capture Barry's heart, and that "he" obviously was 
not a marrying man, remained a puzzle, and was 
the cause of endless gossip and talk! 

In March, 1822, Lord Charles appointed Barry to 
the position of Colonial Medical Inspector, and 
Director of the Vaccine Institution. Her salary for 
this post was 2,400 rixdollars a year. At this time 
she was wielding a great amount of power, as well 
as earning a large income. One of her duties as 
Colonial Medical Inspector was the examination 
of applicants who were seeking licences to practise 
as apothecaries or druggists. She also investigated 
the sale of drugs by unqualified persons, and at the 

same time she insisted that the sale of all 
medicines should be confined to "licensed 

James Barry was also a social reformer, and she 
obtained permission from the Governor to inspect 
the Tronk, or Central Prison; Robben Island - 
where the most dangerous criminals were kept - 
and the Leper Institute. She drew up a list of 
"Rules for the General Treatment of the Lepers", 
which was handed to the manager of the Leper 
Institution. Particular attention was paid to the 
leper's diet, and Barry insisted that they receive 
well-cooked and clean food. She also wrote to 
Lord Charles, drawing his attention to the general 
appalling conditions in the main Prison, the filth of 
the cells, and the lack of medical attention for 
prisoners in the Tronk. As a result of this report 
Lord Charles opened a sick bay at the Tronk. He 
also appointed committees to report to him 
regularly on conditions at the Main Town 
Hospital, and in the prison. Naturally Barry made 
a number of enemies in her fight against injustice 
and oppression, but she had a stubborn streak in 

her make-up and a most determined will. No 
obstacle was ever too great to overcome in her 
stand for social betterment. 

In March, 1826, Lord Charles Somerset returned 
to London, and in the following year he retired 
from South African politics. Dr. Barry was not 
popular with the new authorities, and in October, 
1828, she was relieved of her position as Colonial 
Medical Inspector. A Medical Board was estab- 
lished instead to carry out her old duties. The new 
Governor at the Cape was General Bourke. 
Barry's days in the Colony were over, and after 
spending twelve years there she sailed from Cape 
Town. Her next post was at Mauritius, where she 
had been appointed Staff Surgeon to the garrison. 
She was thirty-three years of age when she arrived 

In August the following year she sailed for 
England without official leave of absence. One of 
the reasons she offered for this extraordinary 
behaviour, was that she was "recalled in conse- 
quence of the serious illness of Lord Charles 

Whether this was true or not, Staff Surgeon Barry 
was not court-martialled. Lord Charles died in 
February 1831, and Dr. Barry left that April for 
Jamaica where once again she was given the 
position of Staff Surgeon to the garrison. During 
her four years in Jamaica she was kept extremely 
busy visiting the eight military hospitals on the 
island. She still had a black servant in attendance, 
and a new pet in the form of a little dog, "Psyche", 
who was her constant companion. Barry had 
become a vegetarian at this stage of her life, and 
she gave her daily meat ration to "Psyche". 

After her term of office had expired in Jamaica, 
Barry returned to England on a year's hard earned 
rest and leave. Her next appointment was as 
Principal Medical Officer on the island of St. 
Helena. She spent two years there, where she was 
in charge of the General Civil Hospital. She made 
herself unpopular again with her superiors as once 
more she played the role of reformer. This time 
she took up the cudgels on behalf of the female 
patients on the island. But this time however she 
overstepped her authority, and in March 1838 she 

was sent home in disgrace - under arrest. 
Fortunately her freedom was soon restored, and 
the stain on her character cleared. 

In November she was sent to the West Indies as 
Staff Surgeon. She worked at great pressure there, 
as a highly competent medical officer among the 
fever- stricken troops on the islands of Trinidad, 
Barbados, Grenada, British Guiana, St. Lucia, 
Tobago, St. Vincents, Dominica, St. Kitts and 
Antigua. After four years of ceaseless hard work 
and constant travel between the islands, she was 
appointed Principal Medical Officer of Trinidad 
where she had her own country home. The troops 
liked and trusted her, as well as having the greatest 
respect for her professional skill. She in turn 
showed them great kindness, and paid attention to 
the welfare of their wives and children. While in 
Trinidad Barry contracted Yellow Fever, from 
which she nearly died. On recovering from her 
illness, she sailed for England where she spent a 
year recuperating, before receiving her next 

Once again she was sent to another corner of the 
globe. This time it was to act as Principal Medical 
Officer at Malta, where she remained for a period 
of four and a half years. For the work she did 
there, particularly during a cholera epidemic 
among the troops, she subsequently received the 
grateful thanks of Britain's famous general and 
hero, the Duke of Wellington. 

After being promoted to the rank of Deputy 
Inspector General of Hospitals, Barry continued 
her travels as she moved to a different part of the 
world with each new appointment. From Malta she 
was sent to Corfu, Greece, for a period of six 
years, broken only by one year's leave spent at 
home in England. While she was serving in Corfu 
the Crimean War began, and Dr. Barry offered to 
look after wounded troops sent to her there from 
the Crimea. About 500 soldiers were sent to Corfu, 
and once again she proved what a magnificent 
organiser and outstanding doctor she was. Three 
quarters of these sick and critically ill men were 
"returned fit for active service, having been 
restored to health in an unusually short period." 

The year 1857, in which Barry ended her work in 
Corfu, was also the peak year in the successful 
career of Florence Nightingale. She was the 
famous woman of Italian birth who went to the 
Crimea with a band of nurses, and did superb work 
there in relieving the suffering of the soldiers. She 
became known as "The Lady of the Lamp". Her 
system of nursing, and her plans for running entire 
hospital staffs, are still working, with modern 
improvements, all over the world today. 

At the time of her enforced retirement Barry 
apparently had hoped for a knighthood for her 
services to the Empire. She wrote a Memorial to 
the Secretary of State, in which she stated - "I am 
loathe to close a career which impartially may be 
deemed to have been a useful and faithful one, 
without some special mark of Her Majesty's 
gracious favour". But Florence Nightingale was 
already the shining star in the eyes of her Queen, 
Victoria, as well as the heroine of the entire British 
nation. She claimed to be the first Britisher (her 
parents were English, and she was born in 
Florence while they were on a visit to Italy) to 

have "considered the diet and living conditions of 
the troops". It was she who received all the 
honours! She became a friend of the Queen, and in 
1907 when she was awarded the Order of Merit, 
she became the first woman to receive this 
decoration. This great reformer also received the 
Freedom of the City of London in 1908 when she 
was nearly ninety years of age. 

And what of James Barry, who had also spent her 
life in improving the conditions of the troops, as 
well as dedicating herself to the field of medicine 
and the betterment of humanity? She was forced to 
spend her few remaining years in obscurity and 
retirement due to ill health. She continued to live 
in London, a small, frail figure. It is said of her, 
that at this stage of her life she wore civilian 
clothes - usually a frock coat and a white stand-up 

Meantime the legends about Barry grew and 
spread. She died in July 1865 in Marylebone, 
London during an epidemic of diarrhoea. When 
the body was being prepared for the funeral there 
was great consternation when it was finally 

revealed that Dr. James Barry was a woman. This 
fact was officially accepted by the Army Medical 

After her death, people said Barry was the 
daughter of a noble English family. Her name was 
an alias, and she had disgraced herself in her 
family's eyes, that was why she chose to change 
her name and sex, and start a new life far away 
from home. Was this the truth, or just another 
legend? If Barry really was a woman, what were 
her real reasons for guarding this secret and hiding 
her sex all her life? Was it because she was born 
ahead of her time, before women could be 
accepted professionally on an equal footing with 
men? Would her brilliant brain and skilled hands 
have remained dormant all her life if she had 
revealed her true identity? The answers to all these 
enigmatic questions went with her to the grave. 
She was buried in Kensal Green, England, and the 
following words appeared on her tombstone: 

"Dr. James Barry, Inspector General, H.M. Army 
Hospitals, Died July 25th 1865. Aged 71 years." 

Andrew Geddes BAIN 

Andrew Geddes Bain 

"Prince of Roadmakers" and "Father of South 
African Geology" 

One day in 1846 the Hon. John Montagu, Colonial 
Secretary at the Cape and Chairman of the Central 
Road Board, set out on his usual early morning 
ride. He donned his long riding coat with its high 
collar, put on his riding breeches and boots, and 
placed his grey "topper" firmly on his head. He 
mounted his horse and rode off in the direction of 
Mostert's Hoek (Michell's Pass) to visit his friend, 
Andrew Geddes Bain the road engineer who was 
working there. When he reached the foot of the 
pass he invited Bain to join him riding. Together 
they rode to Worcester and Villiersdorp, making 
for Houw Hoek. There was a pleasant and friendly 
relationship between the two men cemented by 
years of mutual respect and confidence. That 
morning however the ride was not intended only 
as a pleasure jaunt for Montagu was sounding 
Bain out as to the possibility of building a new 
mountain pass in the direction of Wellington. On 
the journey Bain noticed a gap in the mountains 

near Wellington, and on pointing this out to his 
Chief, the latter noted it and asked him to explore 
it as soon as possible. They rode on to Cape Town, 
via Sir Lowry Pass, having covered a distance of 
sixty miles. Bain returned to Wellington eager to 
explore further the mountain gap he had observed 
on his ride. On further inquiry he was told by the 
local residents that no one had ever been through 
the mountain kloof, although some townspeople 
had wandered in the area when looking for 
runaway slaves. Bain was convinced however that 
the kloof was not a mere cul-de-sac ending blindly 
in a cave. 

At 4 a.m. the next morning he set off on his return 
trip to Mic hell's Pass in the company of four 
Wellington men, determined to return to his work 
through the mountain gap he had discovered. He 
was successsful, even though it took him twenty- 
four arduous hours to reach the foot of the Pass. 
He was jubilant about his victory, and 
triumphantly he wrote to Montagu - "The grand 
problem is solved and the North West Passage is 
discovered. I could make a road through it, but it 

would be an expensive undertaking." Montagu 
was delighted with the news and wrote back to 
Bain - "Bain's Poort will be our next job, so get 
Mostert's Hoek out of hand as soon as possible 
and we may get to work on the other." 

It took Bain another two years to complete his 
work on Mic hell's Pass, which was officially 
opened in December 1848 by the Governor Sir 
Harry Smith. Two months later Bain set about his 
new task, Bain's Kloof, which when completed 
was the crowning glory of a full life and still 
stands today as a fantastic feat of engineering and 
his permanent monument in South Africa. 

Andrew Geddes Bain was born in 1797 at Thurso 
on the northern coast of Scotland. The name 
"Geddes" was given to him to perpetuate his 
mother's lineage. He was an only child whose 
parents died when he was very young. He went to 
school near Edinburgh, and at the age of nineteen 
he sailed from England on the Princess Charlotte, 
arriving in Cape Town in 1816 in the company of 
one of his mother's relatives, Lieutenant-Colonel 
William Geddes. Two years later he married a 

lass, Maria Elizabeth von Backstrom, who was 
only a year younger than himself. 

By the time he was twenty-five he had settled in 
Graaff Reinet, on his own property, where he lived 
for the next thirteen years. It is believed that he 
worked there as a saddler. Andrew was a very 
civic-minded young man and his letters frequently 
appeared in the press, in both the Grahamstown 
Journal and The South African Commercial 
Advertiser. He wrote under the pseudonym of "An 
Intelligent Correspondent at Graaff Reinet". He 
wrote well, and his letters described local events of 
interest such as the night Graaff Reinet was partly 
flooded by the rise of the Sundays River during a 
violent storm. 

Andrew was a man of Scottish charm and wit. His 
gaiety attracted many friends to him. He was a 
warm-hearted, versatile and observant individual. 
His most outstanding feature, other than his "foxy" 
whiskers, were his twinkling, vivid blue eyes. 
Although only of medium height he had a strong 
physique and a particularly powerful pair of 
shoulders. He had a great zest for life, and enjoyed 

both the sophisticated town amusements as well as 
the freedom of the veld. His large family of eleven 
children were educated at school in Graaff Reinet. 

It is believed that Bain was the first man in the 
country to take out a licence for the purpose of 
trading across the Orange River. This was in 1825. 
In July of the following year he and his business 
partner, John Burnet Biddulph, visited Kuruman. 
They set off from Graaff Reinet with their three 
wagons, six Hottentots and a Bushman interpreter, 
on a two month trip. Their main object was to visit 
the rich "Mines of Mileta" in Bechuanaland where 
there were believed to be great deposits of iron and 
copper. They also hoped to trade their beads and 
tobacco for ivory, but they were unsuccessful in 
this mission. On reaching Kuruman they were met 
and hospitably received by the great English 
Missionary, the Rev. Robert Moffat. Bain did a lot 
of big game hunting on the trip, shooting both 
black and white rhinoceroses, as well as a number 
of quagga and camelopards. He also found time to 
draw a number of effective sketches both of the 

animal life and the Africans he encountered, as 
well as to keep a diary of his experiences. 

Three years later the two men set off again on 
another trading mission. This time they travelled 
from Grahamstown, through the Native territories 
to Natal. They returned via Bechuanaland where 
Bain reported seeing "beads of virgin gold". They 
had a highly successful trip, and returned home 
"with a load of ivory". On his return Bain wrote an 
account of this expedition, which was published in 
the South African Commercial Advertiser in letter 
form on the 26th of September 1829. It was the 
first published account of the territories beyond the 
Great Fish River. It included vivid descriptions of 
the scenery around the Keiskamma River, 
Gonubie, the Great Kei River, Umtata, Omganza 
River and the Umzimvubu Mountains. He and 
Biddulph had crossed the Umzimvubu, or Seacow- 
bed River valley with their two wagons in June of 
that year, thus becoming the second party of men 
ever to have traversed this valley safely. 

One entry from Bain's letter to the South African 
Commercial Advertiser clearly shows how he 

"roughed it" on this trip: "I spent this night as I 
had done the day without anything to eat and 
would have willingly exercised my jaws on a bit of 
the tough hide (of a seacow or hippopotamus), but 
it was all gone. The wind blew very cold. I wrapt 
myself in my greatcoat and slept under a bush in 
hopes of satisfying the cravings of appetite to the 
fullest extent next morning on a prime sea-cow 
steak ..." 

On this trip Bain had blazed the trail for future 
explorations in Central Africa. Soon after this 
journey he was responsible for the building of the 
Pass up the Oudeberg, and in 1832 he supervised 
the construction of Van Ryneveld's Pass. Both 
these passes were of great benefit to the Graaff 
Reinet district and for his efforts he received a 
medal from the grateful citizens of the town. It 
must not be forgotten that Bain had no 
professional training in engineering or surveying. 
He had an innate love of road building and was a 
born road engineer. 

In August 1834 he left Graaff Reinet again on yet 
another expedition, primarily a hunting trip, to the 

Molopo River. He had been commissioned to 
procure rare skins, and live animals such as lions, 
giraffes and rhinoceroses for an American 
company. At the beginning of this trip he joined 
Dr. Andrew Smith's party. Dr. Smith, a fellow 
Scot, was an interesting and famous character. 
After graduating as a British army surgeon at the 
age of twenty-two, he was sent out to the Cape 
where he stayed for seventeen years. He was a 
keen naturalist and spent his leisure hours 
collecting treasures of natural history. It was he 
who founded the South African Museum in Cape 
Town, in 1825, and became the first Director, 
contributing many valuable scientific specimens 
himself to the Museum. From 1833 he became 
interested in exploration and carried out a series of 
expeditions through Matabeleland and the 
Transvaal on behalf of the newly formed 
"Association for the Exploration of Central 
Africa". Later he rose to the rank of Director 
General of Hospitals, received a number of 
honorary degrees, and was knighted by the Queen. 
On his 1834 expedition he was commissioned by 
Sir Lowry Cole "to enlarge our Geographical 

Knowledge of the extensive and unknown regions 
to the North of the Cape Colony; to Obtain 
Scientific Information, especially as regards the 
branches of Meteorology, Geology, and 
Magnetism; and to collect Botanical Specimens 
and those of Natural History ..." Further, he was 
also instructed to meet the native chiefs of the 
main African tribes in the area known today as the 
Republic of South Africa, and to try and persuade 
them to be more helpful and friendly towards 
white traders and Christian missionaries. It is 
worthy of note that Dr. Smith returned to Cape 
Town in January 1836, having successfully 
fulfilled the mission entrusted to him. He set off 
from the Observatory in Cape Town in July 1834 
in the company of German missionaries, some 
Indian visitors, and nine other white men including 
Charles Bell, the artist and future Surveyor- 
General of the Cape Colony, and John Burrow the 
astronomer. They reached Graaff Reinet a month 
later when they were joined by Bain, and twenty 

They travelled slowly across the Karroo, taking 
two weeks to reach the Griqualand capital of 
Philippolis. After spending a fortnight there, Dr. 
Smith decided to proceed up the Caledon River. 
Bain, the Indians and three other members of the 
expedition decided to break away from the main 
party and branch off on their own in the direction 
of Litakun. The rest of the expedition lined up to 
give them a grand "send off. The butcher, Big 
Harry, fired his large elephant gun in salute, and 
the party shouted three riotous cheers in farewell. 

After four days, Bain with his three wagons and 
attendant Griquas and Hottentots, reached the Riet 
River. They followed a route along the Modder 
River and the Vaal. When they crossed the Vaal 
Bain stopped a while to collect some new 
specimens for his ornithological collections. On 
reaching Taungs on the Hart River they were 
joined by twenty Korannas, with their pack oxen 
and horses. Nine days later they reached the 
Setlagoli River where the hunting began in earnest 
as the area abounded in game. On their first day 
they "bagged" two elands, fourteen camelopards 

and a camelopard calf. The next day's "bag" 
included black and white rhinoceroses. 

At the Maritsane River a young twenty year old 
Graaff Reinet lad, Jan Sauer, joined the 
expedition. He and Bain were the only two 
Europeans in the party. They trekked on until they 
reached the Molopo River where Bain shot six 
striped quaggas and a number of rhinoceroses. At 
this spot they were a mere six hour horse-ride from 
the kraal of Mzilikazi the powerful native chief. 
The next morning Bain woke up to find himself in 
an unpleasant predicament. During the night his 
Griqua leader, Hans Barends, and three other 
Griqua lads had disappeared. They had gone off to 
steal cattle from Mzilikazi. Bain realised his 
invidious position, that the Chief would think he 
too was involved in this affair. Wisely he decided 
that his best plan of action was to make for home 
as speedily as possible. 

They rode flat out for three days and then rested 
awhile, consoling themselves that they were safely 
out of Mzilikazi' s reach. That however was 
wishful thinking! On 18th November, Mzilikazi 

sent two hundred of his Matabele to avenge 
himself. Bain was given only five minutes 
warning, by one of his Griqua men, of the natives' 
approach. He barely had time to mount his horse 
before he, Jan Sauer, two of their Griquas and a 
Hottentot dwarf were surrounded, and showered 
by assegais. The rest of the party had fled in terror. 
Bain and Sauer fired as they retreated into a 
camelthorn wood, wounding a number of their 
attackers and killing four of them. Meantime the 
Matabele seized the white men's sheep and cattle, 
and then crossed the river in pursuit of Bain. It was 
only after Hendrik Klaas, one of Bain's Griqua 
followers, had shot and killed the Matabele leader 
that the natives lost heart and interest in the fight, 
and returned home. But not before setting fire to 
Bain's three wagons. His instruments, books, and 
collections of plants and birds all went up in 
flames. This loss, together with that of his cattle 
taken by the Matabele, roughly totalled a R 1,000. 
All his possessions and dreamed-of profits had 
been reduced to ashes! 

After this brutal attack, Bain and Sauer, both 
fortunately still on horseback, set out to find the 
rest of their Hottentot and Griqua party. Then 
slowly, riding and walking in turn, as they had 
only three horses between all of them, they started 
on their homeward journey through the dreary, 
desolate wasteland of the Kalahari without track or 
guide to show them the right path. They trusted in 
providence alone to lead them safely to the French 
Missionary station of Mateto. In spite of his great 
misfortune, neither Bain's Scottish sense of 
humour, nor his philosophy, deserted him. The 
journey was a nightmare through the sunbaked 
desert. They had neither food nor water, and in 
addition Bain had lost his jacket and watch in one 
of his wagons. 

On the evening of the first day they suddenly saw 
a light shining from a Bechuana kraal. Absolutely 
parched, they managed to assuage their acute thirst 
there when given a mixture of water and mud to 
drink out of dirty ostrich egg shells. Their horses 
were allowed to drink too, from a dirty nearby 
pool. On they trudged through the night, listening 

for the sound of croaking frogs in the hopes of 
finding water. Suddenly the stillness of the night 
was broken by the sound of the crack of a wagon 
whip. Bain fired his gun, and galloped off in the 
direction from which he had heard the whiplash, 
until he sighted two wagons belonging to a trader, 
Mr. Gibson. The latter, on hearing Bain's tale of 
woe, killed two of his sheep for Bain's party and 
made them hot coffee to quench their thirst. More 
important still, he gave them precise directions to 
Mateto, without which Bain said he would never 
have found the way. Gratefully he wrapped his gift 
of mutton in a sheep's skin and tied it onto his 
horse. After spending a freezing night together, he 
and Gibson parted company in the morning and 
Bain set off again to face another scorching day. 

He and his party spent the entire next night out in 
the open, completely exposed to the elements 
throughout a terrifying storm. The torrential rains 
whipped and drenched the defenceless men who 
sat helplessly in the desert minus any protection 
whatsoever. On the third night, ill and exhausted, 
they limped into Litakun in Bechuanaland. Here 

they found a guide to direct them to the French 
Missionaries, Messrs. Samuel Rolland and Prosper 
Lemue at Mateto. The missionaries cared for Bain 
and his followers for four days and then provided 
them with wagons to convey them to the Griqua 
village of Campbell, so-called after the Rev. John 
Campbell. There Bain met the Griqua Chief, 
Cornelius Kok, and his brother Adam. These two 
men lent him two horses to ride as far as their side 
of the Vaal River. From there, with the aid of kind 
farmers he met en route, it took him five more 
days to reach Graaff Reinet. He arrived home on 
December 10th, to discover that his family had 
given him up for lost, while news had reached the 
town that "he had been murdered". All told he had 
been away for four months, three weeks of which 
had been spent on the last gruelling lap home. In 
spite of his subsequent efforts Bain received no 
redress whatsoever from Mzilikazi for the loss of 
all his cattle and possessions. 

It was these long wagon journeys to the north 
which primarily fostered Bain's early interest in 

January, 1835 saw Captain Andrew Geddes Bain 
in the field with the Graaff-Reinet Burgher Force 
under the command of Colonel Somerset. Their 
object was to "clear" the Bushman River and 
Zuurberg districts of intruding natives. In May the 
same year Bain received his commission, as an 
ensign, in the Beaufort Levies, mainly a Hottentot 
Corps under European officers. By July he was put 
in charge of Fort Thomson on the Tyumie River 
on the outskirts of Alice. Under the leadership of 
Colonel Harry Smith the local disturbances were 
quelled, the natives were subdued and the new 
Province of Queen Adelaide was formed. In 
September a Peace Treaty was drawn up whereby 
marauding natives, subjects of the new Province, 
were forbidden to cross the boundary unless they 
carried passes and were unarmed. 

In October Bain asked for an allotment of land to 
farm at a spot where the town of Alice now stands. 
He asked for 3,000 morgen, and Sir Benjamin 
D'urban strongly endorsed his application. Bain 
was granted his farm, and subsequently sold his 
property in Graaff-Reinet. He built a cottage, 

planted crops and started an irrigation scheme. 
When however the new Lieutenant-Governor of 
the Eastern Province, Captain Andries Stocken- 
strom, was appointed he deprived Bain and others 
of their farmlands, as he had a new scheme for 
settling responsible men "along the colonial side 
of the boundary". This was a bitter blow to Bain, 
who received no compensation for his confiscated 
property. How could he know at the time that this 
turn of events was actually a blessing in disguise, 
for two years later he was working with the Royal 
Engineers, supervising the building of "military 
roads on the frontier of the Cape Colony". At the 
same time this work afforded him the opportunity 
for studying geology. 

In his spare time Bain included amongst his 
writings a humorous poem, one of the first ever to 
be written in the Afrikaans language, called Cattje 
Kekelbek, the Hotnotsmeid. This sketch was 
produced on the stage, both in Cape Town and 
Grahamstown, over a hundred years ago. In recent 
years "Kaatjie" has "appeared" as a Cape 
Coloured maid on our local broadcasting 

programmes. These few lines of the poem illus- 
trate Bain's knowledge of "Cape Dutch": 

My name is Caatje Kekelbek 

I kom van Kat Rivier 
Dere is van water geen gebrek 

Maar scarce van wyn en beer, 
Myn a.b.c. at Phillip's school 
I learnt ein kleene beitje 

And left, with wisdom just as full 
As gekke tanta Meitje. 

For the next eight years Bain was kept busy on the 
construction of roads such as Pluto's Vale Road 
from Grahamstown to Breakfast Vlei, and Queens 
Road between Fort Beaufort and Grahamstown. In 
1837 at the age of forty, he borrowed and read a 
book called Principles of Geology by Lyell from 
his friend Captain Campbell, the Civil 
Commissioner. "I was smitten" he said, "Lyell had 
made a convert of me". For the rest of his life Bain 
spent all his leisure hours, while on road 
constructions, collecting fossils, and in spite of 
having no guidance other than the books he could 

lay his hands on, he became the father of geology 
in South Africa. 

When he first embarked on his excursions in 
search of minerals or fossils, he used to ride 
around with a bag over his shoulder and a large 
hammer slung in his belt, which his friends 
attributed to a form of lunacy on his part. He 
admitted to the fact that "his mouth was always 
full of fossils and stones". When he was stationed 
at Fort Beaufort he became friendly with the Civil 
Commissioner, Mr. M. Borcherds, who shared his 
enthusiasm for geology and accompanied him on a 
number of his geological jaunts. Not only did they 
share a hobby in common, but they also shared a 
similar sense of humour. In 1844 when Bain was 
working at a God-forsaken spot, Botha's Post, he 
received a parcel, addressed to him in Borcherd's 
familiar hand, marked "Organic Remains". 
Excitedly Bain opened his gift, only to find that 
the box contained Bologna sausages. Wittily he 
wrote and thanked his friend in rhyming verse, 
five stanzas in all, commencing thus: 

Many thanks, my dear B., for your kindness and 


In sending such precious Organic Remains; 

In vain for description of them you may try all 

The pages of Buckland, of Mantell, or Lyell; 

For like our bidentals, they must be unique, 

Only known to our own geological clique. 

In science a novelty greater by far 

Than glyptodon, mammoth, or famed 


Bain discovered his first important fossil near Fort 
Beaufort on the banks of the Kat River. He called 
it a Bidental because it had only two teeth or tusks 
in the upper jaw and none whatsoever in the lower 
jaw. He collected a number of these skulls of 
extinct reptiles, ranging in size from that of a 
rhinoceros down to one the size of a rat. When he 
offered his first collection of fossils to the 
Grahamstown Museum, the directors declined his 
gift in no uncertain terms. "What are we going to 
do with a parcel of old stones?" they asked him. 
Bain was not disheartened by this rejection of his 
fossils, and he continued collecting Bidentals as 

well as fossil wood, fossil fungi and vegetable 
fossils. Then came the great day when he 
discovered his most famous fossil at a pretty spot, 
called Blinkwater, near the Kat River. He was out 
walking when he noticed a small bone sticking out 
of a rock. He started to dig with the help of three 
assistants, and together they dislodged and 
removed a huge stone mass which Bain later 
discovered contained the pelvis of what he called 
his Blinkwater Monster. With his tools - a mallet, 
chisel, spade and pick, he continued his 
excavations and found a number of pieces of bone, 
which when assembled formed an "armour like 
plating" covering the trunk of the body. Finally he 
discovered the skull, about the size of that of a 
cow, with a large open jaw containing fifty- six 
fluted and serrated teeth. He decided his huge 
Sexadental fossil was an aquatic reptile. 

Undaunted by the refusal of his collection in 
Grahamstown, Bain decided in 1884 to send his 
palaentological treasures, with an accompanying 
explanatory letter on the geology of the Eastern 
Province, to the London Geological Society. Five 

full packing cases of fossils were despatched 
containing all his Bidental discoveries - heads and 
vertebrae of turtles, crocodiles, lizards and 
serpents. He also sent his Blinkwater Monster 
which was in a comparatively good state of 
preservation. It was subsequently discovered by 
geologists that the Blinkwater Monster belonged to 
the "first known species of animal that gave up 
crawling and took to walking". In humble terms 
the amateur geologist wrote to the London 
Society, apologising for not being in the financial 
position to present his fossil-finds as a gift, 
particularly as he needed money to continue his 
geological pursuits. As overseas mail was slow 
and infrequent Bain waited a long time for a reply 
from London. But when he was working at Post 
Victoria he received a letter from the President of 
the Geological Society which was worth its weight 
in gold to him. It was written in the most flattering 
terms and commended him highly on his fossil 
discoveries, and his description of the geology of 
the country ... "Your description of the rocks 
extending from the Indian Ocean to the 
Winterberg Mountains is an excellent geological 

sketch". Further, Bain was informed that the 
President of the Society had read a paper to the 
Fellows based on his letter, which had "met with a 
most flattering reception". Professor Owen of the 
Society had decided to rename his Bidental, and 
had called it a Dicynodon instead. The explanation 
given to Bain, was as follows: 

"Di-cyn-odon" "Two-canine-toothed" reptile. 

As a mark of appreciation for his work Bain was 
awarded R40 by the Geological Society. A year 
later he received R400 from Lord Peel "on behalf 
of Her Majesty's Government" in recognition of 
his contribution to science through his geological 
exploits. This was a direct result of a 
recommendation submitted by the President of the 
London Geological Society. It was only in 1853 
however that he received remuneration for his 
"parcel" of fossils despatched to London nine 
years previously. His collection had been 
purchased by the British Museum for R300. In 
1851 after years of research and hard toil, Bain 
sent another collection of fossils, a Geological 
Map and a long detailed Memoir to the London 

Society. Sir John Herschel, the astronomer and 
educationist, acted as his patron. This Memoir was 
published five years later. On the strength of this 
effort it was recommended that he be appointed 
Geological Surveyor for the Cape of Good Hope. 
Bain was highly flattered by this recommendation 
but it never materialised. Instead, ironically, the 
LieutenantGovernor, Mr. C. H. Darling wrote to 
the Secretary for the Colonies, the Duke of 
Newcastle, asking him to appoint "a duly qualified 
Geological Surveyor". Fortunately Bain was not a 
petty man. He was genuinely too interested in his 
geological research to refrain from giving the 
Government his valuable geological assistance and 
advice for the rest of his days. 

But to return to Bain the road engineer. In 1845 
after he had completed his work on the military 
roads, he accepted the post of Inspector of Roads 
in the Western Province, under the Central Road 
Board. Michell's Pass, between Tulbagh and 
Ceres, was his next milestone, and then, as 
previously mentioned, came Bain's Kloof. Both 
these passes were constructed by convict labour 

and amongst his other jobs Bain was appointed 
Visiting Magistrate to the convict stations erected 
at his passes. This meant that he was largely 
responsible for the welfare of the convicts. 

Bain's Kloof Pass, ten miles in length, was built 
through the mountains between Wellington and 
the Breede River. When completed it shortened 
the route from Cape Town to Worcester by thirty- 
six miles and did away with the long, tedious, 
roundabout journey through the Tulbagh Kloof. 
For the first six miles the road winds along over 
the face of the mountain behind Wellington. For 
the next four miles, and even further, the road 
descends high above the left bank of the Witte 
River. The scenery around this area is amongst the 
wildest and most romantic to be found anywhere 
in the world. It still provides a sanctuary for 
orchids and giant proteas, while heath carpets the 
mountainside. Gunpowder was used during the 
building process to blast through solid masses of 
rock, and in places the road cuts through rock 
ranging in height from twenty to sixty feet, and 
fifteen feet in breadth. The convicts employed to 

break the rock barring the proposed road worked 
under soldiers who acted as their warders. The 
dangerous convicts were forced to work in chains, 
and at night they were tied to iron rings which had 
been cemented into the rocks. The well-behaved 
prisoners lived in barracks at the convict stations. 
On the completion of this R100,000 Pass the 
convicts who had completed the job were 
pardoned and released from their penal sentences. 

The opening ceremony of the Pass in 1853 was a 
function of note and importance and included a 
week of celebrations. Members of the Central 
Road Board and citizens from Cape Town, Paarl, 
Tulbagh and Wellington were present. Gaily deco- 
rated horsedrawn omnibuses had been hired by the 
Road Board for the occasion. The first official 
ceremony was the opening of the new "Wellington 
Bridge" over the Berg River. A small plaque on 
the bridge read as follows: 

"The mighty Berg River we've conquered at 


So the days of frail ponts and detentions are 


After this ceremony the guests climbed into the 
omnibuses and drove off to Wellington where they 
drew up before Bain's house to give him three 
cheers. The bridge at the other end of the town was 
named after him, "Bain Bridge". The Pass in its 
entirety was crossed by the guests from 
Wellington onwards, and landmarks such as the 
Montagu Rocks, the Bell Rocks (named after 
Charles Bell), and Pilkington Bridge were named 
en route. When the large party reached Wolven 
Kloof, Mr. Petrus Borcherds, Chair;nan of the 
Central Road Board, officially named the whole 
Pass, Bain's Kloof, in honour of its builder. As an 
extra treat the unused gunpowder was "touched 
off from the hillside during the opening 
ceremonies. In addition to his other honours, Bain 
was presented with a magnificent silver 
candelabra, about two feet high, made specially for 
him in London. The central figure was of Minerva, 
Roman goddess of wisdom, war, the sciences and 
arts, holding a torch in one hand and a mirror in 
the other. A book, compass, triangle and globe of 
the world were placed at her feet. There were 

models of three fossil skulls, including the 
Dicynodon, at the base of the candlestick. 

Since March 1949, Bains Kloof has had a rival in 
Du Toit's Kloof, on the new national road. What a 
contrast the official opening ceremony was of that 
Pass. After the Prime Minister, Dr. Malan had cut 
the tape, a procession of cars, two miles long, 
drove through the R 1,245,600 Pass. Du Toit's 
Kloof has shortened the distance considerably 
between Paarl and Worcester. The old Bain's 
Kloof Pass however, with its fine tradition and 
history behind it, will continue to induce many a 
motorist to forego the saving in time of the new 
road to revel in the grandeur of the scenery of the 
old Pass. 

The opening of Michell's Pass and Bain's Kloof, 
provided the Cape Colony with its quickest route 
to the interior. After the discovery of diamonds 
these highways were of vital importance for they 
carried all the traffic - the Cape Carts, wagons, 
cabs and even fish carts - speedily and safely from 
Cape Town to the Diamond Fields of Kimberley. 

After the completion of these two magnificent 
Passes, Bain returned to the Eastern Province 
where he repaired the Ecca Pass on the Queen's 
Road. He continued his road surveys and reports 
for the Government all over the country, even 
when he was in his sixties, including doing a 
survey to choose the line for the proposed road 
from Knysna to Lange Kloof. 

In 1860 he started work on the Katberg Mountain 
Pass, between Queenstown and Fort Beaufort. The 
road crosses the Great Winterberg Mountain 
Range, which in parts reached a height of 5,290 
feet. This was a stupendous and gruelling task for 
an old man, and eventually took toll of even his 
iron frame. He lived in a tent, during the bitingly 
cold winter months as well as the intense summer 
heat. The exertion of the grim climbs strained his 
heart and he was obliged to take frequent leave 
during this construction work. Bain was in no 
position to retire as there was no pension system in 

After four years' work on this Pass he was granted 
a year' s leave on full pay, by the Government, and 
he returned to England. 

While in London he had the pleasure of meeting 
his geological pen friends, but his frail health 
prevented him from returning to his homeland 
Scotland. On his arrival back at the Cape, he was 
too ill to return to the Katberg. He stayed on in 
Cape Town with friends, the De Smidt family, 
who looked after him until his death in October, 
1864. In his last letter to his eldest daughter Jeanie, 
shortly before his death, he wrote "I trust in God 
that I die in peace with all men." He was buried in 
the old Somerset Road Cemetery in Cape Town, 
and when this cemetery was demolished his 
remains were removed to Maitland. 

The Bain family practised the old saying "like 
father, like son". Andrew's second son, Thomas 
Charles John Bain had been appointed learner- 
assistant to his father in 1848. He in turn became 
Inspector of Roads, and District Engineer of the 
Western Province, as well as Geological Surveyor 
of the Cape Colony. He built some of the most 

spectacular roads in our country. He was 
responsible for the Prince Alfred Pass from 
Knysna to Lange Kloof; the Seven Weeks Poort; 
Grey's Pass; Zwartberg Pass; Tulbagh Kloof; and 
the road from Knysna to George along the Garden 
route in the Cape. 

Famous road builders, such as Andrew Geddes 
and Thomas Bain, were responsible for 
transforming the mode of life in South Africa in 
trade, farming and administration, by providing 
easy and safe transport routes to the interior of our 

Thomas BAINES 

The artist, in the 1870's 

Thomas Baines Of King's Lynn - Artist - 

"The wilderness brought him gladness, and the 
mountains peace" 

When next you visit the Public Library in 
Johannesburg, stop a while and glance at the 
paintings on the walls of the Lending Library. 
Spare a little time too to climb the stairs to the 
Africana Museum on the second floor. When you 
reach the Museum, walk around and study the 
numerous oil paintings lining its walls. These 
vivid water-colours and oils depict scenes in South 
African History, such as the Kaffir Wars, as well 
as illustrating the way of life of the Bushmen, 
Hottentot and African tribes in our country over a 
hundred years ago. There are scenes too of big 
game hunting, as well as a number of pictures of 
the Victoria Falls. The pictures are too numerous 
to mention here individually. Why then do I 
mention these facts to you at all? Simply because 
they were all painted by Thomas Baines, the hero 
of this tale. He was a famous explorer and traveller 
in Africa, an artist and a lover of wild-life in its 

many forms. He was yet another man who came to 
Africa and left his mark here indelibly. In actual 
fact the Africana Museum contains 155 of his oils 
and 217 of his water-colours. These paintings have 
appreciated enormously in value over the years. 
After Sir John Rothenstein (Director of the Tate 
Gallery in London) visited South Africa in 1947 
and proclaimed Baines an artist of note, his 
paintings originally bought thirty years ago for as 
little as R25, soared in price, and today they would 
fetch between R400 and R600 a piece. If your 
curiosity gets the better of you and you are eager 
to see what Baines looked like, you will find a 
large photograph of him hanging next to the 
entrance door of the Museum. He had a strong 
face, alert but kind eyes, and a bushy beard and 
eyebrows. He wore his hair at shoulder length. In a 
glass case near this photograph there is an ostrich 
egg which belonged to the artist and which bears 
his signature. The following inscription, in Baines' 
handwriting, appears on the egg - "Eggshell used 
for waterbottle by Bushmen - left at Koobie Water 
probably by a Spy. November 1861". 

John Thomas Baines was born on November 27th, 
1820 at King's Lynn, a small busy port in 
England. His mother taught him at home until the 
age of ten. He then went to the local school. His 
grandfather was responsible for fostering an early 
interest in art in the young lad. He guided him in 
the use of both paint brush and pencil, and he 
taught Thomas how to make mechanical toys and 
to carve toy animals. At this early age the sea was 
already in his blood. He knew the build of every 
type of sailing vessel that visited his home port. 
For his own amusement he also built working 
models of some of these craft. He left England at 
the age of twenty-two on board the three-masted 
schooner Olivia for Cape Town, arriving in Table 
Bay three-and-a-half months later. Baines had 
neither friends nor a job waiting for him in Cape 
Town. To add to his plight, he landed there 
penniless. Fortunately the ship's captain allowed 
him to stay on board for a week, during which 
time he visited the town and found himself 
employment with a firm of coach-builders. 


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Victoria Fall - Leaping Water, 1863. 
Painting by Thomas BAINES, hanging in Afriana Museum, Johannesburg. 

Bushmen Hunting. 
An oil painting by Thomas BAINES (1849) clearly showing the now extinct striped quagga and blesbok. 

After three years of poverty, and trying his hand 
unsuccessfully at a number of trades, he was 
persuaded to establish himself as a full-time artist. 
Besides painting portraits, he received many 
requests for pictures of Cape Town which included 
both Table Mountain and the Bay. When the 
Kaffir War broke out Baines turned to painting 
landscapes and pictures of the burgher and 
volunteer forces. He became friendly with an old 
German trader who more than once had ventured 
as far afield as Delagoa Bay. Listening to the 
trader's tales, the artist became keener than ever to 
go on an expedition in to the interior of southern 
Africa. On 5th February, 1848, he set sail on board 
a barque, the Amazon, bound for Algoa Bay. Both 
in his diary and by means of his sketches Baines 
kept a record of the voyage. The Amazon sailed 
along the coasts of Swellendam and George 
reaching Algoa Bay thirteen days after her 
departure from Cape Town. Baines and his fellow 
passengers were rowed ashore in a whaleboat, 
while the local Fingoes brought his worldly 
possessions to the beach. These included his chests 
of linen and drawing paper, colours, oils and 

sextants. Baines immediately walked up into the 
town, Port Elizabeth, which at that time had only 
3,382 inhabitants, most of whom were English. He 
took up residence in an hotel, and proceeded to 
make sketches of the Fingo village situated on top 
of the hill, as well as drawings of the town itself. 
Having a great eye for detail, he described the 
local aloe plants in his journal. These scarlet- 
flowered succulents grew in profusion on the 
nearby hill slopes. Thousands of cases of aloe 
juice were shipped and supplied to the Dutch East 
India Company every year from Port Elizabeth. 
The bitter sap of the aloe leaves was extracted, 
boiled and then allowed to harden. This thick juice 
was used both medicinally and as a furniture and 
ceiling varnish. When applied to wood, it imparted 
a "rich brown colour and a beautiful polish". It 
was a negro slave who originally discovered the 
valuable uses of aloe juice. 

After spending twelve days in Port Elizabeth, 
Baines went on an expedition, partly by wagon 
and partly on foot, to Grahamstown. Being a 
highly observant man, he made constant notes in 

his journal on the beauties of Nature, and the 
details of insects, flowers and animals encountered 
on the journey. He crossed the Zwartkops and 
Sundays Rivers into the Addo Bush where to his 
great regret he saw neither elephant nor lion. He 
followed the slippery banks of the Kariega River 
until he reached the narrow Howison's Poort Pass. 
Vividly he described the scenery surrounding the 
Poort. The cliff tops were covered with large white 
proteas, while the sandy slopes were a carpet of 
flowers and a riot of colour. There were red and 
yellow mesembryanthemums, as well as the white 
arum, or pig lily, growing there. Baboons lived on 
the cliff crags and their hoarse barks echoed 
through the ravines. Fingoes and Hottentots were 
encountered along the road. Baines' party had to 
pay a toll to a young Englishman, to be allowed to 
pass through the gateway near the centre of the 

On entering Grahamstown, the traveller noted the 
goods he saw displayed in every store and 
"winkel" (shop) he passed. Beads, tiger skins, iron 
and tin pots, guns, camp kettles, pumpkins, wagon 

gear, bamboo whipsticks and ropes made from ox 
or buffalo hide were on view in every doorway. 
Baines stayed in an hotel and once again made 
sketches of the town. 

From the middle of March, 1848, he went on an 
expedition from Grahamstown with William 
Liddle, a twenty-five-year-old Englishman. They 
planned a threemonth trip to Shiloh, a mission 
station. They crossed the Fish River at a point 
called the "Vyge (Fig) Kraal" Drift, so named after 
the prickly pear, or Turk's Fig cactus which grew 
in abundance in that area. When the two men 
reached Fort Beaufort, the artist made many 
sketches of the Fingoes and Hottentots living 
there. Using sticks of tobacco as a bribe, he 
managed to persuade his shy and superstitious 
"sitters" to pose for him. By now the artist had 
also become an accurate and able hunter, but he 
always preferred sketching game to killing them. 
The travellers reached Shiloh, and carried on to 
Burghersdorp. They found game plentiful near this 
hamlet, and they had successful hunting among 
quagga, springbok, hartebeeste, blesbok and 

wildebeeste. After loading their wagons with a 
fresh supply of meat, as well as the horns and 
hides of the animals which they had shot, they 
travelled on to Colesberg. Fifteen miles further 
they reached the swirling brown flood waters of 
the Orange River. The men had to wait for the 
flood to subside before they could attempt a 
crossing. Baines crossed the three hundred yard 
wide river in a light, shallow boat. His crossing 
was a dangerous venture as the river was in an 
angry mood. On May 24th the travellers left 
Colesberg on their return trip to Grahamstown. A 
week later they camped near Cradock, where 
Baines tasted the waters of the nearby springs. He 
likened the taste to "the washings of a gun barrel". 
By the 22nd of June the companions were back in 
Grahamstown. These excursions were a forerunner 
to later and greater expeditions. Baines' ultimate 
aim was to explore the heart of Africa. 

After the Liddle expedition, Baines busied himself 
painting portraits of the farmers and landscapes of 
their homesteads, but his finances were low. He 
borrowed a couple of sovereigns from a friend, 

sold his watch, and equipped himself with a gun 
and a pair of pistols. Mounting his chestnut horse, 
Hotspur, he left Grahamstown to seek adventure 
and his fortune elsewhere. He rode to King 
William's Town and on to East London which was 
a little port at that time. There he sketched the 
town and the Buffalo River. On he travelled 
through the beautiful and mountainous "Kaffir- 
land" making numerous sketches of the native 
chiefs. He plodded on day after day, eating what 
he could find or what was given him by hospitable 
missionaries and magistrates who befriended him. 
At night he slept wherever he happened to be. 
Usually it was in the open or in "Kaffir" huts or 
with woodcutters he met. All this time he 
continued drawing and making daily notes in his 
diary. Early in October his constant and 
trustworthy companion, Hotspur, died. There was 
no choice for the traveller but to return to 
Grahamstown. He trudged home, a distance of 130 
miles, and arrived there ragged, penniless and 
barefoot. In spite of the hazards of the trip his 
health had benefited greatly from his travels, and 

undaunted he immediately started working on his 

Soon after his return to Grahamstown news 
reached him of the discovery of the "great lake", 
Ngami, by Dr. Livingstone, Murray and Cotton 
Oswell. Little was known however about the size 
and character of the lake. Early in 1850 Baines 
was invited to join an Irish trader, Joseph McCabe, 
on an expedition to navigate Lake Ngami, to work 
out its exact longitude and latitude, and to explore 
its "river system". He accepted the offer eagerly. 
This was the first scientific expedition he 
undertook. They set off early in February with 
three ox-wagons full of supplies. Baines had 
equipped himself further by purchasing a double- 
barrelled rifle from his friend Liddle. The first 160 
miles of their trip were more or less uneventful. 
When they reached Bloemfontein the skilful and 
ingenious Baines proceeded to make a trocho- 
meter, an instrument used to measure the revolu- 
tions of a carriage wheel. He used old clock 
wheels to make his instrument, and then he tied it 
on to one of their wagon-wheels so that the 

travellers could register their mileage. By early 
April they reached the Vaal River where they set 
up camp. Baines started to build their boat 
necessary for navigating the Ngami. He soon 
completed his task down to the anchor and the 
flag, both of which he had constructed himself. 
After a successful trial run on a section of the 
Vaal, the boat was dismantled and stored in one of 
the wagons. Now trouble beset them. The Boers 
were strongly opposed to this expedition as they 
felt the explorers were opening a path through 
their republic for the benefit of the English. Even 
appeals made by McCabe personally to the Boer 
President, Andries Pretorius, were of no avail, and 
eventually the trip had to be temporarily 
abandoned. During this period of setbacks the 
artist found time to draw a map of the Limpopo 
River and its tributaries. He based his drawing on 
facts given him by McCabe. On 11th December, 
he and McCabe started on their homeward journey 
but by Christmas Eve disturbing news of uprisings 
in "Kaffirland" reached the two men in Bloem- 
fontein. They realised they were cut off from the 
Cape Colony until the end of the War. By mid- 

February however they heard of the Hottentots' 
surrender at the Kat River and the capture of Chief 
Shiloh. The two men resumed their journey to the 
barricaded Grahamstown. McCabe set off soon 
afterwards for the interior, but Baines was 
penniless once more, and he was forced to remain 
behind and resort to his painting. He was in luck 
when some Officers of the Highlanders, stationed 
in the town saw his sketches, which appealed to 
them. At their suggestion he approached Major- 
General Somerset for the position of "artist to the 
forces in the field". The post was granted to him, 
and armed with his new kit and old rifle, he left 
Grahamstown on the 22nd June. 

It is not my intention to go into details here of the 
"Kaffir Wars", as this is essentially the story of 
Baines the man. The "Kaffir War" of 1850-53 was 
a continuation of the War of the Axe which took 
place between 1846 and 1848. Baines accom- 
panied Major-General Somerset into the town of 
Alice. He was frequently in the front line, or in the 
thick of a skirmish, making his own sketches or 
drawing scenes on the General's recommendation. 

He was exposed to the same dangers as the 
officers and the men even though he was not in the 
fighting force. Once, while in his saddle surveying 
his surroundings, Somerset came up to him and 
pointed out a scene which he thought might 
present good material for a picture. While they 
were discussing this point an enemy bullet 
whizzed past them, skimming over Baines' head 
and just missing the General by a hairsbreadth. 
With the other soldiers he endured the sunbaked 
days and the freezing nights. He marched with the 
men through the dense tangled bush and tramped 
down steep gorges and ravines. Throughout the 
war his inseparable gear was his rifle and his 

After the war, Baines returned to England. He 
sailed from Port Elizabeth in a Scotch sailing 
vessel with exactly seventy-five cents in his 
pocket. He spent most of the voyage on deck, 
asleep, where he used his army tent for protection. 
When he left Algoa Bay he had already spent 
eleven years in Africa. During those years he had 
matured as a man, his physique had developed, he 

had learnt to shoot and ride, and on his travels he 
had acquired a great knowledge of the African 
terrain and its people. Above all, his technique as 
an artist had improved and developed in every 
direction. His pencil drawings were alive, his 
water-colours were vivid, and his oil canvasses 
were luminous in spite of his having been 
frequently hampered by the poor quality of the 
materials at his disposal. 

On his arrival in London in September, 1853, he 
went to work at the Royal Geographical Society 
where he learnt the art of map-drawing and chart- 
plotting. March 1855 saw Baines on board the 
clipper Blue Jacket, bound this time for Northern 
Australia. He had joined an expedition, supported 
by the British Government and the Royal 
Geographical Society, to explore the unknown 
territory near the Victoria River. Baines was to 
serve as artist and storekeeper to the expedition, 
which included amongst others a geologist, an 
engineer, a German botanist and a surgeon. Baines 
managed to combat his boredom on the long 
voyage by producing a weekly paper which he 

called the Blue Jacket Journal and Chronicle of 
the Blue Waters. He edited, illustrated and wrote 
most of the news himself under the pen name of 
Tim Touchemoff. These papers, which are now in 
the library of the Canberra Parliament, in 
Australia, showed his impish wit and almost 
school-boy sense of humour, in both his writings 
and many sketches. After sixty-nine days at sea the 
clipper reached Melbourne Harbour. On reaching 
Sydney Baines met Commander A. C. Gregory, 
leader of the expedition, for the first time. The 
next two months were spent in buying extra 
supplies for the trip. The men also hired two boats, 
the schooner Tom Tough and the barque Monarch 
to carry their stores and livestock - two hundred 
sheep and fifty horses - to the mouth of the 
Victoria River. The trip was an arduous one from 
the outset. They encountered strong currents and 
tropical heat. The animals became ill because of 
insufficient drinking water on board and many of 
them died. The heat affected the food supply as 
well, and most of the meat became inedible. The 
men set up camp eighty miles from the river 
mouth where they built themselves huts of bark. 

By the middle of November Gregory, Baines and 
two others rowed up the river, sighting many 
hostile aborigines, in the high trees and the long 
grass along the banks. The river consisted mainly 
of a number of adjoining pools separated by reefs, 
or barriers of rock and sand, across which the 
explorers had to drag and carry their small canvas 
boats. On his next trip Gregory decided to explore 
overland and to use their horses for transport. 
Baines was left behind in charge of the camp. 
During this time while on a three day search for 
two stray horses he and a companion explored a 
new-found stream which Gregory later decided to 
name after its discoverer, the Baines River. 

Gregory and Baines set out again in early January 
with their pack-horses. It was heavy going all the 
way, and the horses had great difficulty in 
clambering over the stony crags. The men pitched 
a new depot camp, and with simple primitive tools 
Baines managed to fashion himself a table and 
bedstead. Food was their main problem and they 
soon tired of their daily diet of salt pork. Baines 
tried to relieve the monotony of their meals by 

planting pumpkins, Indian corn, radishes, water- 
melons, and turnip and pea seeds. Unfortunately 
drought and grasshoppers killed off most of the 
plants. In desperation the men varied their diet by 
eating lizards, pigeons and occasional cockatoos. 
Even tortoises, snakes and fat grubs found their 
way to their dinner table. Flies invaded the camp 
in their thousands and proved a great nuisance. 
Frequently the artist had to stop his painting 
because he could barely open his swollen, fly- 
bitten eyelids. Much of the explorers' time was 
wasted in tracking down their ever- straying horses. 
Their short trips to recover these animals were 
always fraught with danger. The armed, unfriendly 
aborigines were everpresent in the surrounding 
bush, and when encountered they attempted to 
shoot the white men with their spears. These 
natives also frequently set fire to the bush 
surrounding the depot camp as they were 
determined to force out the white intruders. 
Consequently the men had to be on their constant 
guard, and they were forced on many an occasion 
to use their firearms to frighten off their attackers. 

After two years the men set off on their homeward 
trip on board their schooner Tom Tough. Baines 
was in charge, and he had endless trouble, both 
with their boat, which had become unseaworthy, 
and with the crew and men who were reluctant to 
sail in her. It took them many months of difficult 
sailing from the Victoria River to reach Sydney 
harbour. One day the explorer and one of his men 
came across an eleven-foot alligator asleep on a 
sand-bank. In turn the two men fired on the beast 
and wounded it. On firing a second time however, 
Baines missed his target and in a flash the alligator 
turned and charged him. The artist barely managed 
to jump aside as the reptile snapped its fierce jaws 
at him. Quickly his companion put a bullet through 
the animal's brain, and once again Baines 
managed to cheat death. The men dragged the 
carcass on board the schooner. Later they cut it up 
and served slices of its meat to the men, as well as 
using it for soup. Everyone pronounced it 
excellent fare. Throughout this trying journey the 
explorer never failed to show his patience, 
understanding, tolerance and ingenuity. 

Baines returned to England in 1857. This was the 
year that Livingstone, the famous missionary- 
explorer, was planning an expedition to Africa, to 
open the interior via the Zambezi. He met the 
artist, saw his paintings and diary of his Australian 
trip, and he decided to invite him to join his 
expedition in Africa as his artist, storekeeper and 
trader. They left Liverpool in March of the 
following year and landed in Cape Town a month 
later, where Livingstone was welcomed as a hero. 
The citizens presented him with a silver casket in 
which he found 800 guineas. This was a present 
from the townsfolk towards his new expedition. 
They left the Cape at the end of April and a 
fortnight later their steamer, the Pearl, crossed the 
bank at the southerly mouth of the Zambezi. 
Livingstone and his men immediately set about 
assembling their launch, and set off to explore up 
stream. Because of the river's many sharp bends, 
islands, sand-banks and bars, Livingstone soon 
realised that even if he could steer the Pearl up 
stream, there was no point where he could turn the 
steamer round for the return trip. He had no choice 
but to change his plans! The Pearl returned to 

Ceylon, carrying amongst her mail a sheaf of 
Baines' drawings which he had already sketched 
on his trip. These included sketches of the many 
plants he had seen, ferns, mangroves and the 
colourful hibiscus. Meantime the men set up camp 
and unloaded their stores on Expedition Island, an 
inland spot forty miles from the river. Their 
launch, named the Ma Robert, after Mrs. Living- 
stone, was a source of endless trouble. She was 
built to burn wood, and then only hard- wood such 
as ebony, but she burnt up the fuel quicker than the 
men could cut down the required timber. It took 
almost five hours of fuel-burning to get up steam 
in the engine which Livingstone described as one 
"probably designed to grind coffee in a shop 
window". The men nicknamed their vessel the 
"Asthmatic", because of the constant spluttering 
and wheezing that went on in the engine. Baines 
meantime did more than his share of work. With 
the help of natives he thatched a roof over their 
house on the island and added a verandah. 
Although the men worked hard they never worked 
as a team., and Livingstone seemed "as one 
walking by himself. His brother, Charles Living- 

stone, had now joined the expediton. He was a 
lazy, unreliable man, and it was proved later that 
he served no good purpose on the trip. Baines 
passed the time by helping Charles with his photo- 

The climate was both unkind and unhealthy. The 
swamps and the tropical sun affected the health of 
the men, and Baines was no exception. He 
succumbed to the intense heat and suffered from 
sunstroke and fever. 

In early August Livingstone started to move his 
stores from Expedition Island to Shupanga. Baines 
had become ill again with severe sunstroke, and 
the delirium left him very weak. In the following 
months he was to suffer repeated attacks of brain 
fever. While Livingstone was moving, Baines was 
resting and recuperating at Shupanga. He had Dr. 
John Kirk, the surgeon and botanist of the 
expedition with him for company. Later in the 
month the artist made his way further north to 
Sena, and then on to Tete in Mozambique. In spite 
of his constant ill health the artist managed to 
concentrate sufficiently to chart the Zambezi 

accurately on a map. He noted five sections of the 
river from Nyangoma Point to Tete. In November 
he was still too weak to accompany Livingstone to 
the Kebraska Gorge, and he remained at Tete with 
Charles Livingstone. Later that month he joined 
Livingstone's party at the Gorge where he 
sketched the Shibade Falls. The paintings made 
from these sketches now belong to the Royal 
Geographical Society. By this time Livingstone 
realised that the Zambezi could not "become 
God's pathway into the interior" and he sought a 
new route. It was to be along the Shire River - a 
tributary of the Zambezi. He set off with Kirk, 
leaving Baines behind and Charles in charge of the 
camp at Tete. 

Charles managed to fight and disagree with all the 
men under his command, and with Baines in 
particular. He even went so far as to accuse the 
artist of theft and dishonesty. He accused him of 
stealing stores, mainly five barrels of loaf-sugar 
and five jars of butter, and then of giving them 
away to the Portuguese. Matters came to a head, 
but the doctor was too busy with his explorations 

to worry about the administrative side of the 
expedition. He had already discovered Lake 
Nyasa, and small matters, like his brother's 
reports, were unimportant to him. He accepted 
them as being reliable but they were sufficiently 
damning as far as Baines was concerned, to lead to 
his dismissal from the expedition as from the 6th 
September, 1859. He left Tete in November for 
Expedition Island, becoming ill on the way. 
Without a trial or thorough investigation, Living- 
stone had decided that Baines was guilty and he 
treated him accordingly. In spite of the fact that he 
was a very sick man, the artist was made to live 
apart in one of the whale-boats until he sailed for 
home in December. Kirk stood by him through 
thick and thin, while his other colleagues helped to 
equip him with clothes and money, as the doctor 
had insisted he leave all his boxes in Tete. 
Included in these boxes were many of his 
drawings which he never saw again. On landing in 
Cape Town soon after Christmas, the artist went to 
stay with good friends for the next fourteen 
months. They were kind and sympathetic and 
helped to restore his health. The general public and 

men of repute who knew him, were all on his side 
during this difficult time. 

Baines was determined to return to Tete to retrieve 
his possessions. He decided to join James 
Chapman's expedition to the Zambezi. The main 
object of this journey was to explore the lower and 
middle regions of the river, as well as to establish 
trading posts along the way. For this trip the artist 
built copper twin canoes which he joined, one to 
the other, by a raft deck. He had no money but he 
raised a little by painting and selling his pictures. 
His limited cash allowed him to purchase only one 
rifle, but he had already learnt from the past to do 
without what he could not afford. An adventurous 
lad, Williams, joined him, and together with their 
canoes and gear they left Cape Town in March 
1861 on board a small sailing vessel. Chapman 
had left for the interior two months earlier. 

When the artist and the youth landed at Walvis 
Bay, they encountered only Hottentots, flamingoes 
and pelicans on the shore. They unloaded their 
possessions and towed the canoes ashore. Baines 
was befriended by a storekeeper who allowed him 

to live in a small wooden house in the Swakop 
valley. The artist was happy to wander in the 
vicinity and to make his sketches, but Williams 
became bored and restless and soon returned to the 
Cape. Early in May, Chapman's brother, Henry, an 
ivory-trader, rode down to Walvis Bay and after 
unloading, he packed Baines' s stores and canoe in 
his wagon. He set off and the artist followed on 
foot a few days later. They crossed the desolate 
wasteland known as the Namib desert by night 
only, as the heat was too exhausting during the day 
time. This trying journey took them seven days. In 
spite of his weariness the artist found plenty to 
interest him on the way. He noted the flora and 
was fortunate to see the rare Welwitschia Mirabilis 
plant which may reach an age of several centuries. 
He sent specimens of this strange plant with its 
orange flowers and its giant blue-green leaves to 
Kew Gardens, where the director described it as 
"the most wonderful botanical discovery of the 
century". It was William Hooker, the director of 
Kew, who named the plant "Welwitschia Mira- 
bilis" after an Austrian botanist, Dr. Welwitsch 
who had come across this mysterious botanical 

phenomenon before Baines. But modern botanists 
however feel that Baines was also partly 
responsible for the discovery of this desert tree, so 
they compromised and call it "Welwitschia 
Bainesi". Today these plants are protected, and 
anyone who destroys or uproots a Welwitschia is 
liable to receive either a R1,000 fine, or two years' 
imprisonment. Baines also discovered a tree-aloe 
which was subsequently named after him as the 
Aloe Bainesii. On July 20th he met James 
Chapman, and shortly afterwards the pair left the 
Windhoek Valley. They pressed on past the 
Elephant River into Bushman country. Marauding 
Bushmen did not make the trip any easier. On the 
other hand friendly Bushmen taught the travellers 
how to dig for succulent roots which when eaten, 
helped to quench their thirst. 

As summer and the fever season were at hand at 
Lake Ngami, their next destination, Chapman 
decided to pitch camp at Koobie, a lake, which 
was already drying up.. Here the artist sketched 
and studied the habits of the Bushmen. He even 
managed to pry from them the secret of the poison 

which they used so successfully on their arrow 
tips. This was big game country and the men saw 
rhinoceroses, elephants and leopards. At the end of 
November they started for Ngamiland. There they 
met the chief of the country, Lechulatebe, who 
came with 300 armed followers to trade in ivory 
with the white men. Baines described Lechulatebe 
as wearing "white moleskins, shepherd's plaid 
coat, top boots and a felt hat with flowing ostrich 

Chapman tried unsuccessfully to photograph the 
Chief. While he was bartering with Chapman the 
artist did a lightning sketch of him to the delight of 
his tribesmen who crowded around Baines in awe 
of "the magic that could put a man on paper". 
Three days were spent in bartering and then 
Chapman and his men packed the ivory and sent it 
back to Damaraland. 

Henry Chapman and two of his companions now 
joined the party. They set off in their wagons for 
Okavango, shooting elephants en route and 
frequently having narrow escapes from death. At 
the beginning of March they set out for Lake 

Ngami. Early one morning Chapman shot a white 
rhinoceros. Excitedly Baines left his breakfast and 
rushed out to make his first sketch of the beast. He 
was so absorbed in drawing this huge animal, 
which measured six feet in height and thirteen feet 
in length, that he forgot all about time and it was 
only much later that he realised he had gone all 
day without food. As they moved on, Chief 
Lechulatebe went out of his way to hinder their 
progress. He forbade his subjects to point out the 
drinking spots to the travellers along their route, 
and he also sent out Bushmen to frighten off the 
game in their path. After viewing the Kalahari 
desert from a hillock, the adventurers steered their 
course south of the Lake. Again Lechulatebe paid 
a visit to the white men's camp, to trade. They 
bargained, the natives desiring to exchange their 
elephant tusks, rhinorceros horns, corn, pumpkins 
and beans for blankets, beads and muskets. After 
dining with the white men, the Chief invited 
Chapman and Baines to visit his village. The artist 
made numerous sketches there, his prize one being 
a scene of Lechulatebe in his full regalia seated on 

his throne, at a Pitso, or gathering, of his armed 

In the middle of April the travellers set off on the 
last lap of their journey. They struggled on across 
the Ntwetwe desert. It was winter and the nights 
were bitterly cold. By early July they began their 
descent to the Zambezi. Their chief enemy now 
was the tsetse fly, the carrier of sleeping sickness, 
whose bite could prove so fatal both to man and to 
his cattle and domestic animals. The party reached 
Daka where they had hoped to find native carriers. 
Instead all they found was a deserted village. They 
pitched camp some twenty miles away, on high 
ground, believed to be free of the dreaded tsetse 
fly. On July 15th the two men set off on foot to the 
Falls, Chapman carrying his camera and Baines 
his sketching material. They took one wagon with 
them. On the night of the 22nd July, as silence fell 
over their camp, they heard for the first time the 
mighty roar of "The Smoke that thunders", Mosi- 
oa-tunya. They had .reached the Victoria Falls at 
last! They could hardly wait for sunrise, when 
accompanied by their native bearers, they travelled 

a mere half mile when they caught their first 
glimpse of the awe-inspiring cascading Falls. 
About six miles away they could see the clear 
waters of the Zambezi sparkling in the sunshine. 
One can well imagine the thrill this majestic view 
afforded the travellers, as well as the artist's added 
excitement to be surrounded by such natural 
beauty. The men pushed on through dense 
undergrowth until they reached "Leaping Water", 
better known today as the "Devil's Cataract". In 
the sodden grass beneath their feet they recognised 
buffalo tracks and elephant spoor. They were 
surrounded by maiden hair ferns and low palm 
trees. There they stood, drenched and enthralled, 
watching the spray in the Rain Forest! They forced 
their way through wild dates and vines, mud, spray 
and swamp until they reached the ground opposite 
Livingstone's "Garden Island". Here they met 
members of the Makololo tribe, who promised to 
lend them men to assist them in assembling their 
boats so that Baines could return to Tete. 
Meantime he made numerous sketches of the Falls 
from every viewpoint. He was the first artist to 
paint the Falls. 

The men next made preparations for their trip 
down the Zambezi towards the sea. The natives 
who accompanied them were an idle, lazy lot who 
spent most of their time eating. Food was scarce 
all round and Christmas dinner in 1862 was only 
provided for when a member of the party shot a 
quagga. To celebrate the day, and to buoy up their 
flagging spirits Baines raised his Union Jack. The 
trip continued full of hazards. Fever attacked the 
party, and as a result many of the natives perished. 
The wagons broke down, disputes broke out 
between members of the party thrown together for 
such a long time, and finally the plan to reach Tete 
was shelved. Chapman sailed for the Cape in 
September 1863, and Baines followed him a 
month later. 

When he reached Cape Town the artist heard of 
successful exhibitions of his paintings which had 
been held there, as well as in Lynn in England 
during his absence. The paintings exhibited were 
those concerned with both the Livingstone and 
Chapman expeditions as well as the artist's 
impressions of the Victoria Falls. He held his own 

exhibition in Cape Town in 1865, and delivered 
numerous lectures, all of which resulted in his 
receiving many art commissions. A number of the 
townspeople collected money and bought a few of 
his paintings which they presented to the local 
library "as a lasting memorial of his labours as an 
artist and explorer of South Africa". He sailed 
from Cape Town in the middle of May that year, 
and reached Southampton five weeks later. It was 
seven years since he had last seen England. 

Baines rented a room in London at a guinea a 
week and immediately reported to the Royal 
Geographical Society nearby. There he was given 
help to unpack his trophies and pictures, and he 
was provided with rooms where to work. Unfortu- 
nately his name was never cleared as far as the 
Livingstone episode was concerned. The doctor 
ignored all the artist' s pleas for a public trial. 

Baines was back in Cape Town at the end of 
January, 1867. This time he had come out from 
England to take charge of an expedition on behalf 
of the South African Goldfields and Exploration 
Company "to explore the Goldfields of Tati" in 

Matabeleland. He set out from Durban with his 
wagons, sixteen oxen, three horses and his 
servants. Once again he followed a slow and 
difficult trail through our country. He made his 
way to Maritzburg and Shepstone and then crossed 
the Umgeni River where he stopped to sketch the 
beautiful Howick Falls. He reached the foothills of 
the Drakensberg Range and then continued his 
journey crossing the Mooi and Bushman Rivers. 
When he reached the Tugela River his wagons and 
oxen were loaded on a pontoon and pulled across 
the water by natives. At the end of March the party 
started their arduous eleven-mile ascent of the 
Drakensberg, to be followed by the equally 
difficult descent into the Free State. All the time 
their progress was hampered by heavy mountain 
mists, and terrifying and drenching hail and 
thunder storms. On May 30th they arrived at Tati. 
Promptly they paid their respects to Mzilikazi, the 
elderly Matabele Chief, and explained that "they 
came in peace from the White Queen Victoria", 
that they were not there to steal the natives' land 
from them, and all they desired was his permission 
to prospect for gold. This permission was granted 

to them. Baines also visited Mzilikazi's son, 
Lobengula, who was destined to be the future king 
of the Matabele. Lobengula invited him into his 
kraal, where they feasted together on venison, 
mealie pap and native beer. As always the artist 
amused, amazed and befriended the natives by 
doing his quick sketches of them on the spot. 

The artist spent over four years in this area. In 
January, 1870 Lobengula was installed as the new 
chief in place of the aged Mzilikazi. He granted 
the explorer permission to continue his search for 
gold in the territory between the Gwailo and 
Ganyana Rivers which were approximately fifty 
miles apart. For this concession the artist presented 
Lobengula with a "salted" horse, a bridle and 
saddle, and a gun which together were worth 

Lobengula frequently visited Baines in his tent 
where they dined together and where he viewed 
with great interest the artist's many pictures. 
Through an interpreter they had lengthy 
discussions about the explorer's experiences as a 
hunter. The Chief weakened one day and allowed 

the artist to make a sketch of him, and he was 
highly delighted with the result. 

The expedition was a failure, and as there was no 
further financial aid forthcoming from England, 
Baines and his party decided to return to 
Maritzburg early in 1871. The artist's report and 
detailed map of his route taken during this time 
spent in the interior of South Africa, were highly 
praised and enthusiastically received by the 
Government Surveyor. 

The artist and the Paramount Chief met again in 
August that year when once more Baines needed 
Lobengula' s permission to prospect for gold, along 
a new route to Tati. Baines and his companions 
bided their time. He humoured the Chief by 
writing his letters, with the aid of an interpreter, to 
the President of the Transvaal as well as to the 
Portuguese Consul-General. He also made the 
Chief his own special seal which he cut out of 
wood. The white men heaped presents on the 
Chief in the form of a rifle, ammunition, candles, 
knives, blankets, ink to use with his new seal and 
matches. At last Lobengula agreed to their request. 

He signed his name with a faltering cross, and 
added his new seal to the official agreement. Just 
before the men departed the Chief presented them 
with gifts of meat for their journey, to which he 
added a personal present of beer for Baines. 

With their wagons the companions followed the 
route along the Mangwe, Semokhie and Shasha 
Rivers to Macloutsie. Once more Baines was in 
tsetse fly country and the men had to keep a 
constant watch over their horses and oxen. Baines 
managed to catch a fly which he later sent to 
England for research purposes. The animals were 
washed down with ammonia and tar-water as a 
protection against the tsetse pest. The party 
travelled mainly by moonlight, picking out their 
path with the help of lanterns. They did this 
deliberately as the tsetse do not fly by night. They 
met natives, who in exchange for lead and powder, 
guided them through an area free of the fly. By 
November the heavy rains started. In spite of these 
hazards they reached the "Fierce Crocodile" or 
Maghaliquain River, which flowed into the 
Limpopo. Wandering Boers had discovered this 

tributary before, and believing it was the Nile, they 
had called it Nylstroom. They reached Pretoria, 
then only a village of about fifty houses, in the 
middle of the month. This expedition was also a 
failure. In February, when on the borders of the 
Transvaal, news reached Baines that the 
Geographical Society had suggested he lead a 
relief expedition to find Livingstone who was lost 
in Africa. Although the suggestion was an honour, 
and the artist was prepared to forget his 
differences with the doctor and go to his aid, he 
was finally not chosen for the mission. 

After his unsuccessful ventures in Tati the artist 
was left penniless again. He continued to paint, 
even inn-signs, from which he eked out a living. 
Later he decided to follow Shep stone to Zululand 
where he was to crown the Native Chief 
Cetewayo. He was engaged as a special 
correspondent for the newspaper the Natal 
Mercury, for which he was to write articles. He 
travelled by train and road with the Durban 
Volunteer Artillery to Rendezvous Camp beyond 
the Tugela. Cetewayo never kept his original 

appointment with Shepstone, and continued 
delaying their meeting as he feared Shepstone 
meant to capture him and not to crown him. 
Finally on 28th August Cetewayo and thousands 
of his warriors arrived. On 1st September "a 
coronet of crimson velvet and gold braid, with 
towering crimson plumes, was placed on the 
king's head, a crimson and gold opera-cloak put 
about his shoulders and, seated upon an 
improvised throne, with another for Shepstone 
beside him, he was presented to the people, and a 
salute of seventeen guns fired in his honour". On 
his return to Durban, Baines put this scene, and 
many others which had caught his fancy while in 
Zululand, on canvas. 

Although one always remembers Baines primarily 
as a prolific artist and a courageous explorer, he 
had many other noteworthy facets to his make-up. 
As an astronomer his observations were reliable. 
His sketch-maps were highly accurate. He was a 
writer and he kept a journal of his travels in Africa 
from 1842-53. In 1864 he had a book published 
under the title of Explorations in South West 

Africa. In addition, he was a botanist, a geologist, 
ethnologist and natural historian. "In common with 
Livingstone and Moffat, he could shoe a horse or 
refix a loose wagon tyre, construct a pontoon or 
repair a damaged gun-lock or stock". In 1873 the 
Royal Geographical Society presented him with a 
gold watch in recognition of his geographical 

He developed dysentery, the same disease that 
killed Livingstone and other African explorers, 
caused no doubt from years of eating the 
indigestible tough flesh of big. game. After 
treating himself unsuccessfully he finally called in 
a doctor. When the doctor pronounced his case as 
hopeless, Baines refused to believe him, and 
declined to draw up a will. After wishing those 
around him "good night", he said "I am going to 
have a good sleep and that will be something", but 
before the morning he was dead. He died in 
Durban on 8th May, 1875, at the age of 53. 

His pictures are on view all over the country 
today. They may be seen in the New Historical 
Hall of the Port Elizabeth Museum; in the public 

gallery of the National Museum in Bloemfontein; 
in the Old House Museum in Durban; in the Fehr 
Collection at the Castle as well as in the National 
Gallery in Cape Town; and in the Archives of the 
Union Buildings in Pretoria. 

His self-portrait - the only known painting of him 
in existence - hangs in the Castle in Cape Town. 
Here, wearing his upturned hat at a rakish angle, 
he is seen as a dashing young adventurer, which 
indeed he was! 

Our early Victorian traveller enjoyed his life in 
spite of his poverty and many hardships. He was 
of a simple, unselfish and noble character. His 
name and exploits, particularly in South Africa, 
will always be remembered! 

Sir David GILL 

Her Majesty's astronomer at the Cape 1879-1906. 

David Gill - Watchmaker To Astronomer 

It is a Sunday morning in August 1865, and the 
bells are ringing loud and clear from the small 
Foveran parish church in Scotland. A carelessly 
dressed young man, twenty-two years of age, is 
walking to church in the company of his cousin 
Dr. John Ruxton. They had a three-mile walk 
ahead of them. On the way Dr. Ruxton decided to 
stop at the farm house of his friend John Black and 
bid him "good day". John Black and his three 
daughters there and then decided to join the two 
men at church. When young sixteen-year-old 
Isobel Black was introduced to Dr. Ruxton' s 
companion, David Gill, it was love at first sight for 
both of them. Happily David walked beside her, a 
spring in his step, a twinkle in his eye and a smile 
lighting up his face. There was joy in his heart as 
he turned to the girl and in his broad Scottish 
accent said "Isn't this the most glorious summer 
morning you ever saw?" Thus began the romance, 
which lasted all their lives, between David and 
Isobel. Being so young however their parents 

refused to allow them to marry, and the two lovers 
had to wait five years before they became man and 
wife. As in fairy tales - from then on they lived 
happily ever after! Unfortunately their union was 
not blessed with children, but throughout their 
many years together they nevertheless shared a 
complete sympathy, devotion and humour. 
Although Isobel always encouraged David in his 
astromony and gloried in his triumphs, she never 
became an astronomer herself, for which he was 
thankful. In later years a visitor was heard to say to 
him. "How nice it must be to be helped by your 
wife. I suppose she knows all about astronomy?" 
To which he replied "Not a word, thank God!" 

David Gill senior, our hero's father, was a clock 
and watchmaker in Aberdeen, Scotland. His first 
child, David junior, was born on the 12th of June, 
1843. It was in the garden of that house, while in 
this teens, that he mounted his first telescope. 

David, the subject of our story, had three younger 
brothers, Patrick, Andrew and James, and a sister 
Margaret, who married a minister, the Rector of 
Suffolk, England. She died in 1892, soon after her 

husband, and her three sons, aged five, seven and 
nine, came out to South Africa and made their 
home with David and Isobel at the Observatory at 
the Cape. They were adopted by their aunt and 
uncle. The care and upbringing of these children 
filled Isobel' s days and brought great happiness to 
her and her husband. 

David's mother was a lovable woman. Like her 
famous son she was energetic, broad-minded, 
highly intelligent, and enthusiastic in her approach 
to life. There was always a strong bond between 
her and her first-born. She died when David was 
twenty-seven. In the years after her death, when 
success came to him, he would frequently remark 
to Isobel "I wish my mother were alive. This 
would have pleased her." 

As a lad David did not show any signs at his 
studies of his later genius. He had a bright and 
affectionate disposition and respected his parents 
highly. At an early age however he showed a 
pronounced respect of the truth, and a love of 
nature, both of which were the bases of a scientist. 
He was a clever boy without being precocious or a 

prodigy. While at school he turned to chemistry as 
a hobby and he fitted out a small attic room in his 
home as a simple laboratory where he and his 
brother Patrick spent many happy hours in 
experimenting with the elements. His real 
introduction to the world of science came at the 
age of fourteen. He was sent to the Dollar 
Academy where he boarded with Dr. Lindsay, the 
headmaster. Dr. Lindsay rejoiced in having a pupil 
with such a quick, receptive mind for his own pet 
subjects - chemistry, mathematics and natural 
philosophy. On his return from the Dollar 
Academy David attended the University of 
Aberdeen. Here he was remembered, amongst 
other things, for his great vitality and zest for life. 
He had a great fondness for dancing and sport and 
was also an excellent shot with both rifle and 
revolver, winning many prizes for his good 
marksmanship. With a small bore, at long ranges 
he could hit accurately up to a distance of 1,000 
yards. He also dabbled in geology and frequently 
searched the local quarries for interesting rocks 
and stones. 

At the age of fifteen David was attending courses 
in natural history and mathematics. He also 
attended lectures in chemistry. At this time he was 
a pupil of Professor James Clerk Maxwell, an 
inspiring teacher and a great philosopher who was 
regarded by many as the greatest natural 
philosopher in the world after the death of Isaac 
Newton. After classes Professor Maxwell would 
hold long, informal discussions with his keenest 
pupils. David would attend these discussions and 
he was one of Maxwell's most enthusiastic 
disciples. Years later, when Maxwell was asked to 
write a testimonial on Gill, he wrote "Mr. David 
Gill was one of my ablest students in Marischal 
College, Aberdeen". Maxwell also delivered 
lectures on practical astronomy to his students 
which David attended. At one of these lectures 
Maxwell "exhibited a model of a transit instrument 
made out of tin-plate and mounted on wooden 
supports". (A transit instrument is a telescope with 
a pattern of wires at the eye-end so that the 
astronomer can record when a star appears to cross 
a given part of the sky.) For three years David sat 
at the feet of his great teacher, and in later life he 

said of him "His teaching influenced the whole of 
my future life". 

When he turned seventeen David was all set to go 
to Cambridge University and take a mathematical 
degree, but fate willed it otherwise. His father was 
an old man of seventy-one and he insisted that his 
eldest son enter his watchmaking business. In 
those days it was almost unheard of for a son to 
disobey his father's wishes. Although the idea of 
following a trade was repugnant to the young lad, 
he was a dutiful son and he consented to become a 
watchmaker. He spent the next two years in 
London, Coventry and of course in Switzerland - 
the home of watchmaking, studying the manufac- 
turing of clocks, watches and chronometers. (A 
chronometer is a very accurate instrument used for 
measuring time and determining longitude.) These 
years spent in working with his hands were to be 
invaluable to him in his future life as an 
astronomer. He gained great experience in the 
skilful manipulation of delicate mechanisms, in 
mechanical drawing and the handling of tools. 
This stood him in good stead for the later technical 

skill he required in the use, construction and 
design of complicated astronomical machinery. 
While in Switzerland David learnt to speak French 
fluently, which was also to be of future value to 
him. The first six months of 1862 he was training 
in a workshop in Coventry, England. Many years 
later he said "The best part of my astronomical 
education was the time I spent in a workshop". 
While he was there he made a number of watches 
on his own, as well as a marine chronometer. The 
following year his father made him a junior 
partner, and their business was known as David 
Gill and Son. There was an observatory in 
existence in Aberdeen, and every evening after 
work David and his friend Professor David 
Thomson would go there and work with the transit 
instrument. Later Thomson bought his own three 
and a half inch telescope and he and David 
attempted to measure double stars with it. Double 
stars are two stars which are so close together that 
when viewed with the naked eye they appear as 
one. When viewed through a telescope however 
they are seen as a pair. The interesting feature 
about these double stars is that they are always 

attracted to one another, and they move together in 
the sky. The two friends also installed a mean-time 
clock in the observatory which kept time, within a 
fraction of a second, of "true Greenwich time". 

David hated the nine years that he was forced to 
work as a watchmaker under his father' s stern eye. 
In spite of the drudgery of his life as a merchant 
however, he still managed to enjoy himself outside 
office hours. He had many companions, both male 
and female. His favourite and most absorbing 
hours however, were those spent in his garden in 
his small observatory with his own telescope. He 
purchased this, his first telescope, in 1867 as the 
result of an advertisement he saw in the 
Astronomical Register. It had a speculum, or 
mirror, made of highly polished metal, with a 
twelve inch aperture or opening and a focus of ten 
feet. David erected a small observatory for it in the 
garden opposite his home and spent most of that 
year mounting his telescope. He made the 
mechanical driving clock, used to move the 
telescope, with his own hands. As he said, he 
"loved this telescope as he might a human being 

for the sympathy and comfort that it seemed to 
bring him". Not only did he measure double stars 
with this instrument, but he also attempted to 
measure star distances. This work demanded such 
high skill that the thought of attempting it 
frightened most astronomers of the day. David 
used his telescope further for photographing the 
moon and he was most successful in his results at 
a time when this art was virtually unknown. In the 
same year he became a member of the Royal 
Astronomical Society. 

By now he had realised that astronomy was the 
only field of science that would satisfy his 
searching mind. He had discovered the irresistible 
attraction astronomy had for him by the great 
pleasure he experienced when looking at the stars 
and deriving information from them firsthand, 
instead of from books. Fortunately he was blessed 
with two great gifts, both essential to a successful 
astronomer. They were sureness, and a delicate 
touch, in manipulating the insuments, as well as 
exceptionally keen eyesight. 

It was about this time that he became friendly with 
Lord Lindsay, whom he later assisted with his 
plans to build an observatory at Dun Echt, thirteen 
miles from Aberdeen. This was to become the 
biggest private observatory in the world at that 
time. Although only in his twenties, Lord Lindsay 
was a remarkable young man. He possessed 
influence and wealth as well as a great knowledge 
of, and love for, science. It was he who persuaded 
his father, the Earl of Crawford, to erect an 
observatory on their estate and then to invite 
David to become its first director. David accepted 
the offer with alacrity. With his wife's support and 
encouragement he closed up the family business 
and in 1872 he and Isobel moved to Dun Echt. 
From that moment astronomy ceased to be his 
hobby and became his life's work. Gill virtually 
equipped and created this observatory. Included in 
his duties as director were the designing and 
ordering of the instruments, and seeing to it that 
they were quickly and efficiently completed. 
These instruments included, among others, a 
heliometer, which is an instrument for measuring 
the apparent size of the sun; a photometer, which 

is an instrument used for measuring, very 
accurately, the intensity of light - it serves the 
same purpose as an exposure meter does for a 
camera; a portable altazimuth, which is a telescope 
that can move both horizontally and vertically; a 
Transit circle, which is yet another type of 
telescope; a forty-foot focus lens for photography; 
clocks and fifty chronometers. These instruments 
were ordered from England and the continent. At 
the same time David superintended the building 
operations of both his home and the observatory. 

At the end of 1873 he went on a tour of the leading 
observatories on the continent and met astrono- 
mers in other countries with whom he compared 
ideas. He visited Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stock- 
holm and St. Petersburg. From October of the 
following year the heliometer became his pet 
instrument because of the great accuracy of his 
observations made with it. One of Lord Lindsay's 
projects was to observe the Transit of Venus, from 
the Isle of Mauritius in December 1874. This 
meant the scientific watching of the crossing of 
Venus in front of the face of the sun. Venus which 

is about the same size as the Earth, is 67 million 
miles from the sun. Gill and Lindsay had great 
difficulties and many anxieties about transferring 
their instruments by steamer via Aden to 
Mauritius. David sailed with the portable 
altazimuth and fifty chronometers direct, while 
Lord Lindsay travelled in his own yacht via the 
Cape. He had the bulk of the instruments, and their 
assistants, on board with him. 

To appreciate only one of Gill's many difficulties 
on the trip, he had the job of comparing his fifty 
chronometers twice a day throughout the outward 
voyage, even when he was violently sea- sick. 
However his effort was not in vain, as these 
longitude determinations were of great value both 
to geography and astronomy. 

He arrived in Mauritius in August but Lindsay's 
yacht only arrived in November. After making the 
necessary preparations for the arrival of Lindsay 
and the installation of their instruments, David 
enjoyed the three months on the island. He went 
out on numerous night fishing expeditions with 
friends. In spite of Lindsay's late arrival and cloud 

interference which hampered their observations, 
the two men took excellent heliometer measures 
and photographs during the transit of Venus "as a 
black spot over the sun's surface." 

After this expedition Gill was recognised in the 
world of astronomy and science as an 
accomplished organiser and exact observer. He 
sailed home via the Seychells, Aden, Suez and 
Alexandria where his wife joined him. They 
travelled on to Cairo where they were the guests of 
the Khedive Ismail, who provided them with a 
furnished house at the Pyramids. There David and 
his fellow astronomer, Colonel Charles Watson, 
spent three months surveying the Great Pyramid. 
The Khedive was so impressed with Gill's work, 
that he proposed that David sever his relationship 
with Lord Lindsay and stay on to carry out an 
accurate survey of Egypt. Gill was keen on the 
plan, but it did not materialise and he returned to 
Dun Echt. 

In 1876 Sir George Airy, regarded as the top man 
in his day in the world of astronomy, visited 
Scotland. He was Astronomer Royal and he had 

been watching Gill's progress with interest. David 
in turn greatly admired and respected Airy. The 
two men met at lunch at mutual friends in 
Aberdeen. At this stage of his life Gill had 
terminated his contract with Lord Lindsay, 
although they continued to remain friends for the 
rest of their days. David was floundering and 
uncertain as to what would be the next step in his 
astronomical career. Airy took the young 
astronomer under his wing, and the Gills moved to 
London. David's next aim was to try and 
determine the distance of the sun from the earth, 
from observations of Mars, "at its nearest 
approach to the Earth." He knew that in the 
following year Mars would be closer to the earth 
than at any other time during the following 
hundred years. The planet of Mars, at its closest, is 
less than 35 million miles from us. Gill needed 
funds and the loan of a heliometer for his 
expedition to the Isle of Ascension to carry out his 
observations of Mars. Thanks to Airy's influence 
and help, the Royal Astronomical Society raised 
R 1,000 for him, and Lord Lindsay gladly lent him 
his heliometer. 

Mrs. Gill accompanied her husband on his six- 
month expedition to Ascension, and later she 
wrote a delightful book on their experiences titled 
Six Months in Ascension. They landed there in 
July, 1877, to find only a garrison on the lonely 
island. Life there was run "on true navy lines". 
They were allowed only one gallon of water a day 
and they received goat's milk to drink with their 
rations of sweet potatoes, bread and occasional 
mutton. Gill laid out his observing books, set up 
his instruments and with his wife they made a 
temporary home in an empty cottage. 

The weather was against them and night after 
night clouds obscured Mars. Isobel helped her 
husband in numerous ways. She made notes on the 
weather conditions for him, sometimes as often as 
every half hour throughout the night. Their 
expedition was a success, and Gill secured an 
excellent set of evening and morning observations 
of Mars. These results were received with great 
excitement by the Royal Astronomical Society. It 
should be appreciated here, that at that time the 
most urgent problem for astronomers was to 

measure the exact distance of the sun from the 
earth. It was known to be between ninety and 
ninety- six million miles. (Today the accepted 
distance is ninety-three million miles.) Therefore, 
the distance of the sun from Mars, or from any 
other minor planet, had to be measured exactly. 
Gill felt his duty to science, first and foremost, was 
to try and help to solve this problem. He and 
Isobel returned to England in the following 
January and he spent the next year in London 
working on the reduction of his Ascension 
observations. His results "finally settled the 
conflicting estimates of the sun's distance from the 
earth," and this figure was accepted all over the 
world. The Royal Astronomical Society awarded 
him their Gold Medal for this research work in 
1882, and at the same time he also received the 
Valz Medal of the Institute of France. 

In February 1879 David received news from the 
Admiralty that he had been appointed Her 
Majesty's Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope. 

The Gills arrived in Cape Town in June that year. 
After spending a week in an hotel they set up 

home at the observatory. It was a desolate spot a 
few miles from town with only a muddy rough 
road winding from the station to the observatory. 
The grounds had been neglected and were in a 
deplorable condition. Only the wild flowers and 
blooming arum lilies on the hillside added colour 
to the scene. Fortunately this bleak, drab welcome 
did not dampen the Gill's spirits too much. They 
had learnt to "rough it" before both at the 
Pyramids and Ascension. In a few years they had 
transformed this wilderness into a home of charm 
and beauty. 

One of their first and closest friendships formed in 
Cape Town was with Admiral Sir Frederick 
Richards. Gill enlisted his help in improving their 
observatory grounds. David and Isobel met Sir 
Bartle Frere, the Governor, and his wife and they 
attended dinners given by them at Government 
House. Gill admired Sir Bartle greatly for his 
earnest desire to assist South Africa's progress in 
all directions. He persuaded Gill to become 
president of the Philosophical Society in his place. 
By the time Frere was recalled, and sailed from 

Cape Town in August the following year, their 
mutual regard for one another had grown 
tremendously. They continued a correspondence 
long after Frere returned to England. 

Four months after his arrival at the Cape, Gill 
presented his report to the Governor on his 
proposed Trigonometrical Survey of the colonies 
in South Africa. He submitted his plans as well to 
Sir George Airy for his criticism. The latter 
approved of his scheme, and wrote back "There is 
ten years work cut out for you." 

David did not confine his interest and work to 
astronomy. With his indomitable energy he 
assisted the local museum and helped in 
educational plans and appointments. In turn, he 
received support in his work first from Sir 
Frederick Richards and Sir Bartle Frere, and later 
from Lord Milner, Cecil Rhodes, Earl Grey and all 
the admirals who were in command at the Cape 
during his stay there. 

Gill's biggest job in South Africa was an attempt 
to determine "the size and figure of the earth by 

the measurement of the long arc of meridian." He 
devoted twentyfive years of his life to this work. 
He realised, logically, that the longer the arc, the 
greater would be the distance of the earth 
measured. And subsequently the more of the earth 
that he measured accurately, the less the error 
would be in determining the full size of the whole 
earth. That was why he was determined to 
continue this mathematical survey and 
measurement of the earth's surface as far north in 
Africa as possible. He met Cecil Rhodes 
frequently and secured his promise to be allowed 
to extend his arc of meridian through Rhodesia for 
this purpose. On visiting him one day at Groote 
Schuur, Rhodes suddenly turned to him and said 
"Did you ever realise what a privilege it is to be an 
Englishman?" When Gill tentatively replied that 
he thought it was better to be a Scotsman, Rhodes 
rejoined "Ah, man, that is the same thing!" 

Another friend of the Gills, and a frequent visitor 
to their home, was the famous soldier, General 
Gordon, who came out to South Africa in 1882 to 
command the colonial forces there. He and David 

had a deep respect for one another. When 
"Chinese" Gordon resigned from his post he went 
to the observatory to say goodbye to him. After 
their farewell handshake, Gordon climbed into his 
hansom, and as he drove away he pointed a finger 
in the direction of Gill and murmured quietly to 
his companion in the cab "Of such is the salt of the 
earth!" RudyardKipling, the famous writer, was 
yet another friend of the astronomer: In a letter 
home, David wrote of him "He says he has written 
an astronomical story which he dreads my getting 
hold of. It is published in some American 
magazine - if you can get hold of it - try - send it 
to me." In their first year at the Cape the Gills 
made many friends and thereafter they won a 
permanent place of affection in the hearts of all 
their associates. 

The very human side of Gill, showing his keen 
sense of humour, is well illustrated in this 
anecdote about him. Soon after his arrival in Cape 
Town he was walking up Adderley Street one 
afternoon when he saw a phonograph in a shop 
window. He entered the shop with his wife, and 

for fun spoke a few words into the instrument. 
When the reproduction of his voice was played 
back to him, he joined in the general laughter as he 
enquired "Do I r-really r-roll my R's like that?" He 
always appreciated a joke, even when it was at his 
own expense. 

Although his social life was happy, he was not so 
happy about his observatory. The equipment he 
found there was practically useless for his work of 
refined measurements. With his dogged 
persistence however he continued a flow of reports 
to the Admiralty, and in his twenty- seven years at 
the Cape he slowly transformed the collection of 
wretched equipment into a superb observatory 
with a collection of magnificent precision 
instruments unequalled anywhere in the world. 

At the end of 1880 his own four-inch heliometer 
arrived in Cape Town, and he and a young 
German student, Elkin, spent the next two and a 
half years systematically measuring star distances. 
Their excellent results are known today to all 
students of astronomy. 

In 1882 Gill originated a new type of observation 
in astronomy. In that year a particularly bright 
comet was visible in the sky in the southern 
hemisphere. Although it was seen at its best at 
dawn, it glittered so brilliantly that it was also 
visible in full sunlight. David was so thrilled with 
the spectacle of this magnificent heavenly body 
with its long tail of light, that he wanted to share 
its beauty with his friends in England. It was then 
that he hit on the idea of photographing the comet. 
His results were an exciting revelation both to his 
friends and himself. He went even further with his 
experiments, using photography as a medium for 
cataloguing and charting stars. As a result of his 
work in this new field he was convinced that star 
maps could be constructed, not only to any 
required scale, but also "down to any required 
order of magnitude". The Royal Society became 
interested in this new work of his, and they sent 
out a photographer from England to assist him. 
With the additional funds from the Society, Gill 
set up apparatus to catalogue and photograph all 
southern stars. The results of this labour provided 
valuable additional information for the "star- 

catalogue-of-identification" then in existence. He 
was the first astronomer in the world to use 
photography for star charting. He paved the way 
for astronomers the world over, who soon 
followed his lead and started using photography in 
their work. 

In December of the next year Gill wrote to his 
friend Sir George Airy about his ambition to carry 
out a systematic research on star distances. "I am 
willing to give up my rest at night for the next ten 
or twelve years for this work (and to do the work 
with my own hands) if the Government will give 
me the necessary means - a seven-inch 
Heliometer..." Eight months later he wrote to him 
again, this time in happier vein... "The Admiralty 
has granted me £2,700 (R5,400) for a new 
Heliometer and its observatory..." When the new 
heliometer was mounted at the Cape it became the 
most efficient instrument of its kind in existence. 

Visiting astronomers of world repute called at the 
Cape and visited Gill. Noteworthy among famous 
names was that of Professor Simon Newcomb 
from Washington, U.S.A. He was regarded as one 

of the leading theoretical astronomers in the world. 
This meant that he did not make personal 
"observations" of the stars, but that he made his 
deductions from other astronomers' measurements 
and figures. The friendship between these two 
great men, Gill on the practical side as the 
"observer", and Newcomb on the theoretical side, 
as the "arm-chair" astronomer, was to prove of 
great value to astronomy. Although they differed 
in their views, they respected one another and 
corresponded for years. Each man saw what help 
he could obtain, through the exchange of ideas, 
from the other. In one of his many letters to 
Newcomb, Gill summed up their relationship at 
the outset of his letter thus: 

Let's first shake hands before we box 
Then give each other friendly knocks, 
With all the love and kindness of a brother. 

When the Gills visited Europe on their first 
vacation in five years it was a busman's holiday 
for David, and he wrote to Newcomb "I have 
never been so hard worked in the whole of my 
life..." He visited the Admiralty frequently with 

requests for equipment for his observatory in Cape 
Town. During his holiday he received the 
Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws - LL.D. from 
the University of Edinburgh. In a letter to 
Newcomb, describing the ceremony, he wrote "I 
wore a red gown and velvet cap and so been for 
the second time transformed into a Doctor of Laws 
- what kind of laws I am learned in I have yet to 
ascertain". (He had previously received an 
Honorary LL.D. from the University of Aberdeen.) 

In 1887 Gill attended the International Conference 
of Astronomers in Paris. By this time he was 
recognised as the leading astronomer in the world! 
One can imagine his joy, humility and pride when 
the Congress elected him to be their Honorary 
President. This Astrographic Congress was a 
world wide gathering of the heads of the leading 
observatories, to plan the mapping and plotting of 
all the stars of the sky. The delegates arranged for 
the erection of astrographic telescopes, and the 
taking of the necessary photographs, in the four 
corners of the globe. Each director of an observa- 
tory was allocated "a portion of the heavens" to 

complete the whole picture. (An astrographic 
telescope functions as a camera, to photograph all 
the stars in a certain area of the sky.) Gill was 
most enthusiastic about their plan, and he foresaw 
the great future value of their proposed detailed 
catalogue. He was appointed the organiser and 
leader of the fifty- six astronomers who embarked 
on this colossal piece of international research. It 
soon became obvious that he was head and 
shoulders above all the other delegates in 
experience and knowledge of photographing stars. 
Consequently from that date, until his death, the 
members of the Committee never ceased to seek 
his judgment and guidance until the completion of 
the Astrographic Chart and Catalogue. He was 
always regarded as the driving force behind this 
great undertaking. 

On his return from Paris Gill spent the next three 
years at the Cape busy with his heliometer 
working on star distances. Later he measured the 
distances of the minor planets, Victoria, Iris and 
Sappho. He loved his heliometer second only to 
his wife. She once said of him "When David 

comes in after a night's work with his old helio- 
meter he is just daft, laughing and joking... and so 
it will be as long as his eye can look through a 

In the meantime he was experiencing great 
difficulty in obtaining the Admiralty's, permission 
to buy a large astrographic telescope, and to 
persuade them at the same time to approve the 
building of an observatory to house the instrument. 
These were essential for his work in the part he 
was to play in the International Chart. In the end, 
as always, he got his way and more besides. The 
British Government granted him R4,000 for his 
astrographic telescope and R 1,400 for the 
necessary Photographic Observatory and dome. 
This total amount exceeded all Gill's requests and 
dreams by R1,000. No wonder he was jubilant! 

Astronomers all over the world held him in such 
high esteem that they never hesitated to come to 
his assistance from great distances, even when it 
meant stopping their own work for a time. He was 
admired and loved for his essentially human and 
unselfish qualities. At the time he was the only 

man at the Cape who could work the heliometer. 
When he feared a possible breakdown, or the 
stoppage of work due to eye- strain or other factors 
which might yield years of work valueless, his 
friend, Dr. Auwers, the famous German 
astronomer, packed his bags and sailed for Cape 
Town to assist him. Auwers gave up his own work 
for four months and he considered it not only his 
duty but also an honour to come to Gill's aid. 

Gill literally worked in the dark for years. It was 
only in 1888, nine years after his arrival at the 
Cape, that electric lighting was installed in his 
home and the observatory. In a letter to a friend in 
England he wrote "our electric lighting was 
installed in February, and is a complete success. 
All the instruments are now so illuminated, and we 
are already wondering how it was possible to 
observe without it." Soon after this he was offered 
the position of Professor of Mathematics at 
Cambridge University, but he refused the Chair as 
he felt he could do more for astronomy by 
completing his work at the Cape. 

In 1896, while on one of his periodic visits to 
England, he was awarded the honour of the C.B., 
the Companionship of the Bath. Four years later 
the K.C.B. was also conferred upon him. His 
knighthood was popularly received all over the 

Meantime Gill never stopped adding instruments 
to his observatory. In 1896 the Treasury granted 
him funds to erect a transit circle at the Cape. 
Added to this excitement was the offer made to 
him by Mr. Frank MacLean, a brilliant English 
spectroscopist, of his large Victoria telescope 
equipped for spectroscopic and photographic 
work. This Victoria telescope, and the transit circle 
are still at the Observatory in Cape Town. When 
all these new instruments were installed, the 
observatory in Cape Town became the finest 
observatory in the southern hemisphere. It was 
now so equipped that the southern stars could be 
studied as effectively as the stars in the northern 

It must be remembered that not only was Gill the 
finest astronomer in the world, but he was also the 

leading scientist in our country in his day. He was 
elected the first president of the South African 
Association for the Advancement of Science in 
1902. This Association is still in existence, and 
meets regularly. 

Years of constant hard work finally caught up with 
him, his health suffered and he was forced to retire 
from his directorship of the Cape observatory. As 
he wrote to a fellow astronomer "When a man 
begins to feel work an effort it is time to stop. Till 
a couple of years ago I found all my work a 
pleasure - now I begin to find it an effort - and 
especially to new jobs." His wife too had been in 
frail health for many years. They left the Cape in 
1906 after twenty-seven years. Although Gill was 
the proverbial absent-minded professor, he always 
found time to lend a helping hand and a sympa- 
thetic ear to his employees and their families. A 
close associate of his at the Cape for many years 
said of him "He not only made the Cape 
observatory renowned throughout the scientific 
world, but he made of its staff and of their families 
quite a little world of its own, a happy family." 

Mrs. Gill too endeared herself to all who met and 
knew her. 

During his years of retirement in London, Sir 
David Gill wrote his famous book, History and 
Description of the Cape Observatory as well as 
filling his hours writing lectures and articles, and 
receiving the many foreign astronomers who 
frequently called on him. In leisure hours his 
favourite sports were deer- stalking and golf. 
Frequently he travelled to the highlands of 
Scotland to shoot stag and pheasants. He was a 
busy and happy man, active physically and 
mentally, to the end. In 1909 he was elected 
President of the Royal Astronomical Society. 
Happiness was the key-note of his life and 
successes. He was happy in his work as an 
astronomer, happy and sincere in all his numerous 
friendships, and extremely happy in his married 
life. Of his marriage he said "We are a very Derby 
and Joan couple who like to be together as much 
as possible." Gill's one source of unhappiness was 
his wife's constant ill-health. Her recurring illness 
caused him to suffer deeply. 

Gill received the Royal Astronomical Society's 
Gold Medal for the second time in 1908. In 1913 
he received the insignia of Commandeur de la 
Legion d'Honneur. He also received the German 
Order Pour le Merite, which was the highest award 
that Germany could bestow upon him. When he 
received the news he turned to his wife in all 
humility and said "Well I am an overrated man!" 
He received more world-wide honours than any 
other astronomer of his day. 

David's seventieth birthday was his last. He 
received congratulatory telegrams and letters from 
all over the world. In reply to a cable from the 
staff of the Cape Observatory he wrote: "One of 
the greatest joys of my old age is to watch the 
progress of the Cape Observatory and to find that 
my old fellow workers are still as keen as ever, 
and that the dear old Observatory is still to the 
front and going on to higher and better things." 

Gill and men of his calibre were the forerunners of 
our modern space travel and development. They 
were the men who paved the way, by seeking out 
the secrets of the heavens, and providing our 

scientists with all the required information about 
the stars, the planets and the star distances. 
Knowledge of all these facts is essential today, 
before men and missiles can be projected into 
space with any feeling of confidence and security. 

David Gill died, of double pneumonia and pleurisy 
on January 24th, 1914. He was buried in the town 
of his birth, Aberdeen. He had enjoyed a long and 
full life, crowded with activity. Not only had he 
contributed to the world of science, but he had also 
added to the sum of human knowledge. 

Lord Robert S.S. BADEN-POWELL C.B 

; 'Try and leave the world a little better than you found it" 

Baden-Powell - Soldier And Chief Scout 
Of The World 

The slim khaki clad figure stood on the main dais, 
the focal point of all eyes. He raised his hat in 
acknowledgment as the thousands of youthful 
voices around him shouted "Hip-hip-Hurrah!" The 
place was the Old Deer Park in Richmond, 
England. The year was 1920, and the occasion was 
the first Scout Jamboree of Great Britain. The 
youth gathered there had come from far and wide. 
They had travelled from Siam and Norway, from 
Japan and Chile, and from China and the United 
States of America. The three cheers were a warm 
and spontaneous climax to a successful week of 
exciting events. Seven days of Pageants, 
Competitions, Demonstrations and Displays. But 
what of the central figure? Who was he to merit 
this public demonstration of affection and 
acclamation? No boy scout or girl guide will be 
surprised I am sure, to read that he was none other 
than Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout 
Movement and Chief Scout of the World. But let 
us start at the beginning ... For the purpose of our 

story we will refer to the main character simply as 

Baden-Powell certainly had the most appropriate 
initials for his name. The letters "B.P." stand not 
only for the name of our hero in this tale, but also 
for the international Scout code-"Be Prepared!" 

Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, to give 
him his full list of names, was the son of famous 
and remarkable parents. His father, the Reverend 
H. G. Baden-Powell, was a scientist as well as a 
clergyman. He married three times, and after his 
death in 1861 his widow, B.P.'s mother, although 
left penniless, educated and provided for seven of 
the ten children in the family. These children 
ranged in age from one month to thirteen years of 
age. In later, life most of them made a name for 
themselves. The eldest boy became a Chief Judge 
in India, one son became a Member of Parliament, 
and yet a third turned out to be a famous artist. 
"Ste", as his family called him, was born on the 
22nd February, 1857. His mother taught her 
younger children herself, and at the same time she 
did welfare work in London hospitals. She taught 

her children nature study by taking them for walks 
in the country. She was also responsible for 
providing B.P. with his first lessons in drawing 
and scouting. Boy Scouts and Girl Guides 
throughout the world have more to thank her for 
than they probably realise. For B.P. in later years 
frequently said, if it was not for his mother's 
encouragement and belief in the Scout movement 
he may never have persisted in his ideas. 

Important and interesting people were friends and 
frequent visitors of the BadenPowell household. 
B.P.'s godfather was Robert Stephenson, the well- 
known bridge-builder and engineer. William 
Thackeray, the novelist and famous humorist, as 
well as John Ruskin, the art critic and philosopher, 
were the family's close friends. It was Ruskin who 
first taught B.P. to paint. He found his pupil had 
the unusual gift and talent of being able to paint 
and draw equally well with both his left hand and 
his right. 

He started his education at a private school in 
Kensington Square. From there he went on to a 
preparatory school at Tunbridge Wells, where he 

won a scholarship which entitled him to proceed to 
Charterhouse, Thackeray's old school. He did not 
shine as a classical scholar, and Greek, French and 
Mathematics were hardly his strong points. In fact 
in one of his school reports, his French master 
wrote of him "Could do well, has become very 
lazy, often sleeping in school". But on the other 
hand his Headmaster wrote "He is a boy whose 
word you could not doubt". In later life, in his 
autobiography, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, 
B.P. wrote "There was a great deal that I learned at 
school, outside the classroom, which was of value 
to me." 

Whereas he did not shine on the sportsfield, B.P. 
stood out above his school companions in amateur 
dramatics. He was a born mimic and comedian and 
he often performed at school concerts and plays. 
These stage performances taught him how to 
disguise his character, appearance and voice, all of 
which stood him in good stead for his real life role 
of a spy in later years. In his book My Adventures 
as a Spy he described vividly how he made use of 
these early lessons. 

At this age he had his first training as a tenderfoot. 
He spent a good deal of his time on his own 
exploring the woods near his school fields. These 
woods, which were out of bounds to the boys, 
were known as the "Copse". He wrote "It was here 
that I used to imagine myself a backwoodsman, 
trapper and scout. I used to creep about warily, 
looking for 'signs' and getting 'close up' 
observation of rabbits, squirrels, rats and birds". 
He also discovered that his best hiding place, when 
the masters were looking for him, was "up above, 
as in a tree, even if there was no covering foliage". 
This knowledge probably saved his life later when 
he was a secret agent. Fifty years later B.P. wrote 
an article for his old school magazine on The 
Copse. In it he said "I learned, too, how to use an 
axe, how to walk across a gully on a felled tree 
trunk, how to move silently through the bush so 
that one became a comrade rather than an 
interloper among the birds and animals that lived 
there ... And the birds, the stoats, the watervoles 
that I watched and knew! ... It was in the copse 
that I gained most of what helped me on in after 
life to find the joy of living". 

B.P. was a good musician, and while at school he 
played the bugle in the Cadet Corps band, and the 
piano and violin in the school orchestra. Although 
he was a reserved lad, without a special school 
friend, he was popular, sociable and the possessor 
of a keen sense of humour. He was a member of a 
secret school club known as the "Druid's Club" 
and he chose his own title for this club's 
membership, that of "Lord Bathing Towel". He 
also decorated the Club's Minute Book with 
amusing sketches. 

He spent his school holidays with his brothers 
Frank and Warington. They went on long camping 
excursions and B.P. soon learnt to trap his own 
food, catch fish and even to build his own hut. The 
brothers went sailing up the Thames, and later they 
made longer boat trips which took them round the 
shores of the British Isles. They even crossed to 
Norway, and through these experiences B.P. learnt 
the art of seamanship, as well as the courage to 
face unexpected dangers. 

At the age of nineteen he left Charterhouse. He 
never attended University, but he entered the 

Army instead. In the entrance examination he 
came fourth in the infantry section, and second in 
the cavalry out of seven hundred men. Three 
months later, the new sub-lieutenant sailed for 
Lucknow in India, to join the 13th Hussars, a 
famous cavalry regiment. He landed in Bombay 
five weeks later. Altogether he spent about 
eighteen years in India, and he grew to know the 
country fairly well. After he had been in the 13th 
Hussars for two years his regiment was ordered to 
Kandahar, in Afghanistan on the northern frontier 
of India. Next they moved to Quetta where B.P. 
learnt Hindustani and studied both French and 
Persian. When his regiment reached Muttra he 
enjoyed the sports of polo and pig- sticking. Pig- 
sticking is a rough sport. It is the art of horsemen 
spearing wild boar. B.P. actually won the Kadir 
cup, which is the blue ribbon of all pig-stickers, 
for this sport for his regiment. 

In 1884 the 13th Hussars were ordered to move to 
Natal in South Africa. They were sent to assist an 
expedition under Sir Charles Warren against the 
Boers who were contemplating annexing part of 

the territory of Bechuanaland. During this 
expedition Baden-Powell started his career as a 
spy. He was sent, on his own, on a secret 
reconnaissance of the Natal frontier - an area of 
600 miles. He took two horses with him, one of 
which he rode and the other which carried his 
foodstuff and blankets. He disguised himself 
effectively by growing a beard and posing in turn 
as a newspaper correspondent, fisherman and 
artist. Alone he compiled maps and reports, and 
within a month he had successfully fulfilled his 

In July, 1885, Captain Baden-Powell was granted 
leave, and with five companions he set off on a 
hunting expedition in Portuguese Africa. As a 
result of this trip he sent the following trophies 
home to his mother: Heads - one Hippo, one 
Buffalo, one Wildebeest, one Impala, two Kudu, 
one Waterbuck, one Lion's skull, one Sable 
Antelope and three Reedbuck. Hides - one 
Waterbuck, six Reedbuck. He also sent her 
souvenirs in the form of eight assegais and some 
bows and arrows. 

Extracts from the hunter's diary on this trip make 
interesting reading: 

20th - "Saw native way of making a cigarette by 
licking a dried plantain leaf and rolling tobacco in 

23rd - "The correct way to wash your hands in 
this country (owing to the scarcity of water) is to 
fill your mouth with water and then let a thin 
stream trickle on to your hands while you wash." 

25th - "The gut of a buck or sheep threaded on a 
stick and roasted over the fire is an excellent 
morsel-like sausage skin lined with marrow." 

27th - "I shot a hippo." 

28th - "Hit a hippo on the nose - Hippo's tongue a 
good dish, like ox tongue." 

It was at the old slave port of Inhambane in 
Portuguese East Africa, where this trip took place, 
that the local natives christened Baden-Powell 
M'hlala Panzi - the man who lies down to shoot, 
or the man who makes his plans carefully before 
taking aim. 

1886 saw Baden-Powell first in Germany and then 
in Russia where, due to what he described as 
"carelessness or over-confidence" he was captured 
as a spy. He was due to be imprisoned for at least 
five years. Fortunately he managed to escape, and 
he joined the crew of a British ship. He was back 
in South Africa for the second time in 1887 when 
he joined his uncle, General Henry Smyth, as his 
aide-de-camp. This was the same year that Britain 
annexed Zululand and placed it under a 
Commissioner. B.P. saw action in Zululand. While 
there he heard the impi chant of "Een gon yama, 
gon yama Invoboo, ya bo, ya bo, Invooboo" for 
the first time. This chant is known today to 
thousands of Scouts as the "Een-gon-yama 
Chorus". In 1889 while still in South Africa, he 
became temporary secretary to Colonel Sir Francis 
de Winton who was in charge of a Commission to 
investigate the "affairs" of Swaziland. He went to 
Swaziland where he made a closer acquaintance- 
ship with the Boers and at the same time learnt 
more about native customs which had always 
interested him since he set foot on the African 

From 1895, B.P. was on the Gold Coast playing 
his part in the wars waged between Great Britain 
and Ashanti. He was attached to the Gold Coast 
Constabulary. While his fellow men wore red 
fezes in this part of Africa, he wore the cowboy 
hat which is now familiarly associated with all 
portraits of him. The Ashantis christened him 
"Kantankye" or "he of the Big Hat". He was put in 
charge of the native troops consisting of 861 men 
drawn from six tribes. He and his men, assisted by 
sixty-five Royal Engineers, were responsible for 
clearing the bush, bridging streams, erecting huts, 
scouting for signs of the enemy and even building 
forts along a distance of fifty miles of road. While 
on this project, B.P. the soldier, adapted part of an 
Ashanti war refrain which he often used in later 

If I go forward, I die, 
If I go backward, I die, 
Better go forward and die. 

On these expeditions at least half the men became 
ill with fever. B.P. escaped illness by developing 
the habit of always carrying a spare shirt loosely 

over his back, so that he could change immediately 
the one he was wearing became wet from the 
intense heat. 

At the age of thirty-nine, B.P. was promoted to the 
rank of Brevet-Lieutenant-Colonel in recognition 
of his services in Ashanti. In the same year he was 
sent to Matabeleland (Southern Rhodesia), to what 
he later referred to as "the best adventure of my 
life". At the time of the Matabele Rebellion, there 
were no Imperial troops to assist the white settlers. 
The British South Africa Company controlled the 
country. Major- General Sir Frederick Carrington 
sailed for South Africa as chief- in-command of the 
Imperial Forces to assist the Rhodesians. B.P. 
followed shortly afterwards, as his chief-of-staff, 
accompanied by 480 mounted infantry. 
Immediately on arrival at Cape Town they set off 
by rail for Mafeking, and then on to Bulawayo by 
coach, a journey of 557 miles which took them 
twelve days. B.P. described the trip as "a regular 
Buffalo Bill-Wild West-Deadwood Affair". On 
this expedition his scouting ability again came to 
the fore. He went out reconnoitring and then drew 

accurate maps which enabled his forces to find the 
rebels. Because of the many nights he spent up in 
the Matoppo Hills watching the enemy's 
movements, the Matabele nick-named him 
"Impeesa" - "The Wolf that Never Sleeps". 
Throughout the rebellion he kept a diary and 
continued to make excellent sketches. He also 
persisted in his habit of always observing details, 
as a true scout, both by night and by day. The 
rebellion ended when Cecil Rhodes rode out to 
meet the Matabele leaders and discuss terms with 
them. B.P. sailed back to England in January of 
the following year. His travelling companions on 
board included Rhodes and Olive Schreiner, the 
SouthAfrican novelist, who was taking the 
manuscript of her book Trooper Peter Halket of 
Mashonaland to Britain. 

In that year Baden-Powell published his book The 
Matabele Campaign which was based mainly on 
his letters and sketches sent to his mother. In 1899 
he published another book, his famous Aids to 
Scouting, which became very popular with the 
public. Hundreds of copies were given to British 

troops embarking for South Africa. This booklet 
was originally meant to train soldiers in such 
matters as Tracking, Reporting, Spying, Reading 
the Spoor, Keeping Yourself Hidden, etc., but later 
this manual was published in serial form, primarily 
for children, under the title of The Boy Scout. 

We in South Africa remember Baden-Powell not 
only as the Chief Scout of the World, but also for 
the part he played in the famous siege of Mafeking 
during the Anglo-Boer War. Before the outbreak 
of this war, he was sent out by the War Office in 
London to organise the Police Forces of the Cape 
Colony, as well as to train and establish two 
battalions of Mounted Rifles. He arrived in Cape 
Town in July, and he chose Mafeking, the half- 
way house between the Cape Colony and 
Rhodesia, as his centre for preparing his stores and 
men. He knew there was a supply of arms and 
stores there already, the "left-overs" so to speak of 
the Matabele Campaign. He left for Bulawayo and 
Mafeking to raise his battalions. By September 
Colonel Baden-Powell had raised, trained, horsed 
and equipped his two regiments. The war began on 

the 11th October, and 9,000 Boers advanced on 
Mafeking. "The siege had begun" - 

Baden-Powell had fortified Mafeking with sixty 
forts, which stretched at intervals along the outer 
boundary of the town for a distance of seven 
miles. Each of these forts was held by fifteen to 
twenty men: There was, in addition, a large 
telephone system extending to the military 
headquarters in the town to speed up the issue of 
instructions. The population of the town at this 
time was made up of 1,500 white people and 8,000 
natives. The first shell was fired on Mafeking on 
the 16th October, and Cronje, the leader of the 
Boers, immediately sent a messenger to Baden- 
Powell demanding his surrender. We cannot 
follow all the details of the Siege here, as this was 
but one episode in the full and versatile life of the 
leading character of our story. During the Siege he 
seldom slept and was tireless in keeping up the 
morale of both his troops and the townspeople 
alike. He posted up a daily bulletin or news-sheet 
called the Mafeking Mail, to keep all the 
inhabitants up to date with the progress of the war. 

His wry sense of humour never deserted him, and 
in the first issue of this bulletin he wrote the sub- 
heading "issued daily, shells permitting"! Sundays 
were observed as a day of truce on both sides, and 
on those days B.P. organised outdoor sports, 
gymkhanas, football matches and polo to relieve 
the tension within the town. His inventive genius 
came to the fore to overcome their shortage of 
ammunition. Potted meat tins, filled with 
dynamite, were used by his men as hand grenades. 
He managed to keep in touch with the outside 
world, by means of native runners, who were both 
letter-carriers and message-bearers. They managed 
to creep through the Boers' lines at night. By 
February the food shortage had become acute and 
a strict system of rationing was introduced. In 
desperation locusts, and sausages made out of 
horseflesh were eaten. To add to their plight there 
was also a shortage of stamps and money. A one- 
pound note was designed by Baden-Powell, and 
one penny stamps were printed bearing a picture 
of his head. 

From the end of March the tide turned against the 
Boers. On 1st April, Baden-Powell received the 
following telegram from Queen Victoria: "I 
continue watching with confidence and admiration 
the patient and resolute defence which is so 
gallantly maintained under your ever-resourceful 
command". It was only on the 16th May, however 
that relief forces, including Baden-Powell's 
brother, rode into Maf eking. Brains, clever bluff 
and a stout heart were the main ingredients which 
helped B.P. to guide the besieged troops and 
townsfolk successfully through 217 long days. He 
became a national hero in England and was 
immediately promoted to the rank of Major- 
General. On the 19th May, 1900 Queen Victoria 
wrote this entry in her diary - "The following 
telegram was received from Major- General Baden- 
Powell dated 17th May: 'Happy to report 
Maf eking successfully relieved today!'" The 
whole of the British Empire rejoiced over his 

After the relief of Mafeking Major-General 
Baden-Powell was given the task of establishing 

and training the South African Constabulary. He 
was instructed to have this force ready by the 
middle of 1901. His troops were recruited from 
New Zealand, Canada and Australia and they also 
included 500 Boers from the Cape. At the same 
time he had the pleasant task of designing their 
uniform, which was khaki in colour. The men 
wore flat-brimmed cowboy hats with a green 
feather cocked at the side of the hat-band. The 
horses used for the Constabulary force were cobs, 
wiry animals imported from Australia. By June, as 
requested, he had trained 9,000 men, but the strain 
of this concentrated work affected his health and 
he was ordered home on six months sick leave. 
The Anglo-Boer War ended on 7th June, 1902, 
and the South African Constabulary switched from 
army duty to that of maintaining peace in South 
Africa. After recuperating in England, Baden- 
Powell returned to South Africa and he travelled 
many thousands of miles through the country on 
tours of inspection. 

At the age of forty-six, B.P. accepted the position 
of Inspector-General of Cavalry, and he returned 

to England. He returned to South Africa however 
in 1906 when he accompanied the Duke of 
Connaught on an official tour. Soon after this visit 
he had yet another book of his published. It was 
titled Sketches in Maf eking and East Africa and it 
included many delightful drawings by the author. 

To the youth of the world the name Baden-Powell 
is best remembered, and always associated with 
the founding of the Boy Scout Movement. He 
organised the first large Rally of 10,000 Boy 
Scouts at the Crystal Palace in London in 1909. 
Soon after this, King Edward of England conferred 
a knighthood on him "as founder of the Boy 
Scouts". At the King's recommendation he 
resigned from the Army in 1910 and devoted the 
rest of his life to the Boy Scout Movement. 

B.P. devised methods for training boys in every 
corner of the globe. His magazines Scouting for 
Boys captured the imagination and interest of boys 
the world over. These booklets contained Camp 
Fire yarns as well as articles on life in the open, 
camping, cooking, plants, signalling, accidents and 
how to deal with them, self-discipline and 

improvement, games and outdoor activities. These 
articles were eventually printed in book form and 
translated into many languages. According to 
Baden-Powell's Scout Law, which still holds 
today, a Scout's duty is to be useful and to help 
others; he is courteous, a friend to animals, he 
obeys orders of his parents, Patrol Leader or 
Scoutmaster without question; he smiles and 
whistles under all difficulties; he is thrifty and is 
clean in thought, word and deed; and finally he is a 
friend to all and a brother to every Scout, no 
matter to what country, class or creed the other 
may belong. When a boy becomes a Scout he 
takes this oath at the investiture ceremony: 

On my honour I promise that I will do my best: 
To do my duty to God and the King, 
To help other people at all times, 
To obey the Scout Law. 

Baden-Powell met his future wife, Olave St. Clair 
Soames of Dorset, on board the Arcadian in 1912 
while on a voyage to the West Indies. General 
Louis Botha, South Africa's Prime Minister at the 
time, was present at the dinner held to celebrate 

their engagement in London. In proposing the 
toast to Miss Soames, he raised his glass as he said 
"to the lady who has captured the man we could 
never catch". They were married later that year. 
Although no scouts were present at the small, quiet 
wedding ceremony, they still managed to show 
their respect and affection for their leader by 
presenting him and Lady Baden-Powell with a 
magnificent wedding present - a motor car. It is 
interesting to note that for this gift no Scout officer 
was permitted to contribute more than one shilling 
(ten cents) and no Scout was allowed to pay more 
than one penny (one cent). Their marriage was a 
happy and companionable alliance. They had three 
children, a son Peter, and two daughters, Heather 
and Betty. Quite naturally, as they grew up, they 
became enthusiastic supporters of the Boy Scout 
and Girl Guide Movements. 

The British Royal Family have always shown a 
keen interest in the Boy Scout and Girl Guide 
Movements. In 1911 King George V was present 
at a Rally of 30,000 Scouts at Windsor Castle. In 
1914 Queen Alexandra inspected a Rally of 

11,000 London Boy Scouts. By this time the 
"Wolf Cubs" or Junior Boy Scout Movement had 
been started. During the first World War, when the 
Scout Movement was only six years old, Scouts 
played their part efficiently in collecting waste 
paper, patrolling railway lines, helping in 
hospitals, guarding bridges and acting as buglers 
to sound the "All Clear" after air raids. By now 
Sea Scouts also existed and they did excellent war 
work on coastguard duty. 

From 1918 Lady Baden-Powell was elected as the 
Chief Guide of the world and her husband wrote 
the handbook for her Movement called Girl 

Before 1920 few people knew what a "Jamboree" 
was. This word was coined by Baden-Powell, and 
his explanation is therefore the most interesting 
and acceptable one: 

Jam - Everyone likes jam. 

Bor - A contraction of "Bore" meaning you won't 
be bored but very likely a hole will be bored in 
your pocket before you leave. 

Ee - The ending for all words meaning a large 
gathering or collective celebration, i.e., jubilee, 

The completed word "Jamboree" therefore means 
"a large and delightful gathering at which many 
things of great interest are displayed". 

In 1922, 19,000 Wolf Cubs and 60,000 Scouts 
gathered at Alexandra Palace in London to 
welcome home the Prince of Wales from his 
Empire tour. The Prince decorated Baden-Powell 
with the Legion of Honour before the Rally began. 
In that year there were just over a million Boy 
Scouts in thirty-two countries. By 1939 the figure 
reached nearly three and a half million members. 
Their leader always stood by his view that the 
Scout Movement was formed to shape the conduct 
and character of youth, to develop good 
citizenship, and not to be associated with religion 
or politics. 

The entire Baden-Powell family came out to South 
Africa in 1925 on a two-year visit. The children 
attended school here and they spent their 

Christmas holidays with their parents at Gordons 
Bay. During his stay B.P. met old members of the 
South African Constabulary as well as enthusiastic 
South African Girl Guides and Boy Scouts. On 
their return to England, Lord and Lady Baden- 
Powell embarked on a world tour. 

In July 1929 the Boy Scout Movement celebrated 
its Coming-of-Age year with a Jamboree in 
England. The site chosen for the memorable event 
was Arrowe Park near Birkenhead. Scouts poured 
into England in their thousands from thirty-one 
parts of the British Empire, and forty-one nations. 
In spite of constant rain it was a unique experience 
for all who participated, and throughout the events 
it was "a joyous festival of youth". B.P. was 
honoured again when the King conferred a peerage 
upon him, thus making him Baden-Powell of 
Gilwell. The Scouts in turn showed their deep 
devotion and appreciation of the work done by 
their leaders, by presenting them with a Rolls- 
Royce motor car, and a caravan which they 
promptly called the "Jam-Roll". In the same year 

B.P. was honoured further when he was granted 
the Freedom of the City of London. 

A few years later, while on his constant travels, 
B.P. went to Rome and visited the Pope, who was 
a strong supporter of the Boy Scout Movement. He 
had also previously visited the Czar of Russia, and 
started a Boy Scout group in Moscow. Baden- 
Powell continued to lead a full and most active life 
spent in travelling, lecturing and writing. His 
keenest form of relaxation was to go off on his 
own on short fishing trips. In spite of his public 
life, and the many world-wide honours bestowed 
upon him, B.P. retained his warmth, simplicity, 
humour and humility all his life. 

A Jamboree was held in East London, in South 
Africa in 1935, and once again the Chief Scout 
was present. During this visit to our country he 
was successful in forming three new organisations 
- the Indian Boy Scouts, the Pathfinder Boy 
Scouts for Africans and the Coloured Boy Scout 
Movement. He contracted malaria on this visit, but 
he still travelled to Rhodesia and visited the 
Victoria Falls. In his farewell message to the South 

African Scouts he said "I want you to go in for 
more camping and hiking. By so doing you will 
make yourselves healthy and strong, and also you 
will be doing things for yourselves, such as 
carrying your kit, making your shelters, cutting 
your firewood, cooking your grub, and all the 
other little chores about the camp". 

In the Coronation year of King George VI, B.P. 
received the Order of Merit. In 1937 he received 
the American Wateler Peace Prize. He also 
received the Grand Cordon of the Legion of 
Honour from the President of France. In the same 
year, at the age of eighty-one, while en route to 
South Africa again, B.P.'s health failed. He went 
to Nyeri, in Kenya, to rest there. The climate there 
suited him admirably and he and his wife built 
themselves a cottage which they called "Paxtu". 
They had a magnificent view of snow-capped 
Mount Kenya from their new home. The Chief 
Scout spent his time pleasantly reading, sketching, 
gardening and going on short expeditions to see 
the wild animals in the vicinity. While "resting" in 
Nyeri, he wrote and illustrated three animal books 

for boys. They were Birds and Beasts in Africa, 
Paddle Your Own Canoe and More Sketches of 

Baden-Powell died on 8th January, 1941, at the 
age of eighty-five. He was buried in Nyeri. 
Appropriately, Scouts and soldiers, of both Black 
and White races, were the bearers at his funeral 
when he was laid to rest in the land he had loved 
for so long. It can safely be said of him that during 
his lifetime he did more for the youth of the world 
than any other figure. A message to world Scouts 
was found among B.P.'s papers after his death. It 
included these words: "I believe God put us in this 
jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness 
does not come from being rich, nor merely from 
being successful in your career, nor by self- 
indulgence! One step towards happiness is to make 
yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy so 
that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when 
you are a man. Nature Study will show you how 
full of beautiful and wonderful things God has 
made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented 
with what you have got and make the best of it. 

Look on the bright side of things instead of the 
gloomy one. But the real way to get happiness is 
by giving out happiness to other people. Try and 
leave this world a little better than you found it..." 
which is exactly what Baden-Powell himself did! 

Sir Arnold THEILER 

Veterinary genius and founder of Onderstepoort 

Arnold Theiler - Veterinary Genius And 
Founder Of Onderstepoort 

About six-and-a-half miles due North of Church 
Square, Pretoria, lie a number of whitewashed and 
red brick buildings, famous the world over as the 
Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute. A 
tree-lined avenue greets the visitor as one drives 
through the entrance gates towards the Main 
Building, which was erected in 1908. Here, stark 
and prominent, surrounded by tall Cyprus trees, is 
a granite statue of the veterinary genius, Sir 
Arnold Theiler, who was the founder of, and the 
spirit behind, these research laboratories. Coert 
Steynberg, the South African sculptor, who carved 
the statue, depicted the scientist in a sitting 
position, with a magnifying glass in his right hand. 
On looking at the statue, one immediately has the 
impression that the man there is a restless 
individual who is sitting still under protest. One 
feels he is most impatient to leap to his feet and 
carry on with his vital work. Beneath the statue lie 
the ashes of Sir Arnold and his wife, Lady Theiler. 

Who was Arnold Theiler and what is the story 
behind the beginning and the growth of 
Onderstepoort? Arnold Theiler was born in 
Switzerland in the town of Frick on the 26th 
March 1867. He was the son of a schoolmaster. On 
the many country walks taken together by father 
and son, the teacher instilled in the young lad a 
love of nature and a keen power of observation 
which he retained throughout his life. The boy's 
interest grew and spread from natural history to 
biological science. On leaving the gymnasium, 
like all young Swiss lads, he was complelled to do 
a year's army training. Here he already showed his 
great love of horses by choosing the cavalry for his 
military course. 

On completion of his army duties, Arnold entered 
the veterinary college in Zurich where, at the age 
of twenty-two, he received his veterinary diploma. 
There appears to be no personal or logical reason 
as to why the young veterinary surgeon decided to 
leave his homeland and settle in the Transvaal, but 
nevertheless at the age of twenty-four he left 
Switzerland, arriving in South Africa in 1891. 

Theiler was the first veterinary surgeon who 
attempted to practise as such in the Transvaal. His 
first few years in the Republic were difficult and 
unsuccessful ones. Besides the handicap of not 
knowing the language of the country, he found that 
the Boer farmers had never heard of veterinary 
science and they treated the new foreigner, with 
his university degrees, with great suspicion. They 
were content to continue their age-old practice of 
pouring half a bottle of linseed oil down the 
throats of their horses, in the faint hope that it 
might help the common and ever-present horse 
sickness. New scientific methods were not for 
them! Theiler was not discouraged however and he 
spent his time studying the diseases and the 
conditions of the country. A few months after his 
arrival however, he experienced his greatest 
personal handicap, and tragedy of his life. While 
working as a farmer's assistant he lost his left hand 
as a result of an accident in a threshing machine. 
This was surely Theiler' s darkest hour! 

How could a surgeon, whose main work consisted 
of performing operations and autopsies (the 

opening and inspection of bodies after death) 
continue his task when so hampered? How could 
he successfully manipulate the variety of delicate 
instruments so essential for his work? Theiler 
however was no ordinary man. In spite of his 
sensitive nature, his great courage and 
determination won through, and he overcame his 
physical disability to the extent of performing at 
least 30,000 post-mortems on animals during his 
forty years of research work. He never lost his deft 
skill as the finest veterinary surgeon in the 
country! He never referred to his accident, and if 
anything it inspired him always to greater 

Theiler had his first chance to prove himself, and 
the worthiness of his scientific training, in 1893 
when there was a severe outbreak of smallpox in 
Johannesburg. Added to the horror and fear of the 
epidemic spreading - there were 1,750 cases and 
eighty deaths in the first half of that year - was the 
discovery of a shortage of smallpox vaccine. 
During his studies in Switzerland Theiler had 
learnt to produce this lymph. He was the only man 

in the Transvaal who could produce fresh supplies 
of the smallpox vaccine, and he became the hero 
of the day. Working in a small laboratory in 
Market Street in Johannesburg, he produced all the 
vaccine required. For this labour he received his 
first regular salary, a mere R100 a month, but he 
had reached the first rung of his ladder to fame and 
success. Next he was appointed Consulting 
Veterinary Surgeon to the Rand Health Board. 
Although he was already publishing scientific 
articles on horsesickness, lungsickness and black- 
quarter, he was still experiencing difficulty in 
gaining the confidence of the local farmers. In 
1894 he wrote "the lot of a veterinarian in the 
Transvaal is anything but enviable. Every farmer 
is his own doctor and veterinary surgeon and a 
great deal of trust is required before a farmer will 
allow a foreigner to do anything for him." 

Soon after the smallpox epidemic, an epidemic of 
another kind - glanders, which is a disease of the 
mucous membrane of horses - occurred, and this 
was Theiler' s big moment to show the suspicious 
farmers some of the benefits of his scientific 

knowledge. His work reached the notice of 
Kruger, President of the Republic, who from then 
on encouraged and supported Theiler's research. 
In 1896 he sent the young veterinary surgeon to 
Rhodesia to study an outbreak of the dreaded 
rinderpest among cattle there. He was also 
instructed to examine the Transvaal's barriers, if 
any, against the spreading of this cattle plague 
from the Zambesi down into South Africa. 
Unfortunately the disease spread like wildfire, and 
Theiler was helpless in its wake. He was neither 
ready nor equipped to combat this disaster, and 
disaster it was indeed, for within a year, half the 
cattle of the Transvaal and ninety-five per cent of 
South Africa's total cattle, were wiped out! Many 
farmers were ruined, and left bankrupt. The 
Republic was a scene of devastation. Thousands of 
rotting carcasses were strewn on farmlands and 
along the roadside, as the farmers were too busy or 
too weary to burn or bury the putrefying corpses. 
Game as well as cattle were dying, and the veld 
was covered with the dead bodies of elands as well 
as buffaloes. Theiler, now a citizen of the 
Republic, received the help and support of the 

Boer farmers. He was their only hope! Untiringly 
he worked, often for twenty out of twenty-four 
hours a day, testing serums in his laboratory. He 
insisted on a "burn-or-bury" policy. Despite his 
endless efforts, he failed, and the rinderpest 
scourged the Transvaal. 

After the rinderpest disaster, Theiler left the 
country for Paris, and the Pasteur Institute in 
particular, where he studied microbiology under 
the scientists Metchnikokk and Laveran. He 
returned to South Africa in 1899, at the outbreak 
of the Boer War, and immediately enlisted with 
the Boers. He was appointed Veterinary Officer of 
the Transvaal State Artillery for the first part of the 
war. By the time the war was over however, he 
was back in harness doing laboratory work in 
Pretoria. His official title at this stage of his career 
was that of State Veterinarian to the South African 
Republic. By this time the government was fully 
aware of his ability and importance as a research 
worker. Consequently they built and equipped a 
small laboratory for him on the outskirts of 
Pretoria, at Daspoort, and he was appointed 

Veterinary Bacteriologist to the government. 
Although his new laboratory was in fact only a 
number of primitive wood and iron buildings in 
the middle of the veld, Theiler was happy as he 
knew that this was the beginning of his hopes and 
dreams of a life as a true scientist and research 

The first Prime Minister of the Transvaal, under 
"Responsible Government", was General Louis 
Botha who was, amongst other things, a lover of 
the soil and a true South African farmer. He 
supported Theiler' s work enthusiastically, and 
granted the scientist's every wish, within reason, 
to further his veterinary research. Theiler' s 
requests included larger tracts of land where he 
could keep his cattle, as well as bigger and better 
equipped laboratories where he could expand his 
experimental work. These requests were granted 
slowly, and in 1902 a group of buildings, costing 
R160,000, was erected by the Government, which 
was to be Theiler' s second home for the rest of his 
life. He chose a site on a farm "Onderstepoort" 
because it was the worst area in the district for 

horsesickness, the disease which claimed most of 
his attention and time during his thirty- six years in 
South Africa. It took six years to complete the new 
institute. During that period Theiler had assembled 
a staff and team of first-rate men to work with 
him. It included men who, in later years, occupied 
important positions the world over. They carried 
on their work as far afield as Burma, Kenya and 

In 1908 Theiler and his fellow workers moved in 
officially to Onderstepoort, starting work in the 
same building which still stands there, and is to 
this day referred to as the Main Block. In the next 
few years Theiler was to prove a genius at his 
microscope. He toiled day and night, experi- 
menting unceasingly and producing an enormous 
output of brilliant and highly valuable scientific 
data. He published over 250 scientific pamphlets 
and booklets during his lifetime, on animal 
diseases including gall sickness, blue tongue, 
lamsiekte, biliary fever, East coast fever and 

One of his most outstanding pieces of research 
work was done on the fatal and quick-acting cattle 
disease known as East Coast Fever. This disease, 
as its name indicated, first made its appearance 
along the east coast of Africa. From 1902 it made 
its appearance in South Africa, starting in the 
Transvaal and slowly spreading to Natal and even 
down into the Cape. Theiler and one of his 
colleagues, Lounsbury, started work on identifying 
the disease. They discovered that the fever was 
caused by a new parasite which was carried by 
several types of tick. The ticks would feed off an 
infected animal, and when they had gorged 
themselves, they would hop off into the grass. 
Later, when these insects fed off another healthy 
animal, they would transmit the infection. A 
method of inoculation against this disease was 
discovered at Onderstepoort which was successful 
in about seventy per cent of cases. The two 
scientists further recommended that all cattle be 
disinfected and dipped in a solution believed to be 
fatal to ticks yet harmless to the animals. They 
also advised farmers to leave pasture areas where 
infected cattle had grazed, as free-ground for a 

period of fifteen to eighteen months. This time 
lapse was long enough to starve the ticks. 

Theiler did not spend all his research years 
uninterruptedly in his laboratory. He frequently 
toured South Africa, delivering lectures and 
addressing farmers' meetings. He also travelled 
abroad extensively, either on study tours, or 
attending international conferences. In 1905 he 
visited Budapest, and 1909 saw him in the Hague. 
He was quite at home at these overseas 
conferences, as he was a gifted linguist, being 
fluent in at least five European languages, and 
having a working knowledge of several others. In 
1914 he received the K.C.M.G. from King George, 
and thus became Sir Arnold Theiler. 

South Africa was not left untouched by the first 
Great War of 1914 - 1918, and towards the end of 
hostilities the country suffered severely from a 
terrible influenza epidemic. This scourge took toll 
of 140,000 lives while another two and a half 
million people were prostrated by the illness. In 
December 1918 the Government appointed an 
Influenza Epidemic Commission of ten men, 

including Arnold Theiler, to combat this danger to 
the population. The Commission worked rapidly, 
visiting all the important centres in South Africa, 
and within two months they presented their report 
to Lord Buxton, the Governor- General. Theiler' s 
influence and recommendations were strongly 
evident in this report, which advocated a 
reorganisation of the existing Public Health 
Department. It was this report which was 
responsible for Parliament passing the Public 
Health Act of 1919, which was to protect and 
foster the future health of the people of South 

Another outstanding piece of veterinary research 
attributed to Theiler was his investigation into the 
causes of lamsiekte. He discovered that the illness 
was a form of poisoning of the body, a botulism, 
caused by the animals licking old bones which 
they found lying in the veld. They developed this 
habit as their systems craved phosphorus, a 
substance sorely lacking in the natural South 
African soil. Theiler' s remedy, to combat this 
disease, was a simple and straightforward one. He 

recommended the removal of all old bones strewn 
in the veld, and he suggested further that the 
farmers add bone-meal (lime) to the diet they fed 
their cattle. For this magnificent contribution to 
veterinary science, Parliament awarded him the 
sum of R6,000. Next he produced a vaccine for 
"Bluetongue", a catarrhal fever contracted by 
sheep. He also did research in another disease 
affecting sheep, namely wireworm. As a direct 
result of his investigations in this field, Onderste- 
poort has supplied over 800 million doses of 
"wireworm remedy" to South African sheep 
farmers. Theiler' s work definitely played a large 
part in the expansion of the sheep-rearing industry 
of our country. 

Theiler, a short, dark, stocky figure, was a 
dynamic man. He was a first class organiser and 
teacher, hardworking and tireless when it came to 
his job. He made the first round of his Institute 
every day at 6.30 in the morning, and at 8.30 a.m. 
he would summon his staff to work with "the blast 
of a siren". He was enthusiastic about all his 
projects, and he expected his co-workers to carry 

on as untiringly as he did. In 1919 General Smuts 
called on him to organise a Faculty of Veterinary 
Science at Onderstepoort, which was to be 
attached to the University of Pretoria. It was 
Theiler's firm belief and ideal that his students 
should share in the scientific activities of the 
Institute. He was a great teacher and a hard 
taskmaster, but he tempered his lectures with his 
ever-ready wit. He set a high standard, and 
expected his students to be both industrious and 
competent. Nevertheless, he was kind and 
considerate to them. Although almost his first 
words to a new class were "Gentlemen, - there is 
no such excuse as 'I had no time' : you must make 
time", he understood his pupils' limitations. He led 
them, never drove them, and he taught them, never 
lectured them. One small piece of advice given by 
the scientist to his pupils is still passed on to 
students at Onderstepoort today, long after 
Theiler's death: "No good veterinarian should ever 
be parted from his Bible, his corkscrew, and his 
pleximeter" (A plate used for diagnosing disease.) 
The fingers of the left hand are also commonly 
used as a pleximeter, and appreciating Theiler's 

wit, one feels sure he was referring to the hand in 
this case and not to the medical plate. 

Theiler spent a year studying overseas in 1920. He 
was back at Onderstepoort the following year 
when he held the dual position of Professor of 
Tropical Diseases as well as being Dean, or 
President, of the Veterinary Faculty of the 
University of South Africa in Pretoria. Four years 
later this university honoured him by conferring on 
him its first Honorary Doctorate of Veterinary 

In 1923 he went abroad again, this time to attend 
an international Dairy Congress in America. On 
this trip he travelled through the United States, and 
went further afield visiting scientific institutions in 
the Far East. In 1927, at the age of sixty, he retired 
from all his official positions. This fact however 
did not mean that he intended retiring from his 
research work. On the contrary, with renewed 
enthusiasm and vigour, he started research on the 
bone diseases of domestic animals. He studied at 
Basle in Switzerland, and then was invited by the 
Australian Government to visit their country and 

advise the farmers on cattle and feed problems. He 
settled down in Lucerne for a number of years, 
studying all the time, but missing the sunshine of 
South Africa. In a letter, he wrote "When I am not 
too well then I am getting homesick for South 
Africa. I only begin to realise now that that warm 
country has a very warm spot in my heart". "It is 
my ... hope to come back one day and it is even 
my wish to die in the country in which I have 
worked for so long and for which I have given the 
best of my life". 

Theiler spent his last years in travelling, lecturing, 
studying and collecting honours wherever he went. 
He visited Florence, Rome, Spain, Tunis and 
Algeria. In a letter from North Africa he described 
vividly the climate, scenery and general conditions 
of the country. His dry sense of humour emerged 
here again in his writing: "We were fed with much 
poulet au ris, sometimes twice a day, but they 
were no spring chickens. We enjoyed only the 
lamb and on the coast the sole, but of the latter I 
had so much that I was in fear I might grow 

In 1932, while in Switzerland, Sir Arnold had a 
heart attack, which he accepted as philosophically 
as he had accepted all his other setbacks. 
Undaunted, he continued with his work, but he did 
realise that he was fighting a race against time. He 
wrote "Although my heart is bothering me very 
much indeed, it must last until this work is 
finished". A year later he decided to move to 
London where he had better working facilities. He 
lectured at the University of London, and had a 
laboratory put at his disposal at the Royal 
Veterinary College. Next he visited New York 
where the Budapest Gold Medal was conferred on 
him. He also received the Gold Medal of the Royal 
Agricultural Society of England. 

In 1935 he was back in Onderstepoort, where he 
worked for a period of fifteen months. In the 
following year the University of Utrecht conferred 
his seventh Honorary Doctorate on him. The 
scientist's many medals and decorations are now 
on permanent loan and view in the musuem at 

Theiler died suddenly in London in 1936, when he 
was still at the height of his career. 

What of the personal life of the "Old Man", as he 
was affectionately known by all who worked with 
him? His wife was also Swiss by birth. She came 
to South Africa in 1893, and married the scientist 
the same year. She assisted her husband for many 
years in his laboratory, sterilized his instruments 
for him and quietly and efficiently played the part 
of friend, constant companion, secretary and 
technical assistant in his life. She accompanied 
him on his many travels. The couple had four 
children, two sons and two daughters. Theiler 
passed on his love for animals, and horses in 
particular, to his family. He insisted that from an 
early age his children teach themselves to ride and 
to shoot, so that they would be independent beings 
in the veld. He taught them to love and know 
nature as he did, and to develop an interest in 
animal life. One of his sons, Dr. Max Theiler, a 
brilliant scientist like his father, is working today 
at the bacteriological institute of the Rockefeller 
Foundation in New York. In 1951 he was awarded 

the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the vaccine 
against yellow fever. One of Sir Arnold's 
daughters also followed in the footsteps of her 
famous father. She became a zoologist, and still 
works today at Onderstepoort, as a parasitologist. 
She is a world authority on ticks. 

The great man had little time for hobbies and 
relaxation. Like all true scientists he trained 
himself to go for long periods without sleep. In 
later years he was said to be a lover of good music, 
and an authority on antiques. He often jokingly 
referred to botany as his first love. Actually he was 
a keen botanist, and collector of plants, and he had 
an excellent knowledge of pasture grasses. 

In 1939, when General Smuts unveiled the statue 
of Sir Arnold Theiler which dominates the grounds 
of Onderstepoort, he said "We who are South 
African born and bred, seldom think of those men, 
not born here, who have done so much for South 
Africa. We are not grateful enough for their 
contributions to our national welfare". 

The name of Arnold Theiler will live as long as 
the Veterinary Research Institute at Onderstepoort 
stands. There is not a stable, path or camp there 
which has not been trodden by his feet. The 
memory of the scientist, in his wide-brimmed hat 
and apron, lingers permanently over the stables 
behind the main building. Naturally Onderstepoort 
has grown and progressed extensively since 
Theiler' s death. It has always been a government 
institute, under the control of the Department of 
Agriculture. Today its buildings have increased in 
value to the extent of over R3,000,000. It employs 
a total staff of nearly 800 people, including thirty- 
eight veterinarians. Vaccines are prepared and 
despatched from here to combat diseases such as 
Anthrax, Blackquarter, Bluetongue, Distemper, 
Fowl Pox, Horsesickness, Rabies, Redwater, Rift 
Valley Fever, Newcastle Disease, Lamb Dysentry 
and many others. Sixty million doses of vaccine 
are prepared, bottled, labelled, wrapped and 
despatched from Onderstepoort every year. They 
are distributed mainly in the Republic and 
throughout the continent of Africa, but they are 
also sent to countries as far afield as India. To 

speed up the delivery of these orders, the Institute 
now has its own Postal and Railway Departments 
on the premises. In 1950 a vaccine against 
distemper was perfected at the Institute, and this 
discovery was hailed as one of the greatest 
discoveries of veterinary science! Onderstepoort 
ranks today among the leading institutions of its 
kind anywhere in the world. 

Among the many tributes paid to Theiler after his 
death, was one by Sir John Russell, President of 
the British Agricultural Association. He said "It is 
difficult to overrate the service Theiler has 
rendered to South Africa as a whole, and to farm 
animals the world over". 

But if Theiler was alive today, I am sure he would 
agree with me that his most rewarding tribute of 
all, was summed up in these words "He made the 
world a more comfortable place for millions of 


South Africa's Florence Nightingale. 

She lies buried in the heart of a grateful people 

Emily Hobhouse - "South Africa's 
Florence Nightingale" 

Slowly the troop train chugged and puffed on its 
way through the vast Karroo until it finally called 
a halt in the middle of the hot, dry veld. A middle- 
aged woman, the only female passenger, climbed 
down from her carriage to stretch her legs. When 
the train driver informed her that he intended 
staying there for a few hours, she decided to go for 
a walk. A couple of British soldiers, her fellow 
travellers, who were not amongst the wounded on 
board, decided to accompany her. They wandered 
about the surrounding veld, gathering the ice 
plants, gum arabic and other succulents which 
were growing there. Hot and tired, the woman 
expressed a longing for a cup of refreshing tea. 
She possessed a can of tea leaves amongst her 
luggage, but where was she to find boiling water 
in the middle of this desert-like countryside? The 
Tommies smiled, and indicated to her to follow 
them to the front of the train. When she reached 
the steaming locomotive the soldiers showed her 
how to draw boiling water from the engine, and 

Emily Hobhouse had her tea after all! This small 
gesture on the part of the troops was their way of 
saying "thank you" to the gallant little English 
woman who had nursed and cooked for them on 
the long journey from Bloemfontein to Cape Town 
in the Spring of 1901. 

Emily Hobhouse was born in April 1860 in the 
village of St. Ive near Cornwall. Her father, 
Reginald Hobhouse, was the Rector there, and 
young Emily listened to his weekly sermons until 
she reached her thirties. Her mother, Caroline, was 
a vivacious woman of great charm and disting- 
uished bearing. She also had a lively sense of 
humour. When free from her household duties and 
visits to the poor she spent many hours reading, 
not only in her home tongue but also in German, 
French and Italian. She used to read aloud to her 
children, and it was she who introduced them to 
such famous characters as Mrs. Gamp and Mr. 
Micawber. Whereas Reverend Hobhouse was very 
strict with his children, his wife was a devoted and 
indulgent mother. 

Emily had three older sisters and two brothers. The 
Hobhouse sisters, Carrie, Blanche, Maud and 
Emily were educated by a succession of govern- 
esses, most of whom Emily referred to as being 
"ignorant". Even as a young girl in her teens she 
felt the lack of guidance in a full education, and 
she found her school lessons boring. She felt too 
much time was devoted to subjects like drawing, 
music and singing and she envied her brothers 
their tutors. Nevertheless her childhood was a 
happy one and their family was a close unit. 

When Carrie, the eldest sister, married, the 
Hobhouse parents took their three other daughters 
to Mentone for the winter, as Blanche had become 
very ill. She died in France and the family returned 
sadly to England. Emily felt a large void in her life 
with the death of her sister to whom she was 
deeply attached. At this time she was fifteen, and 
she spent her days going for long walks on her 
own, and visiting the sick and the dying among the 
parishioners. At this stage of her life the only 
books she read were those on religion. 

Mrs. Hobhouse became ill, and she died in 1880. 
Soon after her death her husband became 
dangerously ill and Emily spent most of her time 
nursing her father. With both her sisters now 
married, she found the family break-up after her 
mother's death left her a lonely young woman. Her 
main interest in life at the age of twenty-four was 
in church work, and she made her first public 
speech at a Women's Conference soon after her 
birthday. Timidly she rose before the gathering 
and hesitatingly but sincerely she appealed for 
funds for a Cathedral. In later life public- speaking 
became second nature to her. 

After her brothers had married and left St. Ive she 
was "literally the last bird left in the nest". From 
the age of twenty-nine, until her father' s death six 
years later, she spent difficult and lonely years 
which left their mark on her temperament for life. 
Her home life was a constant strain, tending her 
ever-ailing parent. She tempered this period of 
acute loneliness and trial by reading deeply, and 
devoting long hours to playing the piano and 
violin, and singing. In her own words, she 

regarded these years of her life as "a period of 
torture". With the death of Reverend Hobhouse in 
the frosty winter of 1895, Emily was finally 
released from the shackles of St. Ive. She emerged 
from her seclusion and on leaving the village two 
weeks later she vowed never to return. Although 
she was free at last to lead her own life, she felt 
her spirit had been isolated for so long that she 
was uneducated and ill-equipped to face the battle 
of life. She was thirty-five years old, and what 
path could she follow? She knew she was too old 
to embark on a career either in a Hospital or at a 
University. Finally she decided to set out and see 
something of the world. 

With the help of the Bishop she found herself a 
post in America. This was in the rough mining 
village of Virginia, in the state of Minnesota. 
Virginia was a remote spot set in the heart of a 
thick, high, black forest. Emily was appointed the 
Church Missionary attached to the mining camp. 
She worked hard, against great odds, for twelve 
months both as a social worker and a temperance 
reformer. In the end she won the admiration and 

devotion of the miners, who at the time of her 
arrival had been regarded as outcasts by society. 
They were a motley, tough crowd of men who 
came from all corners of the globe - from Norway, 
Canada, Austria, Finland and Switzerland. She 
organised a recreation and reading room for the 
men as a counter attraction to their gambling and 
drinking dens. She also conducted a night school 
for the more ambitious miners who wished to 
educate themselves. From the outset she was not 
afraid to do, or say, what she considered to be 
right. Emily visited the hospital daily, helping to 
nurse the patients and attempting to clean up the 
wards. She preached too, every Sunday morning, 
out in the open air of the lumber camps. She 
addressed temperance meetings and her sermons 
were invariably well attended, sometimes by as 
many as three hundred men. By the time she left 
Virginia, she had found a place in the hearts of all 
its inhabitants. The local band escorted her down 
the street at 7.30 in the morning on her way to the 
station, and they played round her carriage 
window until the train pulled out. A large crowd 

came to bid her farewell and they were genuinely 
sad to see her go. 

When she left Virginia, Emily was betrothed to a 
man from Minnesota, and they intended making 
their home in Mexico. At the last moment her 
fiance was unable to accompany her, but 
undaunted she decided to carry on with their 
original plans and visit Mexico on her own. Quite 
an undertaking and experience for a woman by 
herself in those days! Business difficulties 
continued to delay her fiance's arrival, and she 
stayed on in Mexico by herself. She spent her days 
studying the history and language of the country 
and making enquiries about the country's business 
future. She bought a ranch and arranged for a 
house to be built on the farmland. Still there was 
no sign of her fiance, so she returned to the States 
to visit him. Twice she felt she was on the verge of 
getting married, but on both occasions she was 
disappointed. Finally her engagement was ended 
and she returned to England, deeply saddened and 
in dire financial straits because of the money she 
had invested in Mexico. There were times when 

she actually went hungry in England, but she saw 
to it that her friends and family never knew of this. 

The 11th October, 1899 saw the commencement 
of the South African War between the Boer 
Republics and Great Britain. Emily was greatly 
distressed that the misunderstandings between the 
two countries could not be settled amicably, and 
she threw herself wholeheartedly into work with 
this end in view. She became the secretary of the 
women's branch of the South African Conciliation 
Committee. Demonstrations and meetings were 
held for women in England, and Emily spoke at 
many of the large gatherings. By February 1900, 
Presidents Steyn and Kruger had protested to the 
British Government about the British troops 
dynamiting and burning many Boer farmhouses, 
thereby leaving women and children both 
homeless and without food. When this information 
reached the public through the English news- 
papers, it influenced Emily's future life 
profoundly. From October that year camps were 
established by the British in Bloemfontein and 
Pretoria for military refugees and in particular for 

children and women who had been left homeless 
on the veld. These camps were known as 
Concentration camps, and over the war years they 
were supposed to provide food, clothing and 
accommodation for 63,000 people. In addition 
education had to be provided by them for the 
40,000 children detained in camps. When some of 
these facts became known to Emily in the autumn 
of that year she felt it was her duty to travel out to 
South Africa and personally help to comfort and 
assist the war victims. 

Meantime she formed a committee in England to 
raise relief funds. She called this movement "The 
South African Women and Children Distress 
Fund". This was a non-political association, and it 
was formed purely "to feed, clothe, shelter and 
rescue women and children, Boer, British or 
others, who had been rendered destitute and 
homeless by the destruction of property, 
deportation, or other incidents of the military 
operations". Many people from all over England 
joined, and contributed towards the fund. 

With the blessing of her devoted uncle and aunt, 
Lord and Lady Hobhouse, Emily let her Chelsea 
flat, saved enough money for her fare, and in 
December, 1900, she bought a second-class boat 
ticket to Cape Town. She spent most of her time 
on the voyage out reading books about the new 
land she was to visit, and learning the Dutch 
language. On a sunny summer's morning two days 
after Christmas she arrived in Cape Town and was 
immediately enchanted with the scenery, colour 
and sunshine of this new country. She was given a 
hospitable and warm welcome. Immediately she 
brought herself up to date with the war news and 
particularly with the facts of the newly established 
camps. She also discovered that R600, which she 
had personally collected in England for the 
Distress Fund, had been banked and was waiting 
for her in Cape Town. This sum of money was 
used to pay for the first truck-load of clothing and 
food, which she took with her to the Camp at 
Bloemfontein. She had letters of introduction with 
her to many influential people, whom she met with 
a view to discussing her "best plan of campaign". 
She lunched with the High Commissioner, Sir 

Alfred Milner, to whom she put her case. 
Diplomatically she explained to him that the 
purpose of her visits to the camps was to try to 
improve conditions there "for the honour of 
England's good name". Lord Milner referred her 
request to Lord Kitchener, who finally granted her 
permission to visit the refugee camps. Emily was 
also allowed to take two trucks of food and 
clothing with her. But her request to set off in the 
company of a Dutch lady was refused. This was a 
disappointment as she felt she needed someone to 
help her overcome the difficulties of facing a 
strange language, country and climate on her own. 
Furthermore Lord Kitchener forbade her to travel 
further north than Bloemfontein. Emily accepted 
these setbacks philosophically, and consoled 
herself "that half a loaf was better than no bread!" 

On the evening of the 22nd January she set off by 
train. It was a beautiful clear moonlight night but 
much of the beauty passed her by as quite 
understandably she was afraid of what lay ahead 
of her. After all she was in a foreign land, she 
could not speak the language of the Boers, and 

what did she know of the grimness of war? It was 
a lonely journey as she was the only woman on the 
train. Fortunately some kind friends had provided 
her with food, mainly bread and jam, and a kettle 
lamp for brewing tea. The train wended its way 
slowly through the Karroo, and Emily forgot some 
of her fears as she gazed fascinatedly at the silent, 
strange new scenery in the form of koppies and 

On reaching Bloemfontein she found it to be a 
military town. It was virtually a garrison, full of 
soldiers, surrounded by camps. Every second step 
she took she encountered a picket who demanded 
to see her pass. With great difficulty she managed 
to hire a room in a small inn, which was regarded 
as the best hotel in town. The next day she visited 
the Camp which was two miles from the town. 
There she found 2,000 people, half of whom were 
children, living in tents under conditions which 
horrified her. Inside the tents the heat was 
suffocating, and there was no evidence of furniture 
of any description. Flies were everywhere. The 
occupants slept on blankets on the bare ground, 

and when it rained the water streamed down the 
canvas and flowed under the tent flaps, drenching 
the bedding. While Emily was chatting to one of 
the women, she watched terrified as a puff adder 
slithered into the tent. As the occupants rushed 
outside, she sprang up and attacked the snake with 
her sunshade, wounding it. At that moment a man 
came to her rescue and killed the reptile with a 
mallet. Although shaken by this experience she 
continued her tour of inspection. She went from 
tent to tent, and family to family, listening to their 
tales of distress and misery. When she discovered 
that there were many typhoid cases in the camp 
she was supported by the Camp doctor in her 
insistence that all drinking water that came from 
the Modder River be boiled. This was not as easy 
as it sounded, as firstly there was a shortage of 
fuel, and secondly there was also a shortage of 
utensils to hold the boiled water. She suggested 
furthermore that a large railway boiler be 
purchased for this purpose. Emily continued with 
her suggestions in her campaign to clean up the 
camp and improve the health of the inmates. Fifty 
cows were purchased and though they only 

provided four buckets of milk daily, it was a start. 
A small boiler was installed to boil the milk. 
Emily handed out cartons of soap and demanded a 
public wash-house be established with water laid 
on from Bloemfontein. She also requested that a 
matron be appointed to be in constant attendance 
there to supervise cleanliness and hygiene. Emily 
went even further and applied to Cape Town for 
medical supplies and trained nurses. Her problems 
became insurmountable as convoy after convoy, 
bearing more women and children, rolled into the 
Camp to aggravate the shocking existing 
conditions. Her own small fund was already 
exhausted. Nevertheless, in spite of this distressing 
fact plus the great personal discomfort and fatigue 
which she experienced, she continued relentlessly 
with her relief work. She kept in constant touch 
with Government House and the head of the 
Department in control of Camps. Her work was 
not confined only to Bloemfontein, and she visited 
most of the other thirty-four camps in existence. 
These were arduous trips, particularly for a 
middle-aged woman of delicate health. Describing 
one of her travels in a letter to Lady Hobhouse, she 

wrote "I sat bolt upright for fifteen hours in a 
guard's van, shunting all night long with only 
some boiled milk in a bottle for company". Added 
to the strain of working in the intense heat - at 
times the temperature was over ninety degrees F, 
- was the exhaustion she suffered from talking to 
dozens of people all day long. Their topic of 
conversation naturally was always on the horrors 
of the war. In spite of her hardships Emily's sense 
of humour, inherited from her mother, breaks 
through occasionally in her letters. She wrote to 
her aunt "If I were shaped like a truck and ran on 
wheels I should be much better suited for my 
present work". On the other hand, she also 
described her trials ... "Tonight, coming back from 
Camp I got stuck in a bog. The rain has been 
tremendous and not knowing the look of the 
ground I carefully stepped where it looked driest 
and so sank to my knees in solid black mud. It was 
too comical; and there I stuck till a cart came by 
with someone in it I knew, and pulled me out". 

With the encouragement of the Camp Colonel and 
the aid of a few women Emily managed to procure 

stuffing and material to make mattresses. This 
worked out at only one mattress per tent, but at 
least it meant that the inmates could use it in turn. 
Lack of water and fuel were always a great 
handicap, and when Emily arrived with her rough 
packing cases at a new camp she always caused a 
stir, not so much for the contents of the cases as 
for their actual wood. The refugees used it to make 
simple tables and bedsteads as well as for 

The number of deaths in the Camps increased 
daily, and Emily became more and more depressed 
and frustrated by the lack of supplies and basic 
facilities. She felt she needed a rest from the 
constant misery around her, and at the end of 
March she returned to Cape Town where she 
stayed with friends. While at the Cape she 
addressed meetings of Camp workers and 
graphically described to them the Camp scenes she 
had witnessed. 

When she returned to Bloemfontein, Emily found 
the Camp work had grown considerably with the 
growth of its population. In a matter of six weeks 

the population had doubled itself and there were 
now 4,000 prisoners. She could hardly cope with 
the amount of work before her. The neighbouring 
Camps had grown too. 

Emily felt the time was now ripe for her return to 
England to publicise these distressing facts. She 
sailed from Cape Town in May 1901. On her 
arrival home she immediately requested an 
interview with the Secretary of War, Mr. Brodrick, 
which was granted her. She put before him a vivid 
picture of the Camps as she had seen them, of the 
high death rate among the children and of the 
acute shortage of rations. He listened to her 
interestedly and then asked her for her 
suggestions. Emily presented him with a list of 
improvements, pleading hard all the time for her 
pet cause - the alleviation of the lot of the 
womenfolk whose sufferings were still so fresh in 
her mind. Among her requests listed were the 
following: that a matron and minister of religion 
be attached to each camp; that new camps should 
be established only in healthy areas; and finally 
that no more children and women should be added 

to the existing overcrowded camps. These requests 
were granted three weeks after she had applied for 

Meantime her letters home from the Camps were 
printed and distributed among Members of 
Parliament. This fact obviously angered the 
Government and when they appointed a Ladies' 
Commission to report officially on conditions in 
all the Camps, Emily's name was deliberately 
omitted from the Commission. Instead, six English 
women, two of whom were doctors, were chosen 
to travel to South Africa. In their own special train 
they toured the country and visited the thirty-four 
Camps. They confirmed all the facts which Emily 
had already brought to the public's notice. 
Supporting her earlier recommendation, the 
Ladies' Commission also demanded the appoint- 
ment of a travelling Inspector of Camps to report 
on conditions to the Government. 

When Emily applied for permission to return to 
the Camps in July 1901, it was refused her. Many 
of the authorities, and most of the English people, 
felt she was too partial to the Boer women and 

children. They found her constant lectures and 
articles in the press an embarrassment. This was a 
bitter blow to her, as she well knew how much she 
was needed in South Africa, and how much 
valuable work she could do out there. Instead of 
sitting back idly and nursing her grievances 
however, she continued to work on the home front. 
She addressed numerous public gatherings, 
sometimes at the rate of a meeting a day. As a 
result of her talks she collected a large sum of 
money for her Distress Fund. Many English 
people resident in South Africa felt she had done a 
noble job of work, and they praised her efforts 
openly as having "let a ray of light and hope into 
many a depressed and desperate heart". 

Emily was determined to return to South Africa! 
Although she was forbidden to visit the Camps, 
she felt she was at liberty to tour any other part of 
the country. She was convinced that her work 
would be more effective with her headquarters in 
the Cape Colony, than in England. She sailed for 
South Africa, arriving in Cape Town in October, 
1901. Unbeknown to her, on her way out martial 

law had been proclaimed by the British in the 
Cape Colony. When her ship docked, Emily was 
in for a rude shock! She was immediately placed 
under arrest, and she was not allowed to set foot 
ashore. Her ship's captain was her gaoler. All her 
protests and pleadings were of no avail. She was 
ordered to return to England at once! This 
shattering news practically broke her spirit and 
health for all time. She asked for official reasons 
for her deportation, but she never received them. 
Her few staunch friends in Cape Town rallied to 
her aid, but they were only allowed to visit her on 
board. Their hands were tied, and she was forced 
to return to England on the next troopship. It was a 
nightmare of a voyage. They encountered bad 
weather for most of the trip and in addition the 
ship was disorderly and dirty. The food on board 
was equally bad, and by the time Emily reached 
England, after forty-eight days spent at sea, she 
was worn out, physically weak, and suffering from 
shock. Kind friends and relatives met her at the 
docks. Her ordeal aroused a great deal of publicity 
and discussion, both in England and in South 
Africa. Her family tried to arrange a court case on 

her behalf, but after taking legal advice they 
decided to drop the matter. Emily meantime went 
on holiday to Talloires, on Lake Annecy in France. 
There, in peaceful surroundings, not only did she 
regain her health, but she also wrote her book The 
Brunt of the War which naturally was an account 
of the Concentration Camps and the sufferings of 
the war refugees. It can safely be said, that at this 
stage of her life, her Distress Fund and her 
campaign of relief work were responsible for 
saving the lives of thousands of women and 
children in South Africa! 

The war ended, and when in 1902 the three Boer 
Generals,. Botha, De Wet and De La Rey arrived 
in England, seeking aid for their countrymen, 
Emily was on board the tug which sailed out to 
greet their ship at Southampton. She was in fact 
"the first English person to welcome them to 
English soil". Later she travelled to the city with 
them in the same carriage, having the honour of 
sitting between De Wet and Botha. 

Once again, even though peace had been declared, 
Emily felt herself drawn to return to South Africa. 

She felt there was vital work waiting for her there. 
In April 1903 she sailed from England and reached 
Cape Town in the middle of May. The Boers 
welcomed her with open arms. To them she was a 
heroine and their champion in their darkest hour. 
After a short rest at the Cape she started her 
journey north to Bloemfontein, stopping off en 
route at Beaufort West where she stayed with 
Olive Schreiner, the famous South African 
novelist. The two women there and then estab- 
lished a firm friendship which endured until 
Olive's death in 1920. On reaching Bloemfontein 
Emily turned a sympathetic ear again to the Boer's 
tales of misery. Poverty, hunger, destitution were 
evident all around - the aftermath of the war. The 
Boers were waiting for loans of money, as well as 
compensation for the loss of their property and 
damage to their homes. The Government had 
promised them this at the Peace Treaty, but so far 
no money was forthcoming. 

Driven by a farmer, Emily set off in his small cart 
to visit the country districts. She visited families 
on farms scattered far and wide, and doled out 

food to them, mainly in the form of rice and 
coffee, whenever she could. She travelled through 
the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, by cart 
and by train, through heat and dust, often reaching 
towns after midnight or at the crack of dawn. 
Frequently the high altitude, or the lack of proper, 
meals and comfort made her ill, but she carried on. 
After months of strenuous travelling she wrote to 
influential friends in England, to bring the existing 
tragic conditions before the British Government. 
She published an appeal for help in the South 
African News in Cape Town as well as delivering 
public speeches herself in Johannesburg. As a 
result of these efforts, the Cape appeal realised 
R 14,000 and a British newspaper wired her 
R2,000 which they added to monies already raised 
by her Distress Fund. 

Eight months of ceaseless touring left Emily with 
jaded nerves and in a state of complete exhaustion. 
She needed a rest badly, and she decided to return 
to England. On her arrival there, she was granted 
an interview with the Colonial Secretary, Mr. 
Alfred Lyttelton, and once again she pleaded the 

cause of the Boers. She backed up her plea for the 
speeding up of Government Aid, with a report 
which she had prepared in advance, containing full 
details of what she had seen in South Africa. 

While she was supposed to be "resting" in 
England a new idea was germinating in Emily's 
active mind. Her idea was to start home industries 
for idle Boer farm girls. This would enable them to 
earn money and at the same time it would keep 
them occupied. While in South Africa Emily had 
come across many Dutch girls who displayed great 
skill with the sewing needle. She felt organised 
needle-point and lace-making were the answer. 
Consequently she studied different methods of 
these arts in England and visited lace exhibitions 
in Museums abroad. Not only did she study the 
development of lace in Venice, but she took 
lessons there in lace-making herself. She furthered 
her studies in Belgium on her way home. Next she 
visited Ireland where she studied the various 
processes of spinning and weaving. Her final step 
in this new venture was to close "The Distress 

Fund" and to start the "Boer Home Industries and 
Aid Society" in its place. 

Early in 1905 Emily and her English companion, 
Margaret Clark, sailed for South Africa. They 
reached Philippolis in the Orange Free State at the 
beginning of March. Through their friend, Rev. 
Colin Fraser, a house was found for the women 
and suitable quarters for their weaving and 
spinning industry were provided. By the middle of 
the month they started their first school with six 
pupils. Emily's goal was to prove that it was 
possible to dye and wash South African wool 
successfully under South Africa's climatic 
conditions. A lot of experimental work was 
necessary as the climate was so different to that of 
Europe. Consequently the results achieved in the 
beginning were often quite different from those 
anticipated. Nevertheless Emily's school grew, 
partly due to Rev. Fraser encouraging girls to join 
the classes, and mainly due to her power of 
leadership, her energy and enthusiasm. There were 
many difficulties to overcome. There was a 
shortage of tools, the water had to be fetched from 

a great distance, and wood and coal were both 
practically unobtainable. Being a resourceful and 
determined woman however, Emily persevered 
and won through. Whereas the school's first 
efforts were imperfect and clumsy products, the 
pupils soon learnt to make articles of exquisite and 
lasting beauty. Emily begged for more funds from 
England, which she received, and her school grew. 
No sacrifice or effort was too great, to make her 
project succeed. She had no social life, as she was 
determined to conserve her strength and time for 
her work. All her pupils and teachers gave of their 
best, because of the devotion she evoked in them. 

After talks with Generals Smuts and Botha she 
started a second school at Langlaagte near 
Johannesburg. There was an orphanage of 250 
children there under the care of Rev. Kriel. He was 
agreeable to having the children over 12 years of 
age taught, and he offered them a zinc shed with a 
mud floor as a workroom for a beginning. 
Furthermore, he also promised them a free supply 
of water. It was agreed that some of the trained 
Philippolis pupils would come to teach the 

orphans. Eventually two schools were staffed, and 
young children and elderly people in Langlaagte 
were also persuaded to help in the preparation of 
the wool. Emily was keen to have spinning done in 
private homes as well, but there was an acute 
shortage of spinning wheels. Brothers and fathers 
of the students made some wheels, but the 
shortage of wood meant that the demand far 
exceeded the supply. Emily wrote to Europe for 
the, need of a "ship-load of wheels". Fortunately 
her plea did not fall on deaf ears, but instead it 
touched the hearts of the Swiss people. Her wild 
dream was realised when one day she saw a 
procession of wagons, piled high with packing 
cases of winders, accessories and spinning wheels, 
driving down the road to Langlaagte. These gifts 
were from generous Swiss women. 

Teaching began, and soon Emily found herself 
known affectionately as "Auntie Hobhouse" to the 
250 orphans. The work-shed soon proved 
unsuitable for their classes, and friends found them 
new premises. More and more women, both from 
overseas and South Africa, were becoming 

interested in the Home Industries and they were 
trained to be teachers and organisers. Emily 
decided to leave her house in the country in 
Philippolis, and she had a home built in Bellevue, 
Johannesburg. Her strength was beginning to fail 
and she was forced to stop hard physical work 
such as dyeing and weaving. The school in 
Langlaagte closed down, as the Orphanage 
Authorities had pressing need for the house they 
had rented out. Emily decided to visit her friend 
General Smuts in Pretoria and ask him what her 
next step should be. He suggested that she find 
suitable premises in Johannesburg, which she did. 
Fortunately her new school was within walking 
distance of her home. Smuts also encouraged her 
to continue training as many girls as possible, as 
he held out high hopes that soon the Government 
could be persuaded to provide grants for the 
industrial schools. 

Emily returned overseas where she reported on the 
progress of her schools to her fund-raising 
committee in London. She also found time to visit 
Switzerland to thank her friends and supporters 

there for their generosity. On her return to South 
Africa three months later, she turned her energies 
in a new direction. She was determined to 
perusade the Government to take over the running 
of her schools, as she felt that the time was 
drawing near when she would no longer be able to 
supervise them. The first step the Government 
demanded, was that her school be moved to 
Pretoria. The supervisor, Mrs. Goetzsche, was 
agreeable to teaching in that city and the move was 
made. Emily also gave up her cottage in 
Johannesburg and took up residence in Pretoria. 
General Smuts appointed a Board to control the 
schools' Public Funds, and to lay down "rules" 
along which the Industrial Schools would develop 
and work. He appointed Emily the "Advisor" to 
the Board, an office which she gladly accepted. 
The spinning and weaving industries were 
officially handed over in 1908 to the Transvaal 
and Orange River Colony Governments. There 
were twenty-five schools in existence and besides 
classes in spinning and weaving, they also taught 
basketmaking and leather- work. Emily realised the 
success and fruits of her labour when a three-day 

Exhibition of Industrial Craft was held in Cape 
Town that year. Beautiful, heavy, multi-coloured 
woven rugs lined the walls of the Exhibition Hall. 
There were rolls and rolls of Boer- spun tweed on 
display which the prominent businessmen of Cape 
Town fought to buy. The local tailors and business 
houses bombarded her with requests to buy the 
entire exhibit. She had proved in no uncertain way 
that South Africa could produce useful, practical 
and beautiful goods! 

After differences with the Board, Emily decided 
she had served her purpose, and had come to the 
end of her tether. In October 1908 she sailed for 
England. Her next few years were lonely ones in 
spite of having many friends. Because of her 
constant travels she felt she was rootless and had 
no true home. Her aunt and uncle had died while 
she was in South Africa. She lived in Rome for a 
while, the life of a semi-invalid. In 1913 she was 
invited by the South African Government to come 
to Bloemfontein to unveil the national monument 
which had been erected there to honour the 26,000 
women and children who had died in the Camps 

during the War. Alas, Emily's health failed her, 
and after travelling the thousands of miles to South 
Africa for this great honour, she was so ill by the 
time she reached Beaufort West, that she had to 
abandon the rest of her journey and return to the 
coast. However, before the monument was 
unveiled by Mrs. Steyn, Emily's commemoration 
speech was read to the large gathering. 

Her life of toil and dedication was not yet over. 
When the first World War broke out in 1914 she 
tried again, as in the past before the Boer War, to 
bring the idea of peace before the public. She 
spent three months working in Amsterdam on the 
Women's International Bureau. In 1916 she made 
the unusual offer to the German Minister in 
Switzerland of going "as a messenger of peace and 
goodwill to the people of Germany". She travelled 
via Brussels to Germany with a young German 
Courier. After an interview in Berlin with the 
German Foreign Minister she returned to England 
with the promise to work for an exchange with 
German prisoners. 

At the end of the war, nearing sixty years of age 
and notwithstanding the fact that she was a 
physical wreck, Emily worked actively for three 
causes - The Russian Babies' Fund; a Fund to help 
starving Swiss children; and a Fund for assisting 
the children of Leipzig. This entailed more travel 
for her and she visisted Austria and Germany once 
more. By now she had learnt to discipline her 
mind to overcome her physical disabilities. In her 
international "Save the Children's Fund" monies 
were collected the world over to feed and clothe 
the children of post-war Europe. 

Her last few years, 1923 - 1926, she spent in 
England, frail, weak and often in great pain. She 
died in June 1926. Her last wish was to be buried 
in South Africa. In October that year her ashes 
were placed under the stately obelisk of the 
National Monument in Bloemfontein. This spot is 
regarded by the Dutch nation as the most sacred 
ground in South Africa, and suffice to say that 
only five people are buried there - President and 
Mrs. Steyn, General de Wet, Rev. Kestell, 
Chaplain to the Boer forces and Emily Hobhouse. 

At her burial ceremony General Smuts said of 
her.... "She came to us first in the Boer War at the 
height of her power and strength. She finally left 
us, eight years after, with shattered body, and 
suffered from an illness from which she never 
recovered. During those eventful years she gave us 
all she had; she gave her health and she poured out 
her soul. But her work and her sacrifice have not 
been in vain." "... It was at that dark hour that 
Emily Hobhouse appeared. We stood alone in the 
world, the smallest nation ranged against the 
mightiest Empire on earth. And then one small 
hand, the hand of a woman, was stretched out to 
us. At that darkest hour, when our race almost 
seemed doomed to extinction, she appeared as an 
angel, as a heaven-sent messenger." 

"She lies buried in the hearts of a grateful people!" 

Sir Herbert Baker - Architect 

■V M - ■ 


"My Credo in Architecture - 
Rarity, Grace in all Simplicity' 

Beauty, Truth and 
- Baker. 

Sir Herbert BAKER 

He had the spirit and architectural dreams of a giant. 

A business relationship and friendship which had 
its beginnings round a dinner table at the Cape, at 
the end of the 19th Century, has left its mark 
indelibly on South Africa. The two men 
concerned, both Englishmen, sat opposite one 
another and yet they never exchanged a word 
throughout the meal. The younger of the two, a 
new arrival at the Cape, was quiet throughout the 
dinner party, and later he said "I was immensely 
interested in the conversation on South Africa ... 
but was distressed at the thought that by my 
silence I had not made the most of such a golden 
opportunity". Golden opportunity it was indeed, 
but how wrong he was otherwise. He certainly had 
made an impression, and on the one man present 
who could put him on his feet professionally, and 
that was Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of the 
Cape. Rhodes had noticed the reserved architect, 

Herbert Baker, among his fellow guests, and 
during the course of the evening had turned to his 
neighbour and said "I like the look of that young 
man. He doesn't talk too much. I should like to 
meet him again". And meet again they did, shortly 
afterwards on the mountain slope near Groote 
Schuur. Rhodes was out on his early morning ride 
near his home when he met Baker tramping 
through the woods. The Prime Minister invited 
him to breakfast the following morning when he 
asked him to rebuild his house Groote Schuur. 
Rhodes had recently purchased this homestead, 
known as Groote Schuur or the Grange, which was 
situated on the fringe of pine and oak forests in 
Rondebosch. Simon van der Stel in his days of 
governorship at the Cape had this house built as a 
government granary for the Dutch East India 
Company. At the end of the 18th Century it had 
been converted into a dwelling following the 
architectural style of the French and Dutch settlers. 
In the 19th Century a fire had destroyed the gables 
and thatched roof of the homestead. When it was 
subsequently leased to the British Governor, it was 
partially restored by the Public Works Department, 

and a low-pitched roof of Welsh slates was added. 
Rhodes knew that Baker had spent his first few 
months at the Cape wandering round the Peninsula 
studying and sketching the old Dutch and 
Huguenot homesteads. He also knew that the 
young architect had found the old Cape colonial 
architecture to be both dignified and beautiful in 
its simplicity. It was when this information, of 
Baker's interest in the old Cape homes, reached 
the Prime Minister's ears, that he decided to 
commission him to restore Groote Schuur "to its 
original architectural character". For the next ten 
years Baker was to become Rhodes' architect. 

Herbert Baker was born in 1862 in a four hundred- 
year-old house, Owletts, at Cobham, in Kent. His 
home was a square red-brick house, built 
according to the Stuart period. It now belongs to 
the National Trust. He was one of a large family of 
children, there being nine boys and two girls in all. 
He was regarded as being backward as a child and 
he only started to talk at the age of four. In later 
life he always consoled himself over this fact by 
saying "good fruit ripens slowly". His great- 

grandfather, Samuel Baker, was the man respon- 
sible for the building of the British Museum. 

Herbert's father could not afford to send all his 
sons to good schools and young Herbert used to 
ride on his pony to the vicarage, two miles away, 
for his first lessons. After that he attended 
Tonbridge School where the headmaster, Dr. 
Rowe, taught him to appreciate the poetry of 
Wordsworth. He retained a love of these poems 
throughout his life. In his last year at school 
Herbert decided to become an architect. When 
asked why he chose this profession, he replied 
"My parents thought that I was 'good at drawing'. 
I wasn't, but I was fond of it. I was vilely taught at 
school; to copy and stipple; not to visualize, 
represent and design". He never attended a 
university, but instead he was articled to Arthur 
Baker, his cousin. His next step in his architectural 
career was to become an improver, and later a 
leading assistant in a firm of house designers. 
When he entered the examination for the 
Associateship of the Royal Institute of British 
Architects not only was his name at the top of the 

list of successful entrants, but he also won the 
Institute's prize for the year. 

In his youth Herbert's favourite sport and pastime 
was cricket. He was chosen to play county cricket 
for the famous Kent Club. He continued this sport 
during his first few years at the Cape. Because of 
his continued interest in the game he was delighted 
in later years to be appointed architect for the 
famous Lord's cricket grounds in England. Not 
only did he build the new grandstand there, but he 
also designed the new ironwork entrance gates 
which stand today as a memorial to W. G. Grace, 
one of England's greatest cricketers. Imaginatively 
Baker placed a red. ball, symbol of the sport, 
surrounded by the sun's golden rays, on these 
gates. By the time he reached thirty Baker had 
built up a small practice of his own, but he had 
become restless and wished to broaden his life 
further afield. His opportunity soon came. His 
brother Lionel had come out to South Africa with 
a view to starting a fruit farm in the Cape 
Province. When he wrote and asked his father for 
financial assistance, Herbert was sent out to the 

Cape to investigate the plantation and to report 
back to his parents. He arrived in Cape Town in 
March 1892. Through a young English farmer, 
Pickstone, Herbert and Lionel met Rhodes, and 
thanks to. the Prime Minister's generosity and 
faith in Pickstone, he and Lionel Baker were 
established on a farm in the Stellenbosch district. 
As far as Lionel was concerned it was appro- 
priately named Nooitgedacht - "Never thought it". 

When Baker embarked on the restoration of 
Groote Schuur he had little to guide him except a 
water-colour sketch of the homestead in Rhodes' 
possession. Although Rhodes had only recently 
met Baker he had implicit faith in him and never 
interfered in the reconstruction work. In fact he 
trusted his architect to such an extent that he went 
off to Mashonaland during the rebuilding of his 
home, and on his return he found the new frontage 
completed to his satisfaction. He was so pleased 
with the result that he and Baker immediately 
discussed plans for redecorating the house and 
adding on a new wing. This was to include an 
upstairs bedroom for Rhodes with a large bay 

window which would afford him a superb view of 
his beloved mountain. Beneath his bedroom there 
was to be a billiard room. After years spent 
roughing it on farms, in the veld and on the mines, 
Rhodes became absorbed in plans of furnishing 
and house-building. He had fixed ideas too - "I 
like teak and whitewash" he said to Baker. He also 
preferred articles made by hand and ingenuity to 
machine-made objects. Baker had to replace "all 
imported ironmongery" such as screws, the metal 
work on windows and doors, right down to the 
smallest hinge. To do this he had the difficult task 
of finding, and teaching craftsmen to cast in 
bronze and brass, as well as to hammer in iron. He 
also helped to landscape and terrace the garden 
from the new back stoep up to the reddish-brown 
stemmed stone-pines near the foot of the 

One day Baker found an old plain stinkwood 
wardrobe in a pawn-broker' s shop in Cape Town. 
He bought it for Rl 2. Rhodes was delighted with 
this purchase. He promptly wrote out a cheque for 

Front of Groote Schuur, the Prime Minister's residence at the Cape - rebuilt by Herbert BAKER 

it and commissioned Baker to buy as many pieces 
of stinkwood furniture as he could lay his hands 
on. Thus began the Prime Minister's collection of 
old South African colonial furniture. Rhodes' 
interest in Groote Schuur gave a boost to the Cape 
Architectural and building industries, as well as to 
their allied trades. 

There were only a few skilled workmen in Cape 
Town at the time, but the growth of the country's 
mining industry tempted many more to leave the 
British Isles and seek their fortune in South Africa 
in the next few years. A. B. Reid, a young builder, 
came to Baker's aid. Together they discovered a 
man, Ness, in an engineer's workshop in Cape 
Town. They trained him to become a skilled 
craftsman in bronze and brass casting as well as in 
copper and wrought iron work. He was responsible 
for making all the bronze and brass metal work 
used on the heavy doors and panelled shutters of 
Groote Schuur. Rhodes wished to revive the 
forgotten arts of the Dutch, and he was determined 
to furnish his home in the manner of the old Cape 
Colonists. He was most sincere in this ideal as he 

could so easily have commanded his architect to 
build him a fine Tudor house in keeping with the 
English style of architecture of the time. Solid teak 
beams were used for the ceilings throughout 
Groote Schuur. Because of the shortage of indige- 
nous hardwood, early colonists had imported teak 
and in time it became traditional South African 
hardwood. Furniture used in the home were old 
pieces, either made by the Huguenots or early 
Dutch settlers after their arrival at the Cape, out of 
local timber or pieces of wood brought out by 
them to the Cape. The style followed that of Louis 
XIV and XV and often consisted of ornate rococo 
curves in metal and wood. There were also 
benches and chairs made out of hardwood by Boer 
hunters living in the Bushveld. Rhodes purchased 
Japanese and Chinese porcelain which merchants 
of the English and Dutch East India Companies 
had brought to the Cape. Engraved Dutch glass 
graced his dinner table. 

While Rhodes was up North his home burnt down, 
and consequently he never saw it completed. He 
lived in its charred shell on his way back to 

England to attend the Jameson Raid inquiry. Baker 
rebuilt Groote Schuur, on the same site as the 
previous home, but he managed to persuade 
Rhodes to have a number of trees cleared from the 
mountain side. This was to try and rid the surroun- 
ding woods of the unhealthy still, damp air found 
there. The new clearing also opened up a view of 
the Cape Flats and the distant mountains. 

The Prime Minister was as interested in sculpture 
as in architecture, particularly where Groote 
Schuur was concerned. A young Scotch sculptor, 
John Tweed, was brought out to model a bronze 
panel in relief for the centre gable of the new front 
facade. The subject chosen for the panel was The 
Landing of Van Riebeeck in Table Bay. Rhodes 
also commissioned him to model the bronze statue 
of Jan van Riebeeck which he presented as a gift 
to the mother city. This statue in Adderley Street is 
still one of Cape Town's most famous landmarks. 
In his will Rhodes bequeathed Groote Schuur to 
the nation, and the Prime Ministers have continued 
to live there for the last sixty years. 

Baker was Rhodes' architect for the last decade of 
the latter' s life. He travelled overseas with him, 
sometimes he deputised as his secretary, and 
obviously he got to know the man well. He 
admired him enormously and later wrote a book 
on his association with the Prime Minister which 
he titled simply Cecil Rhodes. Baker rebuilt 
Welgelegen as a gift from Rhodes to the Currey 
family. It was Rhodes' way of saying "thank you" 
to Mrs. Currey who had shown him great 
hospitality during his early lonely Kimberley days. 
It was "done over" in typical old Dutch style, with 
a terraced garden and a high stoep shaded by a 
pergola of vines. 

Another house rebuilt by Baker was the 
"Woolsack" on Rhodes' estate. According to the 
Prime Minister he was instructed to build "a 
cottage in the woods for poets and artists." Rhodes 
hoped to encourage men of this nature to visit the 
Cape. He said: "if they live in beautiful 
surroundings, they will be better inspired to 
interpret through their art the beauty and grandeur 
of the country". One famous and frequent visitor 

to the Woolsack was Rudyard Kipling, who was 
invited by Rhodes, an admirer of his, to come out 
on holiday annually and "hang up his hat there". 
And it was there, amidst peace and beauty, that the 
writer found inspiration to write his immortal 
poem If. Baker and Kipling became firm friends 
and kept in touch with one another over the years. 
The rooms of the Woolsack were built round an 
open, columned entrance hall or atrium, as in the 
style of ancient Roman houses. Barrels of blue 
hydrangeas stood in the red tiled courtyard. The 
central atrium was a great success in the mild 
coastal climate of the Cape, but when Baker built a 
home later in the heart of the hot Karroo, with a 
similar central atrium, its owners referred to it 
jocularly as a "Bake-house!" 

While working on Groote Schuur Baker lived in a 
cottage, "The Grotto", which was a stone's throw 
from the Prime Minister's home. 

Later he built a cottage for himself at Muizenberg 
which he called "Sandhills". For a long time it was 
the only house at Muizenberg. Rhodes visited him 
there on occasions and enjoyed the bracing sea air 

from his architect's stoep. Sir Alfred Milner also 
spent a week-end there during the troubled days of 
the Boer War. 

Rhodes sent Baker to Europe so that he could 
study the architecture there with the hopes that it 
would inspire him for future buildings to be 
erected in South Africa and Rhodesia by the Prime 
Minister. Rhodes paid for his travels, and Baker 
visited Egypt, Greece, Italy and Sicily. On his 
return he designed the Kimberley Monument 
which was based on a ruined Monument on the 
Alban hills of Rome. It was known as the tomb of 
Romulus and had greatly impressed Rhodes. He 
had instructed Baker specifically to study this 
monument while on his tour overseas. 

Baker designed the Lion Temple, more popularly 
known as Rhodes Memorial, which was built after 
Rhodes' death. It is on the slopes of Rhodes' 
beloved mountain above Groote Schuur. Rhodes 
had always wanted a temple there in the hopes that 
it would encourage people to come there "to be 
inspired, as he was himself, by the mountain and 
the view". This temple with its plain unfluted 

Doric columns, stands amidst proteas, oaks and 
pines. It is built of solid granite. The eight bronze 
lions, flanking the stepped platforms, were made 
by the sculptor Swan. He also made the bronze 
bust of Rhodes which reposes in a niche in the 
wall behind the columns. Kipling wrote the lines 
which appear on the pedestal beneath the head of 

The immense and brooding Spirit still 

Shall quicken and control, 

Living he was the land, and dead, 

His soul shall be her soul. 

The statue of Physical Energy by Watts dominates 
the base of the temple. The other Rhodes memorial 
is also a mountain memorial built by Baker. It is 
set in the lonely Matoppos in Rhodesia where 
Rhodes is buried. 

Although Baker's first ten years in South Africa 
were spent predominantly in working for Rhodes, 
he found time for other buildings as well. He 
designed schools, houses and churches in the Cape 
including the well-known St. George's Cathedral, 

where he used heavy Australian jarrah-wood for 
the timbered ceilings and sandstone from Table 
Mountain for the outside walls. Through his 
association with Rhodes he had the opportunity of 
meeting, and becoming friendly with a number of 
leading personalities in Cape Town at the time. 
One of whom was Sir David Gill, the Scotch 
Astronomer Royal. Baker helped him build the 
observatory to house his new telescope used for 
photographing stars. When Baker built the small 
church in the suburb of Observatory, Gill said to 
him "Ye couldna' 'a deen better in a' Aberdeen". 
Baker counted among his "circle", Madam 
Koopmans de Wet, whom he described as "a 
Dutch lady, who looked as if she had walked out 
of a picture by Frans Hals". He shared a love of 
old Dutch furniture, china and paintings with her. 
Today her home is a national museum. His other 
friends included the Governor, Lord Loch, and his 
wife; Sir James Rose-Innes, a member of Rhodes' 
Ministry, who was later to become Chief Justice of 
South Africa; Lord de Villiers, Chief Justice at the 
time; and a brilliant English journalist, Edmund 
Garrett, who was editor of The Cape Times. 

Yet another close friend was Alec Trotter, who 
had come out to the Cape as Electrical Expert 
Adviser to the Government. His wife was an artist 
and in 1900 she published and illustrated an 
excellent book on Old Colonial Houses of the 
Cape of Good Hope. Baker provided the 
introduction to this volume. 

After the Boer War, in 1902, the British High 
Commissioner, Lord Milner invited Baker to come 
up to the Transvaal "to aid in introducing a better 
and more permanent order of architecture". Baker 
left the Cape with regret, and in the beginning he 
was restless and unhappy in the mining town of 
Johannesburg. At that time there was a team of 
brilliant young men of vision in the Transvaal 
known as Milner' s "Kindergarten". They helped 
Milner to plan the country's future after the chaos 
of the war. Baker was also a member of the 
"Kindergarten". Soon after his arrival in Johannes- 
burg Lionel Curtis, a fellow "Kindergarten" 
member, invited Baker to build him a house on his 
two acres of land up on a "koppie". And so the 
"Stonehouse", so called because the architect used 

the hard quartzite found on the rocky ridge of the 
koppie for its outside walls, came into being. 
When the house was completed Baker and other 
members of the "Kindergarten" were invited to 
share it with Curtis. Later, when he married, Baker 
and his English wife continued to live at 
Stonehouse" and their three sons were born there. 

Soon after his arrival in the Transvaal Baker was 
commissioned to design a house for Sir Arthur and 
Lady Lawley, the Lieutenant Governor and his 
wife, in Pretoria. Later it became the official 
residence of the Governor- General and was known 
as Government House. When Lord and Lady 
Selborne, the first Governor-General and his wife, 
moved into this residence Lady Selborne had 
Baker design most of the home's furniture for her. 
The pieces were designed on simple lines and 
were made mainly out of indigenous African 
wood. Baker also designed other homes in Pre- 
toria. He built houses in Bryntirion forjudges and 
civil servants as well as a house for General Sir 
Neville Lyttelton at Robert's Heights. Lyttelton 
was in command of the military station there. 

One of the most outstanding homes designed by 
Baker in Johannesburg was "Arcadia" for Sir 
Lionel and Lady Phillips. It was built on a 
"koppie" in the style of an Italian villa, and it still 
stands today as the home of the Jewish Orphanage. 
It was a large house which also contained an 
organ-room for Sir Lionel. The magnificent garden 
was landscaped and planted under Lady Phillips' 
guidance. In time she made her home the centre of 
culture and art in the city. It is thanks to Lady 
Phillips' cultural pursuits and initiative that the 
City Council was persuaded to build the Art 
Gallery in Johannesburg. 

Another imposing mansion built by Baker was 
high on the Berea in Durban. It was for Sir 
Marshall Campbell, a Natal sugar king. Campbell, 
who was a senator in the first Union Parliament, 
commissioned the architect to build a home with 
all the rooms facing the sea. Today this house, 
Muckleneuk, contains one of South Africa's 
largest and most valuable libraries of Africana. It 
is the collection of Miss Killie Campbell, the 
Senator's daughter, and it is known as the Killie 

Campbell Africana Library. This spry, charming 
little old lady is one of South Africa's foremost 
authorities on Africana. Thirty five years ago she 
started collecting her books, now totalling close on 
32,000 volumes, and over the years she has built 
up a treasure house of our history. Her collection 
also includes old documents, old photographs, 
manuscripts, paintings, maps, early Settler's 
records, old Cape and British furniture and an 
extensive collection of Bantu bead work, pottery 
and relics. Students, journalists, artists, research 
workers and writers are all welcome to browse 
round this private museum, which is still Miss 
Campbell's home, and to avail themselves of the 
wealth of material which they will find there. 

Miss Campbell started her library as a young girl 
by browsing round obscure second-hand 
bookshops in London. In those days valuable 
pieces of Africana were much cheaper and more 
readily obtainable than now. Today her library 
contains complete sets of the earliest editions of 
John Barrow, William Burchell and Le Vaillant 
the French ornithologist. She has a map drawn by 

Thomas Baines, copies of the letters of Rhodes 
and Livingstone, and old Cape prints by such 
famous artist-travellers as Baines, Burchell, 
Bowler, FOns and Daniell. A Daniell painting 
which she purchased many years ago for as little 
as R30 is valued today at R500. 

Miss Campbell has always been interested in the 
Bantu, and her library contains a special section 
devoted to Bantu literature. She also owns a 
number of interesting original paintings by Bantu 
artists. Furthermore, she has one of the finest 
collections in the country of native carvings, 
beadwork and historic relics such as an ivory 
bracelet once worn by Chaka. In 1951 the 
University of Natal awarded Killie Campbell the 
Honorary Degree of Master of Arts in recognition 
of her valuable work in gathering historical 
records. Three years later the Honorary Degree of 
Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) was conferred on her by 
the University of Witwatersrand. In 1954 her 
brother, William Campbell, made a gift of their 
beautiful home and its spacious grounds to the 
Durban City Council, with the proviso that he and 

his sister could live in it for the duration of their 
lives. Dr. Killie Campbell is still Muckleneuk's 
gracious hostess. 

Besides building a number of houses in 
Johannesburg, Baker also built the well known 
school, St. John's College. This imposing stone 
edifice stands on a "koppie" in the city's northern 
suburbs. He started the original buildings of a 
number of other schools, such as Roedean Girls' 
School in Johannesburg, and Michaelhouse and St. 
Annes's in Natal. He was also the architect for the 
railway station and Reserve Bank in Pretoria. 

His most outstanding architectural monument to 
himself in South Africa however is undoubtedly 
the magnificent Union Buildings in Pretoria. He 
was appointed architect for the Union Buildings at 
the time when Pretoria was chosen as the admini- 
strative capital of the country. He was given free 
rein to choose the site for his building, and finally 
he chose two sites, again on a "koppie", Meintjes 
Kop, which overlooked the valley where the city 

Union Buildings, Pretoria, 1913. Herbert Baker's Most outstanding building in South Africa. 

of Pretoria lay. He showed his rough sketches of 
his proposed "amphitheatre" to General Smuts, 
and together they visited the site. 

Smuts approved heartily of Baker's plans and he 
and General Botha told him "to go ahead". The 
building consists of two wings, an East and a West 
one, each of which contains great blocks of offices 
for Government Departments and Cabinet 
Ministers. The central semicircular buildings 
connect the two wings and contain the Conference 
Room and the Library. The building is three 
storeys high and at the lower basement level there 
are vaults and strong-rooms hewn in the hard 
"koppie" rock. The amphitheatre is flanked by 
"two tall dome-capped towers" intended to 
symbolise the two races of South Africa. There are 
terraces containing barrels of hydrangeas and 
pomegranates, broad pools of water where papyrus 
and lilies grow, and avenues of citrus, wild fig and 
jacaranda trees. A bronze figure of Mercury is 
poised lightly on the small dome which covers a 
columned "rostrum" in the centre of the large 
semi-circle. Baker's concept was of a semicircular 

Greek theatre up on a hill. The plan of the terraces 
is modelled on the famous Villa d'Este gardens at 
Tivoli, outside Rome. In 1910 the Duke of 
Connaught laid the foundation stone on behalf of 
His Majesty, King George V. The building 
ultimately cost over R2,000,000 to complete. It 
was officially opened in 1913. Early in 1912 when 
the Union Buildings were nearing completion, 
Baker returned to England, and also visisted Italy, 
mainly, as he said "to refresh my memory at the 
home of the Mother of the Arts." While in Rome 
he received a telegram from the India Office 
inviting him to collaborate with the architect 
Edwin Luytens in designing the new capital of 
India - New Delhi. The two architects were 
friends, and Baker had the highest regard for 
Luytens' ability and talent. Baker sailed for the 
East with mixed feelings. He had qualms about 
forsaking South Africa, where he had been so 
happy and successful in his work. On the other 
hand he was keyed up with excited anticipation at 
the thought of visiting the romantic East. He called 
this phase of his life "my second Great Quest". 

Together the two men planned the city and made 
sketches for the leading buildings, such as the 
Viceroy's House, the Secretariats and Government 
House. This was no mean feat, and to fully 
appreciate and understand his undertaking Baker 
set out to learn all he could of Indian art, 
mythology, lore, history and romance. He studied 
features of Indian decoration and architecture and 
a book on the Taj Mahal in particular. He and 
Luytens visited old monuments and cities in 
Central and Northern India. They studied 
mosques, tombs, temples, ruined gardens and 
shrines of saints so that their plans would be in 
keeping with the Indian tradition. The two men 
incorporated some traditional Indian architectural 
features in all of their buildings. 

Five years later, during the first World War, Baker 
and Luytens were invited again to combine as an 
architectural team, this time on the Imperial War 
Graves Commission. For this job the two men 
visited war cemeteries and toured battlefields from 
Ypres to the Somme. Among the many war 
memorials executed by Baker was the South 

African Memorial, Delville Wood, where an 
avenue of oaks was planted from acorns of old 
trees originally planted at the Cape by the Dutch 
settlers. General Hertzog spoke at the unveiling 
ceremony, and Mrs. Louis Botha was accorded the 
honour of unveiling the bronze statue by Alfred 
Turner of the Twin Brethren. Baker also designed 
the War Memorial for his home county of Kent, 
near the great Cathedral of Canterbury. During the 
heavy air raids on Canterbury a bomb fell on the 
memorial and the Cross was hit. In spite of the 
shock and damage it remained standing. It was 
partly on the strength of this work that Baker was 
recommended for his knighthood. 

In 1925 he was invited by Sir Edward Grigg, 
Governor of Kenya, to go out to East Africa, to 
design buildings there as well as to advise on 
building projects. Before his departure for Kenya 
he received a note containing advice on town plan- 
ning in the tropics from his friend Colonel T. E. 
Lawrence, The Lawrence of Arabia. The note read 
as follows: 

Do not fall into the Khartoum fault of wide streets. 
In tropics, air (fresh or foul) is an enemy. Also 
sunlight. You want houses of immense height and 
vigorous overhang. Streets like alleys, half dark, 
and full of turnings to exclude the wind. All 
pavements should be covered over with light 
vaulting; Squares and open places planted with 
bushy trees. Ground colour should be dark, and 
podia of buildings painted in deep colour, or 
rusticated in heavy-coloured stone. Athens is 
blinding with its marble pavements. 

Baker designed Government House in Nairobi, as 
well as the Law Courts, schools and other 

Four years later he visited America with General 
Smuts and Philip Kerr, an old Transvaal 
"Kindergarten" friend. He spent most of his time 
in the States studying the architecture of New 
York, which he described as appearing to be "a 
giant city of a 'hundred towers' built by rival 
factions, like those of the Montagues and Capulets, 
but without the other contrasting forms which give 
distinction and grace to an Italian city". He toured 

the country, and together with Smuts and Kerr he 
dined with President Hoover at the White House. 
He found Washington by far the most beautiful 
city in America. 

When the Bank of England - the Old Lady of 
Threadneedle Street - was rebuilt, Baker was 
called in by the Deputy Governor of the Bank, 
Cecil Lubbock, for the job. Being the brilliant and 
imaginative man he was, he set about this task 
with a difference. He was determined to design a 
building not merely for the purpose of amassing 
money. The first question he asked, after accepting 
the assignment, was "What does the Bank of 
England stand for?" The answer he received was 
"Trust and Confidence, which breeds Credit". He 
went ahead with his plans and was delighted when 
he was told to use only materials, craftsmen and 
artists of the highest quality. There are seven huge 
doors of solid cast bronze guarding the Bank's 
entrances. The bold relief modelled on these doors 
express, through symbols and devices, "the life- 
work of the Bank". The floors of the vestibules 
contain marble mosaics bearing designs of ancient 

British-Roman coins. Throughout the planning of 
the new Bank, Baker found a sympathetic listener 
and a competent adviser in the Governor of the 
Bank, Montagu Norman. They lunched together 
and amongst other topics they discussed their 
experiences in South Africa for Montagu Norman 
had also been out to our country - as a soldier 
during the Boer War. 

There is yet another link between our architect and 
our country. For it was he who designed South 
Africa House in Trafalgar Square in London. 
Baker used South Africa's most famous and 
popular emblem, the Sprinbok, for this building. 
He decided to add "wings of imagination" to the 
creature, so a gilt-bronze "Winged" Springbok was 
modelled and cast by Charles Wheeler, and this 
figure now adorns the corner of South Africa 
House. The library in the building contains the 
emblems of the discoverers and navigators 
associated with South Africa. From Henry the 
Navigator, Diaz and Vasco da Garna to the Dutch 
and English Governors of the Cape-their symbols 
and shields are all there. Baker also designed the 

three other Empire Buildings in London - the 
Home of the Royal Empire Society in Northum- 
berland Avenue, India House and London House. 

Because of his long and close association with 
Rhodes he obviously received great pleasure and 
satisfaction in being chosen to design Rhodes 
House at Oxford. 

This active and gifted man continued to design 
buildings one after the other. He built the Polar 
Institute at Cambridge and he designed and 
restored stately homes for the rich and the famous. 
He even restored a Castle near Canterbury. 

Baker made a great study of old churches in 
Wales, England, Italy and elsewhere on the 
Continent. He designed a number of churches and 
Cathedrals in South Africa including the Cathedral 
in Pretoria, St. Mary's Cathedral in Johannesburg 
and Salisbury Cathedral in Rhodesia. He collected 
many well deserved honours during his life time. 
In 1927 he received the Gold Medal of the Royal 
Institute of British Architects for the year. In 1934, 
whilst on a visit to Johannesburg, the University 

conferred the Honorary Degree of Doctor of 
Literature upon him. 

Dr. Gordon Leith, an elderly, practising architect 
of note in Johannesburg today, was a one-time co- 
worker of Baker. He said of him "I can think of no 
architect, present or past, who was more inwardly 
inspired than Herbert Baker, none who was more 
enthralled with the promise of crystallizing in 
stone the soul and spirit of a great Empire than he. 
He used music and poetry in his buildings and 
architectural thoughts". South African architects in 
particular owe Baker a great debt, for he was the 
first man to really appreciate the beauty of the 18th 
Century homesteads at the Cape, and through his 
sketches he awakened an interest in architecture in 
our country. He was in fact the great pioneer of 
architecture in South Africa. 

He died in February 1946, at the grand old age of 
84, and it was only fitting that he should be buried 
in Westminster Abbey, the final resting place of 
many great men. It was also a building which he 
had always loved. 

Baker was a big man from every point of view. He 
had the heart, the spirit and the architectural 
dreams of a giant! 

Anton VAN WOUW, Rome 1898, with sentries 
for Pretoria Kruger Monument. 

Anton Van Wouw - Sculptor 

It was seven o'clock in the morning and two men 
were sitting chatting on the porch of a house in 
Pretoria. They exchanged smiles as they spoke, for 
they were friends. The conversation flitted from 
politics and history to hunting and religion. The 
one figure, a heavily built man, puffed away 
concentratedly at his pipe throughout the conver- 
sation. Suddenly he turned to his tall companion, a 
man of great charm, and removing the pipe from 
his mouth he said "Now then, don't you get 
swollen-headed and think you are God because 
you are modelling me". Quietly his young friend 
replied "I don't think I am. He is too big for me". 
The older man nodded his head as he continued 
"You can make good models of man, but only God 
can breathe the spirit into a model". In a tone of 
complete acceptance and humility his companion 
replied "I am glad I cannot do that". 

After breakfasting together the two men walked 
out into the sunshine. They shook hands as they 
bade one another "good-bye", and then went their 
separate ways for the rest of the day. The older 

man put on his top hat and walked off towards the 
Volksraad to meet the members of the Executive 
Council, for he was none other than Paul Kruger, 
the President of the South African Republic. His 
friend was Anton van Wouw the sculptor, who 
was destined to become famous in South Africa, 
land of his adoption, for his many national 
monuments, magnificent statues and beautiful 
busts and statuettes. 

A few weeks later the two friends met again and 
this time the artist came to Kruger for advice and 
help. "President," he said, "I wish to learn 
English". Kruger looked at him impatiently as he 
enquired "Have you ever spoken English?" "No", 
replied Van Wouw. "Nou dan!" (Well then") 
snapped Kruger angrily. Subject dismissed! 

Anton van Wouw was born in Holland, at a place 
called Driebergen in the Province of Utrecht in 
1862. When he was a year old the family moved to 
Rotterdam where his father became the principal 
of a school. As a little boy Anton learnt a love of 
art from his mother and they would sit together for 
many hours cutting out pictures and designs with 

paper and scissors. His father did not encourage 
him in his artistic pursuits as he was keen that his 
son should follow in his footsteps and become a 
school teacher. He felt that the livelihood of an 
artist was a precarious one. Nevertheless the lad 
continued to pursue his love of art, and by the time 
he was twelve he was enrolled as a student at the 
Rotterdam Academy. He was taught drawing, 
sketching and modelling. He also attended evening 
classes, from six to ten p.m., where he worked for 
hours in deep concentration. He soon discovered 
that his real talent and love lay in modelling and 
not in drawing. He received his first lessons as a 
future sculptor from a stucco worker and plasterer 
in Rotterdam. Here he was shown how to make 
simple models as well as being taught the art of 
cutting stone. In the beginning he showed little 
detail in his work, but as he progressed he 
improved, and today his statuettes are famous for 
their wealth of detail. When Anton was twenty his 
father left Holland and emigrated to South Africa 
where he eventually settled in Pretoria. He had a 
post there under the Secretary of State. Meantime 
Anton was full of hopes and dreams of his future, 

but he found life in Holland narrow and 
oppressive. Eagerly he awaited letters and news 
from his father, from his new home in a land of 
future and promise. One day he received four 
photographs from him. They were all pictures of 
typical Transvaal Boers. On studying these 
photographs further, Anton decided that he would 
like to live among such brave, strong-hearted 
people and be one of them. He wrote to his father 
about his desire to leave Holland and eventually 
received his permission to come to South Africa. 
Accompanied by his mother, he arrived here in 
1889 and immediately proceeded to Pretoria: His 
mother stayed less than a year and then returned to 

The Pretoria that greeted the young twenty- seven- 
year-old Hollander was a small cheerless village 
and showed little promise for an ambitious artist. 
The townsfolk had neither the time nor the money 
to spend on art or statuary. They were simple 
people, interested only in building a new land. 
Hunting, politics and farming filled their days. 
There were many lean months ahead of Van 

Wouw as he sought work where he could show his 
skill and artistry. Finally, in desperation, he 
accepted a job repairing rifles in a gunsmith's 
workshop. He continued to study and paint in the 
evenings after work. As his salary was a mere R40 
a month he supplemented his earnings further by 
giving part-time lessons in art. He also taught 
drawing at a girl's school in the town. His 
thoughts however were always centred on art as he 
knew he was not cut out to be a businessman. 

His first work in his own field in South Africa was 
as an artist and not as a sculptor. Mr. Bourke, a 
respected and well-known businessman in 
Pretoria, commissioned him to decorate the 
drawing room of his home. This was done in Louis 
XV style, and Van Wouw received R500 for this 
commission - a princely sum and an encouraging 
beginning indeed! His new benefactor continued 
to show an interest in the gifted young artist. He 
purchased one of Van Wouw's oil paintings, a 
landscape of the Apies River, which he presented 
as a gift to the Pretoria City Council. 

Van Wouw's first public commission was to carve 
the South African Republic's coat-of-arms out of 
plaster. This was to adorn a Government Building 
in Pretoria. When completed, this work caught the 
eye and captured the attention of a number of 
leading architects. They subsequently gave him 
ornamental work to do on their buildings still 
under construction. Anton opened a studio in 
Pretoria, and as he made friends so word of his 
great talent spread. 

A few years before the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer 
War, he received his first big chance to prove his 
worth as a sculptor of note. Mr. Samuel Marks, a 
prominent South African financier, presented a gift 
of R20,000 to the Transvaal to erect a Monument 
to his friend, Paul Kruger, in Pretoria. Church 
Square was chosen as the site for the statue. An 
advertisement appeared in the local newspapers 
publicising this offer and inviting sculptors to 
submit their models. Van Wouw saw the 
advertisement, and full of hope and enthusiasm he 
rushed to his studio where he immediately started 
work on a model of the monument. When it was 

completed to his satisfaction he invited the 
appointed delegation of leading citizens to his 
studio to inspect his work. There followed a 
humorous incident, when a member of the 
delegation, ignorant of the stages of statuary, 
turned round to the sculptor and said "Mr. Van 
Wouw, it is beautiful, it is our President, but isn't 
it rather small to stand in Church Square?" 

Van Wouw was chosen to execute the main statue, 
the four corner figures and the plaques. After a 
meeting with President Kruger and Sammy Marks 
a contract was drawn up whereby the sculptor was 
to receive R80 a month and was requested to finish 
the job in a year. The statue of Kruger was to be 
twice life-size, and there were to be four additional 
figures, sentries, "guarding" the statue. Today all 
South Africans are familiar with this figure of the 
top-hatted, squat Boer hero, wearing his full 
Presidential regalia. The left hand clutches a scroll 
while he leans heavily on his stick with his right. 
The figures of the sentries were modelled from 
photographs of burghers taken during different 
decades in the life of Kruger. Their firearms and 

clothing indicate "the period they represent". 
There is the warrior of Majuba, the fighter with his 
old muzzle-loader, and the soldier of Doringkop 
1896. The biggest problem of all for Van Wouw 
was when Kruger refused to pose for him. The 
sculptor had to resort to photographs, and the 
image in his mind's eye, of the President. 

Van Wouw was excited and happy about his 
commission. He had regular work and a regular 
salary. As there were no casting facilities in South 
Africa in the 'nineties, the sculptor sailed for 
Europe to execute his work. On reaching Rome he 
visited the famous galleries and works of art. The 
beauty of St. Peter's and the treasures of the 
Vatican thrilled him, but it was the work of 
Michelangelo that impressed him most. To a 
certain extent he imitated this Master in his future 
work. There were many difficulties to overcome, 
and his contract was extended for a further two 
years before the huge monument was completed. 

The five statues, and the four plaques in relief 
were moulded out of clay. These plaques depicted 
outstanding episodes in the President's life. One 

plaque shows Kruger' s act of bravery at the 
Makapan caves in the Northern Transvaal when he 
was a nineteen-year-old Trekker. At this time, 
1844, the Bantu Chief, Makapan, his 3,000 people 
and their cattle took refuge in these caves to 
escape the wrath of two Voortrekker commandos 
out to avenge the death of other Trekker s. During 
the twentyseven-day siege, a Boer leader, Piet 
Potgieter, was shot dead by the Bantu and his body 
fell into the cave. The young Kruger jumped over 
the stone barricade erected by the Bantu, to fetch 
Potgieter' s body which today lies buried near 
Potgietersrus. This heroic act is graphically carved 
on the pedestal of Kruger' s statue for all time. 

When Van Wouw was satisfied with his efforts in 
clay, he made a plaster cast of the figures, adding 
details and improving small features here and 
there. At last he felt the work was ready to be cast 
in bronze. For this final step the figures were given 
to Bruno, a famous Italian caster, and the statues 
were poured in bronze in his foundry. When they 
were completed the German and Italian artists in 
Rome flocked to Bruno's studio to see and 

criticise Van Wouw's work. The general verdict 
was "magnificent"! The completed works were 
crated and shipped to South Africa. They reached 
Delagoa Bay and lay in a warehouse of the African 
Boating Company at Lourenco Marques. 

Two weeks before the outbreak of the Boer War 
(11th October 1899) Van Wouw returned to 
Pretoria and immediately went to visit Kruger. 
"Good morning President, I am Van Wouw," he 
said. "Yes I can see that", Kruger replied. 
"President, I've come to see you about the 
Monument," continued Van Wouw. "Wait till the 
war is over," answered Kruger. And Van Wouw 
had no option but to wait - for three years - until 
the war ended. The tide turned against the Boers, 
the English won the war and Kruger was in exile. 
And what of the Kruger Monument? The story 
must be told, as it is as incredible as it is true! 

After the war Sammy Marks decided that there 
was little likelihood of the statues ever being 
erected, and when Lord Kitchener asked him for 
the four figures of the sentries "as a memento of 
the brave and honourable men he fought against", 

he gave them to him as a gift. Van Wouw was 
angry about this decision as he felt his monument 
was bequeathed to the people of the Transvaal, but 
there was nothing he could do to overrule Mark's 
decision. Kitchener shipped the four sentries to 
England but left the crate containing the huge 
statue of Kruger at Lourenco Marques. The four 
sentries were first placed in front of the military 
colleges of Woolwich and Sandhurst, but later 
Kitchener had two of them erected in front of the 
School of Military Engineering in Chatham and 
the other two he erected in the private grounds of 
his estate in Broome Park. Meantime the pedestal 
of Scottish granite, and the base stood bare in 
Church Square from 1899-1905. General Louis 
Botha wrote to Kitchener, trying to persuade him 
to return the figures to Pretoria, but he met with no 
success. In 1905 the Pretoria Council had the 
pedestal removed from Church Square to Prince's 
Park. After a long struggle the Town Council 
succeeded in getting the statue of Oom Paul back 
to Pretoria, and in 1913 it was erected by the Town 
Engineer on its pedestal at Prince's Park. General 
Schalk Burger, who was Acting President of the 

Republic for the last eighteen months of the Boer 
War, unveiled the statue minus its side figures. It 
was thanks to General Smuts that the four missing 
figures were finally returned. Through his 
influence the matter was referred to His Majesty, 
King George V, who was Colonel-in-Chief of the 
Royal Engineers, Chatham. He presented the two 
figures at Chatham to the Union Government, and 
Lord Kitchener's heirs handed over their two 
statues to His Majesty's Government as a present 
to the South African Government. The South 
African Government paid for the transport of the 
statues, and on 23rd August, 1921, they reached 
Cape Town by ship. They arrived in Pretoria three 
weeks later. On the 10th of October four years 
later, exactly a hundred years after the birth of 
Kruger, his statue with its four side figures was 
unveiled by General Smuts, after an address by 
General Hertzog, the Prime Minister, at Station 
Square. On 10th October, 1953, Dr. D. F. Malan, 
the Prime Minister, laid the corner stone of the 
new Kruger Monument in Church Square. 

Exactly one year later, also on Kruger Day, Dr. 
Malan officially unveiled the Monument which 
had finally reached its rightful place after a long 
and stormy passage of close on sixty years. 

Van Wouw's first national work made him 
famous, and in turn he too became a national 
figure in his walk of life. From 1908 the artist 
lived in an unpretentious cottage in Doornfontein, 
Johannesburg. Over the years he changed his 
home and modelled it on the style of an Italian 
villa, with a patio covered in vines. It was here that 
he worked on all his famous bronze figures. His 
first wife, Miss Celliers, died a few years after 
their marriage. The couple had two daughters. Van 
Wouw remained a widower for fifteen years 
before remarrying. Slowly he filled his home not 
only with his own masterpieces, but with many 
other treasures which he both selected and 
collected carefully. It seemed but fitting that he 
should live and work surrounded by beautiful 
paintings, bronzes, china and antique furniture. 

His second famous group of figures, and probably 
his most outstanding work, were those also 

executed in bronze for the Women's Monument in 
Bloemfontein. In this masterpiece the sculptor 
probably reached his zenith. The group consists of 
the seated figure of a mother holding her dying 
child on her lap. Standing next to them is a female 
friend, or relative, dressed in traditional 
Voortrekker costume, gazing eastwards, searching 
the horizon for some small ray of hope to lighten 
their hour of grief. Movingly Van Wouw has 
depicted the shattering grief, pathos and 
resignment on the faces of the two women. The 
group is placed on a pedestal before a tall and 
stately obelisk. These figures were also cast in 
Italy where Van Wouw had the privilege of 
working in the studio of the artist Canova. The 
monument was erected in 1912, and the words 
"Aan Onze Heldinnen En Lieve Kinderen" (To 
Our Heroines And Beloved Children) are carved 
beneath the tragic group. This monument plus the 
Kruger group in Pretoria have made Van Wouw's 
name immortal in South Africa. 

His statues of public personages are to be found all 
over the country. In Cape Town one may see his 

statue of the khaki clad General Lukin in the 
Botanical Gardens, while his figure of "Onze Jan" 
Hofmeyer stands in Church Square. Yet a third 
statue of his, that of Dr. Andrew Murray, a famous 
theologian and scholar, graces the front of the 
Dutch Reformed Church at the top of Adderley 

A statue of President Steyn greets students of 
Bloemfontein as they enter the Main Block of their 
University. The General Botha Monument in 
Durban stands in front of the Technical College. 
Van Wouw depicted him as a Boer General, the 
hero of a Boer War and the victor of Colenso, 
because he said "zoo heb ik hem gekend". ("That 
is how I knew him".) All these statues were not 
modelled from real-life sittings, but were 
sculptured from portraits. 

Van Wouw's greatest pleasure was derived from 
the many statuettes which he made in his "leisure 
time". Here one may really appreciate his skill and 
beauty of form. He was a realist and he depicted 
people and other creatures of the earth the way he 
saw them and the way nature made them. In the 

main these works all have a smooth finish. These 
smaller works belong broadly to two groups - 
South African Native studies, and figures of the 
Boers during the Anglo-Boer War. All of them 
were executed at the turn of the century - after he 
had completed the Kruger Monument and in 
between working on other major national works. 
One of the best known of these statuetttes is called 
/// Tidings and is housed in the War Museum in 
Bloemfontein. The subject is a scene of two 
burghers in military uniform sitting together on a 
"koppie". Their heads are bowed and their 
shoulders bent in overwhelming grief and 
exhaustion on receiving the "ill tidings" of their 
countrymen's defeat. One is immediately struck by 
the great detail in this work. From the loose rocks 
and stones scattered around the men, to the tiny 
lizard crawling undisturbed up the back of a rock 
behind the two war- weary Boers. 

Another famous statuette, in the Art Gallery of 
Johannesburg, is of Kruger in Exile. Here the Boer 
President is seen as he was at that time, an old, 
lonely, disillusioned and sick man. We see him 

through the sculptor's eyes, bare headed this time, 
resting heavily in an arm-chair with a rug covering 
his legs. His inseparable book and guide, the 
Bible, lies open on his lap while his right hand 
rests wearily on the tome. His head is bowed as he 
sits in dispirited reverie, a truly broken and 
pathetic figure, as indeed he was at the time. 

One of the sculptor's most delightful small figures 
was a bronze of a popular and familiar figure in 
Pretoria at the end of the last century. This was 
Lehmans, a Hollander postman, well-known in the 
town. Kruger met Lehmans in Holland before the 
Boer War, and promised him a job if ever he came 
to the Transvaal. Lehmans took him at his word. 
Soon after their meeting he left his home for South 
Africa. He landed at Lourenco Marques and then 
walked, a distance of approximately 380 miles, 
through malaria stricken countryside until he 
reached Pretoria. He promptly made for the 
President's home but he experienced great 
difficulty in getting past the guards at the front 
gate. On hearing the noise and scuffle going on 
outside his house Kruger shouted to the sentries 

"Bring the man here". When Lehmans met Kruger 
again, he said "President, do you remember me?" 
"Ja seker" ("Yes, of course") replied Kruger. "And 
do you remember what you promised me if ever I 
came to the Transvaal?" continued the Hollander. 
"Ja seker" said the President. And that was how 
Lehmans received his billet as the first telegram 
messenger in Pretoria. When the townsfolk 
received their telegrams, delivered by hand by 
Lehmans, they always asked him if there was a fee 
to pay for his service. He in turn always replied 
"De aflevering is kosteloos" ("The delivery is 
free"). But it never ended that way, and he always 
received a tip, whether large or small, and in this 
way over the years he collected a nice little nest 
egg for his old age. He received a pension too in 
his last years. When he retired from his post 
however he did not forget what the President had 
done for him, and every morning when Kruger' s 
carriage drew up outside the Volksraad buildings 
in Church Square there was Lehmans, standing 
ready to open his carriage door. Van Wouw knew 
Lehmans and he made a life-like model of him, as 
a bearded elderly figure in a loose fitting jacket 

and creased trousers. His right hand is clutching 
his broad-brimmed hat to his chest. His weather- 
beaten face has a look of slight expectancy on it as 
he appears to have just uttered his familiar phrase 
"De aflevering is kosteloos". 

Van Wouw's native studies are art gems. He knew 
the Bushmen and natives well, and he depicted 
them in their various actions and occupations with 
great accuracy and a depth of feeling. A number of 
the best known of these studies, such as "Bushman 
Hunting", "Basuto Witness", "Sleeping Kaffir", 
"Kaffir-Hammer Boy", "Dagga Smoker" and 
"Native with Machine Drill" are all in the 
Johannesburg Art Gallery. His figure of a 
"Bushman Hunting" is truly superb. The statuette 
is of a Bushman armed with bow and arrow, on the 
alert, waiting expectantly for the slightest sign or 
sight of game. One sees in graphic clarity his short 
curly hair, wrinkled brow and concentrated gaze. 
The muscles ripple in his body and the veins stand 
out clearly on his hands. The painstaking sculptor 
spent nearly a year working on this model, and so 

life-like is the result that one would be only mildly 
surprised if it moved into action. 

Of his own accord Van Wouw made a series of 
busts of the famous Boer Generals and Presidents. 
The largest of these works was a bust of General 
De Wet which is more than three times life-size. 
Today this impressive head dominates the entrance 
hall of the War Museum in Bloemfontein. The 
words "Onwrikbaar als een rots" ("Steadfast as a 
rock") in Van Wouw's writing are engraved on the 
pedestal bearing the bust. Smaller busts were made 
of General Beyers, President Steyn, Kruger, and 
General De la Rey, as well as Mussolini, and King 
Khama of the Bechuanas. Last but not least, Van 
Wouw made a bust of himself. 

When he was nearly eighty years of age, and his 
health was rapidly declining, he received his last 
major commission. It was for a group of three 
figures to stand in front of the Voortrekker 
Monument just outside Pretoria. This bronze 
group, a Voortrekker Mother and her two children, 
is not perhaps as striking as the group in 

Bloemfontein, but then it must be remembered that 
the sculptor was an old man when he executed it. 

Van Wouw was fortunate in that he was one of the 
few artists who received full recognition of his 
work during his lifetime. He was able to enjoy 
fame and financial security. He was loved and 
admired by many friends. When he turned 
seventy-five he received an Honorary Degree from 
the Pretoria University - their highest award for 

He was a prolific creator of everlasting beauty and 
it is impossible to enumerate here his many other 
outstanding works. He became a true son of the 
land of his adoption. He admired the Afrikaner 
people and they in turn owe him a great debt for 
recording their history in his magnificent 

Van Wouw died in 1945. His work still catches 
and holds the eye, it engages the mind and stirs the 
heart of the beholder. Surely no sculptor could 
have asked for more! 

Anton VAN WOUW, with head of De La Rey. 

Arthur Elliott - Photographer 

One Summer's Sunday, over fifty years ago, a 
Cape Town bachelor approaching his fortieth 
birthday, set out on one of his usual week-end 
jaunts. He chose the little sea-side village of Fish 
Hoek, along the False Bay coastline, for his 
outing. His companions, as usual, were much 
younger than himself. On this particular day he 
had invited a couple of the Hinton children, 
members of a large family of thirteen boys and 
girls, to accompany him. Young Walter and 
Charlotte Hinton were in high spirits when they set 
off with "Uncle Arthur" for the day, for he was a 
delightful companion to children. But they were 
not his only company that Sunday. First and 
foremost, he carried his inseparable companions, 
his camera and his telescope, with him. Then the 
two children watched, wide-eyed with curiosity, as 
he added a small stuffed sandbird and a flute to his 
picnic gear. Off they went, with "Uncle Arthur" 
telling the youngsters that he had borrowed the 
sandbird from the Museum for the day, for a very 
special reason. 

When the three holiday-makers reached Fish Hoek 
they climbed the sand dunes, and Arthur Elliott, 
the photographer, set about taking his famous and 
enchanting picture of Charlotte Hinton which has 
made his name immortal in South Africa. While 
young Charlotte posed on the sands, "playing" the 
flute to the little "sandbird", and Arthur was 
focussing his camera on the scene, a live wild 
beach bird hopped across the sands, joining the 
group. Elliott included the real bird in his picture 
of The Sandpipers. This photograph is probably 
one of South Africa's most popular and best- 
known pictures. It made Elliott famous, not only in 
our country, but also abroad. It was featured on 
numerous Christmas Cards and calendars, and has 
appeared in over 300 newspapers over the years. It 
has been reproduced all over the world, even as far 
afield as China and Japan. But life was not always 
so pleasant and successful for the photographer! 

He was born in 1870 in America in the bustling, 
impersonal metropolis of New York. Years later, 
Elliott quipped "The Franco-Prussian War was the 
other great disaster of that year!" His father died 

during Arthur's infancy, and soon after his mother 
left New York for the land of her birth - Scotland. 
She travelled a good deal, changing both her job 
and abode frequently. Young Arthur had a vague 
recollection of his early childhood and education, 
but he remembered that by the time he was eight 
years old, he had picked up the rudiments of the 
three R' s from cheap literature, which he managed 
periodically to acquire. As his mother could not 
afford to let him attend school, he found himself 
jobs as a programme- seller in a theatre, or as an 
errand boy. In between working he was an avid 
reader, and he learnt about life from the books 
which found their way, one way or another, to a 
secret hiding place under his waistcoat. Repeatedly 
irate landladies would descend on his mother 
demanding their rent, but Mrs. Elliott was always 
in dire financial need and she and Arthur made 
many a hasty exit via the backdoor. He maintained 
a life-long philosophy based on these hasty moon- 
light flits from their landladies, by saying that 
"most difficulties have a backdoor leading out, if 
you are lucky enough to find it." 

Arthur was the proverbial Jack-of-all-Trades, 
before he became a professional photographer. At 
the age of twelve, he was working twelve hours a 
day, six days a week, as a chemist's assistant. His 
earnings were one Rand a week! He improved his 
salary by twenty cents a week, when he took on 
his next job in a "whisky shop". At this early age 
he was forced to become self-supporting as his 
mother had taken on a job in another town. Arthur 
paid his landlady Rl a week for board and lodging, 
which left him with exactly twenty cents in his 
pocket to cover all other expenses for a period of a 
week at a time. He worked thirteen and a half 
hours a day, starting officially at seven-thirty a.m. 
when he opened the "whisky shop". Before that, 
however, he had to walk a mile to fetch the shop 
keys from his employer. His daily routine included 
cleaning the bar counter and washing the dirty 
glasses left over from the previous evening. 
Polishing the brass and sweeping the shop floor 
were also among his chores. After washing and 
filling many dozens of bottles with liquor, he was 
instructed to load the shop's handcart and deliver 
these goods to customers resident in the 

neighbourhood. In case these tasks were not 
sufficient for the young lad, he was compelled in 
his "spare time" to assist his boss in serving drinks 
over the counter. Arthur remained a teetotaller all 
his life, and more than likely it was the sights he 
witnessed in the "whisky shop" that turned him 
into an abstainer. Many years later, in Cape Town, 
a friend of his showed him a keg of wine which he 
had just purchased. Jokingly he remarked, "it is 
bottled Sunshine." "Yes," replied Elliott, "but as 
an amateur photographer you ought to know that 
where there is sunshine there is also shadow!" 

When Arthur's mother died, he was about fifteen 
years of age. Not only was he left an orphan, but 
as far as he knew, he had no relatives at all. 
Probably because of his sad and difficult youth, 
Elliott developed a philosophical approach to life 
at an early age. In his adult life he had the rare gift 
and ability to make friends with people of all ages, 
trades and professions. He included children, 
artists, doctors, mechanics, waiters, architects and 
house-painters in his circle. He knew no class 
distinction, and as he said "Relatives are the 

friends given to us by Nature; friends are the 
relatives given us by God". He valued all his 
friendships deeply and never gossiped about one 
companion to another. They in turn respected and 
loved this warm, gentle, generous and hospitable 

After his mother' s death, Arthur decided to try and 
educate himself by travelling abroad. The youthful 
orphan left Scotland, and went to sea. He spent the 
next few years working on cattle boats, tugs and 
passenger steamers as they sailed back and forth to 
India. The young "rolling stone" eventually tired 
of travelling along the same sea route, and he 
moved out East where he took a post as a sub- 
contractor on the railways in India. He held this 
position for a period of two years, during which 
time he spent months working on embankments 
doing survey work on proposed train routes. When 
he realised that logarithms and the theodolite were 
not for him, he moved on again, working for a 
short time as a watchmaker until he dropped a 
forty-two rand watch, and so terminated what 
might have been another promising career. Arthur 

was always one step ahead of his employers, and 
he would leave, either just before he expected to 
be given notice, or alternately he would quit just 
before his employer became insolvent. In turn, he 
tried his hand in an iron foundry, as a property 
man, time-keeper, canvasser and billiard marker. 
Before he turned twenty he had a great desire to 
see his homeland, and he set sail on board the 
steamer Wyoming, bound for the United States of 
America. His job this time was Captain's boy. It 
was on these voyages that he learnt "to make the 
coffee that a nail would stand upright in". The 
American climate did not agree with his weak 
chest, and Arthur returned to England once again, 
dabbling in a variety of trades. 

During the late 1880's Elliott arrived at the Cape 
of Good Hope. For the next ten years he shifted 
from one job to another in South Africa. He 
worked as a waiter, press agent, theatrical 
manager, showman, advertisement canvasser, 
photographic printer and dealer in small wares. 
Either he was unhappy in his work, or he was ill- 
suited to hold down the position for any length of 

time. He moved up to the Transvaal where he 
worked for a number of years for the proprietor of 
the Theatre Royal in Commissioner Street, 
Johannesburg. There Arthur was responsible for 
making the stage scenery for a number of plays, 
including Hamlet which starred overseas artists. 
He hardly shone as a stage artist, in fact his efforts 
were slated in no uncertain terms by the dramatic 
critic of the Star. But whereas he failed in this 
field of entertainment, he was the forerunner in 
another sphere of the entertainment world in South 
Africa. He introduced the phonograph, or earliest 
form of record-player (gramophone) to the 
Transvaal. He was very proud of the fact that a 
fellow American, Edison, was responsible for 
inventing this machine. In 1879, a year after 
Edison's invention, the first model reached Cape 
Town. The machine had a "sound box" and 
provision was made for eight people to sit around 
the model at a time and listen to the music on the 
wax discs, or records, through listening "tubes" or 
hearing devices. 

Elliott enjoyed the music of his phonograph and he 
derived great pleasure from sharing this enjoyment 
with others. He played his records to Paul Kruger 
in 1891. In later years Arthur had the agency for 
the phonograph, which was also referred to as 
Edison's "miracle box". He would visit friends, 
and take his black gramophone box and earphones 
with him to entertain them. Even in those early 
days, in the mid-twenties, on reading Elliott's 
advertisement for Edison's "Amberola" Phono- 
graph, one realises that we have not advanced as 
much as perhaps we think we have. Edison's 
machine already had a permanent diamond point 
reproducer (needle), which disposed of "the bother 
of changing needles". The records were 
guaranteed to be indestructible. The Phonograph 
also had an attachment, or device, for making 
one's own records at home - obviously the 
forerunner of our present tape-recorders. Elliott is 
believed to have made a record of Paul Kruger' s 
voice, which unfortunately has been lost. 

Arthur kept his job as scene painter for a number 
of years in show business. 

One of his interesting activities, about which very 
little is known, was acting as guide to the 
American author and humorist, Mark Twain, 
during his tour of South Africa. 

In 1900 Elliott left Pretoria, during the Boer War, 
as a refugee for Cape Town. The only 
photographs, that he had taken to date, were those 
in Pretoria of some typical Voortrekker characters. 
I only mention this fact, because in later years 
Elliott claimed that some of these pictures 
provided Anton van Wouw, the sculptor, with the 
material he required for his four sentry figures, 
"guarding" the Kruger Monument in Pretoria. 

And finally our story has a happy ending, or 
beginning, for dating from the time of his 
residence at the Cape, Elliott, at long last, found 
his true vocation in life, and through it he carved a 
niche in our history. He became a photographer, 
but one with a difference! He was not merely a 
man with a new-found hobby, nor a family-portrait 
enthusiast, but a recorder of our scenic beauty, our 
historic buildings and our national landmarks for 
all time. 

It was thanks to the gift of a quarter plate hand 
camera, from his friend Major Percy Clutterbuck, 
that Elliott embarked on his important and 
valuable work. His first subjects were the Boer 
Troops camped on Green Point Common. These 
men were in transit there in the prisoner-of-war 
camp, and as soon as they saw the pictures Elliott 
had taken of them, the orders for prints poured in. 

Arthur lived simply, and worked economically, in 
his flat in Long Street. Here his sitting room, and 
"dark room" were compactly situated under one 
roof. The shelves lining the walls were filled with 
boxes of negatives. The sink served a dual 
purpose, and two types of plates, both the 
domestic and the photographic, were washed 
there. The enlarger took pride of place in his 

For a short time Elliott was a staff photographer 
for The Cape Times newspaper, but after he 
discovered the true satisfaction and fulfilment 
derived from his photography, he dedicated the 
last thirty-eight years of his life to this ideal. At the 
time of his death he had amassed close on 10,000 

negatives of pictorial Africana, which are housed 
today in the Cape Archives, and are known as the 
Elliott Collection. His photographs are not only of 
great educational and historical value, but they 
also possess great artistic merit. 

Elliott was greatly inspired, and influenced, by 
Herbert Baker. He too, like the architect, greatly 
admired the beauty and architecture of the old 
Dutch Homesteads and farm-houses in the Cape. 
The gables, the slave-bells, the high stoeps and 
stable doors set alongside shady oaks or beneath 
mountain ranges - all these scenes caught his eye, 
and his camera captured their beauty for posterity. 
Baker persuaded him to compile a complete 
photographic record of all the old Cape buildings. 
Elliott wrote a preface to the catalogue of an 
exhibition of his photographs, held in the 
Reception Hall of the City Hall in February 1926. 
The Exhibition was titled "Old Cape Colony", and 
this was what he wrote: "When, about the year 
1900, I began to make photographic records of 
these old monuments and scenes, my efforts met 
with so much appreciation and support that I 

resolved to make it the foremost task of my life to 
preserve in this fashion as complete a record as 
possible, so that, when brought together, it might 
present an unbroken pictorial history of the Cape 
from its earliest days. Though I have devoted 
almost daily labour to this task for twenty-six 
years the work is still far from complete - indeed I 
realise only too well, that, in the nature of things, a 
really complete collection can never be attained". 
The text for this exhibition was written by the 
noted educationist and historian, Sir George Cory. 

Elliott spent most of his week-ends on rambles 
with his friends or their children. Depending on 
the state of his "pocket", he would invite two or 
three girls or boys to accompany him by tram, 
train or Cape Cart to visit a country farm, the 
beach or a mountain spot. Sometimes they would 
just go for long walks. Elliott visited Blaauwberg, 
the Strand, Milnerton, Stellenbosch, and the old 
farms at Paarl, Fransch Hoek, Klapmuts and 
Jonkershoek, taking dozens of photographs, not 
only of the farm-houses but of details of our Cape 
Architectural heritage, such as the gable of one 

farm-house and the bronze arms on the old teak 
doors of another. As he gained experience and 
confidence, he was prepared to hand out advice to 
his fellow photographers. He told aspirant 
photographers about to embark on this hobby, to 
choose one subject in this field, such as 
architecture, animal life, botany or geology, and 
then to concentrate on the chosen field, recording 
it in photographic form, and indexing all 

In November, 1910, the Rt. Hon. John X. 
Merriman, opened Elliott's first exhibition of 640 
pictures, called "Story of South Africa in 
Pictures". Fortunately, right from his first 
exhibition, educationists who mattered, like Theal 
and Sir George Cory, realised the educational 
value of his work. His first exhibition, which was 
visited by thousands of people in Cape Town 
celebrating the official proclamation of "Union" in 
South Africa, was held on the top floor of the 
Mutual Life and New York Buildings in St. 
Georges Street. Amongst the visitors were several 
members of Parliament and all the members of the 

Ministry of the newly formed Union Government. 
As a result of the interest aroused by these 
photographs, the Minister of Education appre- 
ciated the immense educational potential of 
Elliott's collection. He approached the photo- 
grapher and his promoters for their permission to 
issue a selection of the more important pictures, to 
assist history teachers throughout the country as 
well as to decorate the class-room walls of schools 
in the Union. Mr. T. Maskew Miller was commis- 
sioned by the Government to arrange for the 
publication of a set of pictures, about 150 chosen 
from the hundreds on view. The notes for the 
pictures were written by Dr. Theal. Every picture 
used was an actual Elliott print. The educational 
value of good historical illustrations for young 
school children proved invaluable. Appeal could 
be made to the eye as well as to the mind, thus 
making the subject under discussion far more 
realistic and interesting. At the same time the 
illustrations stimulated the imagination of the 

The same procedure took place at each exhibition. 
A group of men interested in South African 
history, and eager to further its study, decided to 
hold an exhibtition of photographs-either originals, 
or photographs of existing pictures belonging to 
private and public collections. A number of 
guarantors each contributed R50, and in return 
they were entitled to buy photographs from the 
exhibition to the value of R50, or to get their 
money back. These gentlemen then secured the 
services of Mr. Elliott to go ahead and arrange the 
exhibition. In time his work and exhibitions 
received the recognition and support of all the 
leading citizens throughout the country. The 
guarantors for his 1926 exhibition included Sir J. 
Carruthers Beattie (Principal of the Cape Town 
University) and Mr. J. G. Gubbins, the Africana 
expert and collector. The Governor General - the 
Earl of Athlone - General Smuts, Sir Lionel and 
Lady Phillips, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Ernest 
Oppenheimer are only a few names selected from 
a long list of illustrious and important people who 
supported and appreciated Elliott' s work. 

On opening Elliott's first exhibition, Mr. 
Merriman said: "... You have before you, from the 
very earliest times, pictures of those hardy 
Portuguese, who in their little craft dared the perils 
of the stormy ocean here, and must have had souls 
of iron ... You then see the rise of the Dutch 
power. You see also the pioneers of this country, 
and some of the difficulties and dangers they had 
to undergo. Then you come down to our times, and 
you see the portraits of some of those English 
heroes who did great deeds in the East, and who 
also aided in settling this country ... There is 
another side of the collection, which is well worth 
attending to, and that is what we may call the 
material side. You will see what Cape Town was 
fifty, one hundred, or two hundred years ago. 
Another thing that is brought out in this collection 
as you go on - because it is admirably arranged - 
is the beauty of our surroundings. Few places in 
the whole world have more natural charm than 
Cape Town. Another thing you will see is a 
collection of some of the old Dutch homesteads ... 
This exhibition will not only teach us the history 
of South Africa as taught by pictures, but it will 

also show what beauty spots there are in this 
country ... The promoters of this exhibition, and 
especially Mr. Arthur Elliott who has devoted 
particular pains and trouble to get it together, are 
doing their best to make us feel proud of South 
Africa and be interested not only in its past, but 
interested in its future". 

And there the pictures were: Prince Henry the 
Navigator; Vasco Da Gama; Jan van Riebeeck; 
Table Mountain and Fort Good Hope; House and 
Grounds of Adriaan van der Stel; Wreck of the 
Jonge Thomas; Captain James Cook; The First 
Dutch Reformed Church in Cape Town; Earl 
Macartney; Abraham De Mist; The Drostdy at 
Tulbagh; Major-General Sir David Baird; Treaty 
House at Woodstock; Andrew and Lady Anne 
Barnard; Archway of the Castle; Lord Charles 
Somerset; Sir Benjamin D'urban; Dick King; Sir 
Harry Smith; Rev. Dr. David Livingstone; Basuto 
Chief Moshesh; Zulu Chief "Ketshwayo"; Wine 
cellar at Groot Constantia; Groote Schuur at 
Rondebosch 1870; The Round House; Gateway 
and approach to Dutch Reformed Church in 

Swellendam; and the Bell Tower of the Dutch 
Reformed Church in Paarl. This is merely a small 
cross section, chosen at random, from the titles of 
the hundreds of photographs on display. 

Not only did Elliott "record" buildings and take 
photographs of old prints and pictures, but he also 
collected old negatives enabling him to compile as 
complete a record as was possible of South Africa 
through the centuries, and of the early history of 
the Cape in particular. In addition he made 
coloured reproductions of well-known paintings 
and rare lithographs. 

In 1913 Elliott held his second exhibition, 
comprising 800 pictures, in Pretoria. The title of 
this collection was The Story of South Africa in 
Eight Hundred Pictures. From this date onwards 
he was recognised as an expert on pictorial 

He enjoyed good health during most of his years 
spent in South Africa. With his droll sense of 
humour he liked to relate the story of his visit to a 
doctor in 1923 when he was told he was suffering 

from arterio-sclerosis. The doctor prescribed a 
long rest, and no more work for his patient. Elliott 
began his "holiday" the next day, by climbing 
Table Mountain with his camera hanging over his 
shoulder. Having reached the summit safely, and 
returning without any mishap, he assured himself 
that the doctor's diagnosis was incorrect. He 
promptly ended his "holiday" there and then, and 
he continued to live the way he wished for the next 
fifteen years, until his untimely death from 
stomach cancer, in 1938. 

Although he was a slightly eccentric bachelor, he 
was warm and generous towards his many visitors. 
He appreciated their calling on him, and invariably 
when the time of departure came, he would turn to 
his guests and say "Well, I am glad you could 
spend a while with me. It is something to think 
about when you are gone. Now, what is there that I 
can give you before you go?" More likely than 
not, his visitors would leave, bearing a gift of one 
of his latest photographs. As he became older, 
Elliott became deaf, and he spent many lonely 
hours in his last few years. 

The entire collection of Elliott's 1913 exhibition 
was purchased by the Department of Education. 
The photographs were packed in cases and stored 
by the South African Museum in Cape Town for 
many years, until they had a "spring cleaning" and 
offered the prints to the Cape Archives. 

Elliott's third big exhibition, opening in Cape 
Town in 1926, went on a tour of the Union, but it 
was not a financial success largely due to the fact 
that the photographer hated asking children to pay 
an entrance fee, so consequently most of the 
visitors to his show saw the pictures for nothing. 
The historical notes appertaining to the pictures 
contained a wealth of fascinating and informative 
detail. Today these facts form valuable Africana 
Notes. The two following descriptions, attached to 
their appropriate photographs, clearly illustrate my 

Picture 119: Houses of Parliament, Cape Town 
Laying the Foundation Stone. "On the 12th May, 
1875, His Excellency the Governor, Sir Henry 
Barkly laid the foundation stone of the existing 
Houses of Parliament. The day was proclaimed a 

public holiday, and the event was marked by an 
impressive ceremony. A glass tube containing 
coins of the realm and a parchment scroll were 
placed in a cavity in the stone; corn, wine and oil 
were poured on the stone by three masters of the 
masonic lodges and the Dean prayed that the 
building might be happily completed. But the 
building thus begun was never completed, and the 
corner stone itself has vanished. Extensive 
modifications were made in the buildings, and it 
was not until 1885 that the new building was 

Picture 235. Greenmarket Square, Cape Town 

"Cape Town has been so changed during recent 
years that it is interesting to see what parts of the 
city were like a century ago. As its name implies, 
Greenmarket Square was the Covent Garden of 
Cape Town in the 18th and 19th centuries. Here 
the farmer brought his produce for sale, and the 
local market gardeners sent slaves with trays of 
fruit and vegetables to sell to the townspeople. 
One building of ancient times still remains, the 
Burgher Watch House, built when Ryk Tulbagh 

was Governor of the Colony, at a time when every 
burgher, rich or poor, had to do duty in his turn as 
policeman, and patrol the streets at night. This 
building served from 1796 to 1905 as municipal 
offices, and at present (1926) houses the Michaelis 
Collection of Dutch Masters, collected by Sir 
Hugh Lane and presented to the South African 
nation by Sir Max Michaelis in 1914. The square 
was formerly surrounded by the residences of 
well-to-do burghers, but these have been 
superseded by blocks of shops and offices". 

There is condensed history in a nutshell, 
enhancing the mere technical and visual value of 
the pictures by a hundred per cent! 

Elliott's last major exhibition was held in 1930 in 
Cape Town. This huge collection of 1,100 
photographs was called South Africa Through the 
Centuries. Mr. Edward Roworth, the artist, opened 
the exhibition which was held at the top of 
Garlicks Building in Cape Town. The illustrated 
catalogue was published by Maskew Miller Ltd., 
and the notes were supplied by Mr. W. R. 
Morrison - one time Director of the Africana 

Museum, Johannesburg. For this collection Elliott, 
our photographic historian, divided his pictures 
into a number of groups, with such diverse 
headings as - Astronomy at the Cape; Early 
Printing; Hotels and Inns; Shipwrecks and 
Shipping; Methods of Communication and The 
Coloured Inhabitants of South Africa which 
included pictures of Bushmen, Hottentots, the 
Bantu tribes, and the Cape Malays. The section 
headed Architecture in South Africa included 
photographs not only of old homesteads, but 
reproductions of details, such as Types of Gables, 
Old Cape Doorways, Old Cape Gateways, Slave 
Bells, Waved Parapet Mouldings, Early Cape 
Fanlights and Method of Thatching. The section of 
the Exhibition labelled Education in South Africa 
included an interesting photograph of the South 
African College at the top of Long Street, made 
from a wood-cut dated 1832. The story attached to 
the picture stated that originally the South African 
Orphan House was founded in 1808, by the widow 
of H. P. Muller. For a long time the building was 
found to be larger than needed for the use of the 
orphans, and in 1829 part was offered to the South 

African College where the first years of its 
educational activity were spent. In 1840 the 
college entered into possession of its own 
premises, and from that date the record has been 
one of continual progress. 

Although Elliott' s fame had spread internationally, 
he was still a poor man. During his life time he 
was offered R 14,000 for his photographic 
collection, by an American institution. He rejected 
this tempting offer as he felt his main life's work 
belonged in South Africa. He loved Cape Town 
with its scenic beauty - a photographer's paradise. 
In spite of his financial state, he refused to leave 
the Cape in 1935 when Dr. Gubbins opened the 
Africana Museum in Johannesburg and invited 
him to come up to the Transvaal and house his 
pictures there. Nothing would persuade the 
photographer to remove his collection from his 
beloved Cape Town! He offered his collection to 
Cape Town for R10,000, but unfortunately he died 
before the deal was completed. Before his death, 
the following letter appeared in The Cape Argus - 
"Mr. Elliott's pictures have been described by 

famous scholars and the archivists of England, 
Holland and Australia as the finest collection of its 
kind in the world - irreplacable, unique, and of the 
utmost cultural value to South Africa". 

Elliott's 1930 exhibition also went on tour. The 
pictures were mounted on light, folding screens, 
without glass, making them easy to transport. The 
Africana Museum bought this complete exhibition 
after it had appeared in the foyer of the Johannes- 
burg Public Library. Later it was on permanent 
display in the Africana Museum for a period of 
two years. 

In 1938, shortly before his death, Elliott held his 
last exhibition - "The Cape Quaint and Beautiful" 
- in the University Buildings, in Orange Street in 
Cape Town. On the 4th November, he underwent 
an operation from which he never recovered, and 
sixteen days later he died. 

After his death the Historical Monuments 
Commission bought Elliott's Collection of 10,000 
negatives for a mere R5,050. They are housed 
today in the Archives in Queen Victoria Street, in 

Cape Town. People from all over the country may people would a book, and he has left his imprint 

write to the Chief Archivist and for the nominal indelibly on our history and heritage. 

fee of approximately thirty cents a print, they may 

order Elliott prints to illustrate their work. The 

photographs of Andrew Geddes Bain, Herbert 

Baker, William Burchell and Baden-Powell 

appearing in this book are all Elliott prints. 

Although Elliott was obsessional about his 
photography, he refused to have his own 
photograph taken. He weakened one day however 
and allowed his friend Sydney Taylor, a fellow- 
photographer, to "snap" him. The result showed a 
kind face, with bright alert eyes, and the typical 
"handlebar moustache" of the period. 

The largest single order for Elliott prints came 
from the Africana Museum, Johannesburg. They 
purchased 8,000 photographs! An oil painting of 
the veteran photographer hangs appropriately in 
the Cape Town Archives today. 

Elliott was no ordinary run-of-the-mill 
photographer. He "read" his pictures as most 


Baines, Thomas 

Gold Regions of South Eastern Africa, 1877. 

Baker, Herbert 

Architecture and Personalities. (London, 
Country Life Ltd., Covent Garden, W.C.2. 

Baker, Herbert 

Cecil Rhodes-by his Architect Herbert Baker. 
(Oxford University Press. 1934.) 

Bond, John 

They Were South Africans. (Oxford University 
Press. 1956.) 


Geskiedenis van die Kruger Standbeeld, 1954. 

Burchell, William J. 

Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa, 
Volumes I and II. 1822-1824. (Longman.) 

Cartwright, A. P. 

South Africa's Hall of Fame. (C.N.A. Ltd. 
South Africa.) 

Cohen, Dr. Morris J. 

Anton van Wouw, Sculptor of South African 
Life. (Johannesburg, Radford, Adlington. 

DuToit,M. L. 

Suid-Afrikaanse Kunstenaars=Anton van 
Wouw. (Kaapstad, Nasionale Pers Beperk, 

Fairbridge, Dorothea 

Lady Anne Barnard at the Cape of Good Hope, 
1797-1802. (London, Oxford University Press.) 

Forbes, George F.R.S. 

David Gill, Man and Astronomer. (London, 

Fry, A. Ruth 

Emily Hobhouse. (London, Jonathan Cape, 

Kirby; Percival R. 

Andrew Smith's Diary, Volume I. (Cape Town, 
Van Riebeeck Society, 1939.) 

Laidler, P. W. 

A Sentimental Appreciation- Arthur Elliott. 
(Cape Town. Unie Volkspers, 1943.) 

Lighton, Conrad 

Arthur Elliott. (Cape Town. A. A. Balkema. 

Lister, Margaret Hermina 

Journals of Andrew Geddes Bain. (Cape Town. 
Van Riebeeck Society, 1949.) 

Masson, Madeleine 

Lady Anne Barnard. (London, George Allen & 
Unwin Ltd., 1948.) 

Mossop, E. E. 

Old Cape Highways. (Cape Town, Maskew 
Miller Ltd., 1927.) 

Pringle, Patrick 

When They Were Boys. (George G. Harrap & 
Co. Ltd., 1954.) 

Rae, Isobel 

The Strange Story of Dr. James Barry. 
(Longmans, Green & Co. 1958). 

Reynolds, Ernest Edwin 

Baden-Powell. (London, Oxford University 
Press, 1957, seconded.) 

Theal, George M. 

Our History in Picture. (Cape Town and 
Pretoria. Maskew Miller, 1910.) 

Wallis, J. P. R. 

Thomas Baines of King's Lynn. (London, 
Jonathan Cape, 1941.) 


South Africa A Century Ago, by Lady Anne 
Barnard, Edited with a Memoir and Brief Notes 
by Wilkins. (London, Smith, Elder & Co. 

Journals And Booklets 

Eastern Province Monthly Magazine. 

Article-"Geology of South Africa, Remini- 
scences and Anecdotes", by A. G. Bain. pp. 7- 
20. Printed and Published by Godlonton, White 
& Co., Grahamstown, 1857. (Gubbins Library, 

Old Cape Colony Catalogue. 

(Arthur Elliott Photographic Exhibition)- 
Progress Printing Works, Cape Town. 1926. 
(Gubbins Library, Johannesburg.) 

Theiler of Onderstepoort, 1867-1936. 

British commonwealth Leaflets. (Published by 
His Majesty's Stationery Officer, 1948.) 
(Africana Library, Johannesburg.) 

Lantern, Volume VIII, No. 2, December, 1958. 
Article, "The Killie Campbell Collection". (Pu- 
blished by the SA. Association for the 
Advancement of Knowledge and Culture, 


The index below is as it was in the original paper book but in this e-book the page numbers have all changed 

and have therefore been removed. Otherwise the original index is left unchanged to display the authors 

choice and readers should use their program's search facility to locate the item. 


Africana Museum 

Airy, Sir George 

Algoa Bay 




Amaryllis Toxicaria 

Anglo-Boer War 


Archives, Union Buildings 

Archives, Cape Town 

Ascension Island 


Association for the Exploration of Central Africa, 

Astrographic telescope 

Auwers, Dr. 


Baden-Powell, Rev. H. C, 

Baden-Powell, Robert Stephenson Smyth 

Bain, Andrew Geddes 

Bain Bridge 

Bain, Thomas Charles John 

Baines, John Thomas 

Baines Kloof 

Baines River 

Baker, Herbert 

Baker, Lionel 

Baker, Samuel 

Bank of England 

Barnard, Andrew 

Barnard, Lady Anne 

Barrow, John 

Barry, James 

Beaufort Levies 


Bell, Charles 

Bell Rocks 

Biddulph, John Burnet 


Blinkwater Monster 


Boer Home Industries & Aid Society 

Borcherds, M. 

Borcherds, Petrus 

Botha, Louis 

Botha, Mrs. Louis 

Botha's Post 

British Museum 

British South Africa Company 

Boy Scout Movement 

Buffalo River 



Burchell, William John 

Burrow, John 


Buxton, Lord 

Caledon, Lord 

Campbell, Captain 

Campbell, John (Rev.) 

Campbell, Killie 

Campbell, Sir Marshall 

Campbell, William 

Canterbury Cathedral 

Carrington, Major-General Sir Frederick 

Castle, Cape Town 

Cetewayo, Chief 

Chapman, Henry 

Chapman, James 


Clark, Margaret 

Cloete, Captain Josias 


Cole, Sir Lowry 


Concentration Camps 

Connaught, Duke of 

Cooper, Sir Astley 


Cory, Sir George 

Cotton Bird 


Crimean War 
Curtis, Lionel 


Darling, C. H. 


De la Rey, General 

Delville Wood Memorial 

de Miranda, General Francisco 

Devil's Cataract 

de Wet, General 

de Winton, Colonel Sir Francis 




Dollar Academy 

Double Stars 

Drakensberg Range 

Dundas, Henry 

D' Urban, Sir Benjamin 

DuToit's Kloof 

East Coast Fever 
East London 

Ecca Pass 

Edison's phonograph 
Elephant River 
Elliott Arthur 
Erskine, David Steurt 
Euphorbia Mauritanica 
Expedition Island 

Fehr Collection, Castle, Cape Town 
Fort Beaufort 
Fraser, Rev. Colin 
Frere, Sir Bartle 

Great Kei River 

Greenmarket Square, Cape Town 
Green Thrush 

Gregory, Commander A. C. 
Grey's Pass 
Grigg, Sir Edward 
Groote-Berg River 
Groote Schuur 
Gubbins, Dr. J. G. 

Gubbins Africana Library, University of Wit- 

Guys Hospital 
Gwailo River 


Herschel, Sir John 

Hertzog, James Barry 

Hobhouse, Caroline 

Hobhouse, Emily 

Hobhouse, Rev. Reginald 

Hoopoe Bird 

Houses of Parliament, Cape Town 

Hout Kapper 

Howick Falls 

Howison's Poort Pass 

Hume, David 

Industrial Schools 
Influenza Epidemic 

Gainsborough, Thomas 

Ganyana River 


Garrett, Edmund 

Gaddes, Colonel William 

Gill, David 

Gill, Isobel 

Girl Guide Movement 

Gladiolus Tritonia 




Gordon, General 

Government House, Pretoria 


Graaff-Reinet Burgher Force 

Grace, W. G. 


Great Karroo 



Kaffir Wars 



Kariega River 

Kat River 

Katberg Mountain Pass 

Keiskama River 

Kekelbek, Kaatjie 

Kerr, Philip 

Kew Gardens 

King's Lynn 

King Williams town 

Kipling, Rudyard 

Kirk, Dr. John 


Kitchener, Lord 


Kok, Adam 

Kok, Cornelius 


Koopmans de Wet, Madam 

Kriel, Rev. 

Kruger Monument, Pretoria 

Kruger, Paul 


Lake Ngami 
Lake Nyasa 

Lawley, Sir Arthur 

Lawrence, Colonel T. E. 

Lechulatebe, Chief 


Leith, Dr. Gordon 

Lemue, Prosper 

Liddle, William 

Limpopo River 

Lindsay, Dr. 

Lindsay, Lord 

Lion Temple 


Livingstone, Charles 

Livingstone, Dr. David 


London Geological Society 

Lords cricket grounds 

Lubbock, Cecil 

Luytens, Edwin 

Lyell (Principles of Geology) 

Lyttleton, Alfred 

Lyttleton, Sir Neville 

Macartney, Lord 

Mafeking, Siege 


Malan, Dr. D. F. 


Mantis Lucubrans 

Marischal College, Aberdeen 

Marks, Samuel 





Maxwell, Professor James Clerk 

Mc Cabe, Joseph 

Mc Clean, Frank 

Meintjies Kop 

Merriman, John X. 



Milner's "Kindergarten" 

Milner, Sir Alfred 

Moffat, Rev. Robert 

Molopo River 

Montagu, Hon. John 

Montagu Rocks 

Morrison, W. R. 

Murray, Dr. Andrew 


Namaqua Partridge 

Namib Desert 

National Museum, Bloemfontein 

Ness, Mr. 

Newcomb, Professor Simon 

New Delhi 


Nightingale, Florence 

Norman, Montagu 

Ntwete desert 

Nyeri, Kenya 


Observatory, Cape Town 

Old Museum House, Durban 

Omganza River 

Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Institute 

Orange River 


Oswell, Cotton 



Phillips, Lady 


Pickstone, Mr. 


Pitt, William 


Pluto's Vale 

Port Elizabeth 

Port Elizabeth Museum 

Potgieter, Piet 


Pretorius, Andries 

Prince Alfred Pass 

Public Health Act of South Africa 

Public Library, Johannesburg 

Puff adder 


Queen Adelaide (Province of) 

Queens Road 

Queen Victoria 

Red Beak 

Reed River 

Reid, A. B. 

Rhodes, Cecil John 

Richards, Admiral Sir Frederick 



Rolland, Samuel 

Rose-Innes, Sir James 

Rothenstein, Sir John 

Royal Geographical Society 

Ruskin, John 

Russell, Sir John 


Sauer, Jan 

Save The Children's Fund 

Schreiner, Olive 

Scott, Sir Walter 

Selborne, Lady 

Setlagoli River 

Seven Weeks Poort 

Shep stone 

Sheridan, Richard 

Shibade Falls 


Shire River 




Smith, Dr. Andrew 

Smith, Sir Harry 

Smuts, General Jan Christiaan 

Smyth, General Henry 

Somerset, Lord Charles 

Somerset, Major General 

South Africa House 

South African Association for Advancement of 

South African Commercial Advertiser 
South African Conciliation Committee 
South African Constabulary 
South African Goldfields & Exploration Company 
South African Women & Children's Distress Fund 
St. Clair Soames, Olave 
St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town 
St. Thomas Hospital, London 
Stephenson, Robert 

Steynberg, Coert 
Stockenstrom, Captain Andries 
Sundays River 


Thackeray, William 
Theal, Dr. 
Theiler, Sir Arnold 
Theiler, Dr. G. 
Theiler, Lady 
Theiler, Dr. Max 
Transit Circle 
Transit Instrument 
Transit of Venus 
Trotter, Alec 
Tulbagh Kloof 
Turner, Alfred 
Tsetse fly 
Twain, Mark 
Tweed, John 

Union Buildings 


Van der Stel, Simon 

Van Riebeeck, Statue of 

Van Ryneveld's Pass 

Van Wouw, Anton 

Victoria Falls 

Victoria River 

Victoria telescope 

Virginia, Minnesota, U.S.A. 

Von Backstrom, Maria Elizabeth 

Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria 

Vyge Kraal Drift 

Walvis Bay 
Warren, Sir Charles 
Watson, Colonel Charles 
Wellington Bridge 
Wellington, Cape 

Wellington, Duke of 

Welwitschia Mirabilis 

West Indies 

Wheeler, Charles 

White rhinoceros 

Windham, William 


Witte River 

Wolven Kloof 

Women and Children's Monument, Bloemfontein 


Yonge, Sir George 

Zambesi River 
Zwartberg Pass 
Zwartkops River