|Originally known as Post Halt Two on the journey between Port
Natal-Durban and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (Transvaal), the
town was referred to as Viljoensdorp by the Boers during their brief
occupation in 1899. At the junction of three provinces, this 'natural'
destination and departure point for travellers is now the largest
town in northern KwaZulu- Natal.
Not only is Newcastle named after the mother of all Newcastles
northern England's Newcastle-upon-Tyne but it also has links with
27 sister Newcastles worldwide.
Chelmsford Nature Reserve outside town, is renowned for carp
and bass fishing. A 1000 ha game park, with rhino, wildebeest,
zebra, blesbok and springbok. Bird species include Egyptian and
spur winged goose and spoonbill. Sailing, power boating and water-skiing
can be done.
Battles sites outside town on the N11 from Volksrust to Newcastle
include Laing's Nek, Majuba and Schuinshoogte. Newcastle offers
a variety of historical attractions:
Monuments and Memorials
Hilldrop House - once the home of author Rider Haggard, whose
novel Jess, published in 1887, was based on his experiences at
Kestrels and Quaffers: Victoria Street. Housed in an historic
turn of the century Manor House. Features Adams fireplaces, original
sash windows and Oregon pine floors.
O'Neils Cottage: This cottage the original home of Eugene O'Neil
was used as a makeshift hospital for British soldiers during the
Battle of Majuba and many of their graves are here.
St Dominic's Pavilion: A national monument, this elegant building
dating from 1916 was designed as a skating rink and used for social
Town Hall: A national monument built in 1897 to commemorate the
Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Fort Amiel: Attractive historical complex overlooking the town.
Houses a cultural/history museum. Nearby cemetery dates back to
the First War of Independence. There is a monument to the officers
and men of the Welsh 41st Regiment.
Buller's Headquarters: Used by General Buller as his headquarters.
Now the business premises of the grandson of James Bruce, who
built this quaint Victorian home in 1891.