|• Total||9.77 km2 (3.77 sq mi)|
|• Density||650/km2 (1,700/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||90.1%|
|First languages (2011)|
|• S. Ndebele||1.6%|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (SAST)|
|Postal code (street)|
Colenso is a town in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is located on the southern bank of the Tugela River on the R103 road. The original settlement was contained within a loop on the river, but it subsequently expanded southwards and eastwards. It lies on the main Durban - Johannesburg railway line some 190 km (118 mi) north-west of Durban.
The settlement was established in 1855 at a Commando Drift, 60–70 metres (200–230 ft) wide at that point). It was named after the Anglican bishop of Natal and champion of the Zulu cause, John William Colenso.a ford on the Tugela River in the then Colony of Natal on the main road between Durban in the south and the South African Republic (now divided into various provinces, including Gauteng Province) and Orange Free State to the north. The settlement was a stop-over point before or after fording the river (which is some
In October 1879 the ford was replaced by the Bulwer Bridge, named after Sir Henry Bulwer, the then Lieutenant Governor of Natal. On 21 June 1886 the railway line from Durban to Ladysmith (20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Colenso) which crossed the Tugela River at Colenso was opened.
During the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902) the town, being located at the point where the main north-south transport route crossed the main east-west river, was one of focal points in the relief of Ladysmith. In 1922 work commenced on the building of a power station which was to be the main industry of the town for many years. The settlement was proclaimed a township in 1926 and received borough status in 1958.The power station was decommissioned in 1985 which caused a stagnation of the town.
In the 1990s, the building of a new toll road between Durban and Johannesburg (the N3 Freeway) which crossed the Tugela some 16 km (10 mi) to the west of Colenso led to further stagnation as trade from through traffic was removed, making Colenso close to being a ghost town.
Colenso was a borough from 1958 to 1996. The council registered a coat of arms with the Natal Provincial Administration in August 1962.The arms were: "Or, a fess wavy Azure charged with a bar wavy Argent, over all a pale Sable charged with a bishop's mitre Or, a six-pointed star Argent and two swords in saltire Argent hilted and pommeled Or".
In June 1989, the council registered a flag at the Bureau for Heraldry.
The blazon described the flag as "A regtangular [sic] flag proportion 3:2, consisting of a black hoist panel 1/5 the length of the flag and a yellow charged with a blue fess wavy, thereupon another of white".
The Afrikaans language version of the grant also mentions a six-pointed white star in the canton of the flag. The colours, black and yellow (old gold), are also the colours of the Escom club.
When the Anglo-Boer War broke out on 10 October 1899, the boer forces had 21,000 men ready to invade the Colony of Natal. Ranged against them, the British had 13,000 men. The Boers, under the command of General Petrus Joubert, crossed the border into the Natal Colony and rapidly advanced to the Tugela river, laying siege to Ladysmith, some 20 km (12 mi) north of the river and entrapping some 8,000 British regulars. On 15 November a raiding party ambushed an armoured train at Frere, 11 km (7 mi) south of Colenso taking 70 prisoners including Winston Churchill. After another raiding party was surprised on 23 November at Willow Grange, 40 km (25 mi) to the south of Colenso, the Boers withdrew to a position behind the Tugela River.
Rough country lay between the Tugela and Ladysmith with the tops of the hills reaching more than 200 m above the river bed. Apart from some hills downstream (east and north-east) of Colenso (including the peaks of Hlangwane and Monte Cristo), the land the south of the river was relatively flat. When General Sir Redvers Buller arrived in November to break the Siege of Ladysmith, it was obvious that he would have to cross the river and then march across the rough country before he could achieve his objective.
Buller's first attempt at crossing the river was the Battle of Colenso. From the British point of view, the battle was a fiasco. On the western flank the British forces suffered considerable losses when the Irish Brigade were trapped in a loop in the river 3 km (2 mi) upstream for Colenso. In the centre they lost six guns while on the eastern flank, Buller ordered his men to retreat after the Boers had abandoned Hlangwane hill. Victoria Crosses were awarded to William Babtie, Walter Norris Congreve (whose son also won a VC), George Ravenhill (VC later forfeited), Hamilton Lyster Reed, Freddy Roberts, son of Lord Roberts VC (posthumous) and Harry Norton Schofield for gallantry during the battle. Many of the British dead from the Battle of Colenso are now interred in the Ambleside Cemetery close to the point where the Irish Brigade were trapped.
Buller made two further attempts to cross the river, this time some 20 km (12 mi) upstream of Colenso - at Spioenkop between 20 and 24 January 1900 and at Vaalkrans between 5 and 7 February 1900. Both ended in disaster for the British. The Boers meanwhile strengthened their position in the hills between the Tugela and Ladysmith and they also occupied the hills to the south of the river, downstream of Colenso.
By now troops from Britain, India and the other colonies were pouring into South Africa. Buller had 28,000 men at his disposal while the Boers had 6,000 men to defend the Tugela. In the first phase of the Battle of Tugela Heights which lasted from 12 February 1900 until 28 February 1900, the British captured all of the South Bank, including the peaks of Hlangwane and Monte Cristo. On 21 February, the British crossed the Tugela about ten kilometres downstream from Colenso. Fierce fighting ensured for the next week, but on 27 February the Boer morale broke and they left the battlefield. The following day, on the afternoon of the 28 February 1900 Captain Gough led the relief column into Ladysmith, followed by, amongst others, Winston Churchill. Two Victoria Crosses were awarded during the Battle of the Tugela Heights - to Edgar Thomas Inkson for bravery on Harts Hill on 24 February and to Conwyn Mansel-Jones for bravery on Terrace Hill on 27 February.
|Photo of the power station as seen from across the Tugela river at Eskom Heritage|
|Photo of the Colenso turbines and boilers at Eskom heritage|
For many years the town's principal industry was the power station, originally built for South African Railways and opened in June 1926 and finally decommissioned in 1985.
Steep gradients on the Natal section of South African Railways, particularly in the Natal Midlands meant that electrification could well be beneficial, particularly if regenerative braking was employed. 274 km (170 mi) section of the Glencoe – Pietermaritzburg part of the Durban-Johannesburg railway – the area that not only had the greatest gradients, but also the area that was closest to the coalfields of the Glencoe region.Building work started in 1921 and the power station was opened in 1926 with a capacity of 60 MW. Initially it only provided power for the
The power station was sold to the Electricity Supply Commission (Escom) in January 1927. It used coal that was brought in by rail from the coalfields of North Natal and water from the Tugela. It continued to be the provider of electrical power for the railways which by 1937 consisted of the whole of the Natal section of the Durban – Johannesburg line (516 route km) and the 229 km (142 mi) spur to Bethlehem in the Orange Free State. Between 1944 and 1959 a series of new generators were commissioned resulting in the power station's capacity being increased to 160 MW. However, in the 1960s, changes in technology led to a change in the economics of power production. New power stations such as Ingagane were built at the coal fields themselves and the use of 400 kV power lines from 1972 onwards reduced the cost of transporting electricity. In the early 1980s Eskom initiated a massive development program: in 1980 new large power stations at Kriel (3,000 MW), Hendrina (2,000 MW) and Camden (1,600 MW) had been commissioned and in the next few years a number of other new power stations gave South Africa a surplus of generating capacity and many of the 1960s vintage power stations (including Colenso's refurbishment) had become uneconomic. This meant that the continued use of the Colenso power station was no longer economically viable. The original part of the power station was decommissioned in 1970 and the 1944-1959 extensions in 1985.
The power station itself dominated that town and Escom provided housing and a social and sports club for its employees and their families. Such was its domination of the town, that Escom also undertook the supply of water and electricity not only to the homes of its employees, but to the whole borough.
By 2010, the power surplus in South Africa had turned into a power shortage and active proposals were being put into place to build a new coal-fired power station close to the site of the old one.
The Second Boer War, also known as the Boer War, the Anglo-Boer War, or the South African War, was fought between the British Empire and two independent Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. The trigger of the war was the discovery of diamonds and gold in the Boer states. Initial Boer attacks were successful, and although British reinforcements later reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures including a scorched earth policy brought the Boers to terms.
Ladysmith is a city in the Uthukela District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It lies 230 kilometres (140 mi) north-west of Durban and 365 kilometres (227 mi) south-east of Johannesburg. Important industries in the area include food processing, textiles, and tyre production.
Estcourt is a town in the uThukela District of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. The main economic activity is farming with large bacon and processed food factories situated around the town. The N3 freeway passes close to the town, linking it to the rest of South Africa.
Glencoe is situated in the Umzinyathi District, District of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
The Battle of Spion Kop was a military engagement between British forces and two Boer Republics—the South African Republic and the Orange Free State—during the campaign by the British to relieve the besieged city Ladysmith during the initial months of the Second Boer War. The battle was fought 23–24 January 1900 on the hilltop of Spion Kop(1), about 38 km (24 mi) west-southwest of Ladysmith.
In a disastrous week during the second Boer War, dubbed Black Week, from 10–17 December 1899, the British Army suffered three devastating defeats by the Boer Republics at the battles of Stormberg, Magersfontein and Colenso, with a total of 2,776 men killed, wounded and captured.
The siege of Ladysmith was a protracted engagement in the Second Boer War, taking place between 2 November 1899 and 28 February 1900 at Ladysmith, Natal, a township founded in 1850.
The Battle of Colenso was the third and final battle fought during the Black Week of the Second Boer War. It was fought between British and Boer forces from the independent South African Republic and Orange Free State in and around Colenso, Natal, South Africa on 15 December 1899.
The Colony of Natal was a British colony in south-eastern Africa. It was proclaimed a British colony on 4 May 1843 after the British government had annexed the Boer Republic of Natalia, and on 31 May 1910 combined with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa, as one of its provinces. It is now the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
The Queen's South Africa Medal is a British campaign medal awarded to British and Colonial military personnel, and to civilians employed in an official capacity, who served in the Second Boer War in South Africa. Altogether twenty-six clasps were awarded, to indicate participation in particular actions and campaigns.
When the Second Boer War broke out on 11 October 1899, the Boers had a numeric superiority within Southern Africa. They quickly invaded the British territory and laid siege to Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking. Britain meanwhile transported thousands of troops both from the United Kingdom itself and from elsewhere in the Empire and by the time the siege of Ladysmith had been lifted, had a huge numeric superiority.
The Battle of Vaal Krantz was the third failed attempt by General Redvers Buller's British army to fight its way past Louis Botha's army of Boer irregulars and lift the Siege of Ladysmith. The battle occurred during the Second Boer War.
The Battle of Ladysmith was one of the early engagements of the Second Boer War. A large British force which had concentrated at the garrison town of Ladysmith launched a sortie on 30 October 1899, against Boer armies which were slowly surrounding the town. The result was a disaster for the British. The main body was driven back into the town, and an isolated detachment of 800 men was forced to surrender to Commandant De Wet. The Boers did not follow up their advantage by proceeding towards the strategically important port of Durban, and instead began a siege of Ladysmith, which was relieved after 118 days. John Norwood was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the battle.
The Battle of Tugela Heights, consisted of a series of military actions lasting from 14 February through to 27 February 1900 in which General Sir Redvers Buller's British army forced Louis Botha's Boer army to lift the Siege of Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.
The Natal Government Railways (NGR) was formed in January 1877 in the Colony of Natal.
Colenso Power Station was a coal-fired power station, located in Colenso on the banks of the Tugela River. It was built in the 1920s by the South African Railways to supply electricity for the railways, and was subsequently sold to the Electricity Supply Commission (Eskom).
The South African Railways Class ES1 of 1924 was an electric locomotive.
Major General Sir Geoffrey Barton, of the 7th Regiment of Foot, served the British Army from 1862 until 1904. Although he saw service in Ireland, Hong Kong and India, the majority of his campaigns were on the African continent. During the Second Boer War he was put in command of the 6th Brigade of the South Natal Field Force, taking part in the Relief of Ladysmith and the Relief of Mafeking. When he retired to Scotland he took an interest in local politics, the Red Cross Society and the Boy Scout Movement.
The Natal Field Force (NFF) was a multi-battalion field force originally formed by Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley in Natal for the First Boer War. It was later re-established for the Second Boer War (1899–1902) and commanded by Major-General Sir Redvers Buller VC GCB GCMG.
The South African Light Horse regiment of the British Army were raised in Cape Colony in 1899 and disbanded in 1907.