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 Hilldrop House.

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.

St Dominic's Pavilion
A national monument, this elegant building dating from 1916 was designed as a skating rink and used for social events.

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.

Transvaal War of Independence Sites

Laing's Nek
28 January 1881. Unsuccessful attempt by British to break through to Transvaal. Can be viewed from N11, or contact the farm manager 082 774 8928

8 February 1881. British forces under General Colley were surrounded by Boers on top of Schuinshoogte. Open daily.
Tel: 034 315 3318

O'Neill Cottage
Original home of Eugene O'Neill, makeshift hospital for British soldiers during Battle of Majuba. Graves on site. The peace treaty ending war was negotiated here. On N11 between Newcastle & Volksrust. Gate locked Tel: 034 341 1862.
Tel: 034 315 3318

Fort Mistake
Signaling post built during war. Between Ladysmith and Newcastle on N11.
Tel: 034 315 3318

Majuba Battlefield
Majuba Commemorative Farm
27 February 1881. Boers drove Gen Colley and his men off the top of the mountain inflicting heavy casualties and forcing the British to negotiate a peace. Entrance fee, Youth Lodge, caravan park, toilets, and picnic area.
Tel: 017 7353401/017 7351962

Anglo-Boer War Sites

Botha's Pass
Pass captured by General Buller on 8 June 1900. Opened route for British advance into Orange Free State. Remains of Boer trenches.
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