History of Balgowan

A brief history of Balgowan

By Betty Butler.

The Voortrekkers were the original settlers in the Balgowan and Nottingham Road areas. 1835 is the approximate time that they came over the Drakensberg to the midlands of Natal, having trekked from the eastern Cape. Their journey must have been arduous, travelling in wagons with their families, personal possessions, farming equipment and animals.

So, it was that Petrus H Potgieter settled on 6600 acres (2670 hectares) ad called his farm Wilde-als-Spruit. Today Michaelhouse School stands on Wilde-als-Spruit and the original Balgowan station was built on Wilde-als-Spruit when the Natal government railway was established.

Cannon Todd, the first rector and finder of Michaelhouse, an Anglican Diocesan School in Pietermaritzburg, realised that the site of the school in Loop street was totally inadequate. He wanted to move his school to a rural area adjacent to the main railway line as the road infrastructure was practical non-existent at that time of the 19th century.

Walter Jaffrey, a parent of the school and whose farm was adjacent to the Balgowan railway station donated 40 acres (16 hectares) of his farm to start the school at Balgowan and then sold a further 40 acres to Michaelhouse. The school moved to Balgowan in 1901.

Betty Butler, a descendant of Walter Jaffrey, resides at Annandale in Balgowan.