TIMES: Mon to Fri 10h00 to 16h00 Sat 10h00 to 13h00
Fort Amiel was built in 1876
by Major Charles Frederick Amiel and some 200 men of the 80th Staffordshire
Volunteers in the prelude to the annexation of the Transvaal and the Zulu
The Fort was to serve as a commissariat depot, transit camp, and hospital
during the Zulu War and the Transvaal War of Independence. Constructed
on a knoll overlooking the original wagon drift across the Ncandu River
the Fort had a good view over the original town of Newcastle.
The Fort was sold off in 1882 and fell into disuse. During the Anglo-Boer
War the knoll and all the surrounding ground was occupied by the British
who again used it as a transit camp, military hospital and commissariat.
Restoration only started in 1979 after the site had been declared a National
Monument. The discovery of the original plans in a London Museum gave
impetus to the restoration work.
Restoration work was undertaken by the Newcastle Town Council in conjunction
with the Natal Museum Services. The discovery of the plans assisted greatly
in establishing the uses of the various buildings and excavations on the
site revealed the foundations of the Magazine, Shell store, and R.E. Store.The
buildings were rebuilt on these foundations in 1986. The last of the buildings
to be completed were the Officers’ Quarters and the Cook house which
were demolished brick by brick and reconstructed.
Today, Fort Amiel houses an
historic/cultural museum. Military displays concentrate on the two Anglo-Boer
Wars. The display period room depicts the career of Sir Rider Haggard,
author of “King Solomon’s Mines” and the Cookhouse is
typical of those found at British Army Bases in the 1880’s. The
Fort’s canteen houses clothing, bric-a-brac and old photographs
from Newcastle’s colourful past while the Guard House has a display
of the 80th Regiment and furniture used by the Quartermaster, Captain
A recent addition to the Fort
is a Zulu Umuzi (hut) with a detailed interior.
The current Curator is Louis
Eksteen who can be contacted on Tel: 034 328 7621 9 or 072 238 1983.
FOR RECENT EVENTS: 126th
Anniversary of the Transvaal War of Independence
(80th) Regt. Museum