Skip to content

ABW - The Guardian Virtual Cache

Hidden : 10/10/2017
2 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   virtual (virtual)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!


How Geocaching Works

Related Web Page

Please note Use of services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:

This corrugated iron sentry box dates back to the 2nd Anglo Boer War on the late 19th Century and forms part of the rich history of Pietermaritzburg associated with the colonial period of South Africa.

This Sentry Box dates from the time when Maritzburg College grounds and buildings were used as a Military Hospital for the Imperial Forces during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The school was used for this purpose from November 1899 until July 1900. During this time the Sentry Box stood at the bottom of the drive close to College Road.

Mr R.D. Clark the headmaster at the time asked Colonel Rawson of the Royal Engineers to donate the Sentry Box to Maritzburg College in 1900. Today the Sentry Box has an honoured place at the top of the drive, (now known as the Calder Drive named after the first Headmaster of Maritzburg College 1863-1867). This serves to remind the community of the part played by the school in caring for the sick and wounded troops who took part in that campaign.

The fact that the school was commandeered for use as a military hospital in the Second Anglo-Boer War is a well-known part of Maritzburg College's history. Construction of the school's handsome Victoria Hall began in 1897, the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but the contractor had financial problems, work was delayed, and the hall was only ready for use in April 1899. A few months later war broke out, and the early months of the campaign in northern Natal resulted in hundreds of sick and wounded soldiers arriving in Pietermaritzburg on hospital trains. St George's garrison chapel, the Legislative Assembly building and Maritzburg College were three notable buildings in the city used as temporary hospitals. Contemporary photographs show rows of army tents in the Maritzburg College grounds, and to this day the little corrugated-iron sentry box at the head of the school drive is a reminder of the army's occupation. Many of the men needing treatment were not wounded or injured, but seriously ill, usually with typhoid fever (or 'enteric' as it was then known). The Victoria Hall itself became a fever ward, and after the war, the headmaster, Mr R.D. Clark, ensured that the impressive brass plate naming the hall included reference to the fact that 'Her Majesty's sick and wounded soldiers' were nursed there. Clark and his family remained in their school house during this time, visiting and comforting the patients. Young Douglas Clark himself contracted enteric fever, from which he fortunately recovered, but from February to June 1900 there were thirteen deaths from the disease in the Victoria Hall. In the hundred years since the hall was built, its walls have been adorned with various honours boards and memorial plaques; but nowhere was there any record of those men whose lives ended within its walls in 1900. Mr Steve Watt, an expert in Anglo-Boer \Var casualty lists and military grave-sites (and author of the book In }..;femoriam mentioned elsewhere in this issue) was able to compile a list of the names, regiments and dates of death ofthose thirteen men. At a gala dinner on 24 June 2000 to celebrate the centenary of the Victoria Hall, Brigadier Michael Raworth, Defence Adviser at the British High Commission in Pretoria, unveiled a brass plaque containing those names. As the Victoria Hall is now a dining hall for boarders and no longer the school's main assembly place, this plaque may well be the last one ever placed there, but the school community is satisfied that this final addition rectifies an omission and gives a sense of completion. Reference - Natalia Notes and Queries

To claim this cache - please post a photograph of yourself standing guard in or next to the sentry box

Please feel free to walk along the grounds and see the other reference points - and you may be lucky enough to find a boy who will be happy to take you on a small tour to some of the other National monuments such as Nathan House and Shepstone House. Maritzburg College grounds were also the site of the initial location of the University of KZN which began in a humble shed closer to the Governor of Natal's home further up College Road. Be mindful that this is an operational school, and while permission was granted by the Deputy Headmaster for cachers to access the site - it is a privilege and not a right to access these National Monuments and grounds . So consider the times to come and your behaviour on the grounds - especially if there are school activities on the go.

Walk along the top of Barns ground, go past the sentry box, and sit on the terraces; pay your respect to the honoured dead on our war memorials, look at the ancient brick buildings that have housed so many of us and have mellowed and grown corpulent with expansion, and wander through the dormitories in Clark House; gaze down on the Boarders’ Quadrangle and the Crystal Palace, stroll through the Victoria Hall, and take a look at the gymnasium and the Commons Block; then walk across the playing fields, and memories of the flash and fire of College rugby will come vividly to mind, and you will recall the straw bashers going sky high near Basher Ridge and the old war-cry, “Jimeloyo-Ji!”, ringing out over the ground. Do all or some of these things and a strange restfulness will come over you. The years will slip away, and ghostly memories will become very real. The masters, the Pater Noster of assembly, and the Benedictus Benedicat of grace before meals, all of long ago, will live again, and you will remember the days when we, as brothers, were very young, in our beloved College. Written by Skonk Nicholson

Virtual Reward - 2017/2018

This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between August 24, 2017 and August 24, 2018. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards on the Geocaching Blog.

Flag Counter

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

[Photo to be sent by mail, message or via geocaching profile - your choice.] Nyfb purpx bhg: uggc://

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)