Page 23 – ‘Notes of a trip’ by Robert Jameson

riend Mr. Greenacre, and two others, a fortune for each-for after paying all expenses there is monthly divided among them a sum represented by four figures. People speak of “the luck of these Hillary’s.” There is no such thing as luck about it; it is the outcome of indefatigable perseverance and industry extending over three years, during which they laboured incessantly, prospected unwearyingly under the greatest discouragements, and spent all the saving;; of their previous industry before success rewarded their courage.

                     I remember two years ago shaking my head, and saying to Mr. George Hillary, “What a fool you are to be living the life of a baboon, following a ‘will o’ the wisp.'” I now wish I, too, had been a baboon. They have, therefore, richly earned their success.

                     Water has been brought in a race across the mountains seven miles, to the hills above the mine, giving a splendid fall for their Pelton, an admirable motive power for their battery. A second Pelton and another battery are in course of erection, which will more than double the output. Italian miners from St. Gotthard do their work well, and the quartz they turn out shows visible gold; the reef is good, and is as yet, only tapped, I saw some splendid ingots of retorted gold here ready for shipment, and a cheery sight it was.

If I had needed convincing of the magnificent future of the mining enterprise of De Kaap a visit here would have confirmed me; but although I came up from Natal a doubter, what I had seen at Sheba, had already convinced me that a turning point in our history had now arrived, and that Natal, equally with the Transvaal, had seen the last of its difficulties; for it is impossible to over estimate the changes for the better in our affairs which these fields must effect.

Mr. Geo. Hillary besides his shares in this concern, is a large shareholder in Nil Desperandum, so his Natal friends can gauge his success, and none who know him will, I am sure grudge it him.

                     I must not omit to mention that returning from Moodie’s we called in passing to see the fine new battery in course of erection by Moodie’s Company a “Sandycroft,” with all the latest improvements, and one of the finest yet introduced. It will prove of great value to the reefs in the vicinity, and I have no doubt reward the enterprise of the company.

                     Barberton was almost in a State of famine’ during our stay there. They had been relying upon their goods coming up via Delagoa Bay, traffic via Natal being slow in winter, and it had entirely failed them.

                     Goods for Barberton had been lying at that port many weeks, while goods from here, ordered subsequently, were arriving. The delay was principally owing to the want of grass for transport cattle; but Natal cannot rely upon such a contingency occurring next winter, and so must be up and doing; and it cannot therefore be too earnestly emphasized that our future prosperity depends upon the extension of our railway system.

                     Given a railway to our border and Customs tariff equitably re-adjusted to meet the circumstances of our Transvaal customers, and our position in Natal is assured-neither Delagoa Bay nor, any other rival can effect us. Will our legislators – putting aside the parrot cry of Merchant v. Farmer – rise to the