Treasures of the South: The History and Holdings of Campbell Collections

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Seminar Date
June 1, 2011
“I have attempted no more than a brief and rough sketch of this great collection. My aim in doing so is to appeal to African leaders, patriots and artist to co-operate and help preserve these treasures …” H. I. E. Dhlomo -- The Campbell Collections of the University of KwaZulu-Natal comprises a rich variety of rare Africana books, manuscripts, artworks, and museum artefacts, mostly related to southern Africa, particularly the eastern region. The core of the collection was bequeathed to the University by Killie Campbell (1881-1965) and her brother William (1880-1962). The Campbells’ former home, a Cape-Dutch style building called “Muckleneuk”, on Durban’s Berea, houses the collections. In 1850 William (c1821-1865) and Agnes Campbell, the grandparents of Killie and William, immigrated to Natal from Scotland as Byrne settlers. They initially settled in Durban where William, who had worked for the Scottish railways, obtained a contract for the building of a pier on the northern side of Durban bay. Thereafter they moved to a farm near the Umhloti River, where William grew sugar cane, and in due course their son Marshall (1848-1917) became the owner of a successful sugar estate. In his later years he became a member of the Natal Legislative Assembly and after Union became a Senator for Natal in the Union Parliament. Marshall Campbell was knighted in 1916 for his services to the country. When Marshall retired from active farming he moved to the newly built family home Muckleneuk in 1914, and this is where his daughter Killie Campbell lived until her death in 1965. Her brother William, also known by his initials WAC, moved into Muckleneuk when he became a widower.
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