Clan Munro CrestThe Munros of Pinetown

Their Families, Ancestors and connected families





The Late Mr. George Munro

Gold-Seeker, Transport Rider, Farmer

(Special to the "Natal Mercury.")

Death has claimed so many of Natal's old Colonists that to-day very few are left. With the passing of Mr. George Munro, of "Preston House," Sarnia, last Friday, Natal has lost a wonderful personality, a man who was loved and respected everywhere, not only for his cheeriness and good-fellowship, but also for his high integrity.

Mr. Munro had an adventurous career before and after he settled down at Sarnia. The remaining years of his life must have been fraught with a great sadness because so many of his colleagues had preceded him in the journey to the Great Beyond. Of the many friends of his early days, of his companions in many adventurous trips and hardships, few, if any, are left. In the early days of his life in the Colony, Mr. Munro ventured into what were then unknown and mysterious places where the Native chieftain ruled despotically over an ignorant and war-like people. He went mostly as a gold seeker, but often as a transport rider, and he must have met with many thrilling adventures on some of these "treks.” Unfortunately he kept no diary (few Colonists did), and consequently little is known of his wanderings, though the time and scenes of his journeys permit of no doubt that his adventures were many, and if he had kept a diary it would to-day have been an interesting and valuable record. As it was, Mr. Munro was seldom in reminiscent vein except to those friends who actually took part in his adventures, and as he has outlived them, no one is left to give a narration.

It was in 1864 that Mr. Munro arrived at Port Natal on the sailing vessel Udora. He was then still in his teens, and was accompanied by his brother Donald Munro. Another passenger on board the Udora at the time was a young lady who subsequently became Mrs. G. W. Young, and is at present living at Wansted, East Griqualand. The Munro brothers came out to Natal from Scotland to join a third brother, John Munro, who was employed at brick making in the Umgeni flats. Mr. George Munro worked as a brick maker for some time, and no doubt there are still houses in existence in Durban built from bricks from the yards of the Munro brothers.

George Munro

Mr. George Munro did not long remain satisfied with his work at Umgeni. The wild called him, and stories of gold mines and fortunes made overnight drifted through to Durban and reached his ears. In the latter part of 1868 he set off for the Tati Goldfields accompanied by a friend, Archie Campbell. On their way inland they fell in with a Durban party under Captain McNeil also bound for the goldfields, and later a further number of men known as the Sydenham Party, and with the same destination in view, was also met. Mr. Munro reached the goldfields in January, 1869, and spent some time there. Dame Fortune however, overlooked him, and he returned to Durban with a purse less weighty than when he had left. This did not discourage Mr. Munro's dream of attaining wealth as a gold miner, and in the subsequent days he made many trips to places where there were rumours of dazzling gold finds, and he also spent a time at the Mfongosi goldfields.


After a spell Mr. Munro, finding that there was no fortune for him in gold mines, went back to his old work, and later became a builder and contractor. In this connection he built several houses along the coast. At another period in his early life he also went transport riding, and undertook some hazardous journeys. During the Zulu War he followed up our troops with ammunition.

Mr. Munro married, in 1875, Miss Selina Jane Davie, niece of the late Mr. James Sanderson, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. C. W. Posselt of New Germany. The couple set off on their honeymoon trip (and how many brides would do that to-day?) on horse-back. After the marriage, Mr. Munro stayed for some time at Umgeni. He then took up his residence at Preston House, Sarnia, where he has lived ever since, and where his eldest son, now farming at Eshowe, was born.

Tobacco manufacturing engaged his attention for a time, varied by transport riding, mostly in Natal, but some trips took him as far as Johannesburg. Mr. Munro gradually settled down as a general farmer at Sarnia, where he remained until the time of his death.

Until within a week of his death he led a very active life. He was a great believer, though he was 78 years of age, in every man paying his own way, and that was his motto throughout his long life. He had a wonderfully retentive memory, and seldom troubled to make a note of anything, relying entirely on his memory. He never took an active part in public life, but was a foundation member of the Pinetown Horticultural Society, and an Hon. Chieftain of the Pinetown Caledonian Society, and known to everybody in the district.

He is survived by his widow and a large family. There are five sons, James, Alfred, George, Malcolm, and William Munro, and four daughters, Mrs. A. Dryden, Keetmanshoop; Mrs. R. Glendenning, Sarnia; Mrs. Crawford, Pinetown; and Mrs. Barret, Greytown. Twenty of Mr. Munro's grandchildren are alive to-day.

The photograph of the late Mr. Munro re-produced here, was taken about 17 years ago when he was on a visit to Scotland, accompanied by his wife.


The funeral of the late Mr. George Munro took place at St. John's Churchyard, Pinetown, on Saturday afternoon. A large number of mourners and friends assembled at the graveside to pay their last respects to the deceased.

The coffin was carried to the grave by four sons, and the Vicar of Pinetown (the Rev. F. Stead, M.A.), performed the burial service according to the rites of the Church of England.

The following is a list of the wreaths: From his Loving Wife and family; Grandchildren; in loving memory Laura, Dick and children; Ben, Bella and children; Mr and Mrs Schenk; Mrs W H Nichols and family; Mrs Scott and family; Mrs Glendenning, sen.; Mrs Ponting, Eddie and Sybil; Mr and Mrs Gordon Calvert and family; Mr and Mrs PJ Philpott and family; Mr Richards and family; Mr and Mrs Murgatroyd and family; Mr T A Glendenning; Mr and Mrs Vincent Brackie and family; Mr and Mrs Boast and Hazel; Mr and Mrs H Westermeyer and Alma and Dave; Managing Directors and Proprietors of "Natal Mercury”; Alfred, Gladys and family; T J Grant and family: C A Day; Mr and Mrs A H Lewis; Mr and Mrs D U Campbell and family; Mr and Mrs J T King and family: Mr and Mrs Wylie and Donald; \the Knowles family; T and C Gaillod; Alick, Daisy and family; Percy and Ethel Swales (Eshowe); Nan, John and Ian; Mr and Mrs Bardone and family; Messrs Adlam and Harding; Pinetown and District Caledonian Society; A H Milne and family; Bert and Stella; Mr and Mrs David Jack; Pinetown and District Farmers' Association; Mr and Mrs Campbell and Lilian; Mrs Barrett, Iris and Dan; Messrs Russell and Marriott; Mr and Mrs Harold S Adlam; Mr and Mrs CR Barrett; Mrs. J Coate Field and family; Mr and Mrs H Higgs and family; Jessie Scot; Misses Baytopp; Mr and Mrs T H Baxter; Mr and Mrs M Harris; Mr and Mrs H G Paige; Mr and Mrs W S Gillitt; Mr and Mrs R E J Gillitt; Mrs Tipler and family; Mr and Mrs Ernes and Olivier; Mr and Mrs J W Robinson and family; Mr and Mrs J B Hulme and family; Mr and Mrs FJ Volek; Mr and Mrs Fred Dawson; All at Rose Cottage; Mr and Mrs Beggs and family; a number without cards; Mr and Mrs W Wright; Mr and Mrs Chas Kirk; Mrs Horton and family; M Lawrie; Mrs Freeze; Mr and Mrs Alan Davidson; Mr and Mrs Forrest and Natalie; Mr and Mrs N W Charlton; Mrs Crompton and family; Mr and Mrs W F Drimmie and family; Mr and Mrs Saveall; Mr and Mrs W Adam and family; Mrs Erny; Mr and Mrs A Butt; Alfred Dacomb and children; Roso Marian and children; Mrs A Gray; Messrs Lyle and Quinn.

Transcribed from The Natal Mercury published on 14th March 1923.

© 2023 Don Munro