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South Africa - Byrne Settlers: Scott's Party

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A ‘Byrne Settler’ was any emigrant brought to Natal by the company, J. C. Byrne & Co., or, to give it its official title, the Natal Emigration and Colonisation Co.

The settlers landed in Natal on 20 ships during the years 1849 to 1851. Among these were two ship-loads (those ex Minerva and Henrietta) whose allotments were laid out in the Byrne valley, near Richmond.

J.C. Byrne & Co. offered prospective emigrants a passage to Natal and 20 acres of land at the following rates:

  • £10 for a steerage passage (£15 was the usual fare), and
  • £19 for an intermediate berth.

Children under 14 were charged £5 and were entitled to five acres. Cabin passengers could travel for £35, but they were not entitled to land (on the ships’ list they appeared as ‘passengers’, while the others were labelled ‘emigrants’).

To take advantage of the land allotment an emigrant had to be approved by Her Majesty’s Land and Emigration Commissioners – his/her age had to be 45 maximum unless accompanied by adult offspring, and the only acceptable occupations were the practical ones of farmer, blacksmith, wheelwright, wagon-maker, dairymaid, agricultural labourer, etc.

Rev. Charles Scott, originally from Peterhead, Scotland, went to South Africa as a Byrnes emigrant. His family settled on land in Glenugie, Pinetown.

Ship: UNICORN

The Unicorn was a vessel of 12 hundred tons and carried a crew and passengers of some 256 persons.

Date of arrival: 19 September 1950

Number of Persons in Scott’s party that arrived: 10 – consisting of :

Information supplied by Debbie van Duyn