Remember Sir Marshall Campbell, the man who owned the Natal Estates Limited in Mount Edgecombe from the article we sent a short while ago. Well, according to an On the Rocks, Fun Time booked from the 80’s Sir Marshall Campbell’s son, William Alfred Campbell, decided to build a family home, Nganalana (child of mine) in Umhlanga Rocks in 1925. The house was built with locally sourced sandstone, (probably from Effingham) which was transported on a special 2” 6” gauge railway. William was fondly known as Wac and he loved nature and owned a farm in Eastern Transvaal, but the intrepid investor also owned the Hawaan Forest in Umhlanga.
The name Hawaan has Indian origins and Wac used to call an annual hunt through the forest that is today a popular nature trail. When Wac died, he stipulated in his will that the forest was to remain in its indigenous state, because inside the forest were many examples of tropical tree Cavacoa area (South African Hickory) which except for a small stand in the Duku Duku Forest in Zululand is not found elsewhere in South Africa.
Today the unique indigenous woodland has remained in its natural state for centuries and the forest is characterised by important species of trees with tropical attributes and numerous small animals. Back in the 80’s the Town Regional Planning Commission designated that this valuable area be conserved as part of the green belt zone of Umhlanga.
Opposite Nganalana, Wac built a wood and iron house for his chauffer and further along the way, a garage. Both buildings are occupied today, the former being a comfortable home and the latter renovated to house the Prawn Peri-Peri restaurant. Wac also built what was then described as the Indian barracks as living quarters for his staff on what was known as the Umhlanga Caravan Park in the 80’s.