Place Category: Accommodation
Welcome to Hebron Haven, a 27-roomed hotel and conference/wedding venue, set on 40 acres of land in the beautiful KZN Midlands in The Dargle.
The Corlett family have recently taken over Hebron Haven Hotel. Here is a brief history of its past.
Hebron’s origin began as a Government land grant designed to encourage settlers to inhabit the nether regions of the then all-powerful British Empire. The first owner of this land was a certain Carl Preller, granted 6165 acres of land on 25 September 1849. This covered the area as far as where Midmar Dam is today as well as through to lions river, up the dargle and further. Hebron Haven as it is today is Portion 84 of the original farm. He was born 1809 and died in 1870. It is alleged that Carl had two very lazy sons. He supposedly buried an amount of gold somewhere on the property prior to his death to keep them from finding and squandering it. He however died without revealing to anyone where the gold was hidden. He was indeed so protective of his money that it is believed that the ghost that is occasionally seen or heard at Hebron is in fact Carl keeping an eye on his gold. To add some credence to this myth, a box containing gold coins was reportedly unearthed when the tarred road to Dargle was constructed. Carl however is still seen at Hebron Haven.
Hebron was approximately one day’s travel from Pietermaritzburg, on the great road North to the gold fields, and as such was an ideal place to stop over for the night after having forded the M’geni River. In much the same way the Howick Falls Hotel owed it’s origins. There were many such places of accommodation that developed as stopovers for weary travellers and Lumbermen, working to supply the gold fields with building materials. Early Hebron would have seen these travellers camping out next to their wagons, as the original homestead was the only building at the time. Up until the big floods of 1987 there were the rutted tracks of wagons over the ford of the uMngeni. Unfortunately these rocks were washed away in the floods. It is said that Preller sold the farm to a Mr. Boschoff for a bottle of whisky.
Hebron then passed into the hands of Col Gardener around 1920. Mrs Gardener – his daughter, who was a near neighbour until a few months ago, had some excellent photographs of early Hebron Haven. These photos show the construction of the first rooms attached to the building as well as the two rooms still standing at the front entrance (circa 1923). It said that these rooms were the original post office for the area. There is a photograph of an old Gum tree that was allegedly the biggest Gum tree growing in the district. The trunk of this tree is still evident in the garden today. During the second world war, Hebron was “issued” with 3 Italian POW’s who helped build many of the buildings now standing.
Alec & Joyce Court purchased Hebron in about 1941 from Col. Gardiner who in turn sold to Reg and Liz Howse in 1944and who had the hotel from about 1944 to1958. John James Raw (the uncle of Vause Raw – United Party leader in the 70’s) also owned the hotel. A highlight of 1947 was a visit from the King and Queen. Other owners were Ivan and Pat Mc Donald till 1970. Mike and Rosemary Butt up to 1985. Vaughan and Alison Hatting, 1986. Wally and Anne Smith, 1994. Club Caravelle, with Garth Taylor as manager until 1996. In August 1996 owners Rowney, King and Goulden took over ownership. December 2002 saw Hebron Haven Hotel’s previous owner, Master Chef and Hotelier extraordinaire Rudolf Pollabauer take over the reins. The Corlett’s purchased Hebron Haven in May 2019 and are slowly returning it to its former glory. ( See letter from Alec & Joyce’s daughter. )
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