We profile Kearsney College on Botha's Hill in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in KwaZulu Natal.
Kearsney College began life at Kearsney, near Stanger, amongst the sugarcane fields of the Natal North Coast. The man behind this Methodist foundation was Sir Leige Hulett, a sugar baron whose product remains the most recognisable of South African sugars. Hulett came from a village in Kent called Kearsney and named his house Kearsney. The school was founded in his house.
In 1939 the school moved from the heat and malaria of the coast to the relative cool of Botha's Hill, not quite a suburb of Durban, up where the mists start and trees and azaleas grow in profusion. The estate there is 115 acres of near parkland, absorbing the school. The land was donated by Clement Stott, whose name is preserved in the 1st XV field and the first building by JJ Crookes, also of sugar fame.
Name of school Kearsney College
Motto of school Carpe Diem (Seize the passing moment, a quotation from Horace)
Date of foundation August 1921
Rugby at Kearsney
Masters and boys played together against clubs when the school was on the North Coast but the man who gave Kearsney College rugby its impetus was CO Medworth, an old boy of Bishops and Stellenbosch University, who played for Natal and eventually became a rugby writer of note. In 1942 got Kearsney playing other schools, so effectively that they beat DHS and Maritzburg College in 1944.
Rugby has flourished in recent years as never before. Kearsney now puts 24 teams in the field on Saturdays. The Kearsney-Maritzburg College fixture of 24 teams per school must be one of the biggest in the world.
Kearsney has toured abroad and hosted many teams from abroad, including an international festival in 1996 with teams from South Africa, Ireland, England and New Zealand.
Rugby Old Boys
Harry Newton Walker, the powerful prop, Etienne Fynn, who went on to St Charles and Trevor Halstead are Springbok old boys, and one of its headmasters, Stanley Osler, had played for South Africa. Matt Stevens, a young prop, played for England in 2004.
There are stern battles with Maritzburg College, DHS, Glenwood, Hilton and Michaelhouse.