History – Rosetta and Mooiriver



In 1895, farmers from beyond Nottingham Road petitioned the colonial government for a station closer to their properties and those in the Kamberg. By 1897 the station, built on the line between Nottingham Road and Mooi River, was erected near what was known as the “Meshlyn road drift”. The station was initially called Springvale after the farm where it was situated, but became referred to as Rosetta Station after one of the original homesteads in the area, Rosetta Farm, just a little way up the Kamberg Road. In the meantime, the crossing at the drift became unnecessary with the construction in 1896 of the Meshlyn Bridge, which is still in daily use for access to the Kamberg and Connington.

Mooi River

Mooi River has been known by three names in its time. The Zulus called it Mpofana or “place of the eland”, the Dutch called it Mooi or “pretty” because of its picturesque, riverside setting, while the first official name of the settlement in the 1800s was Lawrenceville, after Alexander Lawrence, owner of Grantleigh Farm where the Mooi River station was built in 1884. The commercial hub of the town grew up around the station and railway line, although the first settlement was further east, near what is today Weston Agricultural College, where the road to the interior crossed the Mooi River. An inn, Whipp’s Hotel, was built at the ford in 1853 for those whose journey was interrupted by flooding or who needed to rest. The hotel changed hands and became the Lake Hotel, another popular country retreat for the well-to-do, until it burned down a century later in 1959. The Helen Bridge was built at the crossing in 1866. It was named after Helen Bisset, daughter of General John Jarvis Bisset, who was Acting Governor of Natal at the time, and is still used to get to the Mooi River polo fields from the Weston-Greytown road.