Estcourt at a glance
Estcourt is a town in the uThukela District of KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. The main economic activity is farming with large bacon and processed food factories situated around the town. The N3 freeway passes close to the town, linking it to the rest of South Africa. Estcourt is located at the confluence of the Bushmans and the Little Bushmans River. It is also on the main Durban - Johannesburg railway line some 160 km north of Durban and 25 km south of the Tugela River crossing. In earlier years the main road, later to become the N3, passed through the town. The town itself is 1196 m above sea level and lies in the hilly country that dominates most of the Natal Midlands. The Drakensberg lies some 40 km to the west of the town. At the turn of the century, the Estcourt Government School had about 100 children and offered formal education only at primary level, although the occasional bright student was coached at secondary level to enable them to enter university. By the 1920s the school had expanded to 226 children and in 1924 four children sat the matriculation exam. This sparked a growth in demand for secondary education, and in 1927 the school was split into two - Estcourt Junior School retaining the old school building and Estcourt High School (as the secondary school later became known) moving to Hospital Hill on the outskirts of the town. The new school had a boarding establishment, and soon the boarders outnumbered the day pupils. After the Second World War, both schools continued to grow and in 1960 a second primary school - Drakensview School - was built to accommodate the overflow from the Estcourt Junior School.