The Natal Mineral and Gem Society was founded on 6th September 1966 and was inaugurated with 79 members. Patrons of the club included Dr Lester King and Dr E.P. Sagerson. The first committee consisted of Mr. Charles Brunton (president), Mr. Gordon Smith (vice president), Mrs. Yvonne Smith (secretary), Mr Bill Williams (treasurer) and committee members Mr. Ray Grinyer, Mrs. Kay Wolfson and Mrs. Elizabeth Opperman. The club does not have a motto as such. The Symbolism of the club badge is straightforward, and includes two black wildebeest pronking, adapted from the Coat of Arms of the Province of Natal. Over the years the club membership has fluctuated from 79 to 90, then down to 50, and currently has an active membership of approximately 30, including Mrs. Lucy Zank, One of the original founding members and widow of the late Mr. Hugh Zank, A Club Legend and Stalwart. Mrs. Charmaine Archer is also one of the Original Members.
The Club premises and workshop have been located in several different places over the years, including the garages of several members’ homes, and most latterly at Pineville Junction in Pinetown. The current premises were literally built from the ground up by several of the club members, as the funds available at the time amounted to a mere R15000.00. The Clubhouse was completed in 1994 and is a simple construction of wood and green corrugated iron, in a typical “ye older worlde” style. Many of the original machines in the club are still in use today and are maintained in good working order by Mr. Rob Morgan. This workshop has seen countless members come and go over the years, and no doubt the walls could tell many interesting and inspiring tales. The club boasts a well-stocked and very informative library on the premises.
From the outset, the club has held numerous interesting talks and many field trips, including outing to Inanda dam, Cato Ridge, Umgababa, Umzimkulu, Eshowe, Sinkwazi, Zululand, Nkandla Forest, Ngubevu, Tugela Valley, Shu-Shu and Jozini to name but a few. The club still undertakes trips to Jozini and Greytown. Sadly, many of the mines which were so richly explored by the club over the years no longer allow access to visitors.
The Natal Mineral and Gem Society is an active member of FOSAGAMS and has over the years hosted several gemborees, starting way back in 1975 (Hibberdene) and related in 1982 (Eshowe), 1990 (Greytown), 1996(Prieska) and 2000(Prieska).
Compiled by Renee Hadfield, Club Secretary, March 22nd, 2020