“Newcastle is the third-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, with a total population of 363,236 citizens as of the 2011 census. 56,144 of these citizens reside in Newcastle West, whilst the balance of the population reside in the townships of Madadeni and Osizweni, which form Newcastle East. Newcastle is located in the north west corner of the province along the Ncandu River and is one of the country’s main industrial centers, encompassing four industrial zones. Newcastle covers an area of approximately 222 km2 (86 sq mi) and has a population growth rate of 0.87%, ranking the Newcastle area as South Africa’s tenth-largest city.
The upper part of the Drakensberg mountain range curls around the city. The N11 is the principal road running through the city with the R34 being the alternate route. Major roadworks are being undertaken on both routes with the N11 bypass set for realignment south of Newcastle.
Newcastle is the seat of the local municipality by the same name as well as being the seat to the Amajuba District Municipality.
The city started as Post Halt Two on the journey between Durban (then Port Natal in Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) and Johannesburg. The city was strategically placed in 1854 by the Surveyor General of the Natal Colony, Dr PC Sutherland. It was later known as the Waterfall River Township because of the Ncandu River. In 1864, the town of Newcastle was founded on the site, becoming the fourth settlement to be established in Natal after Durban, Weenen and Pietermaritzburg. Newcastle was named after the British Colonial Secretary, the Duke of Newcastle. In 1876, Fort Amiel was constructed to ward off the Zulus. In 1873 Newcastle became a separate electoral division. To commemorate Queen Victoria‘s Diamond (60th) Jubilee the construction of a sandstone town hall started in 1897, and was completed two years later. The town was used as a depot by the British during both the First and Second Boer War. Newcastle functioned as a major transport junction and popular stopover for wagons and post chaises during the late 19th century.
British preparation work for the Pretoria Convention of 1881 was done at Newcastle.
In 1890, the first train arrived in Newcastle, and the town was declared a borough in 1891. The discovery of coal brought a new era of prosperity and several ambitious building projects were planned” ~ Wikipedia