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112-year-old newspaper comes home

KwaZulu-Natal - A souvenir edition of The Natal Mercury has returned home after 112 years of travelling the globe.

Dated Wednesday, June 6, 1900 the paper was bought by Olive Dykes (nee Slater) who took it with her when she moved to England in the early 1900s to marry.

The 112-year-old copy of The Mercury. Credit: The Mercury

After World War II, the family emigrated to Melbourne in Australia, and it was packed up and taken with them.

When Olive’s daughter, Brenda Eyles, moved to Adelaide, Australia, she took the newspaper with her. Later Eyles decided it was time to send the paper home and she sent it to her cousin, Helen Dykes, who lives in Howick.

“I didn’t know what to do with it,” said Dykes.

“An auctioneer suggested that it may be of interest to the people at the Killie Campbell Library. I’m glad it’s there now,” she said.

The newspaper is a souvenir edition of the Anglo-Boer War, decorated in the colours of the Union Jack and features Lord Roberts’s account of how the British troops occupied Pretoria, with the headline, “The War, A Crowning Event, Pretoria Taken”.

Nellie Somers, the library’s senior information and preservation officer, said the most interesting aspect of the newspaper was its journey.

“Given the newspaper’s age, it is in very good condition,” Somers said.

Years of folding the pages have left them in pieces but the colours are still vivid and the text is clear.

She was thrilled with the new addition. “It fits in perfectly with our historical collection,” she said. - The Mercury

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