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John Orr

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 30 JUNE

30 June 1875, Black Flag Rebellion peters out with the arrival of British troops.
30 June 1882, Kimberley’s police force 86 whites and 2 africans.
30 June 1895, Sister Henrietta and the Anglican sisters leave the hospital.
30 June 1912, St Cyprian’s church elevated to that of a Cathedral.
30 June 1919, The number of Africans employed by De Beers is 13083.
30 June 1932, John Orr MBE (pictured), dies.
30 June 1967, SA cricketer Rudi Steyn born.
30 June 1991, The demise of apartheid, the Group Areas and Land Act Act done away with.

DID YOU KNOW

John Orr of John Orr department store fame was born in Benburb, Tyrone, Ireland on 7 January 1858, the son of Dickson and Laetitia Orr.

PT-John_Orr-Gravestone-1932

John Orr’s Gravestone

Educated in Ireland John Orr came to South Africa in 1883 aged 25 years and after working for Garlicks in Cape Town opened his first store in the mother city. (Some sources state Stellenbosch).

John Orr then established a drapery store in October 1886 in Phakamile Mabija Road (formerly Jones Street), Kimberley. His brother Joseph joined him in running the business in 1891.

In 1892 he married Mary Ellen Harper and subsequently had five children with her. He served as mayor of Kimberley from 1909 to 1910 and again from 1916 to 1918. In 1910 he issued Kimberley souvenir cups to celebrate the formation of the Union of South Africa. He was a member of the first Management Board of the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum, and was founder of the Kimberley Horticultural Society. His business was so successful that he was able to open branches in Durban, Johannesburg, Benoni, Lourenco Marques and Springs. In 1918 he was awarded an MBE.

He bought the house “Lilianville” on Lodge Road from Gustav Bonas in 1902 and moved in to the house in 1903, renaming it “Dunluce”.

John Orr died on 30 June 1932 in Dublin whilst on holiday with Mrs. Orr and Mollie, his younger daughter. His other daughter, Eileen Orr, married Lionel Cooper, the pharmacist, and they and their family lived with her mother at Dunluce after her father died, and she remained there until her death in 1973.

Of interest to rugby fans is that the Springbok and Sharks player Patrick Lambie is a direct descendant of John Orr. John Orr’s son Robert Harold Orr married Alice Blacklaws (of Blacklaws Shoe shop fame). Their daughter Alizanne Orr married Dr Nic Labuschagne. Dr Nic and Alizanne’s daughter Cathryn married Ian Lambie, and their son is Patrick Lambie.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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