He was one of the first in Natal to mechanise his operations and strongly supported the establishment of the agricultural college at Cedara and the promotion of agriculture at university level.
The dreaded East Coast fever, a tick-borne disease killed many thousands of cattle in periodic outbreaks. Baynes was convinced that dipping was the answer and adapted an Australian method to local conditions. During the subsequent major epidemic, Baynes lost only eight cattle.
His beautiful Victorian house and adjacent museum has been restored and is open to the public by appointment. There is also a 14km hiking trail on the estate with overnight accommodation in a stone cottage using the original stone from the site of a cottage built by Baynes.
About Joseph Baynes
Born in Yorkshire in March 1842, Joseph came to the colony of Natal at age 8 with his father a Byrne settler.
As a keen agriculturalist and after much hard work and against many odds he aquired farms around him forming what is today known as Baynesfield Esate.
Apart from being an outstanding agriculturalist, Joseph Baynes was:
- Chairman of the Indian Immigration Board
- Represented the Ixopo Division in the Natal Parliament 1880 - 1910
- Minister of Land Affairs 1903 - 1904
- Appointed to the Legislative Council of the Colony
- Justice of Peace for the county
- Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Joseph Baynes also:
- Pioneered the dairy industry in South Africa
- Gave Durban its first organised fresh milk and butter
- Placed the bacon curing industry on a sound footing
- Played a large part in piloting through the contract for the drainage of the Congella swamps to develop modern warfage in Durban harbour in creating Maydon Wharf thus doubling the size of the harbour.
One of his greatest efforts was his successful fight against East Coast Fever with the assistance og G.D. Alexander and scientifically supported by Colonel Watkins-Pitchford CMG FRVS. The first dipping tank built in South Africa which has been declared a National Monument is on a neighbouring farm Meyershoek.
Joseph Baynes died in 1925, aged 83 with no heirs. He left the Estate in trust for the benefit of all South Africans. He and his second wife Sarah are buried at the Mausoleum. A peaceful place on the Estate where one may contemplate all that Joseph Baynes achieved by his tenacity, enterprise, thrift and hard work.