Collection T-MIN/12 - Photographs of occupation of Mashonaland

Identity area

Reference code

GB 249 T-MIN/12


Photographs of occupation of Mashonaland


  • 1890 - 1977 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.2 metres

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

William Ellerton Fry was born in Somerset in 1846. He emigrated to South Africa in 1872, where he became a prospector, farmer and trader. From 1872 to 1890, he was Secretary and Computer at the Royal Observatory, Cape Town. In 1890, he accompanied the Pioneer Column, a force raised by Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of South Africa, and the British South Africa Company, to occupy the territory of Mashonaland (later renamed Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe). Fry was Chief of the Survey Department and Official Photographer of the expeditionary force. He published an album of his photographs of the occupation of Mashonaland in 1891. In later life Fry was a surveyor, diamond prospector and farmer in Rhodesia and South Africa. He died in Mowbray, Cape Town in 1930.

Archival history

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Scope and content

Reproductions, made c 1977, of photographs taken in 1890 by William Ellerton Fry of the trek of the Pioneer Column from the Macloutsie River in Northern Bechuanaland to the high veld, Matabeleland and Fort Salisbury, Mashonaland, through Providential Pass. The photographs document the progress of the trek and record the contact of the Pioneer Column with the local African population. In addition to the photographs, there is some biographical information about William Ellerton Fry and a press cutting about the unveiling of a memorial to the Pioneer Column in Providential Pass.

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Conditions governing access

No access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

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    Existence and location of originals

    Existence and location of copies

    Related units of description

    W. Ellerton Fry Collection (Cape Town University Library)

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        Accession area