Go to the Labyrinth of East London Lore

George McKay

Engineer & Town Councillor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
(Contact the Project Coordinator)

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that the creator of The Labyrinth of East London Lore, Dr T., has passed away. Helping people through his website gave him no end of pleasure. If you had contact with him and would like to leave a message, please send us an e-mail here.

DEATH NOTICE: see the Cape Archives, MOOC 6/9/449, No 1281.
OBITUARY: see the Daily Dispatch, 22.3.1902.

McKay's sketches of the East London harbour are housed in the Mendelssohn Library, Cape Town. See G McKay, G. McKay's Notebook in South Africa, 1876-1877.

George Gordon McKay was born in Buenos Ayres (Argentina) in September 1827 and entered the Cape Civil Service in 1854 as a civil engineer.

He was transferred to the British Kaffrarian Government in August 1857 as Acting Superintendent of Public Works and became Superintendent in January 1862. He was then appointed Clerk of Works at the East London harbour in May 1872 and remained there until his retirement in July 1881.

During that time he became noted as an amateur geologist and paleontologist. He worked on rocks which had become exposed by the Harbour Works and also explored the valleys in and around East London.

He was responsible for a remarkably fine set of sketch maps of the mouth of the Buffalo River which revealed the changes in the river from 1835 until 1876, and in which he described the geology and archeological foundations of the area.

McKay was elected to the East London Town Council in January 1892 as a member for Ward 1 and was re-elected in 1892, 1895 and 1896 but resigned in April 1897 because of failing health.

He died on 18 March 1902 at the age of 74, and was buried at East London.

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