John Richardson Goodricke, an English Solicitor who, together with his wife Charlotte and children, had arrived in the colony of Natal that same year D’Urban 1849.

History of Natal Later D`Urban and John Richardson Goodricke

History of Natal Later D`Urban and John Richardson Goodricke

The Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama reached the bay of today’s Durban on Christmas Day 1497. He named it "Rio de Natal", Christmas River. From that time on, the bay was a frequent port-of-call for sailors and merchants, but not until 1823 did a real settlement start to develop. In 1835, Port Natal was renamed Durban after the then Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Benjamin Durban. Life in the small harbour town was very precarious. The Zulus regarded Natal as their own territory and merely tolerated the white settlers, because the port was useful to them as a trading post.

When the Voortrekkers came to Natal in 1936, and fierce battles with the Zulus were on the daily agenda, Durban was also frequently threatened by attacks. After the defeat of the Zulus in the Battle of Blood River, there was peace for a while, but soon the British and the Voortrekkers started to fight for supremacy over Natal. Ultimately, the bitter conflicts were decided in favour of the British. In 1844, Natal became a Crown Colony and the Voortrekkers retreated.

In 1879, the British laid claims on the whole of Zululand and gave Zulu King Cetshwayo a practically unacceptable ultimatum. In the resulting Anglo-Zulu War, the British initially suffered a high number of casualties. The battle at the Isandlwana Mountain on 22 January, 1879 was particularly disastrous. About 20,000 Zulu soldiers overran the British army camp. Despite their superior armament, the British could not cope with the power of the attack. Many just covered their faces with their hands waiting to be stabbed through, others crept into their tents or tried to run away. Within a few hours, almost 2,000 soldiers were savagely killed. At first this victory for the Zulu King shocked and petrified the British. However, England decided to send more troops and the Anglo-Zulu War continued with heavy loss of lives, until it ended in victory for the British in 1887. KwaZulu was annexed by Natal. The northern border is the Tugela River

One of South Africa’s longest established legal firms began in 1849, housed in a well constructed thatched-roof hut, complete with calico windows, situated in West Street, Durban. It was the proud practice of John Richardson Goodricke, an English Solicitor who, together with his wife Charlotte and children, had arrived in the colony of Natal that same year. D’Urban, as it was then known, was a collection of wattle and daub buildings, housing some 1200 European settlers. Hippos swam in the bay, wild game roamed the Berea, and the Point to Durban railway had not even been built.

It was in this community that John Richardson Goodricke became not only a respected attorney, but a leading public figure. He was a founder member of the Durban Club, involved in the formation of Durban as a borough in 1854 and attorney to "The Natal Railway Company", which in 1859 became the first railway in South Africa.

He became the fifth mayor of Durban in 1858. In 1878 His son George Duncan Goodricke took over the practice from his father and continued the latter’s legacy of "Service to the Community". For over one hundred years since then, the firm of Goodrickes has known not only the Goodricke family; some of the most respected names in South African Legal History have occupied desks behind the doors that proudly bear the Goodrickes seal.

Men such a GA Roquefort-Labistour who became Attorney General of Natal 1901. FA Laughton, who became Senior Partner in 1892 and who once saved the life of Mahatma Ghandi from a hostile crowd at the docks by dressing him in the uniform of an Indian policeman and spiriting him away so disguised. George Herbert Goodricke, a grandson of the founder, who did much to assure the success of the then new suburb of Durban North. The Hons, AE Carlisle and ES Henochsberg both became Judges on the Natal Bench. LS Emary was closely involved with the successful development of the suburb Yellowwood Park and the establishment of the Stainbank Nature Reserve. RM Fenhalls was on the Board of Management of the NMR Regiment and a very active Rotarian. He also had the honor of being the first man to act as a "wife" in a marriage by proxy. It was during his time as Senior Partner that the practice moved into its present offices in 320 West Street.

Shannon Goodricke, the great great great granddaughter of John. Richardson. Goodricke, is presently serving her articles with the firm, thus continuing the proud family tradition. 2002

Edited By Michael B Goodrick. 2002.