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Residential Area
Image Shows Avondale Shopping Centre in Harare
Local CouncilUrban Council
Founded byO'Cdnnell Farrell member of the Pioneer Column

Avondale is Harare's oldest residential suburbs.

Its History

O'Connell Farrell, a member of the Pioneer Column was allocated a farm two miles to the north of Salisbury, now Harare, after the disbandment in September 1890. He named his farm Avondale, after a beautiful estate owned by the Irish politician, Charles Parnell, which was situated in the County of Wicklow.

Parnell was the recipient of an amount of $20 000 from Cecil John Rhodes, in his bid to obtain the Charter for his occupation of Mashonaland, and so had a double link with the country.

Ownership of the farm changed hands a number of times. It passed to a Mr. Steward, who sold it in 1893 to James Kennedy for a sum of $500. Kennedy originally saw service in the Cape and Griqualand West Governments, but came to Mashonaland in 1891 where he was Chief Accountant for the British South Africa Company. He later became Master and Registrar of the High Court.

The farm was transferred to A. L. Blackburn in 1903, who sub-divided it into residential plots. It remained an autonomous residential suburb of Salisbury until 18 May 1934, when it was incorporated into the Municipality, prior to which it was administered by a Village Management Board. In 1894 the farm was rented by the Count de la Panouse, who lived there with his wife, the famous Countess Billie. The story of how Fanny Pearson, as she was before her marriage, came to Rhodesia, is perhaps one of Rhodesia's most fascinating romances and heart warming stories in the whole of the country's past. Billie met her future husband in London, where the Count was seeking to raise funds to form a mining syndicate to exploit the promised riches in Mashonaland.

After his arrival the Count hired the farm Avondale, and then left on prospecting trips, and sometimes Billie, who had only then become his wife, accompanied him. Col. Marshall Hole, the Chief Magistrate was called upon to perform the first official wedding ceremony in Rhodesia. The outbreak of the Rinderpest in 1896 took a heavy toll of the Count's cattle, for he had acquired a substantial herd on his farm, and Billie managed the dairy. She supplied the Salisbury population with 100 bottles of milk a day as well as 100 lb. of butter a week — both acceptable luxuries in those primitive days.

The Count, to recoup his losses, took a donkey wagon to Chimoio in Mozambique, the then railhead, and invested all his savings in a wagon load of food and other goods to sell in Salisbury. The cattle disease had almost completely disrupted the entire transport system. On his way back to Salisbury, he was met with the disturbing news that the rebellion had extended from Matabeleland to Mashonaland, and his first thoughts turned to his wife, who was living alone with her African servants at their home in Avondale.[1]

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  1. R.C Smith, [Avondale to Zimbabwe],R.C Smith, retrieved:16 Jun 22015"

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