SA sugar magnate Sir Hulett is born


Sir James Liege Hulett

Thursday, 17 May 1838

Sir James Liege Hulett, Natal planter, industrialist and politician, was born in England and came to South Africa in 1857 at the age of 19. Hulett pioneered the country's sugar industry when he founded the Hulett Company in 1892, which had extensive cane plantations and erected the first sugar mill in 1903. He was also the first person in Natal to cultivate tea successfully. He personally raised money to extend the railway line between Verulam and Stanger, which became the first and only privately owned line in Natal. He represented Victoria in the Natal legislative council for twenty-two years. In 1921, Hulett founded Kearsney College, a prestigious boys' school in Stanger, on the Natal north coast. Today, the Huletts Sugar Company is called Tongaat-Hulett, after it merged with the Tongaat sugar company, and is still one of the major sugar groups in the country.

• Kruger, D.W. (ed)(1972). Dictionary of South African Biography, Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council, v. 1, p. 394.
• Sinegugu, M., (1999), 'Sir James Liege Hulett', from Remembered, [online], Available at [Accessed 29 May 2014]

Last updated : 14-May-2015

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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