Heritage Resorts - Stories 2018 - Issue 2 - Page 89

The Bel Ombre estate would not be what it is today without Charles
Edward Telfair. This Irish botanist, born in Belfast in 1778 and died in 1833
in Port Louis, owned a good part of the estate from 1816 to 1833. Son of
a schoolmaster, he studied chemistry and medicine. Engaged in 1797 in
the Royal Navy, he made several stops in the Indian Ocean in 1810, before
settling permanently in Mauritius. He became the personal secretary of the
first British governor of the island, Robert Farquhar. A great humanist, Telfair
devoted much of his time to educating and improving the living conditions of
slaves on plantations.
Annabella Telfair (d. 1832, in Port Louis) was a botanical artist and collector
of plants. She married Charles Telfair in 1818. The couple was famous for
the receptions they held on the Bel Ombre estate. Between 1826 and 1830,
Annabella’s illustrations were published in a specialised journal, the Curtis
Botanical Magazine. After her death, her collection was entrusted to the
Zoological Society of London but has since been dispersed. Some of her
works can still be admired at the Heritage Le Château.
Robert Edward Hart is a Mauritian poet born August 17, 1891 in Port Louis
and died November 6, 1954 in Souillac. Buried in the marine cemetery of this
village, he lived the last years of his life in a house made of coral and nestled
on the cliffs of the wild south. His poetry was inspired by the cultures and
civilizations of Madagascar, India, Africa and Europe. He was made Officer of
the British Empire in 1949 and Knight of the Legion of Honour in 1950. His
home, called La Nef, was transformed into a museum in 1967.
Gone too soon, in 1981 at the age of 63, Amédée Maingard played a vital
role in the economic development of Mauritius. Part of the Maquis of the
French Resistance during the Second World War, he took a resolute stand
for the independence of Mauritius in the 60s. After having founded the
national airline company Air Mauritius in 1967, he launched the first major
beach hotel, which ultimately kick-started the island’s tourism industry. It
was he who, in 1971, passed CSBO (Compagnie Sucrière de Bel Ombre)
under the control of the South West Tourist Development Company, a
subsidiary of the Rogers Group, which helped to boost the development of
the region. Amédée Maingard is certainly one of the most famous Mauritians
of his generation.


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