S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Schulz, Dr Julius Antonius Aurelius ( geographical exploration)

Born: 27 May 1858, Durban, South Africa.
Died: 28 August 1918, Mozambique.
Dr Julius Antonius Aurelius Schulz

J.A.A. (Aurel) Schulz (sometimes Schultz) was the second son of Dr Julius Schulz* of Durban and brother of Dr Cecil Schulz*. He learned much about medicine from his father before going to Berlin to study medicine. However, his studies were interrupted by the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 during which he appears to have served as both a sharpshooter and medical orderly at the battle of Ulundi and was awarded a medal and bar. Returning to Berlin he qualified as Doctor of Medicine (MD). Back in Natal he settled in Dundee and was licensed to practise in September 1881. On 7 November 1894 he married Elizabeth M. Mandy of Harrismith, with whom he had five children.

Schulz's hobbies were natural history and big game hunting. In March 1884 he and the surveyor August Hammar* set out on an expedition to the Victoria Falls and regions further west, with the aim of completing the exploration of the Chobe River. They reached the Victoria Falls on Schulz's birthday, 27 May. After following the Zambesi upstream they travelled up the Linyanti River and cut across to the Okavango River above the Popa Falls, then down the river to Lake Ngami, completing the detailed mapping of the course of the Okavango-Taoghe Rivers from the Popa Falls in Namibia into Botswana. They also demonstrated the connection between the Okavango and the Chobe Rivers. Schulz was convinced that this waterway would "in the future be of considerable economic value, as it will facilitate intercourse over a large area of water on both rivers" (Natal who's who, 1906) - an expectation that was not realised. They returned to Natal in January 1885. That same year a paper by Schulz, "Erforschung der Chobe und Cubango-Fl?sse" (Exploration of the Chobe and Cubango [i.e. Okavango] Rivers), was published in the Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft f?r Erdkunde, Berlin. With Hammar as co-author Schulz later wrote an excellent and comprhensive account of their explorations, The new Africa: a journey up the Chobe and down the Okavanga rivers... (London, 1897). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

Schulz later travelled in central Africa and Madagascar. By 1887 he lived in Johannesburg and that year became a foundation menber of the Rand Club. During 1890-1891 he negotiated for concessions with Chief Gungunhana of the Gaza region of Mozambique, as an agent for the British South Africa Company (which controlled present Zimbabwe). In the years before and after his mission to Gazaland he continued to live in Johannesburg, where he appears to have been more involved in financial matters than in medicine. In 1898 he participated in a pearl fishing venture off the coast of Tanzania. At that time he resided in Durban.

He became a member of the the Geological Society of South Africa in 1898 and of the Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa (from 1902 the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa) in 1899. Returning home from a visit to England towards the end of 1899 he found that the house on his farm "The Oaks", outside Dundee, had been destroyed during one of the early battles of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). He settled in Durban again around 1905, practising medicine in between his other activities. At this time he was a member of various clubs in Durban, Johannesburg and London. In September 1910 he was elected a member of the first council of the (short-lived) Natal Scientific Society. He read at least two papers before the society. One of these, "Some snakes and their poisons", was published in The Naturalist (1911, Vol. 1(6), pp. 257-278). The other, "Rubber", appeared in the society's Transactions and Proceedings (1912, Vol. 2, pp. 45-52). He continued to travel to remote places, usually alone, and died of a heart attack while investigating the use of tropical grass for paper making in Mozambique.

List of sources:
De Villiers, R. & Brooke-Norris, S. The story of the Rand Club (p. 175). Johannesburg: The Rand Club,1976.

Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions (and Proceedings), 1906, Vol. 10 and 1915, Vol. 18: Lists of members.

Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1904/5, Vol. 5, Members.

Mendelssohn, S. South African bibliography. London, 1910.

Natal [Colony], Departmental reports, 1904: Natal medical, dental, pharmacy and veterinary registers, 1904.

Natal almanac, directory and yearly register, 1890, 1900: Medical practitioners.

Natal Scientific Society. Transactions and Proceedings, 1912, Vol. 2, paper by Schulz.

Natal who's who. Durban, 1906.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Schulz, Julius Antonius Aurelius / Schulz, Aurel.

The Naturalist (Durban), 1911, Vol. 1, Numbers 3, 5 and 6: Council of the Natal Scientific Society, and paper by Dr Aurel Schulz.

Reitz, O.G. August Hammar, 1856-1931. South African Survey Journal, 1968, Vol. 11(4), pp. 31-38.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

South African medical directory for 1897. Cape Town: Cape Times, 1897.

VanderPost, C. Early maps of Ngamiland and the Okavango Delta. Botswana Notes and Records, 2005, Vol. 37, pp. 196-207.

Compiled by: C. Plug