Kameel Stoepstorie: Vryburg Museum

People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

A short, but long overdue, visit the Vryburg Museum. It is situated on the N14 to Kuruman. The original wall of the goal that was built in 1887 is incorporated in the building and the masoned stones from the old demolished Town Hall were used to build the rest of the building which is the entrance to the Leon Taljaard Game Reserve. This building houses a museum and a Bio-museum.

Vryburg, or “Fort of Freedom”, was established in 1882 as the capital of a short-lived independent republic called Stellaland, established by Boers escaping the clutches of the British in the Cape Colony. Just two years later the Stellaland become part of the Cape Colony. It’s loctated on the banks of the Huhudi River. The plaque commemorates the Stellaland era. The original flag of the Stellaland Republic is not on display. Van Niekerk’s house was situated on the piece of land where the Pick and Pay parking are are now.

I remember preparing food for the thousands of Angolan Portuguese refugees passing through Vryburg in 1974. They were frightened & exhausted. They weren’t walking though, but drove trucks carrying their families and possessions from Angola. A transit camp was set up in the veld at the old goal wall. There, the refugees could wash and rest for a while or sleep over. They were given water, food & essentials. Remember that there was a Red Cross tent treating minor injuries and ailments & tending to exhausted mothers with hungry & over-tired babies & toddlers. I remember clearly the pain of exhaustion & anguish and the loss of self-respect in their eyes.

Today there is a small mention of this happening. The memorial seems to be incomplete.
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Direito de AdmissiaoVryburg
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Vryburg was once used as a concentration camp by the British during the Boer War. The gatehouse was built on the former Boer War prison and where prisoners captured by the British forces were incarcerated. The plaque that commemorates the prisoners that were executed here should be at the museum but we could not find it due to the long grass that is growing around the building.

Copyright Johan Viktor via eGGSA
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We were met by Jennifer Lecholo. An energetic young lady who was giving her best to help us during our visit. There are two exhibit areas a Bio-museum where you will find a lot of stuffed animals that were not up to our alley and the museum. We love the rock engravings from Kinderdam the farm where we spend lots of fond memories visiting Uncle Alfie & Aunt Nellie Fincham. There is a small display with no information on the Koi-san.

The museum is small but we were charmed by the displays. Unfortunately, there is no information available and our guide is still new on the premises. It sheds some light on the town’s economic and social history.

The Townhall now demolished

The old Gentleman’s Club that was later utilized as police quarters.

The Stellaland Flag should be on display in the Townhall is the original flag of the short-lived Stellaland Republic. Its history includes having been presented to Queen Victoria as a gift and hanging in Windsor Castle until 1934 when King George V returned it to Vryburg. The museum curator could not help with the location of the flag.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameel Huise tussen treine en tussen spore

Liewe Ma – Florence of soos ons haar geken het as Floss het 5 huise langs die spoorlyn op Kameel besit. My Pa – Gerald het die huise op 9 Maart 1999 gekoop van die destydse Suid-Afrikaanse Spoorweë en Hawens.

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Die spoorlyn tussen Vryburg en Mafeking is eers in 1894 gebou, ná Stellaland en Goosen nie meer bestaan het nie, Cecil John Rhodes, het toentertyd reeds ‘n droom gehad om ’n spoorlyn van die Kaap na Cairo te bou, en hy wou hê dat dit deur die area moes loop want hy het die De Beers Diamantmynmaatskappy gestig en wou ‘n treinroete na die noorde laat loop sonder om deur die ZAR se grondgebied te gaan.

Kameelstasie was dus deel van die Kaap na Cairo projek en is in 1894 op my groot-ouers se plaas Kameelbult gebou. In 1999 is my Pa genader om die huise terug te koop en die titelakte nr T796/1999 is geregistreer op Florence se naam.

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Kameel is een van daardie klein dorpies op die R377. Dit was eens ‘n besige spoorlyn wat graan en reisigers vervoer het. Daar is ‘n laerskool en twee kooperasies waar jy saam met die boere van die omgewing kan koffie drink en die weer bespreek. Kameel Rust en Vrede gaste akkommodasie is naby die ou Kameel treinstasie geleë. Ongelukkig is die ou stasie gebou gesloop. Tot jou verbasing sal jy Wilrick Kontrei winkel met ‘n bottelstoor ook hier kry. Hier kan jy die nodige proviant kry. Met sekerheid kan ons hul vetkoek aanbeveel en saam met ‘n koue Lager uit die bottelstoor is dit ‘n wenner.

‘n Stukkie geskiedenis van Kameelstasie wat ek by Jean, my Pa se suster, gekry het. Sy het by die stasie gewerk vanaf 1953.

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Die ou Stasiegebou was vol verrassings. Kan dink aan al die papiere wat onder in die kelder gestoor was. Dis ‘n deel van die geskiedenis wat summier verbrand is toe die stasiegebou moedswillig gesloop is. Die ou koper traliewerk en daardie tipiese wagkamer. Treine is daardie dae per morsekode gereguleer. Daar was die pragtige drie-hoekige keramiek waterhouer. Kaartjies is in ‘n kas gehou en die datumstempel van yster moes daagliks op gedateer word. Die Ploegbaas het in die eerste huis gewoon, die ene waarvoor die naam van die stasie staan. Langs die huis was sink kwartiere wat soos ‘n “hostel” was waar die ongetroudes gewoon het. Die Ploegbaas het met ‘n Pomptrollie die spoorlyn ondersoek en herstel.

Oor die jare het die soutpanne by Stella bekende ontdekkingsreisigers en sendeling as besoekers, soos David Livingston en Robert Moffat, gehad. Groot-Oupa Alfred Ernest het op Lonely Hill gebly. Lonely Hill se huis is vandag nog daar – natuurlik erg verwaarloos so op die kant van die soutpanne. Sout is aangery, met donkie-waens na Kameel waar dit dan op die spoortrokke gelaai is. Daardie jare was dit ‘n hout-en-pale gebou Vandag is die soutpanne nie meer produktief nie.

Daar was soms tot 20 busse wat personeel en goedere vervoer het. Die busse het die roomkanne van die plase opgelaai en dit is dan na Kameel gebring waar dit, per spoor, na Vryburg Romerye vervoer is. Die “dubble loaves” was busse wat passasiers en goedere vervoer het. Daar was sitplekke aan die voorkant vir passasiers en dan agter die afskorting is goedere gelaai en na die stasie gebring. Die room en eiers is in die swartroomkamer geberg totdat die trien dit na Vryburg vervoer het. Dit was ‘n soort koelkamer.

Simon wat vir elke okkasie ‘n spesiale uniform aangetrek het. Hy was soort van die “meeter and greeter” van alles wat op- of afgelaai moes word.

Die vuuremmers het aan hake aan die stoepkant van die stasiegebou gehang. Dit was gevul was met sand.

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Oom Kleintjie Kleynhans en sy vrou Tant Gertie was van die eerste stasievoorman. Hulle het in die huis waar Ma Floss gewoon het, hulle intrek geneem. Hul Boarder Kollie het oral met hul saam gegaan. Tant Gertie, of soos sy by die laerskool bekend was, tannie Klein, was een van die eerste onderwysers by die laerskool op Kameel.

Daar is tuine om die stasiegebou gemaak en elke jaar was daar kompetisies tussen die stasies om te bepaal wie se tuin die mooiste was, maar dit was nie altyd net werk nie. Almal het na die jaarlikse vuurbol gooi uitgesien. Dit was die tyd wanneer oud en jonk die vuurbolle in die lug bewonder het.

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Stukkie angswekkende geskiedenis was toe die dinamiet trein ontspoor het tussen Kameel en Wirsing-halte. Dit was ‘n groot en gevaarlike gebeurtenis. Die ploegbaas moet die trein dag en nag bewaak.

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Die spoorpredikant lees 805myl van Kaapstad met ‘n hoogte van 4449 voet.

In 2001 stuur Ma Floss vir ons ‘n brief en daarin skryf sy dat haar skrywe kom van die huise tussen treine en tussen spore. Ma het na haar hemelse woning verhuis op Kersdag 2017.

Ma Floss en Pa Gerald het in stasiemeesterhuis gewoon, sedert 2001. Na Pa sy aardse woning verlaat het, het Ma aangebly. Sy was sommer die Stasiemeester of is dit dalk die Burgermeester. Haar tuin was haar trots en menige dae het sy rustig in haar tuin gewoel en gewerk.

Nou is dit ons en Ma se huise en ons het dit goed gedink om die klein kompleksie na ma te vernoem op ‘n heel ander wyse.

Kameel : Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore

Baie dae het ons die treinspore ge-ondersoek en bewonder. Onthou nog ons eerste besoek aan ons ouers toe Ma verskoning maak vir die klein veldmuisie wat in die huis is. Twee uur die oggend word ons wakker van ‘n snaakse geluid. Dit was nie die veldmuis nie maar ‘n trein wat verby gegaan het. Nodeloos om te sê die veldmuis het ons nooit gepla nie.

Ek onthou Pa Gerald se ontsteltenis toe hulle een middag van Vryburg gekom het en daar was twee trekkers met kettings aan wat die stasiegebou platgetrek het. Die kelder met al die papier van baie jare is aan die brand gesteek en dit het vir dae gebrand. Pa kon nooit ophou praat hoe onnodig dit was nie. Ja vandag lê daar nog steeds van die bourommel van die stasiegebou. Soos dit in ons tye gaan word dinge verwoes maar daar bly altyd ‘n getuienis agter.

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Ek onthou ouma Hester se Café reg langs die spoorlyn. Dit was die plek waar ons menige dae na skool gaan kuier het. Ouma het so ‘n glas toonbank gehad met ons gunsteling lekkers agter die glas. Daar was appelkose, Wilson toffies en suurtjies. Elke jaar wanneer ouma op vakansie gegaan het, het Ma die Café ge’run’. Dit was vet pret vir ons Finchampies. Wanneer daar ‘n groot bederf was het ons Marie beskuitjies met kondensmelk gekry. Paul wat die kok was het ons bederf met allerhande lekker geroosterde broodjies. Ouma se stoele en tafels het nuwe tafeldoeke en kussingtjies gekry en ons kon sommer so tussen die broodjies huiswerk doen. Later van jare het die kafee toegemaak en die is ook gesloop.

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Klein tyd het ons met die trein gery tot by Devondale. Vir die lekkerte het Ma vir ons padkos gepak. Dan was ons passasiers op die trein na die Landsdienskampe van daardie jare. Jy moes jou eie bedgoed saamvat. Ma het ons toegerus met sulke “fancy” kombers bande. Nogal egte leer. Die nagmerie het begin wanneer ons moes terugkom en die beddegoed kon nie weer in die bande pas nie. Dit was altyd ‘n spesiale uitstappie. Die tikketak van die treinwiele op die spoor is iets wat altyd met my sal bly.

In ons kinderdae was Oom Jan en Ta’Bettie die Stasiemeester. Die hele familie was groot vriende en kuiertye is aangedui met die rooi en wit ranggeer ligte. Wanneer die rooi lig geskyn het het hulle nie kom kuier nie, maar wanneer die wit lig geskyn het was hulle oppad.

Het jy al ooit na die detail van ‘n spoorlyn gekyk? Elke stuk yster vertel sy eie storie.

Vandag is die treine min en is daar vele stiltes tussen die kom en gaan van die treine. Die wissels en afstandborde vertel hul eie storie

Ek onthou die dag toe Ma en Tant Lena die Golf op die grondpad omgegooi het. Dit was naby Devondale. Ma het ‘n lelike sny op haar kop gehad. Tant Lena het die blikkie koeldrank op haar sakdoek gegooi en probeer om die bloeding te stop. Dit was tervergeefs. Daarna het die Oud Cologne te voorskyn gekom en dit het in ‘n mate gehelp. Tant Lena het haar sakdoek by die venster uitgewaai toe sy hoor dat daar ‘n trein aankom. Die treindrywer het op Kameel vir Pa laat weet dat daar ‘n Golf langs die pad op sy dak lê.

Tannie Glen het die poskantoor beman vir baie jare. Dit was ‘n een man poskantoor en sy het alles gedoen. Onthou die koper pype wat bo-op die toonbank was. Terwyl Tannie Glen daar gewerk het het sy gebrei. Haar dogters het die mooiste handgebreide sokkies skool toe gedra en in die winter het hulle fair isle truie gedra.

Die ou spoorkruising was omtrent daar waar die Eskom paal vandag staan. Ons het as kinders graag op die wa en trekker na die stasie gery. Op ‘n dag het ek en Ouboet die wolbale – wat oppad was na die goedereloods – vergesel. Die wolbale moes per trein na Port Elizabeth gaan waar die jaarlikse wolveiling gehou is. Die wolbale is afgelaai en ons het die pad terug plaas toe gevat. Janboel was die Fordson trekker se bestuurder. Daar was twee treine wat reeds in die stasie gestaan het. Stadig het die wa en trekker oor die spore gekruip en skielik “out of nowhere” het ‘n derde trein die stasie ingekom. Kardoef en die Fordson was in twee. Middeldeur. Gelukkig het niemand seergekry nie. Ek glo nie eers ek en ouboet het regtig geweet wat gebeur het nie.

Nou terug na die Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore

· Ons gaan die huise geleidelik opknap en ‘n bietjie oemph in hulle sit en dan die tuine opknap. Ons glo aan leef uit die aarde en daarom sal daar vrugtebome en groente geplant word. Omdat die grys water nie onnodig in die “French drain” sisteem gelaat moet word nie, wil ons graag die water hergebruik vir die tuine.

· Die huise kry direk krag van Eskom en die nodige pre-paids is beskikbaar by Wilrick Kontrei Winkel.

· Die sonsondergange is besonders en ‘n moet vir enige fotograaf wat dit wil verewig.

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· Daar is ‘n verskeidenheid van voëls wat jy sal leer ken.

· As jy die gevoel het om te skilder en alles op jou eie tyd te doen – sal die pragtige natuur met die groot doringbome met hul grys peule jou motiveer.

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· Vir ‘n uitstappie is daar ‘n besoek aan die Slag van Kraaipan. Dit so ongeveer n uur se rit Kameel. Dit was die eerste geveg tydens die Tweede Boere Oorlog en die geveg het plaasgevind op 12 Oktober 1899.

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Op die nag het 800 man ondere die leierskap en Koos de la Rey die Britte oorrompel op die spoorhalte by Kraaipan. Die gepanserde trein met die naam van “Mosquito” of dan Muskiet het 2 7-pond kanonne, gewere, amunisie en rantsoene vervoer.

· So dan en wan, stop die Rovos Rail by die Huise tussen Treine en tussen Spore.

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· Maak Kameel deel van jou “memories”

As jy weet van iemand of dalk self uitsien na ‘n rustige bekostigbare lewenswyse kontak ons via selfoon 0822642763 en hoor wat beskikbaar is.

Groetnis

Hennie & Sandra

31 December 2017

The year came to an end

We celebrate live and awaits the blessings of 2018.

The Joy of the Season

During our 52 week challenge we have shared with you the following

  • Town hall in Harrismith
  • The old station building in Harrismith
  • The fossilized tree next to the Town Hall
  • A road trip pass Swinburne to Geluksburg
  • The history of Warden Street
  • The Great War Memorial
  • The old Goal on the sport grounds of Harrismith
  • A road trip to Geluksburg
  • The history of Stuart Street
  • The Westley Hall
  • The Toll bridge at Swinburne
  • The Block house or as we call it the Castles of the veld.
  • Odell’s
  • The Club house
  • The steel bridge at Abberfeldy
  • The house of Mary Bland (Granny Bland nee Caskie)
  • Caithness in Stuart Street
  • Freemasonry Southern Cross 1778
  • St John’s sandstone church
  • A road trip to Sandspruit
  • De Oude Huize Yard
  • Cloete and Neveling building in Southey street
  • Bergburgers written by Leon Strachan
  • Train bridge at Swinburne
  • Kaalvoet vrou
  • Royal family visit to Harrismith
  • Debora Retief park
  • Rear-Admiral Maxmimilian John Ludwick Weston
  • Burger Monument
  • The boy with a very long name
  • Farm school on the banks of the Meul river
  • Hamilton bridge in Harrismith
  • Military Insignia around Harrismith
  • The Hills and Mountains around Harrismith
  • The old hotels of Harrismith
  • Annie Baine
  • Road trip to Golden Gate
  • Mountain passes around Harrismith
  • Stain glass windows of the Town Hall in Harrismith
  • Road trip to Verkykerskop
  • A farm museum visit
  • The sustainability of De Oude Huize Yard
  • Platberg
  • M.O.T.H’S
  • Route R74
  • Rensburgkop
  • Free State Harlem
  • Mont Pelaan
  • Plums and Christmas

We hope that you have enjoyed the challenge as much as we did.

Lots of blessings for 2018

Hennie & Sandra

 

The Memorable Order of Tin Hats (M.O.T.H.)

We paid a visit to the Platberg Shellhole. It is believed that it was founded in 1928. The Shellhole lapsed rather towards the 1930’s. With the 2nd Great War there was as great influx of returned servicemen, all keen to carry on the true ideals of the Moth’s.

In 1962 the building in Stuart Street Harrismith was purchased as a Shellhole.

The Flag was hosted it waved in the slight breeze. The dark blue of the naval service, red for the army and light blue for the air force. The Tin Hat and lighted candle reminds of of the sun which rises and falls over the world’s battlefields, above all known and unknown graves. DSC02791

Then you walk into the door and the emblem greets you.

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The emblem with the tin hat and lighted candle signify the comradeship of the front line. The two rifles with fixed bayonets are leaning as if thrust into the battlefield soil, they are crossed to signify sacrifice and are revered in a token of remembrance. A circle of stars denoted the eternal universe forever that has no end. The twelve stars as in a clock indicate the hours of the day reminding us that every hour presents opportunities of harmony among mankind through tolerance and help.

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On entering there is a beautiful collection of a uniform and tin hat.

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The members stopped in front of the uniform and show a moment of silence and honor to the fallen soldiers.
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them”

The Shellhole is dedicated to preserve the military history and the people of Harrismith has donated to keep it updated. The display dates back from the Anglo Boer War to modern day war fare.

 

 

On the day of our visit the Shellhole was giving honor to the battle of El Alahmein that took place from 8 – 12 November 1942. During this battle more than 100 000 men were killed, wounded or taken prisoner. The Shellhole was decorated according to the theme.

 

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During the battle of El Alahmein my uncle Ignatius (Natie) Barlow was one of the fallen soldiers.    Early 1942 they were forst toe retreat to a little railway station called El Alamein. They were suppose to patrol the desert. On 6 July 1942 Nati and two of comrades were blown away by a German bom that hit their panser kar. They died instantly. Their tempory burial ground would be the desert. After the battle they were re-buried in El Alahmein Military Cemetary.
“Where the tree has fallen let it lie”

 

During the war the Cartoonist, Bruce Bairnsfather’s Old Bill sketches boosted the moral at home and on the front line. The trench humour, cubby pipe-smoking British “Tommy” during the First World War.  A weary Old Bill, pictured top left is also part of the Platberg Shellhole.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the guns fell silent – we will remember

We all know about the poppies on Remembrance Day. In the spring of 1915, John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields and he wrote that famous poem – Flanders Fields. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted a a symbol of Remembrance.

In Flanders Fields

Flanders Poppy on the First World War battlefields.

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

 

One minute of memory of the fallen,

One minute in gratitude for survivors.

 

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://deoudehuize.blogspot.co.za/2014/06/the-moths-sheephead-long-table-banquet.html

Tolbrug by Swinburne

Die brug oor die Wilgerivier by Swinburne is een van ons geskiedkundige provinsiale monumente waarvan baie min mense weet as gevolg van die bou van nuwe paaie. Dit staan ook bekend as The Border Bridge. Die grens tussen die Oranje-Vrystaat Republiek en die Britse kolonie van Natal was die Wilgerivier.

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Tydens die vroeë dae het verkeer van transportryers toegeneem en is daar groot kapsie gemaak wanneer die Wilgerivier in vloed was en dit byna onmoontlik was om deur die rivier te trek. Daar is veral gekla oor die driwwe oor die Wilge-, Elands-, Cornelisriviere en Holspruit. Die destydse regering het twee bruê gebou.

Die een was te Swinburne en die ander was ongeveer 10km verder na Bethlehem.  Die brug by Swinburne is op 23 Julie 1884 geopen. Die ander brug staan bekend as die Swalobrug. Ongelukkig vir die transportryers sou daar tolgeld gehef word vir die gebruik van die brug. Tolgeld is gehef tot 1905.

Friend newspaper mentioned the bridge as follows: “It is composed of three arches of thirty-tree feet 4 inches, and carries a roadway of eight feet wide, wit side walks of three feet each, to total breadth being sixteen feet. The approaches spread out gradually a thirty feet wide, are graveled with trap and iron-stone, and enclosed by a massive wooden fencing three feet six inches high. The parapets are solid stone capped by a handsome coping, and the whole structure is founded on solid sandstone foundation, one abutment partly resting also on a dyke running across the river.”

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Die Tolbrug soos huidiglik

In daardie dae was die brug grootendeels deur die transportryers gebruik wat goedere vervoer het tussen die hawe in Natal en die goudvelde aan die Witwatersrand. Dit was ‘n brug wat noodsaaklik was vir “wielverkeer”.

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Die brug waar die waens en rytuie die rivier oorgesteek het en tolgeld moes betaal.

Die publiek wat te voet of the perd gereis het, het steeds deur die vlakwater van die rivier gegaan om die tolgelde te vermy. Dit laat my nogal dink aan die alternatiewe paaie vandag waar daar ook nie tolgelde gehef word.

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Ongelukkig het Rinderpes uitgebreek. Rinderpes is ‘n doodelike siekte onder beeste  en die regering aan beide kante van die brug het die beweging van beeste beperk om verspreiding te verhoed. Die Transportryers het eenvoudig die Wilgeriver op ‘n veilige plek oorgesteek en die tolgeld en die verbod vermy.

Die wêreld gebruik van daardie dae – enige perd wat vier wit “stockings” gehad het kon die brug gratis oorsteek -was ook hier van toepassing  Vier-wit-voet-perde het baie gesogd geword en natuurlik ‘n groot mark geopen.

Dan was daar die Trippens-Hoogverraadsaak. Hierdie saak waarin W Bramley, – lid van die Volksraad vir die dorp Harrismith, ‘n Hollander, ‘n argumenteerde aan die gang gesit wat die koerantskrywers van die dae oorvloedige stof van lang artrikels in die nuusblaaie gegee het. Die hele affêre het gespruit uit die wanbetaling van drie pennie se tolgeld vir ‘n perd wat agteraan ‘n transportwa vasgemaak was. Dit was weliswaar ‘n nietige oorsaak, maar groot beginsels in in die spel gebring. Bramley is beskou as “een bemoeizieke man die ziech gaarne omtrent verschillende zaken laat horen” Die insident wat aanleiding gegee het to die kabable was dat ‘n sekere James Day ‘n transportryer van Umgene, Pietermaritzburg met sy wa by die tolkek by Swinburne aangkom. Agteraan die wa was ‘n perd vasgemaak wat saam met die wa geloop het. Day moes 5/- betaal, maar het geweier om die drie pennies vir die perd te betaal. Hy en De Witt, die tolgaarder het woorde gehad en De Witte het hom op Harrismith gaan aangekla. Hierop het Parsons, die hoofkonstabel en Van den Bosch, die balju, Day die volgende dag agterna gesit en teen die helling van Drakensberg, aan Natal se kant aangetref. Hulle het hom versoek om terug te kom na Harrismith. Day het sy wa in die sorg van ander gelaat – daar was destyds ‘n kwaai rooiwater-epidemie onder die beeste en het heeltemal vrywillig met Parson en Van den Bosch na Harrismith gegaan. Hy het die Maandag in die hof verskyn, maar die saak is teruggetrek.

Op Saterdag het hy in aanaraking met Bramley gekom wat ‘n brief aan David Erskine – Koloniale Sekratris van Natal geskryf het. Die brief is deur Day geonderteken. Dit is by die poskatoor geregistreer vir versending na onder andere ook die Natal Colonist. Die brief het soos volg gelees:

“On 10th April I passed the toll at Wilge River and was abused by the toll keeper there by call me ——Engli8shman, who moreover did his utmost to provoke me to commit an assault. I paid 5/- toll money for my wagon and the amount due for a lead horse, I sen over from Munger’aross the river to the toll keeper, who, however returned the money and lodge a complaint against me for avoiding the payment and breach of the peace. In consequence of this a warrant was issued an my apprehension took place in Natal. Mr Webb of Harrismith was present. I was obliged to leave my wagon and charge of a coloured boy (the trail not coming off till Monday 14th April and beside the detention I stand great ri8sk in suffering heavy losses owing to the prevailing epidemic amongst cattle. As I believe a gross outrage has been committed on my person as on the Colony of Natal, I have the honour to place myself as a British subject under the protection of the Natal government and to request efficient steps may be taken to obtain redress of my wrongs and losses. You will perceive the warrant is not endorsed by a Natal magistrate and does not come under the extradition treaty.

Op dieselfde dag het Day, op ‘n voorskrif van Bramley, ‘n brief aan die redakteur van die Natal Colonist gerig waarin hy sê dat die brief nie gepubliseer moet word nie, want die saak is onttrek.

Meneer Day trek verder maar Bramley word gearrestreer. Word van hoogverraad aangekla. Bramley het ongevreer twee maande in die tronk gesit en is toe op borgtog van 1000 pond vrygelaat. Bradley het nie gaan lê nie hy het opjeksies teen die een landros gehad en ‘n ander moes die regbank opneem. Bradley het ook objeksies teen de van die jurie gehad. Hy word toe toe verhoor die uitslag waarvan was dat hy onskuldig verlaar word en ontslaan is.

Die brug is ook van groot belang gewees tydens die Suid Afrikaanse Oorlog waar dit deur die Boere sowel as Britte daarvan gebruik gemaak het.

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Britse troepe span uit langs die Wilgerivier by die Tolbrug tydens die Suid-Afrikaanse Oorlog.

 

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Die Wilgerivier by die brug het ‘n gunsteling plek geword om die motors van die tyd te was.     Baie dankie aan Biebie de Vos vir hierdie foto

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Vroeër dae was dit ook die plek om ‘n foto of twee te neem. Foto Biebie de Vos

Tot volgende keer

Hennie & Sandra

De Oude Huize Yard

 

Military Insignia – Harrismith 1900

42nd Hill (previously known as Reitzheuwel), Staffordshire Hill, Platberg, the Grant Quarries and Basotu Hill

During the Anglo Boer War the number of troops in the town increased & many camps were established around the town.

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The British troops occupied Harrismith in August 1900 under Genl. Leslie Rundle of the 8th Division. The 8th Division was made up of the 1st Leister Regiment, 1st South Staffordshire Regiment, 2nd Grenadier Guards, 2nd Scots Guards, 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment, 1st Worcestershire Regiment, 2nd Royal West Kent Regiment, 2nd Manchester Regiment and the 2nd, fourth and 11th Battalion of the Imperial Yeomanry.

The Division was 8000 men strong, but Rundle lost many soldiers because of total exhaustion and malnutrition. The units that originated in 1902 replace what was left of Rundle’s unit. Half of Rundle’s division was for ever on track to dominate the Eastern Free State. The remainder of the unit’s soldiers then rotate and it was time for the next group to go to battle.

The 20000 troops that is mentioned in Hawkin’s book actually spoke of Kitchener’s major concentration of troops, which he used for his 2nd Great Drive in February 1902 that ended in Harrismith and the town was used for a short period from where the soldiers operated and from. From Harrismith they were place back into operations in different areas.

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1st Battalion Black Watch, which was part of maj.gen. Hector MacDonald’s Highland Brigade which seized Harrismith in August 1900. The photo courtesy of Biebie de Vos collection

In the ensuing months the number of troops increased and many encampments were established around the town. The 3rd Dragoon Guards and the Staffordshire Regiment pitched their tents under Stafford Hill, while the Manchester Regiment, the Grenadier Guards and, later, the 4th King’s Royal Rifles were quartered on Basuto Hill. To enable the latter group to reach town, a suspension bridge was built across the Wilge River.

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Manchester Regiment, the Grenadier Guards and, later, the 4th King’s Royal Rifles were quartered on Basuto Hill and had to make use of a suspension bridge to reach town. Thank you to Biebie de Vos for sharing a part of his collection

The artillery took post on Queen’s Hill, while a military hospital, No. 19 Stationary Hospital was situated where Bergsig is today.

A memorial service in honor of the death of Queen Victoria was held in Harrismith on Saturday 2 February 1901 starting at l0h00. The garrison in town, forming up on three sides, in a rectangle, facing the Town Hall (draped in black) gathered to show their respect. Lt Gen Rundle and Staff took up their places in the center. Precisely on the hour an 81-shot salute was fired from Johannesburg Hill (presumably this was 42nd Hill) overlooking the town.

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The view from 42nd Hill from where the 81-shot salute was fired. Part of Biebie de Vos collection

Stafford Hill, which bears the stone badges of the Third Dragoon Guards (The Prince of Wales’ Feathers) the Knot of the Staffordshire Regiment and the Sphinx of the Manchester Regiment.

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Knot of the Staffordshire Regiment clearly visible in this old photo.
This photo is part of Biebie de Vos collection

The Sphinx appeared in the badges of several British Regiment, it is difficult to ascertain which Regiment was responsible for the Badge. E B Hawkins claims that it is the Badge of the Gloucester  Regiment, but according to the archivist of the Regiment, Lt. Col. H Radice, none of the Battalions of the Gloucestershire Regiment were in the vicinity of Harrismith. The badge could be possibly have been the handiwork of the Manchester Regiment, which also had a Sphinx as a badge, and was stationed at Harrismith.

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The Plumes of the Prince of Whales visible on this old photo which is part of the Biebie de Vos collection

The military camp of the 3rd Dragoon Guards, was established under a ridge to the east of the town. The 3rd Dragoon Guards whose regimental emblem is inscribe on the hillside, arrived in South Africa in February 1901 and remained in Harrismith until mid-1904. The 42nd Hill was previously known as Reitzheuwel.

42nd Hill, to the north of Harrismith where the N3 ascend to the plateau above Harrismith, has an interesting history. Before the war it was known as Reitzheuwel (after pres. FW Reitz of the Free State).

At the end of the Anglo Boer war, it was renamed after the 2nd Black Watch. (Not to be confused with the 1st Battalion Black Watch, which was part of maj.gen. Hector MacDonald’s Highland Brigade which seized Harrismith in August 1900, but they only stayed for a week, before moving on to Heilbron.)

The 2nd Battalion Black Watch only arrived in South Africa at the end of 1901 from India. They camped on top of Reitzheuwel, just above Harrismith. On 27 December the headquarters and 4 companies reached Harrismith. One of the companies stayed there, while the rest moved to Elands River Bridge. By the end of January 1902 the battalion returned to Reitzheuwel, where they would camp until the end of the war four months later. After the war they became part of the garrison stationed in Harrismith, still camping on Reitzheuwel. It was during this time that the hill was renamed after the 2nd Battalion ’s feeder unit, the 42nd Regiment of Foot. (During the Childers Reforms in the early 1880’s the 42nd Regiment of Foot became the 2nd Batalion Black Watch.)

The 2nd Black watch was relocated to Kings Hill when the permanent buildings were erected early in 1903. They left Harrismith in 1904.

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The British Regimental Badges in Harrismith.

The Regimental Badges are a Provincial Heritage site.

Thanks to Leon Strachan for sharing his knowledge.

Till next time

Hennie & Sandra