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PT-Griqualand_West_Supreme_Court-1884
Griqualand West Supreme Court

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 12 JUNE

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UPDATED: 12/06/2017

Nothing has yet been found that happened this very day in Kimberley’s history. The research is ongoing. Aluta Continua.

DID YOU KNOW

Building work started on the Griqualand West Supreme Court (pictured) in 1882 and took two years to complete, opening in February 1884. This was short-lived as the building was declared unsafe in 1886, partially demolished and rebuilt.

The clock tower (with clock) was added on in 1889. The building remained the Supreme Court of Griqualand West until 1968 when it moved to its present position in the Civic Centre (Malay Camp), but was retained as the Magistrate’s Court until May 1990 when the staff moved into their new premises on Knight Street – opened officially by Kobie Coetsee on 22 February 1991. The South African Police Services used the building as offices until 1994 when it was returned to the Dept of Public Works. The building itself, a National Monument (declared 2 November 1990), is built of blue ironstone that came from a kopje overlooking Dutoitspan Mine. Convicts built the entire structure, and most of the fittings and the furniture were made in Kimberley.

Restored at a cost of R6.3 million in 2001 by MDH Joint Venture, the building was used by the Public Works as their regional offices.

Nothing to report for today in Kimberley’s history. Research does continue.

DID YOU KNOW

The region in which Warrenton is situated is part of the disputed area between the OFS, the Cape Colony and the Griqua nation.

Originally known as Stranger’s Rest, the name changed to Fourteen Streams, but in 1880 was named Warrenton. Fourteen Streams is the section of the Vaal River just upstream from the railway bridge where there are numerous islands in the river.

On 8 February 1878 the farmers H.A.L. Hamelberg and C.E. Fichardt registered the farm Grasbult by Orange Free State title deed -on which Warrenton was proclaimed a town – but by 1880 the western half was owned by Gabriel Nicolaas Venter. That same year of 1880 saw 18 farmers purchase the 3365 morgen farm from Venter in order to establish a Church village and to exploit the possibility of irrigation farming. It was surveyed and 267 erven plotted.

The area was incorporated into the Cape Colony – excepting for two large farms that remained as part of the OFS – and named Warrenton in 1880 after Sir Charles Warren. The reason for the name was twofold – the farmers were pleased with his surveying the disputed border between the Cape Colony and the OFS in 1877, and also with his military leadership against the 1878-79 popular uprisings.

In 1881 the Dutch Reformed Church took ownership of Warrenton and in 1885 the first school was started. Four years later on 2 May 1889 Warrenton was gazetted as a Village Management Board, the same year diamonds were first found on town land. This discovery of diamonds on town land saw a feverish search for more and between 1905 and 1921 a total of 21 630 carats worth were discovered.

As Warrenton was on Cecil Rhodes’ planned Cape to Cairo rail link the railway reached the town in 1890, but it was only in the late 1920s that the low level bridge was built across the Vaal river for wagons, and naturally, motorised vehicles.

In the region is the farm Driehoek, registered on 18 January 1878 by Johannes Nicolaas de Beer when he sold his farm in what is now Kimberley. De Beer is buried on the farm.

There are three blockhouses from the Anglo-Boer War in Warrenton close to the railway bridge, two being of irregular design, the other being of the more recognised stone-cut blockhouses.

PT-Warrenton_Blockhouse-1900

Warrenton Blockhouse

Pictured is one of the Warrenton blockhouses, as well as Mrs Moir’s house used by the British as a “conning” tower during the artillery duels against the Boers between March and May 1900.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

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