Latest News
Home / Historical / TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 12 OCTOBER
Amphibic Design
PT-Diamonds_found_at_Pioneer_Cemetery-1910
A packet of 103 diamonds found while cleaning the Pioneers cemetery.

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 12 OCTOBER

Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.

UPDATE: 12/10/2017

12 October 1881, Christian von Abo accidentally killed in Dutoitspan Mine.
12 October 1888, The first Poor Sisters of Nazareth arrive in Kimberley.
12 October 1910, A packet of 103 diamonds found while cleaning the Pioneers cemetery.
12 October 1917, Kekewich Calder killed in action in France aged 16 years and 11 months.
12 October 1945, Rev William Pescod, 43 years Minister of Bean St Methodist Church dies.
12 October 1985, Tram service re-opens in Kimberley.

DID YOU KNOW

Wednesday 12 October 1910 was just another hot summer day in Kimberley and the town folk went about their everyday chores and tasks, like they did every day, at their normal everyday pace. But the day was about to take off in a spectacular way – so much so that even the Mayor rushed hurriedly from his home to take control of an extraordinary event.

There had been many complaints about the cemetery at the end of Stead Street, how overgrown with weeds, how unkempt it was, and George Beet, aware of the historical importance of the cemetery where so many leading citizens or their families were buried, had organised a work party to clean and beautify said cemetery.

Beet had arranged with the Kimberley gaol that a gang of convicts be brought in to do the hard work – eight such unfortunates, and all under the close and watchful eyes of Guard D Bayley. Cemetery caretaker EJ Beddome was also hovering, as indeed he should, and naturally George Beet, being the instigator of the clean-up, was there.

Renovation and cleaning had already started on 11 October, the day before, and by late on the afternoon on the 12th, the gang of convict workers had started on clearing the many aloes that were growing haphazardly and wild on the eastern extent of the cemetery. It was between 4 and 5pm reckoned those who were present, but the excitement had been so great that none agreed on the exact time.

The supervisory team, relaxing in the sparse shade of the trees in the cemetery, came to full alert when there was a sudden commotion among the convicts clearing the aloes. The convicts had expressed themselves quite vocally and were seen to be hiding something, but what it was they were hiding was not quite clear from afar.

The supervisors rushed to the convict gang and found that they were trying to hide diamonds, many diamonds, in their pockets, in their shoes, wherever they could find a hiding place. Some took the opportunity to swallow a few.

They had discovered a hidden cache of diamonds in the aloes, wrapped carefully in a “musty, dusty, blue rag”, the bundle being rather rapidly taken by the guard from the hands of the convicts attempting to hide the glittering beauties.

Naturally enough the convicts were not keen on returning the diamonds already secreted and Guard Bayley, in gaining his position of importance, was forced to use his baton on more than one instance. The convicts were subdued, but it would be a day or two before the swallowed diamonds made their re-entry into the sunlit world.

By now it was definitely after 5pm, and of course, with uncut diamonds in one’s possession being a crime, the first thought was to contact the diamond detectives, but they had already left for home from the police station a mere few hundred metres away. What a quandary! The decision eventually reached was to bring in Kimberley’s First Citizen.

So the Mayor of Kimberley, John Orr, was summoned from his home on Lodge Road arriving as quickly as he could and immediately took possession of the blue musty, dusty rag with its valuable contents. He then took the valuable packet to his house to place in his personal safe until the next day. They would then be delivered to the diamond detectives the following morning, which they were.

Before departing for his home however, the Mayor insisted that an inventory be done of the diamonds and with the assistance of George Beet, they did just that. There were 83 diamonds, the smallest a full carat, the largest, a 20 carat monster. Eight diamonds were immediately retrieved from the convicts while some time later, another 12 diamonds hidden so fast and so well by the convicts in their stomachs, were added to the stockpile making it a total of 103 diamonds.

There had never been such a find at any time in any of the five Kimberley mines in such quantity and quality. It was surmised that a diamond deal, no doubt illegal, had gone wrong and the cache had been hidden among the aloes to be collected later. But it had not. There were so many unanswered questions and no-one claimed ownership. They wouldn’t would they?

Nevertheless, the diamonds were eventually sold on auction and the council’s percentage of the sale, believed to be 10 percent, was more than enough to pay for the complete renovation and beautification of the cemetery, known today as the Pioneer Cemetery.

There are two postscripts to this story.

The first is that for months afterwards, the cemetery had many visitors presumably paying their respects to family and friends buried within and such visits had not been seen for many a year.

And secondly, the diamonds had been valued before sale at £3000 pounds, not a trifling amount at all. This, in today’s value, is approximately £273 500.00 and roughly R5 470 000.00 – quite a substantial sum!

12 October 1881, Christian von Abo accidentally killed in Dutoitspan Mine.
12 October 1888, The first Poor Sisters of Nazareth arrive in Kimberley.
12 October 1910, A packet of 103 diamonds found while cleaning the Pioneers cemetery.
12 October 1917, Kekewich Calder killed in action in France aged 16 years and 11 months.
12 October 1945, Rev William Pescod, 43 years Minister of Bean St Methodist Church dies.
12 October 1985, Tram service re-opens in Kimberley.

DID YOU KNOW

The Sisters of Nazareth are a Roman Catholic apostolic congregation of pontifical right, based in London, England. Members live in “Nazareth Houses” around the world. It was founded in the London district of Hammersmith in 1857 by Mother St. Basil (Victoire Larmenier, 1827-1878), a French nun, former member of the congregation of Little Sisters of the Poor.

Victoire Larmenier was born on 21 July 1827 in Brittany, France and entered the group of ‘Pious Women’ later known as the Little Sisters of the Poor. Victoire left home with a small group of Sisters to answer a calling in London. The fruit of the call was the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nazareth.

In 1881, the Sisters arrived in South Africa at the invitation of the Bishop of Cape Town. Their mission was to care for indigent elderly and orphaned children. In 1888 Nazareth House in Kimberley was founded.

Margaret Owen Mother Mary of the Nativity, the 2nd Superior General (1878-1908) strongly supported the work of the Sisters at Kimberley nursing both British and Boer wounded soldiers during the Anglo-Boer War alongside their ordinary work. Mother Mary Nativity worked hard over many years to obtain the definitive Roman approval of the Sisters of Nazareth as an international religious congregation and its constitutions were finally approved in 1899.

Bridget Marrinan Sister St. Hilary was the 10th Superior General (2000-2006). During Sister St. Hilary’s term of office there was no relief from the demographic and public policy changes that so affected the life and work of the Sisters of Nazareth in all the countries where there were foundations. In the Australasian region Nazareth Houses were closed at Launceston and Sydney. In the UK Kilmarnock, Aberdeen, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Ditton, Wrexham, Bexhill and Isleworth were closed. In December 2001 Kimberley was closed, the building now being utilized by St Patrick’s College.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Did you find apk for android? You can find new Free Android Games and apps.
Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

x

Check Also

Today in Kimberley's History

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 4 OCTOBER

Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.4 October 1884, William ...

PT-Robert_George_Scott-1918

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 3 OCTOBER

Want create site? Find Free WordPress Themes and plugins.3 October 1882, 3 ...