19 DECEMBER 1955, The “worst storm in Kimberley’s history” records 2 inches of rain in 75 minutes. Floors and Galeshewe badly damaged.
19 DECEMBER 2020, WARRENTON – 140 YEARS OLD
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