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On January 3rd 1883 the diamond field (Kimberley) mining companies were supplied with water extracted from the Vaal River for the first time.

3 January 1878, Kimberley’s first Town Clerk, JH Boag, appointed.
3 January 1883, Mining companies supplied with water from the Vaal River.


Kimberley’s first Town Clerk, the position today known as Municipal Manager or City Manager, was John Hamilton Boag, appointed this very day in 1878.

Boag was born in Scotland in 1849 so was 29 years of age at the time, and was an accountant by profession.

He married Jane Marion Gray on 27 April 1876 at St Cyprian’s Church, Kimberley, so appears to have been in and around the diamond fields at the time.

In 1878 Boag served as a Lieutenant in the Griqualand West Light Infantry and was awarded the South Africa medal with clasp.

He was accused of embezzlement in June 1882 but was found not guilty.

Boag died at his residence in Cape Town, “Spet Bona” on Union Street on 22 February 1919, aged 70 years. His wife predeceased him.

There were no children to the union and in his will stated everything to be left to his late wife’s sister.

Research is ongoing.

On January 3rd 1883 the diamond field (Kimberley) mining companies were supplied with water extracted from the Vaal River for the first time.

Construction of the works commenced in 1881 and the first trial pumping took place on 25 October 1882. Water was successfully pumped to Kimberley on 21 December 1882. The mining companies of Kimberley were supplied with water on 3 January 1883 and the town from 1 March 1883. The Kimberley Borough Council was notified on 11 April 1883 that the works were complete and in running order.

An engraving published in the Illustrated London News of January 1883 showing the Waterworks on the Vaal River

Pictured is an engraving published in the Illustrated London News of January 1883 showing the Waterworks on the Vaal River.

Winired_HeberdenFrom the diary of Winired Heberden (pictured) kept during the siege of Kimberley October 1899 to February 1900.

Jan 2nd. The Boers fired at our cattle guards this morning. We replied and silenced them. The veld is very poor round Kimberley itself; all the best grass being within dangerous proximity to the enemy. Thirteen head of our cattle straying a little too far were captured. But we also scored. For two fine horses belonging to a Commandant came our way, and were promptly brought into the town. Our meat allowance is only a quarter lb a day each; and 2 ozs for children under 12. The butchering arrangements are now taken charge of by the Military, who have erected strong barriers and gates outside two entrances to the Market House, whilst the third is used as an exit. The people are drawn up in double file according to the Municipal Ward they live in, and the lines extend a good way across the Market Square. Vegetables are also divided and sold after the meat. It was amusing to see rich and poor, high and low, standing together. The Secretary of De Beers and his basket jostling a little shoemaker; an ex M.L.A. (Member Legislative Assembly) standing behind a cabby – and so on; but the crowd was mostly composed of women, the male relations being in the Forts at that early hour. Several photographers were busy. The sun was frightfully hot from the time it rose, and many poor women who probably had left home without waiting even for a cup of coffee nearly fainted from the long delay. Directly the meat and vegetables were secured and paid for, most people went on to the grocer (who has very little but pickles and sauces left), and there joined another crowd. And so, from shop to shop, Permit Office to Declaration Office, they generally spend the first and hottest part of the day. We all here pray that this hotel [Grand Hotel] will hold out till everything is all right again.

Jan 3rd. A fresh Military Notice in the paper states that the Wards to receive meat are to be changed to alternate days; the people receiving two days’ allowance at a time. This will greatly lessen the crowds and the delay every morning. We are also to put out our lights at 9.30 p.m.; and on no account, except in cases of real sickness, are they to be lighted again – a Permit being given in the latter case. This notice does not, however, apply to electric light or acetylene gas. To-day is quite the worst one for dust and wind that we have had since we came, and that is saying much! The unfortunate men at the new Mounted Camp are enduring and saying terrible things, for their tents, even in the best weather, stand in 6 inches of sand but today they are often invisible. When Jack’s fellow officers see him they shake their fists at him for causing their removal from the original camp, though in their hearts they know it was the best thing that could he done for them. Our cattle guards were sniped at today near Carter’s. They were also shelled at from Wimbledon, under cover of which the enemy attempted to advance. Reinforcements were sent out and the Boers retired. News has come in that Douglas has been retaken by the Australian Contingent from Lord Methuen’s Column, with a loss of three killed on our side; but greater loss to the Boers, and 40 of them taken prisoners.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

#KimberleyHistory #KimberleyHistorical #TodayInKimberleyHistory #Kimberley #CityPoretal #KCP

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