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Today in Kimberley's History

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 13 AUGUST

UPDATED: 13/08/2018

13 August 1924, Marthinus Kruger dies after a rugby injury during practice.

DID YOU KNOW

1936 heralded the beginning of the end of the four year-long depression in Kimberley when Dutoitspan Mine was opened, with De Beers at this stage employing only 800 whites and 2000 black workers. At the re-opening of the mine Sir Ernest Oppenheimer advised the people of Kimberley to not live in a Fool’s Paradise in respect to the mines lasting forever. In the light of Sir Ernest’s remark, Chamber of Commerce President John Orr said that Kimberley should fight tooth and nail to get railway workshops, while also urging the Government to look at Kimberley as a munitions centre. The latter would become a reality during the war of 1939 – 1945.

The council too, attempted to play a part in weaning Kimberley away from diamonds, and they put forward a development plan for Kimberley’s future. As a start, they erected a new abattoir and chilling plant, and appointed the town’s very first traffic chief, a Mr David, in 1937. Traffic had really become a problem, what with the winding roads, and the 4000 cars registered in town were proving a handful. The first traffic lights (robots) were also placed, the chosen spot being the Post Office intersection by the Siege buildings. 
Said Chamber President John Orr: “Kimberley was not designed as other cities. Indeed it was not premeditated at all, with the result obvious to all, that instead of the chequer board layout which lends itself to systematic control, we have a most amazing series of streets which curve, bisect, end, and turn in the most astonishing manner.”

The Duggan-Cronin Gallery opened in 1937. A radio relay station that opened in Kimberley on August 1 1939 was another initiative by the town council.

13 August 1924, Marthinus Kruger dies after a rugby injury during practice.

DID YOU KNOW

John Turner, (pictured), who was a Life member of the Kenilworth Bowling Club in Kimberley, was born in Wigan, Lancashire, England in 1879.

PT-John_Turner-1879

John Turner

A Fitter by trade, he arrived in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and worked at the Wanderer and the Globe and Phoenix Mines in Rhodesia before coming to De Beers Consolidated Mines in Kimberley in 1904.

This was but a brief sojourn as he left the same year, working at Village Main Reef on the Witwatersrand before again going to Rhodesia.

After a leave period in England he moved to the Gold Coast where he worked on the Abosso Mine. He then returned to Kimberley and employment with De Beers in 1912 until his retirement in 1948 as Superintendent of the DBCM Workshops.

He died in Kimberley in December 1966, having stayed in the same house in Kenilworth for some 53 years.

During World War 1 he served with the SAEC in German SWA.

A keen bowler, he was a member of the Kenilworth Bowling Club for 30 years and was Club Champion twice.

He married his wife in 1914, and they had one son, Ernest, a grandson, John, and a granddaughter, Mrs P Crowe of Sevenoaks, Natal.

(Sources: News from the Mines November 1957 and January 1967)

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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