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Wilfred Trenery

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 23 AUGUST

23 August 1875, Foundation stone for the Synagogue on D’Arcy Street laid.
23 August 1905, Springbok rugby player Wilfred Trenery (pictured) killed in a mining accident.

DID YOU KNOW

Wilfred Eldred Trenery was born in Hayle, Cornwall, England on 21 September 1867 and arrived in South Africa in the late 1880s to work for De Beers Consolidated Mines as a miner.

It is as a rugby player that Trenery is remembered. Unlike so many of the De Beers employees who played for the Kimberley RFC and the Rovers Club, Trenery initially played for Pirates, the club that was founded in 1884 by George Danford, before joining the De Beers Rugby Club. He was a forward and played for Kimberley (Griqualand West) that were awarded the very first Currie Cup when judged to be the best team that played the touring British Isles side of 1891.

He also played for the combined Cape Colony team against the British Isles and it was his performance in this game that saw him selected for South Africa in the second test that was played on the Kimberley Eclectic Cricket Club grounds on 29 August 1891. It was to be his only test cap.

PT-Wilfred_Trenery-Gravestone-1905

Wilfred Trenery’s Gravestone

The British Isles won the game 3-0, South Africa playing with 14 men most of the second half as Trenery had been carried off on a stretcher. (No substitution in those days). The Eclectic Cricket Club field was where the Kimberley Regiment parade ground and Karen Muir swimming pool are today.

Wilfred Trenery, together with an unknown Black miner, died underground in the De Beers Mine on 23 August 1905 when he was placing dynamite prior to blasting and it exploded prematurely.

Popular among his fellow workmen, he had retired from rugby in 1903 but continued to take an interest in the De Beers RFC.

He was buried in the Kenilworth cemetery on 24 August 1905, the funeral procession leaving his Kenilworth home at 4.30pm that afternoon.

Trenery left his parents, wife and a young family to mourn his passing.

Note: There are no records available for the name of the Black mineworker killed in this incident, neither in the DBCM archives nor the newspapers of the era. On the rare occasions Black names are mentioned the names are usually single names and eurocentric, some quite derogatory. I do include all names should they be known.

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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