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St Patricks Christian Brothers College (CBC) in 1897

TODAY IN KIMBERLEY’S HISTORY 8 SEPTEMBER

UPDATED: 08/09/2017

8 September 1882, Second wing of the Queen’s Hotel opens.
8 September 1892, South African International Exhibition opens in Kimberley.
8 September 1897, St Patrick’s Christian Brothers’ College (pictured) founded.
8 September 1910, African miners go on strike at Wesselton Mine.
8 September 1913, Town Clerk CK O’Molony awarded life pension of £400.
8 September 1914, 1st Battalion Kimberley Regiment leaves Kimberley for German SWA.
8 September 1925, Bishop David O’Leary OMI consecrated in St Mary’s Cathedral.

DID YOU KNOW

St Patrick’s College – 120 years old today.

Happy Anniversary.

What was to become one of the best-known boys’ schools in South Africa, Christian Brothers’ College High School, as it was then called, started on 8 September 1897, with 15 pupils and one classroom attached to a private house. The staff consisted of the principal, Brother JJ Mullan, with two Brothers. By 1899 the number of pupils had risen to 100 and in 1901 a new wing was added. A new building designed by Rogers and Ross, in which the school still flourishes, was erected in 1905 by the builders Church and MacLauchlin, and housed the classrooms as well as a boarding school. The school was closed between 16 February and 7 May 1900 when it was used as a hospital by the military authorities, classes taking place in two marquee tents until the building was vacated. The chapel, designed by Mr GL O’Connor, a Dublin architect, was opened in 1923. The clock tower was built in 1933 as a memorial to the dead of World War 1.

8 September 1882, Second wing of the Queen’s Hotel opens.
8 September 1892, South African International Exhibition opens in Kimberley.
8 September 1897, St Patrick’s Christian Brothers’ College (pictured) founded.
8 September 1910, African miners go on strike at Wesselton Mine.
8 September 1913, Town Clerk CK O’Molony awarded life pension of £400.
8 September 1914, 1st Battalion Kimberley Regiment leaves Kimberley for German SWA.
8 September 1925, Bishop David O’Leary OMI consecrated in St Mary’s Cathedral.

DID YOU KNOW

Business in Kimberley has long been associated with the art of exhibition, heritage and display. In 1891 a group of influential Kimberley businessmen, including De Beers’ personnel, decided that the flagging economy of Kimberley would benefit from an exhibition that would focus attention on the economic potential of South Africa in general, and Kimberley in particular. Their hard work culminated in the opening, on the 8th September 1892, of the first international exhibition to be held in South Africa, in Kimberley.

For three weeks life in Kimberley, the “precocious young mining centre”, focused on this “British Empire and International Exhibition” (McGregor Museum, 1992 The 1892 South African and International Exhibition). Weekly reports appeared in The Independent and visitors streamed into Kimberley.

Although the event did not generate money but was left with a debt (which was settled by Cecil John Rhodes) the exhibition contributed towards pulling people out of the depression of financial instability by focusing on the economic potential of the country. One of the key issues here is that the event, a business venture, incorporated the arts and was initiated by business, not government.

The 1892 Exhibition concentrated on the old and new, with displays from museums alongside those of some 27 businesses. This highlights the first representation of Kimberley by business, and the sidelining of the indigenous population, in keeping with exhibitions of the times.

Business held centre stage with sideshow curiosities such as ethnographical displays and entertainment surrounding it. The main displays were thus western tools of production, ranging from agriculture to mining to home industry and electrical goods. There were fine arts and music on display as well. A Kaffrarian section is mentioned, in the supplement produced for the exhibition (McGregor Museum, 1992 The 1892 South African and International Exhibition) but no list of exhibits is attached for this in the list of displays.

There was also a Natural History and Science section, containing the native “curiosities” such as Bushmen paintings alongside tortoise shells, “old arms taken from natives” – I presume that this refers to guns (!) and a “stone slab bearing a footprint of some gigantic Antediluvian God”. These indigenous artefacts were separated from the western displays and art galleries.

(Written by Marj Brown in her paper entitled: Re-envisioning the Kimberley Mine Museum: De Beers’ Big Hole Project.)

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt

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