Historic Farms

John Lincoln's wonderful book 'Stories from a Diamond Mine'  tells the story of the Premier Mine (today the Cullinan Mine) and the village that grew up around it. We are honoured to be able to reproduce the book as a series (click here to view index). Below is the first installment which traces the history of Minnaars' Farm and reveals the complex story of how the land was acquired by Thomas Cullinan.

Irene is a wonderful village located less than twenty kilometres south of Pretoria. Visitors can feel the history around them whether staying at a local hotel, visiting the Smuts House Museum or touring the working farm. Residents are proud of the area's rich history and rightly so! Below are a few edited passages revealing the early history of Irene Farm. A longer version of the article appeared in a 1961 edition of South African Panorama.

 

Ganzekraal is a farm dating back to the early 1700s. It was a key farm in the Groene Kloof (as the area north of Rietvlei and all the way to Geelbek on the Langebaan Lagoon was referred to in the time of the VOC) and is significant as part of the network of farms and buiteposte that stretched the VOC influence all the way from the Castle to Saldanha Bay.

[Originally published in July 2015] A week ago Doug and Janet Drysdale reported that the old farmhouse, outbuildings and cemetery at Hougham Park, Coega were in danger. They brought the matter to the attention of the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) and we are very happy to report that action is being taken. The CDC Project Manager: Operations has arranged for the cemetery to be cleaned and has proposed various security measures to protect the site while plans for a new use are considered. This certainly is good news.

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