Struben Brothers

In the feel good article below, journalist Lucille Davie describes the epic return of Joburg's first stamp mills to the area where they were originally installed in 1885. The article was first published on the City of Joburg's website on 21 May 2009. Click here to view more of Davie's writing.

It always feels good when something is returned to where it originally belonged. So it is with the stamp mills owned by Joburg's first gold prospectors, Fred and Harry Struben.

Strubenheim is a majestic historic mansion in Rosebank, Cape Town. It belonged to Harry Struben who, along with his brother Fred, played a crucial part in the story of the discovery of the largest goldfield on earth. Although they cannot claim to have discovered the Witwatersrand's main reef, it was their pioneering efforts on the Confidence Reef nearby that drew others to Langlaagte where the big discovery was made (click here for further details).

The Struben brothers, Fred & Harry, by invitation of Louw Geldenhuys, discovered and mined gold on the Eastern part of the farm Wilgespruit in 1884-5. They learned mining from a Cornish miner, George Arnold (every body is ‘George’) and blasted and dug their way into the Witwatersrand Ridge in several places, most famously the “Confidence Reef Mine”. They imported a stamp mill from Sandycroft Foundry in England and powered it with an 8 horse-power steam engine they had on their farm, from Ransom, Simms & Jefferies, also a UK firm.

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