Although Namaqualand’s copper has been known for a very long time, as late as the 1850s few competent geologists had visited the area or published their findings. Dr William Guybon Atherstone was commissioned by the Grahamstown Prospecting Company to investigate the potential for mining. His report, published in 1857, is well known, but his three notebooks on the journey, are almost unknown.
This lecture looks at the context of the copper boom and follows Atherstone’s exploration. His final assessment, unlike that of his close friend Andrew Geddes Bain, was not optimistic, given the distance, the harshness of the terrain and the poor infrastructure but he learnt much about the land and its people.
Date: Tuesday 30 May 2017
Speaker: Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen.
Venue: The Mountain Club, 97 Hatfield Street, Cape Town
Cost: Members on presentation of valid 2017 membership card: free of charge. Non-members: a donation of R 30