Horsing History on the Farm

During his ownership of the farm, Gary Player made a definite contribution to the quality of the South African stud book. This is endorsed by the fact that he was the first South African breeder ever to produce an international Group 1 winner in the USA out of a South African mare - Serena.

Gary Player had an unwavering commitment to quality and perfection which resulted in the production of a very high percentage of stakes winners. The original small band of broodmares produced an average 12% stakes winners per crop including Pinehurst, World Over, Foreign Source, Kadarko, Foolish Pride, My Advantage, Derby Way, Creator, Superwood, Lady Windermere, Supper Club, Sangria Girl, Madrisa, Chave De Oura and others for clients like Nino's Mistral. From only three mares at stud in America, Gary bred three stakes winners including Gr1 Broadway Flyer and French Gr3 Cachet Noir.

History of the Area

The first people to settle in the Colesberg area included stone-age hunter-gatherers. By the early 19th Century, trekboere had begun to live there. In 1818 all mission work in the area was ended by the government to assure the safety of the frontier settlers. 

In 1822 farmers in the area petitioned for the establishment of a town, and in 1830 land was granted to the Dutch Reform Church, and so Colesburg was founded. The original village was built on the site of an abandoned station of the London Missionary Society, and was named in honour of Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, Governor of the Cape from 1828-34. 

By 1840 Colesberg became a municipality, however was separated and formed new divisions over the next few years including Albert and Richmond in 1848, Middelburg in 1858, Hanover in 1876 and Philipstown and Steynsburg in 1889.

The settlement was designed in a central axis, dominated by the Dutch Reformed church, with the dwellings being known for their distinctive square, flat-roofed construction. This form of residential architecture became ubiquitous in the central, more arid regions of the Cape. Residents were served by the The Colesberg Advertiser, a bilingual weekly newspaper established locally in 1861.

Anglo-Boer War

A brief history of Colesberg's part in the Anglo-Boer War:

  • On 14 November 1899 a Boer force of 700 men under the joint command of Chief Comdt ER Grobler and General HJ Schoeman entered Colesberg unopposed.

  • On 1 January 1900 British troops under Maj-Gen John French attacked Boer forces in and around Colesberg.

  • On 11 January they managed to drag a 15-pounder Armstrong gun to the top of Coleskop, overlooking the town, and on the next day they began shelling the town.

  • On 14 February the British withdrew from their positions around Colesberg and regrouped at Arundel Siding.

  • On 20 February the Boers began to retreat from Colesberg, and on 28 February British forces under Maj-Gen RAP Clements marched into the town unopposed.

  • The railway line to Colesberg Junction was reopened on 2 March 1900.

  • However Boer forces continued to control the Orange Free State banks of the Gariep and on 2 March 1900 they dynamited the Colesberg road bridge.

  • They finally retreated from the area on 7 March 1900.

The Diamond Rush

The discovery of diamonds began with John O’Reiley, who purchased the first diamond found in South Africa from its owner, Schalk van Niekerk. The stone was sent to Dr Guybourne Atherstone, a well-known geologist. He confirmed it was a diamond and so started “The Diamond Rush”.

Many people then flocked from all over South Africa and around the world to the Griqualand West to mine diamonds. During this time there was much rivalry between the diggers over claims, and this often led to racial divides between the people. 

After the Hopetown Diamond was discovered, there was another major discovery of diamonds along the banks of the Vaal River. The rock and soil along the river bank was dug up and sifted to find the diamonds, this was known as Surface Mining.

 

By the early 1870s much larger quantities of diamonds had been discovered at a small hill called Colesberg Kopje. This place was later known as 'New Rush' or Kimberley, after Earl Kimberley, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies. 

Heritage Sites in the Area

There are many heritage sites in the area from founding of the village of Colesberg. Possibly the most well-known street in the city is Bell Street. This street is filled with homes with the original architecture from the founding of the village, showing the square style and flat roofs. 

Other heritage sites to note in the area include the Dutch Reformed Church which is a modified cruciform plan form church with hipped roof and a belfry set in roof. The Kemper Museum in Rhyneveld Square and The Horse and Mill in Bell Street are two more historic sites to visit. The Horse and Mill is the last square, double storeyed warehouse of its kind in Bell Street.