musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Month: February 2009

Confidence Reef

This is another retroactive blogpost highlighting some of my discoveries, this time it is Confidence Reef in Kloofendal Nature Reserve in Roodepoort. 
I do not recall where I read about Confidence Reef originally, but when I moved to a flat on the border of the reserve I was able to go out there and try to find it. My first exploration revealed a fenced off site with no way of knowing how to access it. Fortunately my local “knock and drop” advertised tours of the site and I eventually managed to secure a spot on the tour. They are very popular in spite of this being one of those strange tours that you would expect to be unpopular.  
The old workings are fenced off, and once I saw the workings I could see why. The tour encompassed a very interesting talk about the mine workings and the early days of gold in what was then the Transvaal. Then we moved off to the shelter at the mine itself and finally into the old workings. Kloofendal is an unspoilt area and there is a good chance that it has not changed much since the days when prospectors were searching for gold. I am not an expert in the subject though, it is easier to read about it yourself.
The mine is also a National Monument, although that really means nothing anymore.
Realistically these are really holes that were hewn into the rock, and they are quite shallow. But how on earth they decided to dig at this point amazes me because the area would have been very wild back then, and even with marked pathways it is difficult going. 
Many months after my visit the first of some of the artefacts relating to mining was returned to Kloofendal, These had originally been sighted in Florida on the West Rand, and they are now part of a much larger and more comprehensive experience.

The stamp battery ties into the one erected close by where some of the ore was processed. There was water there, and it seems like a logical place to erect something like this, even though it was 3 kilometres from where the mine was.

The image above I photographed while on the tour and some more images of the workings below.
Living where I did meant that I was living on top of history, and who knows what the area would have looked like had large quantities of gold been discovered. It is doubtful that the reserve would still exist today, and just maybe Roodepoort would have become the “City of Gold” instead of Johannesburg. As it is there was a lot of mining activity on the West Rand, and overdevelopment is encroaching on some of the many unspoilt areas that still exist here. All it takes is a greasy palm and a rubber stamp.
I thoroughly recommend the tour, and to support the Friends of Kloofendal in keeping this little known gem open and accessible.
© DRW 2009-2018,  images recreated 07/03/2016
Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:13

Finding Sanrasm South Site

My story begins when I moved out to the West Rand and decided to find the much vaunted “South African National Steam and Railway Museum” (aka SANRASM) that was supposedly somewhere near Randfontein. Nobody could really give me any real directions on how to get there so it was a case of hunting for clues. To cut a long story short, by trial and error I finally managed to find the site on a stretch of gravel road somewhere between nowhere and elsewhere. Actually what I found was a fenced compound with high grass and what looked like a lot of wreckage. The compound was locked and a security guard ambled out of his hut to see what I was doing.  After some persuasion the friendly security guard gave me the number for the office. The excuse I was given by the office was that “the grass was long and they could not let me in”. It was obvious that one of the reasons for the long grass was that somebody wasn’t doing their job! and there was a lot to hide! I was potentially a willing volunteer, but they were not really interested in me, instead I was fobbed off and told to go have a look at the Chamdor locomotive collection instead. and that was that.
I left feeling despondent, there was so much to see behind that fence, but unless I got very lucky there was no way I was going to see what there was! I did however take pics through the fence, and vowed that this was not the end. I would get in there eventually.  The images are dated 02/02/2009 according to the exif data, so I am going to use that as the start date of the sanrasm saga. I had no idea at the time what I was seeing and it took a lot of time to gather the collection of images that I have. They are unique images because they show the demise of a collection that was allowed to rot while the members were blissfully unaware of what was happening on the ground.

These images were taken over and through the fence.

I then discovered the “scrap line” while on a trip to Magaliesburg with Reefsteamers. This was a terrible place, and I had to fight my way through bushes and trees to get there (there was a much easier way, but I did not know it at the time). Now that I think about it, this was a really stupid thing I did. The area was still a mining area and there was a huge quarry on one side and the terrain was really dangerous and I was lucky to come out of this was a bad case of blackjacks and a scrapes and scratches. I was also able to catch a glimpse into the site itself from the other side, and it was as bad here as I had seen from the gate. Worse was to come though, when I discovered North Site.

To say that I was shocked would be an exaggeration, I was mortified because this was no museum, it was a travesty, and I was hell bent on stirring the fire to see what popped up. I posted my images on a local heritage rail board and then thing started to happen.

© DRW 2009-2018. Retrospectively created 12/06/2019

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:13
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