Finding Sir George Farrar

One of the many graves in Johannesburg that I was looking for, was that of Sir George Farrar.   The reason for looking for his grave was that he died during the First World War and as such is a candidate for recognition by the South African War Graves Project, and the CWGC.

Like so many of the “Randlords” of his era, he was a rich man, and had a lot of influence and friends in high places, He served in the Anglo Boer War and had a hand in the ill fated Jameson Raid, and for his part in it he was sentenced to hang, but the sentence was commuted to a fine.

All we really knew about his burial place is that he was buried on “Bedford Farm Cemetery”, and that was eleven kilometres from Johannesburg, It is easy to deduce that he was buried somewhere in what is now Bedfordview.

The period map above is dated June 1908, and the area is unrecognisable from when this map had been issued 100 years before. The fact remains, somewhere in the Bedfordview, Eastgate, Bedford Gardens, St Andrews or Gillooly’s Farm area was our missing Colonel.

I was not the one who finally tracked down the grave, although I did take the photographs early on Sunday Morning. 

It is a strange place, remote and undiscovered with the solitary slab and the stone walls and thick bush, away from the hustle and bustle of what has become prime real estate.

Incidentally, Togo was the name of his dog, and it is buried here too. The original grave marker was embedded in the wall, and there was a plaque that reminded us who was buried here. 

The slab is engraved with his name and dates of birth and death. It is really quite a simple memorial when you consider his wealth and status. 

I walked away feeling happy to have photographed the grave, but did feel that the grave is somewhat of an oddity after all these years, it is not a very well known site (fortunately), but how long will it be before somebody sells the land to erect even more overpriced yuppie pads?

Sir George Farrar is also mentioned on the Bezuidenhout Valley War Memorial on the corner of Kitchener and 9th Avenue in nearby Kensington. Unfortunately this memorial has been vandalised beyond repair.  

DRW © 2016-2020. Created 09/05/2016, retrospectively backdated to 2006. 

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