One of the questions that cropped up during my explorations of the Jameson Raid remnants was the whereabouts of the grave of a certain “Trooper Black” that is listed as being buried at “Blaauwbank”. I no longer recall where this information pitched up, but Blaauwbank was a clue. At the time the only Blauuwbank that I was aware of was a mine that sat on a hill close to Magaliesburg Station, and my exploration of that did not provide any answers apart from a hint that there was a cemetery associated with the farm where the mine was. Further explorations then pointed to the derelict farmhouse and cemetery that was on the track leading up to the mine itself. I covered a some of that in the relevant blogpost at the time, this post is more about the derelict farmhouse.
Its a derelict for crying out loud, what could be so interesting about it?
Not much as it turns out. There is a bit of history floating around on the net, but today it is really just a pile of ruins, or should I say, at the date of this blog post it was more like a ruin being overtaken by the bush.
This is also the ruin that ate my camera! Sadly, the pics I took from the mine were in the camera when it went missing so I was never able to show the pics from that particular day, and there was no way I was going to take my strange car up that hill again.
Back to the farmhouse:
The building was a brick built single storey structure with a shallow roof and a front stoep. At some point it was supposedly used as a hotel and Paul Kruger stayed there.
All interior and exterior fittings like door frames, ceilings, roof etc. have been stolen over the years, and i have no idea when this place was abandoned.
Given the size of some of the trees I do suspect it has been derelict for quite some time.
Technically this building may be over 100 years old, and as such should have been protected as a heritage space, but it is not situated in the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg so has been forgotten completely.
There are other structure behind the ruin, and it was probably near one of these where my camera went awol.
I suspect these may have been stables of stores, maybe even ablutions? there is no real way of knowing.
The people who lived here were the Jennings family, or rather, that is what I can gather from the graveyard.
There was a low wall that ran in front of the property and the overgrown graveyard was right at the end of the wall. The grass was so high in places that I could not even see the wall.
The farmhouse may be found at Google Earth co-ordinates: 26° 0.252’S, 27° 31.759’E.
I revisited the farmhouse later in the year after a winter fire had burnt the grass and vegetation down and this is what it looked like; all a part of the cycle of growth in the veldt.