This is another of my blogposts that have been written after the fact and deals with George Harrison Park, or should I say, what was left of George Harrison Park when I visited it on 09 September 2011.
I do not have the history of the park to hand, but fortunately when I was there a number of the information plaques had not yet been stolen so I can reproduce them here.
During my visit I was shocked at the state of dereliction of this historically important site. And, it has been going on for a long time too. If you read further enough back you will find that the rot set in here a long time ago in spite of this being a Blue Plaque site.
One of the reasons it did end up this was is due to it being located in the suburb of Riverlea which is not in the Northern Suburbs where people are prone to enthusing about the house that some or other “Randlord” built using the money from the workings of places like this. The site is situated at co-ordinates 26° 12.604’S 27° 59.267’E
and this is not the sort of area that you want to spend too much time in. If anything the condition of the very impressive gates should give you an idea of the wreckage behind it. They had not been painted in years. The original gates date from 1947, and I have a feeling the upperworks may date from 1986.
Inside was a mess too.
This used to be a stampmill, or was it a headgear? there is no way to know, The information plaque for it is also missing. It does however appear as if this was the stampmill that is now situated in Main Street Johannesburg.
Underneath the shelter are 3 plaques which are about the Langlaagte discovery and the Witwatersrand gold reefs. Fortunately they were still intact when I was there.
I cannot say the same for the “sample” that was supposed to be there too.
The strangest thing of all are the open mine working that exist on the site, and I believe these have been invaded by the so called “zama-zamas” as illegal miners are called. I did however not see any during my visit, in fact I saw nobody at all during my visit. I will grant that the grass had been cut and had a bit more care been taken this would have been quite an attractive place to visit
1500×411 (panoramic view)
1500×431 (panoramic view)
How stable these workings are I cannot say, but the fact remains that all it really takes is to step over the inadequate fence and explore the workings.
Many grand schemes and plans have been formulated over the years to revitalise this park, but none have actually happened as far as I am aware, although the last report I read was dated 08 September 2014
It is ludicrous that such an important site has been left to go derelict in the first place, but then heritage is always a precarious line that straddles political correctness and history, and I am afraid George Harrison has fallen off the fence.
I will not advise visiting thus site on your own. The area is dangerous enough as it is.
As at 2015? I do not know what state it is in, I see there are more mutterings about restoration, but going by past experiences that has probably not happened,
City of Johannesburg you should be ashamed.
DRW © 2011-2019. Images recreated 19/03/2016, images of stamp battery added 04/06/2016