Tag: Magaliesburg

Gravehunting in Magaliesburg

Lets face it, Magaliesburg is a small town stuck in a slightly different era. Its history isn’t really written down and finding anything about its past has been a pretty fruitless exercise. Looking at the area through Google Earth reveals heaps of abandoned and derelict structures, large tracts of open land and no way of knowing what it looked like before. 
My reason for the trip was two-fold. Firstly I wanted to photograph Susan on her day trip out to Vlakdrift. Although for some reason part of the video I shot did not come out. Still, I did get some great material. 

The second aim of my trip was to head out to the small cemetery I found last time I was in the area. I was defeated that time around by bees and thorn trees. 

Between then and now a fire had decimated the undergrowth so I could at least see the graves. This little cem is part of the farm Steenkoppie. Almost within spitting distance is yet another Steenkoppie relic, and a bit further than that a much larger cem perched on a downslope on the same side of the Blaauwbank River as my old Zuickerboschfontein nemesis is. We were able to see 63 graves in that cem, but 95% were without markings. 

This graveyard is identified and posted at Egssa as “Zuickerboschfontein 151, farm cemetery 2”   We had to cross the river (Blauwbank?) to get to the cem, and it has a strange other worldliness about it, almost like an alien landscape.

I also managed to get down to the Jennings Family cem (identified as “Zuickerboschfontein 151, Blauwbank farm cemetery 1”).  and the fire had revealed all the graves, it seems as if I had missed at least one during my last trip. I think I have them all now. The comparison between before and after the fire is quite amazing.
This is what the grass looked like before the fire. 
And after the fire. What a difference it made.  I have also had a better look around that rambling old derelict house, its amazing how the undergrowth is trying to bury it. From what I heard the place was intact not too many years back, but it has since been stripped of everything. I would have loved to have seen it in its heyday, especially the interiors as some of the rooms are tiny. 

There was no sign of my dropped camera either, so I was still very peeved at this place. I am going to have to go back to Magalies soon, probably this next weekend. Susan is rostered again, and I have a cem up near Bartons Folly to go photograph, and I need better GPS co-ordinates for Steenkoppie. Its all good fun though, and I have to admit that Saturday was a real scorcher. Is that a portent of the weather to come this summer? Its enough to drive me indoors. 
DRW © 2011-2018. Images recreated 18/03/2016, links recreated 03/03/2018
Updated: 04/03/2018 — 20:01

Ruins in the veldt

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.

The interior consists of small pokey rooms, that were still relatively free of vegetation.


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. 


© DRW 2011-2018. Retrospectively created 22/05/2016 
Updated: 24/12/2017 — 10:27

By train to Magaliesburg: GMAM-4079

This trip actually happened on 6 November 2010, and was previously documented at my website, but I have since decided that rather than loose all of these train trip posts I would reproduce them here. The train was operated by Reefsteamers.
This trip took place on 6 November 2010 from Germiston to Magaliesburg. This was the first outing of the GMAM – 4079 “Lyndie Lou” since she was re-certified. Unlike previous trips that started at Maraisburg, this time around the trip started out at Park (Johannesburg) Station before heading to Magaliesburg where passengers would be disembarked, before continuing west until we reached “Swallows Inn” where the train would unload the balance, before continuing to Vlakdrift where the loco would be serviced.
Fresh out of the shed and almost ready to go.

Fresh out of the shed and almost ready to go.

Shunting the water bottle


Shunting the water bottle

I boarded at the Reefsteamers Depot in Germiston so almost had the train to myself as we headed towards Park Station. It was the first time I had been through Germiston and Johannesburg stations since 1986.  

We also went past the apprentice school where I trained all those years ago, and through Braamfontein, Mayfair and Langlaagte, all my old stomping grounds.

Approaching Park Station

Approaching Park Station

Alongside the platform

How long ago was it that an SAR liveried train had stopped at this station? and how many memories were made at these main line platforms? 

Braamfontein used to be a busy place, and I was trained at the apprentice school behind the station. There used to be a spur that turned right here and crossed into Milpark. That was where they made up the main line trains, and it was also used in January and July as the place where National Servicemen would start their two years military service from.

Approaching Braamfontein Station

Approaching Braamfontein Station

The weather was variable during the whole trip, starting out as grey and muggy, turning to sun and then rain and then sun which explains some of odd colours.

 Approaching Mayfair Station

Approaching Mayfair Station

Mayfair Station was my link to the SAR network, and you could actually see the back of our house from a passing train. It was a busy commuter station, and I travelled in both directions from here. I last used the station in 1984. There was a lot of talk of widening the tracks in and out of the station and a lot of houses were expropriated, but the expected construction never happened. 


Then we were passing through Krugersdorp, then passing Millsite and shortly after that the disgrace called Sanrasm, and then the long haul to Magalies, with its attendant curves and whistle blowing.


There were reportedly 600 people on board and it was a 16 coach consist, and probably one of the strangest trains to be seen by those who saw us go past. Steam engines still draw stares from those that have never seen them, or by those who remember them. Our Garratt was a rare beastie, and it was always difficult to know which way was the front.

One of my colleagues from work was at Magaliesburg Station to capture the train as it entered the station. The slog up the hill before the station is a good place to experience the loco working hard. Although I don’t think 4079 really struggled all that much. Special thanks to Clinton Hattingh for these images.
Then we were through the station and heading towards Swallows Inn. 
Here we disembarked, and the train headed on a bit further down the line for servicing and turning around.
I drifted around Swallows Inn, the service was poor, and I seem to think I spent most of my time waiting for my lunch to arrive. Next time I would just stay on the train and go do some photography instead. 
Then it was time to go and our train was ready to embark on the return trip, and this time we were water tank first.
The train is usually much quieter on the return trips. Too much alcohol has deadened the senses, children are worn out, and families sit huddled together. And of course the afternoon still stretched ahead. A lot can go wrong between here and Park Station, as has happened before. 
I enjoyed hanging out of the window and watching the loco in front, steamers are very alive, their noises change depending on how hard they work, and there are many tough grades in that area. But it was a reasonably uneventful trip home so far, and when we looked again we were in Krugersdorp.
And its beautiful old station building.
The scenery had changed now, from grass and veld to buildings, roads and cars. The sun was also leaving us, so photograhy was becoming more difficult, although there are some who love this low down sunset light.
And even I started to take fewer pics, although some of the results were quite interesting. A suburban coach refurb area near Langlaagte
People waiting for a train at Mayfair Station
And looking back towards the Nelson Mandela Bridge in Braamfontein.
And then we were at Park Station, and passengers were disembarking and I had the train to myself once more.
We wound our way past Ellis Park, Jeppe, George Goch, Denver, President and finally through Germiston Station before we came to the depot in Germiston yard. The lights were on, so somebody must be there. 
It is not a straight forward job to get into the depot, a lot of points have to be crossed and direction reverses made until the gate is reached. I climbed off the train and headed to my car. I had to drive back the way we had just come, while the Reefsteamers members had to shunt the train, tidy up and put the loco to bed before they could make their weary ways home. It was a long day, but it was also a glimpse into an era passed by.
I was also shooting video on that trip and these can be found on Youtube. I seem to recall there are 4 in total.
Special thanks to Les of Reefsteamers who found me a spot on the train, as well as Clinton Hattingh for the pics, and of course to the Reefsteamers crew who did such a great job.
DRW.  ©  2010-2019. Images recreated 10/03/2016
Updated: 09/04/2019 — 05:52
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