horses

Horses In Demand in Kimberley

Horse racing became an extremely popular sport among diggers at the diamond fields in the 1870s. The first race at the fields was run at Pniel in January, 1871, and it was such a success that a group of sporting diggers banded together to form the Diamond Fields Turf Club, writes Brian Roberts in Kimberley, […]

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Locusts, drought, and devastation in the Graaff-Reinet district

The Cape passed into British hands in September, 1795, yet, by 1797 when Lord McCartney, became governor, there was still scant interest in the hinterland. Their only concern was that the Cape’s meat supply came mainly from Graaff-Reinet and some lesser interior districts. In journals reporting on his journeys to the Eastern Frontier, William Somerville […]

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Robert Grey’s arduous travels in the Karoo: 1848

In 1848, Robert Grey, the first Bishop of Cape Town almost frightened his wife, Sophy, to death with tales of his travels “through the waterless Karoo.” In one of his letters he wrote: “there was in fact no “road”, not even a tract through the arid wilderness and, to save the exhausted horses we many […]

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Tough Trip To The Karoo

After several locust plagues and a severe drought, Maj-Gen Dundas, in 1801, sent a commission into the Karoo to investigate the situation.  Among them was William Somerville who recorded the trip in his journals, which have recently been published by the Van Riebeeck Society.  A train of six large bullock wagons was readied for the […]

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Travelling through the Karoo: The diamond rush of 1871

The description by Boyes, travelling through the Karoo to the diamond fields in 1871:   The “coach”, a huge wagon, was drawn by eight horses, had three wooden benches under an awning. It could seat nine passengers and two more could “perched” at the back with the guard.  There was little room for luggage, so […]

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