Eersteling

The Transvaal first gold rush took place in 1871 when Edward Button, in partnership with William Pigg, discovered gold on the farm Eersteling. A stamp battery and steam engine were ordered from England, and Button imported Aberdeen granite with which to build the chimney, once the tallest building in the Transvaal, for his power plant. The total cost of the chimney is said to have been around R40 000 and today it is all that remains of this first modern gold• mining operation in Transvaal. The very first ore crushing was carried out on the nearby rocky outcrop by means of a large boulder – ridden as a seesaw by two men, while a third man fed in pieces of ore beneath. The boulder is now in the museum of the Geological Survey in Pretoria.

The focus of the gold mining industry shifted in 1873 when the Volksraad proclaimed the alluvial goldfields at “Ohrigstad’s River”. Button closed his mine in 1877. It is said that during the Anglo-Boer War a futile attempt was made to pull down the chimney by using a span of sixteen oxen.

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