Rayton had its beginning as a tin shack mining town on the farm Elandshoek and was originally known as Rayton Junction. It was laid out in 1895 along a spur of the main railway line that connected Pretoria to the port of Delagoa Bay in Mozambique.
The town served the needs of thousands of diggers and prospectors working for the Dunmore, Montrose and Schiller mining companies. Sir Thomas Cullinan’s discovery of a kimberlite diamond pipe nearby caused a mini diamond rush and the town boomed.
Officials of the Montrose Diamond Mining Company, who did the town planning, named the hamlet after Lady Rachel Ray Williston, the wife of the company’s manager, Colonel Ballison.
First brick building
The original magistrate’s office which dates back to this early time, was the first and only brick building at that time.
Second World War
Italian prisoners of war were interned at Zonderwater just north of Rayton with massive military logistics and supply depots established between there and Cullinan. After the war the land around the town was bought by the Stella Diamond Mining Company and declared a peril-urban municipality where relatively cheap properties were sold.
Rayton’s close proximity to the eastern suburbs of Pretoria promoted a steady growth between the 1970’s into the latter part of the 20th century.
Rayton is a thriving town and serves the needs of prison wardens at the nearby Zonderwater Prison, staff at the Cullinan Diamond Mine and the surrounding farming community. On the farm Kleinfontein is the Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum which celebrates the area’s rich agricultural history. Many of the town’s residents have found suitable employment in the surrounding suburbs of Pretoria.
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