South Africa
places you will never forget

01. Local History Museum

The walk begins at the Local History Museum in Pilgrim Street where visitors can learn about the geology, mining, the inhabitants and the cutlural history of the area. The building also houses the museum offices and an auditorium.

02. Lodge of St John in the South

This neo-Gothic building was built as the Union Church in 1884. In 1887 it was taken over by the Lodge of St John in the South.

03. Blockhouse

This fort dates from 1901 and is an example of the earliest design of the British Blockhouse in South Africa. During the Anglo-Boer War the British built it as a position of defence against the Boer Forces. It was manned by the Barberton Town Guard which consisted of local volunteers under the command of JW Winter.

04. Belhaven House Museum

Belhaven, built in 1904, is an example of a pre-fabricated house with corrugated iron outer walls and pressed iron panels on the interior. It is furnished in the style of the late Victorian and early Edwardian Periods, and depicts the lifestyle of a wealthy middle class family.

05. Fernlea House

This wood and iron house was built for Mrs Emily Fernandez in the early 1890's. She married Mr Thomas Lee, owner of a Photography and Drapery business in Barberton. The building now houses an exhibition mainly about Rimer's Creek and the restoration of the house.

06. Turbine

The Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon Turbine, situated about 720 m from Fernlea House, was installed in 1931 to purify the town's water. The turbine was manufactured in Kendal, Cumbria, England.

Specifications:

  • 27" Pelton Wheel
  • Head 1100 ft
  • Flow 135 ft
  • Seed 1000 rpm
  • Efficiency at design point 80%

In 1986 the Turbine was donated to the museum and re-installed in its original building.

07. Rimer's Creek

After the discovery of gold by Fred and Henry Barber and their cousin Graham Barber, the Gold Commissioner from Kaapsche Hoop, David Wilson, declared a township at the base of the Umvoti Creek where it entered the De Kaap Valley, by breaking a bottle of gin there on 24 July 1884. There was a choice between naming the township Barberton or Rimerton. By popular demand the name Barberton was chosen. To perpetuate Rimer's association with the place, the Umvoti Creek was henceforth known as 'Rimer's Creek'. Rimer's Creek became a popular recreational corner of Barberton. There was a tearoom called 'The Sportsman's Lodge' above the site of the Turbine which drew crowds particularly on Wednesdays when it was frequented by the barmaids of the town.

08. Stopforth House

The original house and outbuildings were constructed in 1886 by James Stopforth, a baker and general dealer, originally from England and later from Pilgrim's Rest. In 1892 the house was rebuilt. It was occupied by the Stopforth family from 1886 until 1983 and is furnished with the original furntire and household articles used by the Stopforth family between 1886 and 1914.

09. Original Kerbstones

The stone-kerbing which dates from the nineteenth century can be seen.

10. Anglican Church

The original Anglican Church was a wood-and-iron construction which was brought to Barberton by ox-wagon from Natal. The corner-stone of the church was laid in 1924 and the cost of building the church was three thousand pounds. The pulpit was designed by Rev Sheppard, who, together with a helper carried the quartz that it was made of from the mountain himself. The baptismal font is made of verdite and there is a memorial plaque dedicated to the Barbers at the entrance.

11. De Kaap Stock Exchange

The De Kaap Stock Exchange was the second stock exchange in Barberton. It was built in 1887 but its existence was short-lived. In 1899 the building was bought by Sammy Marks and in 1910 it was taken over by the Barberton Municipality to house the Carnegie Library and the first museum. When the condition of the building deteriorated to such an extent that it had to be demolished, only the Facade could be preserved.

12. The Globe

The Globe Tavern was built in 1887 for Mr B Jacobs & Co. In later years it was used as a school, a tailors shop and a store room.

13. Barberton Club with hitching posts

The Barberton Club was the gathering place for men of Barberton. Well known millionaires of the Witwatersrand such as Abe Bailey, Alfred Beit and Sir Percy Fitzpatrick were members. During the early part of the Anglo-Boer War it was used as a hospital by the Boer Forces. In 1900 when the British occupied the town, they used the Club as an Officers' Mess. The original building burned down and was replaced by the present building. In front of the building the original hitching posts, where the horses were tethered, can still be seen.

14. Phoenix Hotel

The original hotel was built on this site in 1886. It is said that President Paul Kruger was entertained here after having had discussions with the Diggers. The hotel was so popular that on occasions when there was not enough accommodation the guests were prepared to sleep on or under the billiard table.

15. Lewis and Marks Building

The first double storey building in Barberton was built for Sammy Marks and his cousin, Isaac Lewis, who established an important company in the ZA.R. in the fields of mining, agriculture and industry. The Bank of Africa was on the ground floor and other offices on the top storey. In later years the cast iron verandah was removed, the building plastered and third storey added.

16. Market Square

The Market Square was the meeting place of the diggers and the businessmen. On market days and especially Saturdays it was a hive of activity with farmers and customers with their oxen, wagons and horses. This was also the arrival and departure place of the post cart.

17. Jock of the Bushveld Statue

In front of the Town Hall the statue of 'Jock of the Bushveld' the faithful dog of Percy Fitzpatrick during his days as a transport rider, can be seen. Fitzpatrick and Jock travelled all over the Lowveld together. The statue by Ivan Mitford-Barberton was originally unveiled in Fitzpatrick Park by Mrs Mackie-Niven, the daughter of the late Percy Fitzpatrick but was moved to its present position during Barberton's Centenary in 1984.

18. English Lodge

The English Lodge with its neo-classical architecture is situated opposite the Town Hall.

19. Todd House

Situated above Kellar Park, the house was built by the Todd family in about 1887 and is at present owned by the third generation of the family. It is a private residence.

20. Garden of Remembrance & Regimental Badges

During the Second World War a military camp was established north-east of the town, where troops were trained before being sent to war. After the war the graves of British Servicemen and Women who fell in the Lowveld during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) were concentrated in a cemetery next to the camp site. Some of the South African units which passed through the camp erected replicas of their regimental badges and crests to commemorate their stay.

21. Cemetery

The cemetery is situated in Gospel Street and has graves dating from the early years of Barberton. The graves of the different ethnic and religious groups were segregated. A memorial to the memoory of those who died in the Concentration Camp during the Anglo-Boer War can be seen here. Two hundred and sixteen Boers are said to have died in the Camp.

22. Magistrates Court

The building was originally erected to house all of the Government departments and was completed by 1911. However, the townsfolk of Barberton were critical of the building as it had many fireplaces and ornamental mantelpieces, but lacked any lavatory accommodation. The building was surrounded by terraced grounds planted with shrubs and flowers.

23. War Memorial

Situated directly in front of the Magistrates Court is the War Memorial, the towns' memorial to her sons who fell in the two world wars. It was unveiled by His Excellency, the right honourable Earl of Athlone, Governor General of South Africa on 9 June 1924.

24. Steam Locomotive

This locomotive was manufactured in 1898 by the firm Nielson & Co. for the Cape Government Railways. The Kaapmuiden-Barberton railway line was opened on 1 April 1896 and similar locomotives were used on it. This particular locomotive was brought to Barberton on its own steam in 1971.

By courtesy of the Mpumalanga Department of Tourism

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