A historic frontier town, founded in 1888, Volksrust ('peoples rest') is linked with KwaZulu-Natal by the ruins of a convention bridge. It was at the bridge that President Paul Kruger and Sir Henry Loch, the British high commissioner, signed the third Swaziland Convention in 1894, a short lived agreement that brought Swaziland under the administration of the then Transvaal.
Both men refused to negotiate on foreign soil, so the bridge spanning the greenspruit ('border stream'), was chosen for their meeting. A railway coach was hauled to the middle of the bridge. The statesmen sat at either end of the conference table in the coach, each on his own soil, the president in the Transvaal and high commissioner in Natal, then under British control. The bridge, named Convention Bridge, became a historical monument.
During the Anglo-Boer War, Volksrust was a marshalling yard for the Transvaal army. From here Transvaal troops rallied to drive the British off Majuba.
The Volksrust Station and Customs Building was built in sandstone in 1885. The building was used as a border control and Customs Office. The town is the junction for the railway line that links the main Johannesburg to Durban line with other towns nearby.
Volksrust which became a municipality in 1904, is the commercial center of a district whose main products are maize, wool, sorghum, sunflower seed, beef and dairy.
One of Eskom’s new-generation power stations, Majuba, was commissioned near Volksrust.
The Slang River Falls are 13 kilometers south-east of the town.
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