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Vaal Triangle Info

General Information on the Vaal

Page 2b

He employed Stow to purchase all the farms in the area which were considered coal bearing as he believed he could transport coal from Vereeniging to Kimberley by floating it down-river on flat-bottomed boats by a series of weirs to his diamond claims.  This as it turned out was impractical and he had to resort to using ox-wagons as a method of transport instead.  Marks & Lewis sold most of their Kimberley claims to concentrate on the coal finds and established their newly formed mining company, the Zuid-Afrikaansche en Oranje Vrystaatsche Mineralen en Mijnbouvereeniging (later to become the Vereeniging Estates Limited) in 1880.

Sammy Marks played an important role in the growth of Vereeniging in its early days.  He persuaded President Kruger to route the railway from the Cape into the Transvaal via Vereeniging instead of Potchefstroom.  In November 1892, the railway line from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg was completed and the first train from the Cape crossed the new bridge over the Vaal River and steamed into Johannesburg.  In the same year, a railway siding was built which was to supply railway services to a large number of industries over the next hundred years.

The coal mines and water from the Vaal River were vital ingredients which enhanced the importance and growth of the town, especially after the 1886 discovery of gold in Johannesburg, 25 miles to the north. Thousands of prospectors flocked to this newly established gold mining town and Vereeniging became its main source of coal.

Relationships between the Afrikaans and the English deteriorated in the latter years of the 19th century and in October 1899 the Republican forces invaded the English dominated Natal and Cape Colony. By May 1900, the British forces had marched into Pretoria, but guerrilla warfare tactics by the Boers saw the war drag on for another two years. The Boers finally conceded that the use of force would never win back the independence of the Republics and negotiations for the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging by the Boers and the British were held in a marquee in Vereeniging during May 1902.After the Boer War, it was a time for consolidating the existing industries.  Apart from the coal and clay industries, the only other industry in the early 1900’s was a grain milling industry which supplied the needs for the town. One event which had a significant impact on the future of the area was the building of the weir by Leslie in 1905.  This impoundment dammed back the water in the Vaal River for a distance of 8 miles and, although this weir was originally built to supply the irrigation needs for the plantations and farmlands of Maccauvlei, it contributed to the area


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