Vaal Triangle History

Peace Negotiations

William Stow

1939 - 1945

Vereeniging Estates

Viljoensdrift

Vaal Dam

Klip Power Station

Coal

1935

1899 - 1902
1960

Sharpeville

Preface

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Dickenson Railway Bridge

Peace Monument

Vereeniging

William Stow Monument

Garden of Remembrance

Sharpeville

Apartheid Bridge

Cenotaph

OVERVIEW

The geologist, George William Stow, discovered coal deposits in the bed of the Vaal River in 1878.  Sammy Marks realised the importance of Stow’s coal discovery as the Kimberley diamond rush had led to a shortage of fuel to power their mining operations.  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 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 who at that time owned a quarter of all the Kimberley diamond claims sold most of their Kimberley claims to concentrate on the coal finds through their newly formed mining company, the Zuid-Afrikaansche en Oranje Vrystaatsche Mineralen en Mijnbouvereeniging (later to become the Vereeniging Estates Limited).  In 1892, the small village of Vereeniging was formally established, although it was another seven years before the State Secretary signed the final document which led to the founding of the town.

Coal

The First Industry

The first industry to become established in the town dates back to 1882 when building bricks were first made from the clay deposits near the coal workings.  A fireclay found under the coal seams led to the erection of a factory to produce fireclay bricks, the first bricks being produced in 1891.  In 1903 the company began manufacturing salt glazed earthenware pipes and fittings for sewer reticulation.  The company (now called Vereeniging Refractories) was at one time one of the major manufacturers of refractory products in South Africa.

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