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Pilgrim's Rest Reduction Works Industrial Heritage Site

Date of Submission: 15/05/2004
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iv)(vi)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
SA World Heritage Committee
Coordinates: 24° 54' S, 30° 45' E
Ref.: 1075
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Description

The historic village of Pilgrim's Rest is situated on the eastem escarpment of the Transvaal Drakensberg on Portion 42 of Ponieskrantz 543, Registration Division KT Transvaal. Size of propety: 4393, 8278 h In 1873 rich gold deposits were discovered in the Pilgrirn's Creek, a tributary of the Blyde River, close to where the village of Pilgrim's Rest was established. The news of this rich strike triggered the first major gold rush in South Africa. Pilgrim's Rest was declared a gold field on 22 September 1873 and by the end of that year there were some 1500diggers working 4000 claims in and around Pilgrim's Rest. It is estimated that R2 million worth of gold was mined during the first seven years of alluvial mining in the Pilgrim's Rest valley. This gold field cannot be was the first of its kind in Africa. By 1875 Pilgrim's Rest had become the social and commercial centre of the diggings and gradually more permanently buildings were replacing the diggers' tents. By the 1880's alluvial gold deposits began to dwindle and diggers were steadily leaving to prospect elsewhere. In 1881 the first gold rnining company amalgamated with several other smaller companies to form the Transvaal Gold Mining Estates (TGME) which became the sole owners of Pilgrim's Rest and the farrn Ponieskrantz on which it is situated until 1972. The history of this company and Pilgrim's Rest were inseparably linked as both shared the fluctuating fortunes of the mines.