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
Word File

The Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information or documentation provided by the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to the Secretariat of UNESCO or to the World Heritage Centre.

The publication of any such advice, opinion, statement or other information documentation on the World Heritage Centre’s website and/or on working documents also does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of UNESCO or of the World Heritage Centre concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


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.