Kimberley Mine Museum and Big Hole
Tucker Street. Tel:053 8331557. Open daily from 08:00 - 18:00. Closed
on Good Friday and Christmas Day
A trip on the tram
Departs from The Mine Museum & Big Hole on the hour. Departs from The
City Hall 1/4 past the hour.
The Honoured Dead Memorial
At the intersection of Memorial, Dalham and Oliver Roads.
The Market Square
Next to City Hall, corner of Old Main Street & Transvaal Road
Memorial to the Pioneers of
3.5 Km from the BJ Vorster Airport, on General van der Spuy Drive.
Tel: 053 8332645/6. Monday - Saturday: 09:00 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 17:00 ; Sunday:
14:00 - 17:00. Public holidays: 10:00 - 13:00 and 14:00 - 17:00. Closed Good
Friday & Christmas Day.
- Do you want to retrace the lives of the rough-and-ready diggers who made
it all happen? Or experience life in Kimberley as it must have been during the
diamond-rush days when races, lotteries, pubs and ballrooms made the town a
very bright place indeed?
Then visit the Kimberley Mine Museum. Consisting of original and carefully
reconstructed buildings this open-air
museum has preserved a
great deal of the city's past.
The first officially recorded diamond discovered in the country, the Eureka,
can be viewed here. Or you can sift through diamond-bearing grave, looking for
your won treasure. Wander past one of Kimberley's oldest houses, a
prefabricated construction imported from England in 1877, or the delightful
old pub, Digger's Rest, one of the many us which flourished in those early
days. The tobacconist shop where Perilly produced his famous hand-made
cigarettes, Barney Barnato's Boxing Academy, a reconstruction of farmer De
Beers' homestead - they are all there.
The Big hole itself is an astonishing sight. Mined to a depth of 215 meters,
and with a surface area of +/- 17 hectares and a perimeter of +/- 1.6 km, it
is the largest hand-dug excavation in the world. On 14 August 1914 work on the
mine was suspended, By that time 22.5 million tons of earth had been
excavated, yielding 2 722 kg of diamonds.
- For those who would like to
travel to the Kimberley Mine Museum in grand old style, a ride on the
Kimberley Tram is a must.
Tram services were introduced to Kimberley in 1887, and ultimately came to a
halt in 1947. Revived in 1985, the tram service now operates daily between
09:00 and 16:15 carrying visitors between City Hall and the Big Hole and
Kimberley Mine Museum.
En route visitors are treated to some of the city's historical and noteworthy
sites, while the tram also stops outside the Star of the West, the oldest pub
in Kimberley, for those who would like to pay a visit.
- Instigated by Cecil John Rhodes and designed by sir Herbert Baker, this
memorial commemorates those who lost their lives during the 124 day siege of
Kimberley at the start of the 1899 - 1902 Anglo-Boer War.
"Long Cecil", the gun named after Rhodes and built in the De Beers workshops
during the siege, stands at the base of the monument surrounded by Boer "Long
Tom" shells. The monument is built of sandstone quarried near the Metapos in
Zimbabwe and bears an inscription by Rudyard Kipling and bronze plaques by
Oppenheimer Memorial Gardens and Diggers Fountain
- The Gardens are a memorial to the late Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, diamond
magnate and the first elected mayor of the municipality of the city of
Kimberley when Beaconsfield and Kimberley were combined into a city in 1912.
The Miners Memorial, or Diggers Fountain, was erected in honour of past and
present diggers. It portrays five life-sized diggers, holding a diamond sieve
on high, and was designed by Herman Wald.
A bust of Sir Ernest gazes out over the fountain and rose garden.
- The Market Square, adjacent to the City Hall and now a national monument,
was the trading hub of the dry diggings. The memorial of balancing rocks from
the Matopos commemorates the departure from Kimberley in 1890 of the Pioneer
Column, which effectively opened Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to white settlement.
- This memorial was erected in memory of the members of the Kimberley Cape
Coloured Corps who died in the Battle of Square Hill during the First World
- What used to be the Malay Camp before its inhabitants were removed, today
serves as a backdrop to the home of Sol Plaatje, one of South Africa's most
famous black persons. Plaatje, a founder member of the ANC (African National
Congress) and its first General Secretary, also made outstanding contributions
in the fields of journalism and literature, and was the first black South
African to write a novel in English. Plaatje for many years lived in this
house, which has been declared a notional monument.
- A national monument, the city's Dutch Reformed mother church dates from
1872. In front of the church stands the Concentration Camp Memorial, erected
in memory of those who died in the Newton Concentration Camp during the
- Henrietta Stockdale, an Anglican nun of the Order of Saint Michael and All
Angels, became the first matron of the new Kimberley hospital. The nurses she
trained were much sought after to establish new hospitals throughout the
country. In 1891 Sister Henrietta secured legal recognition for the profession
when, through her efforts, an Act was passed by the Cape Parliament which made
South Africa the first country in the world to institute compulsory sate
registration of nurses. The statue of Sister Henrietta in front of the St
Cyprian's Cathedral is reputed to be the only portrait statue of a nun in the
Memorial to the Pioneers of
Aviation General van der Spuy Drive
- Kimberley can truly be called the nursery of flying in Southern Africa.
This national monument is located on the site of the continent's first flying
school, which was established in 1912/13, and which was the birthplace of the
South African Air Force. It is a reconstruction of the hangar, containing a
replica of the Compton Paterson biplane use in flight training by the first
- Southern Africa's first School of Mines was established in Kimberley in
1896, and was transferred to Johannesburg early this century where it became
the foundation of the University of the Witwatersrand. The building, in Hull
street, a national monument, now houses an arts workshop.
- Strange as it may sound, Kimberley's diamonds also provided money for
religion. A small corrugated-iron church built in Kimberley was regarded as
the mother church of all Seventh Day Adventists in South Africa and Australia.
It was built by Pieter Wessels, an Afrikaner whose religious beliefs
conflicted fiercely with those of his own church, the Dutch Reformed Church.
He established his own denomination in 1885 with the money he received from
the sale of his farm Benaauwheidsfontein, upon which the Wesselton diamond
mine was developed in 1890.
(c) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 AeoN Publishing
Thursday, 06 September 2007 08:16:12