Kimberley, Northern Cape…

Kimberley is the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, this city has considerable historical significance due its diamond mining past. As well as the siege during the Second Boer War. Notable personalities such as Cecil Rhodes and Barney Barnato made their fortunes here, and the roots of the De Beers company can be traced to the early days of the mining town.


In 1871 a 83.50 carat (16.7 g) diamond was found on the slopes of Colesberg Kopje on the farm Vooruitzigt belonging to the De Beers brothers. It’s told that the cook for prospector Fleetwood Rawstone, made the discovery on Colesberg Kopje after he was sent there to dig as punishment. Rawstorne took the news to the nearby diggings of the De Beer brothers, and this sparked off the famous "Rush" which, was more of a stampede. Within a month 800 claims were cut into the hillock which were worked by two to three thousand men. As the land was lowered, so the hillock became a mine, and in time, became the world renowned Kimberley Mine.



From mid-July 1871 to 1914, 50,000 miners dug the hole with picks and shovels, yielding 2,722 kg of diamonds. The Big Hole has a surface of 17 hectares (42 acres) and is 463 metres wide. It was excavated to a depth of 240 m, but then partially filled with debris reducing its depth to about 215 m; since then it has accumulated water to a depth of 40 m leaving 175 m visible. Beneath the surface, the Kimberley Mine underneath the Big Hole was mined to a depth of 1097 metres.


Kimberley was the initial hub of industrialisation in South Africa in the late nineteenth century, transforming the country’s farming economy into one more dependant on its mineral wealth.

The old town is still well preserved and has displays depicting the olden days… I’m sure the Pub never looked so clean and tidy… more dirt and spilt beer, I’m sure, was the order of the day…..


On 2 September 1882, Kimberley became the first town in the southern hemisphere to install electric street lighting….




The town even had their own Fire house equipped with the latest fire fighting equipment…. wonder how often this worked.??? For that matter I wonder how long it took to get to the fire…????



29 thoughts on “Kimberley, Northern Cape…

  1. Quite an interesting story and such a modest looking town for it to belong to. Nice documentary bulldog, I like the bartenders, Andy Warhol on the right, correct?

  2. Looking at Kimberley – it could be anywhere on North America as well. Not only its appearance, but its sad history of human suffering thanks to the greed involved in searching for the mother lode.

  3. Bellissimo questo post, ci hai fatto conoscere una pagina di storia che penso sia sconosciuta a molte persone. Bello l’aver conservato il luogo in modo da dare la possibilità alle persone di visitarlo (intanto me lo sono goduto attraverso le tue belle foto). Chissà se ci sono ancora dei diamanti… magari facciamo uno spedizione di ricerca 😆
    Ciao, Pat

  4. That is one amazing story. Kimberly does have a rich history. I just wish the wealth and prosperity was shared more and not only to a few My country also have some precious minerals mines but unfortunately a few powerful men monopolized them and the majority still remained poor. Just wondered what the cook got for discovering the big diamond. Wishing you and your family the joys of the coming holidays.

    • The cook probably got nothing at all… yes this wealth was robbed from the land and ended up in the pockets of the wealthy… who still today will do whatever they can to rape the lands of the minerals that the poor cannot afford to mine themselves… we have big mines in this country that are paying huge amounts of monies to their employees and sharing with them the profits that are being made… but unfortunately this is not all of them… but De Beers and Anglo American are those that are…

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