Harrismith Author Leon Strachan

Harrismith History – Free State Fables – Rural Legends . . well told. Harrismith has had a few published authors over the 171 years of the town’s existence. One day I’ll make a list. The best by far is Leon Strachan – imho of course! I have four of his books and am searching locallyContinue reading “Harrismith Author Leon Strachan”

Caveman Spies in Engels

Four Spies brothers lived in the Harrismith and Kestell district. These broers had very different personalities; it was said Andries fought for the Spies clan, Hans cursed for them, Frikkie drank for them and Martiens prayed for them all. Harrismith’s historian Leon Strachan has kept this lovely tale of an amazing Eastern Free State characterContinue reading “Caveman Spies in Engels”

Caveman Spies – by Leon Strachan

Harrismith has always had Spies families. The ones I remember were horsemen; or at least, the times I saw them they were usually riding horses at our agricultural shows, playing polo or competing at gymkhanas. Leon Strachan, Harrismith’s historian, tells of one family of four brothers who all had different characters or traits – andContinue reading “Caveman Spies – by Leon Strachan”

Polo in Harrismith

The first recorded polo game in South Africa took place in October 1874 at the King Williams Town Parade Ground between the Gordon Highlanders and the Cape Mounted Rifles. The Military Ninth Division played during the 1880s at Harrismith, Orange Free State. Polo was played in Cape Town in 1885 at a club formed byContinue reading “Polo in Harrismith”

A Slice of Vrystaat

I was born in Harrismith in 1955, as was Mom Mary in 1928, and her Mom Annie in 1893. Annie thought “the queen” of that little island left of France was also the queen of South Africa (and for much of her life she was right!). To balance that, there’s this side of the family.Continue reading “A Slice of Vrystaat”

Balmoral Dam

Hector and Stella, Ian and Bev and Tabs – all or some of them! – built a large dam on the Swartspruit, a tributary of the Wilge river on Ian and Bev’s farm Sarclet. The Fyvie’s Balmoral dam – If you build a dam you need a boat and Tabs found one in Howick, goingContinue reading “Balmoral Dam”

Kleinspanskool

This used to be something else, I think, but in our time it was the junior primary school. Occupying a full block between Stuart and Warden Streets near the centre of the metropolis, our Sub A to Std 1 classes were here. Except if your Std 1, 2 and 3 was all together in oneContinue reading “Kleinspanskool”

Early Bird Book

Way back around 1968 a new book appeared at 95 Stuart Street Harrismith. I was fascinated. Nearly as fascinated as I’d been when cousin Jack read Valley Of The Dolls from the big wooden bookshelf in our long, dark, carpeted passage. That novel must have been good, as Mom actually physically took it from me,Continue reading “Early Bird Book”