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”

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”

A Harem in Harrismith?

You know that mansion Mal Jurie is building on his farm? It’s a harem! A what? A HAREM! A place where you keep lots of ladies in rooms and they lie around swimming and eating grapes and looking beautiful. When they do have clothes on its not clothes like your mother wears. He says he’sContinue reading “A Harem in Harrismith?”

from Buckland Downs to the ‘Fitzstitute’

In October 1902, just four months after the end of the Anglo-Boer War, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick bought the farm Dreyersgeluk near Verkykerskop in the Harrismith district from the insolvent estate of Petrus Dreyer. Fitzpatrick got Herbert Baker to design a fine sandstone homestead and assist him in building it in 1903 ‘but without full professionalContinue reading “from Buckland Downs to the ‘Fitzstitute’”

The Subway

Greg Seibert arrived in Harrismith from Ohio in 1972 as a Rotary exchange student. In 2014 he was sending sister Sheila some of his pictures from those wayback days. He wrote: Here is one I’m sure you will like. It is one of the very first pics that I took in Harrismith, probably the dayContinue reading “The Subway”

Home-made Bound

Three Norwegians in Witsieshoek were homesick and probably horny. They longed to go home to Norway, so they rode their horses to Port Natal, bought a ticket on a sailing ship and off they went, right? Actually not. They decided they would build their own ship in the veld on their farm Bluegumsbosch in theContinue reading “Home-made Bound”

Arthur Kennedy

Arthur Kennedy arrived in Harrismith like a dwarrelwind. Why we were so lucky as to get Arthur to our town I don’t know, but I think his wife Zita had family here. I think she was related to the Kerkenberg mountain vd Bosch’s. He brought an exciting new venture to the dorp: A new motelContinue reading “Arthur Kennedy”

Harrismith & District Gymkhanas

Dad remembers the gymkhanas he took part in and so enjoyed in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. They were held in Harrismith, Eeram, Verkykerskop, Mont Pelaan and Aberfeldy; and on the farms Appin near Swinburne, Primrose near van Reenen, and Maraishoek. The entry fee was one pound per event – and prize money wasContinue reading “Harrismith & District Gymkhanas”

Platberg Shellhole

We always called it The Moth Hall, and for a while it was where Dad was probably drinking. But it was more correctly called Platberg Shellhole of the M.O.T.Hs – The Memorable Order of Tin Hats. And there was an older shellhole before that one – an older ‘Moth Hall’. It was down near theContinue reading “Platberg Shellhole”