Edenburg
An online tribute to the small Free State town where I was born.


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Edenburg Town Hall - National Monument
Edenburg.
This is an online tribute to the small Free State town where I was born. A Cameo of the town if you will. Most of theinformation here has been gleaned from the web using Google.com as well as from notes taken on a recent visit.

Founded
Origin of name
History & Trivia
Economy
Location
Links
Accommodation
For The Hungry
To Do
Tourist Attractions
Tourist Information
Visit summary

Founded
The town was founded on 24 February 1862 when the farm Rietfontein was purchased to built a church. The first application for recognition as a town was turned down by the Volksraad, but proclamation was eventually granted on 4 March 1863. Municipal status was won in 1891.

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Origin of name
The origin of the name is unclear. The most likely explanation is that it is a reference to the Garden of Eden of the Bible. However, there are those who believe that it is an Afrikaans version of Edinburgh in Scotland or even referring to Edenburg in Holland.

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History & Trivia
A historic figure was; RAAL, Sarah (Mrs O.J. Snyman) (1873-1949) http://www.bowlerhat.com.au/sawvl/women-bio.html
Another famous resident, albiet for a short period was General C.R. De Wet, who shortly after he and moved to Puntjiesfontein, in the Edenburg district, from where he moved for the last time to Klipfontein, near Dewetsdorp.
http://www.bowlerhat.com.au/sawvl/dewet.html
During the Boer War some sections of the Elswick Battery were stationed there with 2 guns.
http://rapidttp.com/milhist/vol014lc.html
Also during this conflict some "native" women were imprisoned here.
http://ubh.tripod.com/etext/nl07.htm
During the 1940's there were rumors of oil having been found in the district and town.
"1940-0081-0005 OOR OLIENAVORSING, DORPSGRONDE VAN EDENBURG"
www.geoscience.org.za/reports/intreps.htm
Most recently On 19 November 1998, the Land Claims Court, sitting for the first time in the Free State, ordered the return of a section of the Bethany farm, situated in the Edenburg district, to its original inhabitants.
http://land.pwv.gov.za/landinfo/EDITORIA.htm

Some Members of parlement were;
SERFONTEIN, Jan Jonathan,
MP Edenburg [1932-1935], Boshof [1938-1948], Fauresmith [1948-1953], Fauresmith-Boshof [1953-1966], Minister Posts and Telegraphs [1954-1958], Social Welfare [1954-1958], Social Welfare and Pensions [1958-1966], Education Arts and Science [1958-1961].

BEYERS, Frederik William,
National Party MP Edenburg [1918-1929], Minister of Mines and Industry [1924-1929], Judge of Appeal Court [1932-1938].
So as one can see this little town has had its fair share of historic events and personalities.

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Location
Edenburg is situated 83km south-west of Bloemfontein. This typical Transgariep town, nestled in the grasslands alongside the country's busiest National road the N1, sets its own pace as a prosperous sheep and cattle farming centre. The district is drained by the Riet River and its many small tributaries.

Bloemfontein - N1 southern route Centrally located, Bloemfontein, the provincial capital known as the 'City of Roses', is the gateway to the whole of the Free State. Edenburg, south-west of Bloemfontein, boasts a Town Hall that is a National Monument while nearby is the Berliner Missionary Station, the oldest of its kind in the Free State.
Above and maps exerpt from;
http://www.south-african tourism.org/suggested_tours/free_state.htm
Courtesy;
http://www.south-african-tourism.org



Location of the Free State in South Africa



Location of Edenburg in the Free State - click image to view map (407k)

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Economy
The economy of the town and 2000 square km district is based mainly on sheep and cattle farming.

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Links
Some links.
http://www.travel-2-africa.com/freestate/Ednbrg.html
http://www.actstravel.com/html/edenburg.html

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Tourist Information
Tourist information.
(051) 743 1218

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Tourist Attractions
Berliner Missionary Station. The oldest of its kind in the Free State, located 16km north of the town.
Historical Graves at the Dutch Reformed Church and in the district.
Postal Coach Tracks, dating back to 21 February 1952.
The Town Hall, a National Monument, built with sandstone and brick.
The Blackbreasted Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis has been seen in the district on several occasions.
http://www.nasmus.co.za/ORNITHOL/FSBC/mir132a.html

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To Do
Golfing - Golf course (9 holes)
Birdwaching

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Accommodation
EDENBURG COUNTRY LODGE ** (Satour Accredited)
Country hotel for a unique rural experience. Comfortable overnight rooms, a la carte meals, Sunday buffet and swimming pool make it ideal for the tired traveller.
P O Box 168, Edenburg, 9908. 2 Church St, Edenburg( in town)
Rassie & Anita Erasmus
POSKRAAL FARM & GUEST HOUSE (Satour Accredited)
Family rooms. Quiet Karoo farm atmosphere, excellent for horse riding and nature lovers. Delicious home cooking.
P O Box 109, Edenburg, 9908. Poskraal farm, Edenburg (56km from Bfn on R706)
Isabel van der Merwe

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For The Hungry
Edenburg Country Lodge - A la Carte Restaurant, Sunday Buffet.
Impala Restaurant -


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Visit summary
Summary of my visit 2001-09-24 - Heritage Day
Setting out from Bloemfontein at about 10h30 with a cloudless sky on a glorious Free State spring day I did not have a clue of what to expect.
My route was via the Aliwal North/East London road to Reddersburg {Another place to visit?} and then west via the R117 to Edenburg, passing some tranquil farmsteads in the Riet River valley about 11k from Edenburg. This route goes through some "Randjieswereld" typical of the "Transgariep" region of the Southern Free State.
The first 10k or so I was struck by the fencing that had been carried away by squatters, this is typical around most towns, further than 10k is a bit too far to walk as the fences reapear at about this distance. Some of the telephone lines are also missing along the route.
Having had rain in the region the previous week made me realise how quickly nature recovers from winter, yellow "tulp" and gazania daisies were to be seen all over on the way there and the general state of veldt was looking good.
Arriving in the town I proceeded to the town hall, opposite is the police station and post office. Both in a very good state of repair, especially the police station with its white paint and pale green trim.
I then made enquiries at the police station as to the location of the nursing home where I had come into the world, the sergeant on duty had no clue as to the nursing home location, he was not even aware that such an institution even existed!
I then decided to do some more exploring, passing the municipal offices I noticed the front door was open. Much to my surprise I walked in on a crime scene! A detective was busy taking fingerprints and a great big hole had been made in the roof and ceiling by the perpetrators. However the town clerk said that not much was missing. They were also not able to indicate the nursing home either.
I then proceeded to drive around the dozen odd streets passing the quant Magistrates court (smaller than my house) the abandoned "white" school and hostel, such a shame to see these buildings unused.
By now I was getting thirsty and decided to pop in at the hotel as I had seen that the pub was open, here I was the only customer as the "locals" usually only start frequenting the bar from four o'clock in the afternoon. I did pick up some local gossip what with Big Brother blaring over the TV. A filmcrew was busy filming some Afrikaans writers book as a TV series on a farm in the district and had taken over most of the accomodation for the last 3 months, a much needed cash injection as I gather. The hotel is a double story affair with pressed steel ceilings in the older part. Cozy is the description that springs to mind. In general it was in a very good state of upkeep.
After finishing my beer I decided to walk it off and seek something to eat, up the road on the main "drag", wich is the only tarred street I went into the Impala Cafe, typical platteland cafe cum general dealer, the Hamburger consisted of 2 slices of toasted bread and a tasty pattie with the perfunctory slice of tomato and microwaved lettuce, not Steer quality but it filled the hollow spot and I suffered no ill effects.
I then did some more exploring by car, crossing the bridge to the Station but this was depressing as the whole area was dilapidated, if this is how the SAR plan to maintain their assets they will not have any assets left in a year or two, shocking!
Another part of the town that saddened me was a caravan/recreation park situated to the south west of the town on the banks of the spruit that seperates the station area from town proper, this had not seen maintenance for scores of years. An asset that was now a liability.
The general state of the town was good considering the financial constraints the council probably has to operate under. Very few houses were in disrepair and all seemed to be occupied.
The township was one area I had not explored but the very new school was quite impressive and seemed to be well looked after.
A Return visit during a weekday seems required to glean more information from the locals, I think an overnight stay in the Hotel would do the job as I am sure the talk at the local pub wil be enlightening as well.
I personally think the town has potential for revival if some plans are made, the revival of the "Wool festival" springs to mind as well as restoring the caravan park which has huge trees and would make a very sheltered overnight stop along the N1. Using the old school as a confrence centre is also an option. What the town also needs is a monthly tourist attraction, the district also has many possible locations for hiking and ecotourism type ventures. {I will let my mind take a whirl and forward my thought to the town council.
Driving back I encountered the typical Free State afternoon westwind, this made it rather unpleasant driving. I decided to turn off at Kafferrivier/Tierpoort and go and see what our old farm Avondale looked like, some of the damage from the 1988 floods was still visible! Big boulders and tree stumps still lay around in fields near the river. Many of the farms were also not in use and some farmhouses had been torn down since my last visit in 1988. I was not able to drive in at the farm and decided to head home, stopping at Toms Place on the N1 for a coke. A depressing but uplifting trip at the same time. Just the sort of jaunt one should take on Heritage Day.

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