Peebles, Scottish Borders
South Africa 1901 - 1903
Lord Milner, Lord High Commissioner of South Africa appointed JB as a Personal Assistant in 1901 He sailed from Southampton to take up his appointment on 14th September 1901
JB together with three other members of Lord Milner’s staff, G C Sellar, Hugh Wyndham and Basil Blackwood set up home in “Wolffs House” in the Parktown suburb of Johannesburg
Wolff’s House
The entrance to Wolff’s House
The garden
JB and Hugh Wyndham in the garden
JB joined GC Sellar, Hugh Wyndham and Basil Blackwood as tenant’s at Wolff’s House.
Charles, the Groom with “Alan Breck” at Wolff’s House
Hugh Wyndham with “Alan Breck” and “Major”
“Alan Breck” with GC Sellar and C H Ardwell
Hugh Wyndham on “Major”
Lord Milner portrait
Possibly Lord Milner’s Residence
Cape Cart at Wyndhamsdorp
Robert Henry Brand (RHB)
Lord Basil Blackwood - Milner’s staff - killed in action 1917
The Hon Hugh Wyndham
Lt Leonard Brooke -ADC - later killed in action 1918
Major the Hon. W Lambton Military Secretary
Capt Henley ADC
H A Lester
C H Ardwell
E H Neal
F Peter Perry
The stoop of Wolff’s House
Wolff’s House
After a settling in period during which JB drafted reports for the High Commissioner, he was given two very different tasks and responsibilities. The first was to improve the conditions in the “concentration camps” and secondly the business of land settlement after the end of the Boer War. These tasks involved a deal of travel throughout Southern Africa
In August 1902, JB set off on a 10 day tour with 2 Cape carts,a spring wagon, 8 mules, 2 riding horses as well as a guide, 2 servants and a cook. He trekked west from Johannesburg to Klerksdorf, Lichtenberg, Malmani, Zeerust and Rustenberg ending up in Pretoria
JB was initially appalled by the conditions he met during his first visit to the concentration camps and thereafter had to decide how to improve water supply, sanitation, catering , hospital and financial management. Quite a challenge for a young 26 year old administrator.
Lord Milner’s Headquarters
The Land Department
The Market Square, Johannesburg
The Market, Johannesburg
JB, CHB and Mrs CHB
President Kruger
General Joubert
Portraits from JB’s Photo Album
Klerksdorp - first shop
Klerksdorp - circa late1890s
Three bush scenes near Komatipoort and a Corn field
The Komati River near Komatipoort and a wood pile beside a railway wagon
JB in hunting mode
JB at home at “Wolff’s House
A dry river bed
JB at the Waldheim’s - 1902
G C Sellar returning from lunch Lord Milner’s HQ, Johannesburg
Harry Wilson (FHW)
Irene Camp
Irene Camp
Cooking Ovens, Irene Camp
Sabbath Service, Irene Camp
JB also undertook treks north and east from Johannesburg to East Transvaal, to Zoutpansberg, Woodbush and Komatipoort which sits on the borders with Mozambique and Swaziland (now Eswatini)
JB was so taken with the Woodbush area that he wrote; “I resolved to go back in my old age, build a dwelling, and leave my bones there.” In his album he refers to many of the pictures of being around “Buchansdorp”.
The photographs which follow have been contributed by Mrs Lynette Davidson who operates an Azalea nursery at Haenertsburg. Miss Sheila Thomson has a neighbouring farm where tourists come to see azaleas, cherry trees and crab apples and rhododendrons in bloom. Miss Thomson’s grandfather, who worked at the forestry centre in the area met JB who was in an old woodcutter’s hut just above the current site of the Magoebeskloof Hotel. JB was on his trek to Woodbush in the north-east Transvaal which he describes in his essay, “The African Colony”.
Tennis Match, Irene Camp
Irene Estate
Irene Estate
Described as a Kaffir bride
Irene Estate
Six Mile Spruit, Irene Estate
Mountain Stream in the Hartebees Mountains, north of Pretoria
School Class, Vereeniging Camp
Hockey Match, Vereeniging Camp
Komati River
Railway Bridge, Komatipoort
Lebombo Hills, Komatipoort
Lebombo Hills, near Komatipoort
Ass and colt
Bush scene
Cut timber, Komatipoort
Railway Bridge, Komatipoort
JB and Capt Doyle
SAC Mess Komatipoort
Railway Station, Komatipoort
Customs House, Komatipoort
Pure bred Africander cattle
Swazis, Chrissiemeer
Florence Homestead, Chrissiemeer
Outspan in New Scotland (named by early settlers because of the mists)
Chrissiemeer and Township
View into Swaziland (Eswatini) from Bell’s Kop
View into Swaziland (Eswatini) from Bell’s Kop
RHB photographing local people
A country store between Piet Retief and Wakkerstroom
Ossewakop from north
Ossewakop from west
Transport at Edward’s Store
JB and Parsons
Swazis at Chrissiemeer
Swazis at Chrissiemeer
Swazi Dance
JB, Arthur and “Little Man”
Bush people
Maryvale Barn, our Outspan
Bushed. Arthur and JB on Bells Kop
Hamilton - (Von Ardt’s Farm)
Bush women
Wakkerstroom Mts from Volksrust
Stallions at a stud farm near Standerton
Majuba from Volkrust
Standerton Stud Farm
Wakkerstroom at daybreak
Breakfast near Piet Retief
View from Joubert’s Huyte
JB and pony
Leslie’s Farm, Amsterdam
A very old and large Baobab tree (There is a person in the photo to help gauge the size of the tree)
Swazis tribesmen
Stock at grass on the stud farm
Schoon Spruit near Klerksdorp
Main Street, Potchefstroom
Natives - W Transvaal
Diamond Diggers near Vaal Ouer
The Vaal River near Christiana in the North West Province
Dry Veldt, West Transvaal
View from Buchansdorp
Woodbush from Smith’s Drift
Morning : Woodbush
Helpmakaar Spruit
Groot Letaba
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Woodbush - hazy morning
Morning from Buchandorp
Shed/Farmhouse near Haenertsburg circa 1971
A memorial stone erected to honour JB near Magoebaskloof in 1987
Tzaneen - Agatha Forest
Magoebaskloof, Woodbush
Mrs Lynette Davidson
Miss Sheila Thomson
Some youngsters who work on the Davidson farm during school holidays to earn extra pocket money
An ox grazing in an arid area near Haenertsburg. Aloes in the background
Between Pietersburg and Haenertsburg on the way to Woodbush
Described as a misty morning but it looks idyllic
The area around Haenertsburg
“Shortly after dawn the next day we toiled to the top of a long hill and entered the Woodbush. A high blue ridge - The Iron Crown Mountain behind Haenertsburg - rose before us” This view from Lynette Davidson’s Farm
“ The mountains come into view a little way from Pietersburg but there are many miles of featureless High Veld to be covered before the foothills are reached. It was midsummer when I first travelled there and the dusty waterless plains were glazed by the hot sun. The Sand River filled with acres of fine sand, but not a drop of moisture, was not a cooling object in the scene…..”
Journey to Woodbush
“…but insensibly the country changed. Bold Kopjes of rose-red granite appeared on the plain”
A “rain shadow” area only 20 miles from Haenertsburg with Aloes, Euphorbias and thorn trees
The University of the North (Blacks only) . The Botany Dept is at the base of the Inselberg with a natural botanical garden on its doorstep
Pine trees on Lynette Davidson’s farm
Maple and Birch in Lynette’s garden