When I first made 'contact' with this town, that was in the mid seventies, it was nothing much to write about. A forgotten little place, trout fishing was just starting. Now it is the 'main industry' and the force behind the tremendous growths seen over the years.
There is no KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in this town, that is what we found when we were passing through on our way to Tondeldoos. Neither will one find any of the other chains and franchises like Pick and Pay, Wimpey, Spur, Clicks etc, not even a Spar. That has come about because some years ago the towns business people decided to keep them out to give the town a more classical character. And I have to admit, even as a supporter of the free market, it is a pleasure to walk though the centers and see the variety of offerings from different small businesses and shops.
A small town in the Eastern Transvaal, sorry for using the old name, that way I know where I am. It is more or less half way between Belfast and Lydenburg. At 25.4172°S, 30.1034°E and 2037m amsl, it's a cool place mainly because of its altitude.
The start to establish Dullstroom was actually made in Holland. A company had been formed there to encourage trade and colonisation with and in the Transvaal. A group of potential settlers came out from Holland in 1883 and travelled to the Transvaal under the leadership of J.H.Jansen. This group bought the farms Groot Suikerboskop and Elandslaagte for £5 per morgen. The town of Dullstroom grew from that.
The name it got from Wolterus Dull, a director (I presume MD) of the company. I don't think he himself ever came out to South Africa.
The dutch settlers brought their own church along, that was the Nederduits Hervormte Kerk. A church was built in 1891. It got burned down, I presume by the British, during the Boer War in 1901. The picture on the right shows the ruin. It was restored to its former beauty and put back into use in 1905. A lovely stone church using the natural stones available in the area.
Nice church, what I would call a majestic building, very pleasing to the eye. But first a bit of background. The NG congregation was formed in November 1916, ceded from parts of Roos Senekal, Lydenburg and Belfast. It was a very small congregation, initially only about 300 members, but still at their first bazaar they already collected £2300 to build a church. Until that happened they had permission to use the NH church for their services and occasions.
Already in 1920 they had a church of their own. The architect was Johannes Rienk Burg, a architect who immigrated from Holland in 1895. The NG church in Belfast was also designed by him.
What I call the town square is the square around the NH church.
It has some significant buildings, there is the hotel, The Dullstroom Inn, some shops and the most important the house where the council used to meet. I suppose it was the village management office. It is a now the museum, run by the Dullstroom Heritage Society. They also have a bookshop there.
Most of the information about the towns history I got from here.
The line is still in use, but the station is not. But here, at least, the rail ways have done the right thing and handed to station building over to people (not sure who) that are interested in preserving and restoring the place.
As a station this is the station at the highest altitude in the country, at 2076 meters, that is what the station board says.
1. "Ons Kerk Album van Hollandsche Kerken en Leeraren", publisher: unknown, printed in the 1920's
2. website NG Gemeente Duulstroom.
3. Information collected in the museum and info center of Dullstroom.