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Vaal Marina

Vaal Marina entranceVaal Marina, a relatively new settlement at the shores of the Vaaldam. It's geo-position: 26.8749°S, 28.2303°E and 1504m altitude. When it started, I am not sure and I have no information. I think it was in the 70th of the last century. The development was mainly aiming at people with water sport interests to have a second home on the dam, a place that could later become the retirement home. According to Wikipedia it had 701 inhabitants in 2011. It will most likely be less now, as one estate agent told us, sales are not going well
Because of the 'newness' of the place I wasn't going to write about it, but there is some history in the vicinity which I have to relate to some place. This is history related to an event that happened here at the river crossing called Lies Drift. The event was the killing of Captain Elliot at this drift. The story can be found at the Heritage Portal. And also at Oranjeville. To understand what follows you have to check out these hyperlinks, and read the articles.

Lies Drift

Lies Drift is where the tragedy of the killing of Captain Elliot took place. The drift itself is, of course, completely under water now. The exact position is not known, a good candidate is from the end of Sailfish street over to Bultkop on the Freestate side. The name Lies Drift was used by Eugene Marais in his account of the tragedy as reported in the Star newspaper in 1927. Looking at old maps we find different names, Luces Drift on the 1889 Jeppy map and Luise's Drift on the 1881 military map of the Transvaal.
There is also an other story around this drift told in Eugéne Marais's book (Ref 1). There was going to be a wedding with the bride coming from the Freestate marrying a bridegroom on the Transvaal side. The river was flowing strongly and the bride and some wedding guests were traveling in a light wagon drawn by 6 horses. The current was too much and with the groom and other guests looking on the wagon and the bride disappeared under the raging waters. It is said that the bodies were never found.
We have no information when that was and who the people involved were. I would speculate that the bride-to-be's name was Luise.

Lombard graves and homestead

Vaal Marina Lombard gravesThe graves and the ruined homestead are on the portion of the farm Koppiesfontein between Vaal Marina and the road to Villiers R54. On the picture the first grave on the left is that of Barent Jacobus Lombard who was born on the 5 October 1844 and died 24 November 1933. He was a younger brother of Hermanus Stephanus Lombard, the person who had a role in the tragedy at Lies Drift.
Vaal Marina Lombard houseThe stone to the right is nearly impossible to read, I can make out an A and a K and the name Lombard, this would have been Anna Katrina Lombard, the second wife of Barent.
The ruin would have been the house where Barent Lombard lived with his family. An observation, this could well have been the house where Hermanus Lombard met the two British officers, Elliot and Lambert. In Eugéne Marais article it says that the house was about 2 miles from the drift. Checking this on Google Earth I get a distance of 2.3 miles.

Ref 1.: Eugéne Marais, "Sketse uit dieLewe van Mens en Dier", Nationale Pers, 1928

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