Die geskiedenis van die Gatsrand vanaf die vestiging van die trekkergemeenskap omstreeks 1839 tot die proklamering van Carletonville in 1948
Van Eeden, Elize S
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The Gatsrand (as a series of ridges) is not only a well-known geographical feature in the Western Transvaal but also features prominently as a definite area in the settlement history of the Whites in the Transvaal. In fact, the first farms in this area were registered simultaneously with farms in the neighbouring Mooi River area. Due to the inhabitants' agrarian predisposition up to the early years of the twentieth century, agriculture and stock farming formed the basis of the area's economic infrastructure. Initially the Potchefstroom market was the nearest outlet for products. Later on products were also sold at Johannesburg, Randfontein and Krugersdorp. In the process of development of this enterprise, stock diseases, droughts, poverty and wars continually set the inhabitants back. Prior to the establishment of gold mines (since 1937) in the northern areas of the Gatsrand, which enhanced economic development, the area's development was mainly dependent on the subsistence needs of the surrounding towns. In this respect the building of roads to places like Krugersdorp, Randfontein, Pretoria and Johannesburg was beneficial to the Gatsrand as all these routes passed through this area. Administrative duties were initially performed by a field cornet and later by a justice of the peace, who was subordinate to the magistrate of Potchefstroom. In a similar fashion educational matters were handled by the Potchefstroom School Board. Until 1948, with the exception of Klipdrift School, there were only primary schools on several farms in the area which had from one to four teachers. With outbreaks of illness even the medical services in Potchefstroom rendered help in the Gatsrand. Inhabitants had to travel to Potchefstroom, some of them covering great distances, if they were in need of medical facilities. Initially the nearest centre for worship was also in Potchefstroom. The first congregation in the Gatsrand was founded in 1926 at Fochville with boundaries which included the largest part of this area. Since 1937 gold mine development has provided definite advances in local development. Up to 1948 six towns had been proclaimed, congrega tions were formed, houses and roads were built to accommodate the gro wing number of inhabitants. This resulted in the establishment of numerous enterprises. The number of pupils increased and smaller schools had to amalgamate with larger schools. By 1948 it was apparant that the development in the Gatsrand would be phenomenal due to the rich discoveries of the then established gold mines.
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