Southern Transvaal


The province traditionally stretches fro the Vaal River in the south to the Jukskei River in the north, 

The social history of the Southern Transvaal, based around Johannesburg, and that of the Northern Transvaal, where Pretoria is the capital, is markedly different.

Pretoria, founded in 1855, was the seat of the Transvaal Republic (ZAR) government, and the home of President Paul Kruger. Dutch/Afrikaans language and strict adherence to Protestant Dutch Reformed Church religious ethics ruled the country before it was conquered and incorporated into the British Empire.

Johannesburg was the spawn of the gold mines owned by Uitlanders - foreigners - who flooded into the area from all corners of the earth after gold was discovered there in the mid-19th century. Although governed by Pretoria, it was ruled by the entrepreneurial Randlords, who controlled the mines.

Johannesburg is located at the northern-most point of the gold Reef - known as the Witwatersrand, which stretches southwest into the Orange Free State. Mining towns developed along Reef, although few towns developed north and south of Johannesburg, which remained mainly agricultural and Afrikaans. The Reef towns were predominantly English. This cultural difference had a big impact on the development of schools - and sports - in the various provinces.

With its numerous well-developed schools and sports clubs, the Transvaal has always been a powerhouse of South African sports. In 1888 an English cricket team toured in the Transvaal (although not the Orange Free State Republic), winning their match in Johannesburg, where they played at the Wanderers Club.

The towns of the Southern Transvaal included:

 

Johannesburg

The province centres around Johannesburg. The iconic Ellis Park rugby stadium and adjacent pool seen bottom left.

Randburg

Randburg was founded as a town in 1959, as the amalgamation of 32 suburbs, northwest of Johannesburg. Although economically linked to Johannesburg, residents chose to create their own town council. The resident demographic of Randburg tends to be more affluent than most of Johannesburg. It is still predominately occupied by white English and Afrikaans suburban citizens.

Sandton

Sandton is an affluent area located north of the city of Johannesburg.

Midrand

Midway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, the area was known as Halfwway House. It was a rural backwater along the Ben Schoeman highway - home to the Lipizzaner horses and the Kyalami Formula 1 race track. Today it is a sprawling mix of densely packed secure walled private estates and commercial properties located between the N1 Ben Schoeman highway and the old Pretoria road.

Smaller centres

1953 – Alberton - water polo was actively practiced at the Wally Bosworth swimming pool, with Messers Parks, Bosworth and Jubber the coaches those days. 

1954 – A big swimming gala in the Alberton swimming pool was one of the first items of the Alberton half century festival in the first week of November.

1954 – SA Commonwealth Games swimmer Natalie Myburgh in action in Alberton.