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Location:  Central Transvaal (View location on map)

Minerals Worked: Coal and silica

Principal Mines: Premier Coal Mine / Delmas Colliery.

Background History:

The development of the Witbank Coalfield in the early 1900s necessitated a more direct rail link to allow its output to be supplied to its primary market on the Witwatersrand Goldfield.

In 1906 a railway line was opened between Apex and Witbank, crossing the Witklip district where coal was discovered on Brakfontein, a farm belonging to Mr. N.C. Erasmus.

In 1907 the surveyor, Ewan Curry, instructed by Frank Campbell Dumat, laid out the plan for the future township of Delmas on what was then the farm of Witklip. The name "Delmas" was taken from that of a small farm in France that had belonged to Dumat's grand farther. The town's original layout consisted of 192 plots together with commonage of 138 hectares and 48 small holdings.

By 1909 The Delmas Estate & Colliery Company was mining for coal in the district. The same year the Transvaal Government acquired the adjacent farms of Strydpan and Stomiesfontein. The land belonging to these farms was divided into 85 holdings for white settlers. In 1917 a Health Committee was was formed which was succeeded in 1944 by a Village Council. Delmas was officially proclaimed a town in 1954 and by 1965 had its own town council.

In addition to coal high grade silica is also mined in the vicinity of Delmas.        

The Postcards

The following extremely faded group of cards were recently brought to our attention. They originated as a group in an archive of family paperwork in England. Despite their very poor state of preservation we believe they are most worthy of mention as, according to the contemporary messages written on their reverses, they report to show various views of the Premier (Coal) Mine at Delmas. As yet we have been unable to track this particular colliery name down from any historic records. However, what is certain is that Delmas was and still is a rural town with coal mining connections. It is almost certain that the series of postcards is unique in that they capture the very beginnings of Delmas' economic association with coal mining.  

"Thumbnail" Images   (Note 1) Card Title or Description Card  Ref. No.
Premier Coal Mine  PC
Premier Coal Mine workers homes, miners compound and recreational area PC
Premier Coal Mine (screening) plant under construction PC
Premier Coal Mine PC


1) For further information and enlarged views of each postcard click on any one of the above images.

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