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Location: Southern Transvaal (View location on map)

Minerals Worked: Coal

Principal Mines: Cornelia Colliery, Vereeninging Estates.

Background History:

In 1878 coal was discovered on the farm Leeuwkuil on the northern bank of the Vaal River on the border with the Orange Free State. News of this important discovery quickly spread in a region which at that time had little proven reserves of good quality coal, a commodity that was essential to support the growth of industry. 

Amongst those people drawn to Vereeninging by the discovery of coal was the partnership of Isaac Lewis and Samuel Marks.

Samuel Marks was born of Jewish parents in Lithuania in 1844. Due to the persecution of Jews in Russia he grabbed the opportunity to accompany horses to Sheffield in England and then remained behind. Sammy was given a set of knives by his future father-in-law and went on to Cape Town in 1868 to make a living as a peddler, where he was joined by his cousin Isaac Lewis. They became lifelong business partners. With the discovery of diamonds they went to Kimberley. There they became general dealers and took their place among the early diggers on the diamond grounds. They were among the earliest claim holders in the Kimberley mine. They had considerable success and established a good name for straight dealing in a community in which that habit was not too common. Eventually the partners, together with three others, owned a quarter of all the diamond claims at Kimberley.

On hearing of the discovery of coal in the Transvaal Mark and Lewis sold most of their claims at Kimberley and bought Maccauvlei and other coal-bearing farms on the banks of the Vaal River. Marks dreamed of creating a second Sheffield on the Vaal and shortly after their arrival began to mine coal, make bricks and plant trees under the direction of their newly found company, Vereeniging Estates. They were well received by the Boer people and Transvaal Government.

The Postcards

The webmaster knows of only one mining related postcard view from this area. This is a very unusual and ornate card which depicts a montage of named portraits of the management of Vereeninging Estates' Cornelia Colliery together with inset pictures of the mine's headgear and the native workers' living compound.

"Thumbnail" Images  (Note 1) Card Title or Description Card  Ref. No.
pc8.JPG (113391 bytes) Cornelia Colliery - Vereeninging Estates Ltd. - Montage of named photographic portraits of the colliery management team.   PC8


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

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