Nelspruit Lodge accommodates people from all over the country and because we are situated in a rich tourist area, we encourage guests to make the most of their time here by visiting various interesting places close to Nelspruit.
So while in Nelspruit for a few days, why not make a day of visiting Barberton? Barberton has a rich history, dating back to the 1880’s when it got caught up in the gold rush of that era.
Tom McLachlan discovered gold in 1881 in Jamestown in what is now Barberton, but due to the Malaria in the area, no-one wanted to go there. However, when “French Bob” (Auguste Roberts) discovered gold at Concession Creek in 1883, the gold rush went into overdrive.
Barberton got its name from Graham H Barber but it’s the people who lived there who gave this town its vibrant history.
Go getting ladies like Cockney Liz and Golden Dane were known for selling their “wares” to diggers and pilgrims alike. Much is said about their ill-reputed ways, but in actual fact, these ladies not only entertained the men but it is known that they also gave their time freely to help in hospitals. Golden Dane was one of the only people brave enough to nurse diggers in their tents where they lay dying from malaria. Golden Dane died in Barberton where she was found in a coma after contracting malaria herself. She died without anyone knowing where she came from and without anyone knowing her real name.
Cockney Liz is another known character that Barberton was once home to. She too gained an unseemly reputation that she didn’t quite deserve. But she became an astute businesswoman and made a success of herself nonetheless. There is no record of what happened to Cockney Liz.
Things To Do In Barberton
- Eureka City
Take a 4×4 adventure into the past and visit Eureka City. Approximately 20km from Barberton, this small ghost town was established in 1885 after the discovery of gold on the Sheba Reef. Although in its heyday it sported music halls, a bakery, three hotels and shops as well as a racecourse, all that is left is the ruins of the buildings.
- Guided Heritage Walk Through Historical Barberton
For a taste of the history of Barberton, take a guided tour through the streets of Barberton with a tour guide that can tell you all those little extra bits of information. The walk starts at the Barberton museum and goes past the Lodge of St Johns in the south. Next stop is the Blockhouse, which was built during the Anglo-Boer war by the English to protect the hospital and concentration camp. Built in the 1890’s Fernlea House is next on the list and it has been restored and now houses an exhibition about Rimer’s Creek.
Belhaven House Museum was built in 1904 and is today decorated in a way that displays wealthy middle-class living in the era. 700 meters from Fernlea House stands the Turbine that in 1931 purified the town’s water. A popular gathering place for the locals in bygone days, Rimer’s Creek sported a tearoom that attracted the local barmaids on Wednesday afternoons.
Stopforth House is beautifully furnished with its original furniture and cutlery. Only the façade of the De Kaap Stock Exchange has survived and can be viewed en-route. In front of the Town Hall is a statue of Percy Fitzpatrick’s faith dog “Jock”. Opposite the Town Hall, you can gaze at the English Lodge with its classical architecture. In 1896 the Kaapmuiden – Barberton railway line was opened and a steam train locomotive similar to those once used is on display nearby, and this marks the end of the walk.
- Gold Mine Tour
Take a tour of where gold mining first started in the area. At Agnes Gold Mine you will be equipped with gumboots, lamp and hardhat and taken into an active mine as well as an inactive gold mine. While you are there you can also try your hand at panning for gold.
- Historical Cemetery
Aptly situated at the end of Gospel Street, this cemetery has graves the date back to the 1800s.
- Barberton Garden Of Remembrance
A large military camp was established in the northeast of Barberton during the Second World War. Replicas of the regimental crests and badges of the South African units that passed through this area have been erected in this camp.