Cullinan Historical Tour
Historical Tour of the Cullinan Premier Diamond Mine.
Cullinan History Tours and Cullinan Mine Village Heritage Tourism.
Private collection and drop off – supplied as a fully guided professional tour covering en-route as may be possible from collection to drop off. Not simply a point to point transfer with a driver.
Cullinan Historical Tour
The Cullinan village with many fine buildings surviving from the early days of the mine in the early 1900’s. Mc Hardy House – the first house built in Cullinan (1903) and preserved in original state. The Herbert Baker Anglican Church, Recreation Centre built in 1912 and the 1909 Masonic Hall.
Visit the mine hostels which housed the mine workers in the early 1900s, also preserved in their original state. See the Italian Prisoner of War Camp and Murals painted by POWs during the Second World War, Prisoner of War cemetery, the old hospital and the old mine compounds and other heritage sites in and around Cullinan Village.
The unique village of Cullinan (east of Pretoria), named after Thomas Cullinan, (one time bricklayer and later influential building contractor) bears the distinction of being the site of discovery of the world’s largest diamond.
A unique heritage tour of Cullinan’s history – an absolute must see!
Ekala Eco Tours offer Cullinan Historical tours as part of a Cullinan Mine underground or Cullinan surface tour.
Ekala’s Cullinan day tours are generally structured to spend some time covering the area historically. However depends on actual tour booked and time available/allocated.
To be able to structure a tour around your requirements and time available – we need to be supplied with clear timing and collection and drop off address – hotel name. If one of the points is the airport – I need full flight details. Once I have these it will be possible to quote/advise and structure a day or multi day package around your requirements/timing.
PERFECT TOUR OPTIONS TO INCLUDE WITH THE CULLINAN HISTORICAL TOUR TO CREATE A FULL DAY OR MULTI DAY TOUR PACKAGE.
- Cullinan surface tour – we recommend the surface drive – covers a far greater area of the mine and is thus able to go more in depth the mining process and the mines specific operations.
- Cullinan Underground Tour – this does take far more time than the above surface tour – so generally may only fit in a mini historical tour.
- Pretoria Tour – perfect with the surface tour – but can on occasions do a Pretoria drive through after the underground tour.
- Johannesburg Gold Tour.
- Sammy marks Museum.
Cullinan Mine and Village time line:
1859: The area registered as part of the Cornelis Minnaar Farm – no. 85 Elandsfontein.
1861: Portion of farm sold to Roelof Minnaar 1896: Northern part of this section of the farm sold to Willem Prinsloo for £570.
1897 Thomas Major Cullinan tried unsuccessfully to buy the Prinsloo farm.
1898: Willem Prinloo died – Maria Prinsloo became the new farm owner – this shortly before the out brake of the Anglo Boer War.
1898-1902: Anglo Boer War. 1902: The Prinsloo family was in a financial crisis – . Thomas Cullinan took advantage and started new negotiations to buy the farm – the family agreed to an outright sale for the sum £52,000.
1902: First registered as the Premier Syndicate, month later changed to the Premier (Transvaal) Diamond Mining Company LTD with Thomas Cullinan as chairperson.
1903: Prospecting started with William Mc Hardy becoming the first mine general manager, arriving in Cullinan with his wife and seven children.
1903: The open pit had already reached a depth of 15 meters, with a white workforce numbering 100. Many of these were soldier’s remain in South Africa after the recently ended Boer War.
1903: First steam plant, comprising of three rotary pans, known as No.1 gear, was commissioned.
1904: The Cullinan mine employed more than 2000 people.
1905: Diamond with the mass of 3,106 carats was found in the side wall of the open pit. The stone, named the Cullinan Diamond, was bought by the then Transvaal government.
1905: The mine second gear was constructed. Both numbers 1 and 2 gears would remain in commission until 1909.
1905 First school in Cullinan opened in a tent, soon to be moved to the newly built recreation club.
1905: The Cullinan hotel was built.
1905: Three rugby and two football team’s existed in Cullinan, as well as three tennis clubs in the Cullinan area. The premier Mine Golf course was opened by the daughter of the mine general manager.
1905: First burial in Cullinan. 39 of the first burials in Cullinan were for children younger than 1 year old. Cullinan’s cemetery has two sections, one for Catholics and one for everyone else.
1906: Close to three million loads of ground were extracted from the Premier Diamond Mine pit, yielding nine million metric carats of diamonds.
1906: Decision to build a dam for the mines use – at the point where the Bronkhorst and Wilge Rivers met, 26 miles from the Premier Diamond mine.
1907: Cullinan Railway station was built and the opening of the hospital, still today catering to the needs of the village and mine-workers.
1908: Cullinan Diamond cut by Joseph Asscher of Amsterdam and presented to King Edward. The Cullinan Diamond is still the largest gemstone ever found. The 2 main stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond are now found in the British Crown Jewels, the Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa. Are on display at the tower of London.
1908: The Presbyterian Church became the first church to be built in Cullinan.
1909: Masonic Lodge built and Premier Diamond Mine co-operative Society formed, building several shops.
1909: Number 3 and 4 gears were built and numbers 1 and 2 gears were dismantled.
1909: Recreation club burnt down due to a lightning strike. 1912: Recreation club rebuilt, a superb stone building.
1914: Over 3 hundred European employees of the Diamond mine were discharged for provoking industrial disturbances.
1914: Outbreak of World War 1 – diamond prices plummeted and the Premier Diamond mine suspended all operations. Forty-one men from the Premier Diamond mine died during the war.
1916: Production resumed at the Premier Diamond Mine.
1917: De Beers Consolidated Mines acquired the controlling interest in Premier Diamond mine.
1918: Cullinan village community tragedy affected by the world wide virulent influenza epidemic.
1929 Great depression – staring in America and affected the rest of the world.
1932: Premier Diamond mine suspended operations due to the world wide depression.
1933: The retrenched employees were allowed to remain in the Premier Diamond mine houses, rent free, and were provided with water, lights, sanitary and medical services free of charge.
1939: World War 2 – by this time the Cullinan Village virtually became a ghost town.
1941-1945 Cullinan housed the biggest concentration of Italian Prisoners of War, over 90,000 captured in North Africa. The entire Cullinan Village and all vacant houses were taken over for the South African War effort, including the golf course used for tents for the service men. The Cullinan Railway Station used for both the troops and the Italian prisoners of war. The Recreation Club was handed over to the YMCA for the duration of the war. Used as an entertainment centre for the troops, any show being performed in Johannesburg was also performed in Cullinan.
1942: Italian Prisoners of War artists painted eight murals, depicting items of South African and British historical interest in the Recreation Club Hall.
1945: The 12 years of accumulated water was pumped out of the big hole and the Premier Diamond mine resumed production and shafts were sunk were sunk for the first time.
1948: Recreational Hall converted into a cinema – covering the murals with boards to improve the acoustics.
1993: Hidden murals uncovered, thanks to the Cullinan Heritage Society.
1994 -1998: Murals restored with sponsorship from de Beers, Premier Diamond mine, and the Italian community.
2002: Premier Diamond Mine and Cullinan centenary celebrations begin with the opening of a ‘diamond hub’ by former President Nelson Mandela.
2003: Cullinan celebrated its centenary
2008: Petra Diamonds Limited acquired the Cullinan Diamond Mine.
2009: 507 carat Diamond found at the Cullinan Diamond Mine (now named Petra Diamond Mine). Named the Cullinan Heritage diamond, soon recognized as one of the largest found in the World.
2010: In the history of the Cullinan Diamond Mine, it has produced over 25% of the world’s largest and most famous diamonds over 400 carats.
Ekala Family & Guides
We pride ourselves on our extensive knowledge of South Africa and intimate knowledge of the tours, historically/culturally and wildlife safaris we offer. With our knowledge and experience, bringing a lifetime of experience in South Africa (and 4 generations before us) to ensure our clients capitalise best on their time and budget.
We personally conduct and organise all our tours and safaris as highly experience and professional guides.
Get an enhanced understanding of South Africa’s history and diverse cultures.
Full or Half Day Tours
personalised historic, cultural or custom Tours.
Personised Historic Tours
including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Gold, Diamond, Gauteng Aviation and Military History.
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Eco wildlife including Pilanesberg, Kruger National and Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Game Park.
Personised Cultural Tours
including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, Alexandra Township and local Cultural Villages.
including Sandton to O.R. Tambo Airport, Pretoria and Johannesburg Park Station Transfers.