HEIDELBERG, a beautiful small town, lies on the eastern side
of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve next to the N3 Highway
south and a short drive of 45 minutes from Johannesburg in the
Suikerbosrand was, after Potchefstroom, the first area where
Europeans settled in the Transvaal.
Most of the Settlers came from Beaufort-West and their
surnames are still used in some of street names of the town.
In 1836 groups of the Voortrekkers come together at the farms
Blinkpoort and Lagerspoort about 10km outside the main town
where they started farming with cattle and sheep.
After 1859 a part of the farm Lagerspoort was used for the
layout of the town – by command of HJF Ueckermann. In 1860 the
owners of the farm applied for a permit to start the town
The first church was built in 1864. the first school in the town in 1867, the prison in
1869 and retail stores commenced to open for business in the
centre of the town.
From 16 December 1880 until 1883, Heidelberg became one of the
most well-known towns during the Boer War and became the
capital of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, under the
Triumvirate of Paul Kruger, P.J. Joubert and M.W. Pretorius.
This typical Victorian town developed during 1890 and 1910
when the Witwatersrand Gold Reef was discovered during 1885.
Many buildings dating back to the period between 1890 and 1910
have been preserved.
The Post and Telegraph Offices were built in 1897, and later
demolished in 1940 to accommodate the Municipal Building.
Dr AG Visser - Afrikaans author and medical doctor was one of
the well-known people that lived in Heidelberg.
Johanna Brandt, author of "The Petticoat Commando" was also
born in Heidelberg.
After the Boer War, Ds AJ Louw started a school in the cellar
of the Klipkerk and this developed into a CNO School and
eventually Volkskool in 1906.
Apart from agriculture and teachers training, which were the
main reasons responsible for the development of the town, Heidelberg has
become renowned for large international manufacturing
companies which commenced business in recent times and on which
most of the local economy relies today.
Acknowledgement: Riekie de Wet