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Webmaster's Note

No photographs, brochures, books, descriptions or web sites can truly capture the nostalgia, awe and shear admiration experienced when visiting Pilgrim's Rest.  There's a relic of the past around every corner.

You simply have to stay over with time to spare and cell phones switched off.

 

 
Things to See in Town

Information Centre
Friends of the Museum Shop
Anglican Church
Police Station
Church Bar
House Museum
War Memorial
Printing Museum
Catholic Church
Dredzen Shop & Museum
Methodist Church
Historic Cemetery
Thelwall's Museum
Diggings
Louis Trichardt Plaque
Alanglade House Museum
Joubert Bridge
  

  
 

 


Locate any site on our Town Map
(click map for larger image)

 

 

 
The Information Centre in Uptown Pilgrim's should be your first port of call.  Here you can pick-up all the maps and brochures, as well as tickets to the various museums and tours.  There is also a very interesting display on the geology, photographs, maps and other artifacts depicting the gold-mining history of Pilgrim's Rest.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 09:00 - 16:00
 

The Friends of the Pilgrim's Rest Museum is a voluntary, non-profit organisation run by locals to help manage museum matters, man the various museums after office hours, and train guides.  They also man a small shop in the Information Centre where they sell a number of historic books and pamphlets on Pilgrim's Rest and the region.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 09:00 - 16:00
 


 

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The oldest church building in Pilgrim's Rest still in existence and built in 1884.  View the original copper and lead glass window which was fully restored in 1919.  The organ in the church is over 100 years old.

 

 

 

 
The Police Station was build it 1902 and is, from an architectural point of view a magnificent building, built from local dolomite rock.  It is still used as the regional police station to this day.

It is located in Uptown Pilgrim's in a side street turning up at the Royal Hotel.
 

 
The bar at the Royal Hotel (Uptown Pilgrim's) was once the Roman Catholic Chapel of the St. Cyprian's School in Cape Town.  After it was bought, it was dismantled and loaded onto a boat; offloaded in Delagoa Bay (now Maputo harbour in Mozambique), and then transported by ox-wagon to Pilgrim's Rest.  The ox-wagon journey took six weeks and when the building was finally re-assembled in Pilgrim's, every screw fitted perfectly - ready for the first toast!
 

 

 


The House Museum  is a fine example of wood and corrugated iron architecture that is typical of Pilgrim's Rest.  This museum emphasises late Victorian styles in the decor and furnishings.

Doctor W. Secombe originally lived in what is now the House Museum.  It was built for him in 1913.  He later sold it to a lawyer, Mr. Blaine.  The decoration and furnishings are typical of upper middle class Victorian style of the early 1900s.  Tickets available from the Information Centre.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 09:00 - 12:45 and 13:45 - 16:00
Fees: R12/adult R6/kid
 


The War Memorial, across the road from the Pilgrim's and Sabie News, was erected in commemoration of the men from Pilgrim's Rest and surrounding area, who fought and died during the First and Second World Wars (1914-1919 and 1939-145 respectively).  It was designed by Mr W Dyke Poynter and built by a local building contractor, Mr. G. Beretta between September 1921 and May 1922.

The oak tree next to the War Memorial, was grown from an acorn from the Delville Wood battlefield, and was planted in 1965.
 

 

 

 
Stockbrokers, investors, the British and Boer Governments, and the general public were all anxious to learn of any news surrounding the new expanding goldfields.  This was the catalyst for the first local newspaper, "Gold News", published in 1874.  This newspaper was later called the "Goldfields Mercury" and then (in 1910) the "Pilgrim's and Sabie News".  The Printing Museum in Uptown Pilgrim's displays some of the equipment that were used to hand-print the news during the 1900s.  Tickets available from the Information Centre.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 09:00 - 12:45 and 13:45 - 16:00
Fees:  R12/adult R6/kid
 


 

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This building with its beautiful marble altar was built in 1928.  The German organ in the church dates to 1846.

 

 


The Dredzen Shop & House Museum depicts a typical general dealer shop for the 1930-50 era.  All items on display are from this 20-year period.  Attached to the shop is the residence of the shop owner, which is representative of a middle class family of the period.

 

 

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The Neo-Gothic style can be seen in the poised roof and windows, as well as in the design of the pulpit.  The church was built in 1911 and is till in use.  Services are held every Sunday at 10:30, and visitors are welcome.
 
Travel back in time and read the names of the cosmopolitan digger's community that once toiled in Pilgrim's.  Most of the graves mark the spot where those that did not make a fortune on the goldfields now rest in peace after a rough and short attack of "gold fever".  The few who made their fortunes left Pilgrim's while the going was still good.

One grave in particular stands out - it is the only grave facing in a different direction to all the others.  This is the grave of an unnamed robber that was caught stealing.  He was exiled from Pilgrim's, but his body was later found nearby. 
 

 
The Thelwall's Transformation museum in Down Town Pilgrim's Rest was opened in December 2011. The building, locally referred to as 'Thelwall's', is the first and only museum in the Down Town area. At present, a special exhibit on the Pilgrim's Rest Goldfields and the Sekhukhune Wars of the late 1870s can be viewed in the museum.

Thelwall's Fruitshop was the name of the business which operated from this premises in the late 1940s-1950s.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 09:00 - 12:45 and 13:45 - 16:00
Fees:  Free of Charge
 


Looking across Pilgrim's Creek to the opposite slope of the valley, one can still see how the earth was churned over in the digger's feverish search for gold.  The Diggings Site just outside the village is an authentic re-construction of how the whole valley once looked during the gold rush.  Here you will find the Gold Commissioner's hut, prison tent, transport wagon, sluice box, waterwheel, steam engine and stamp battery.  Daily guide tours, complete with a gold-panning demonstration, are on offer.  You can even try gold-panning hands-on to get a feel for it.  Tickets available from the Information Centre.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 15:00
Fees:  R12/adult R6/kid
 
 
In 1938 the centenary celebrations of the Groot Trek (Great Trek of the Boer Nation) was celebrated with a symbolic ox-wagon journey from the Cape.

Louis Trichardt was one of the great Boer leaders that visited the Pilgrim's Rest area in search for a route to the harbour in Lourenco Marques (now Maputo).

This monument was erected in remembrance of the 1938 Trek and is located on the banks of the Blyde River, across the Joubert Bridge.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Located just north of the village and build in 1915 by TGME (Transvaal Gold Mining Estates), this was the residence of the mine manager until 1972 when the last mine was finally closed.  This large and graceful double story building contrast sharply with most of the other corrugated iron buildings in town and is testimony to the high status that mine managers of the period enjoyed.

Today Alanglade is a period house museum and furnished with items from the early 1900s.  Guided tours of Alanglade can be booked (30 min in advance) from the Information Centre.
Hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00 and 14:00
Fees:  R20/person
 


Named after Mr. JS Joubert (the Mine Commissioner in the 1890s),  this stone bridge was built in 1896/7 over the Blyde River to link the town (via Robbers Pass) to Lydenburg.  It still serves that purpose today.  The bridge was partly washed away during heavy floods in 1909, but was promptly rebuilt.  It is located in Downtown Pilgrim's.
   

Webmaster's Note

Spare a thought for the tenacity, patience and endurance of the early diggers, miners and shopkeepers.

All their equipment and supplies had to be transported to Pilgrim's Rest by pack mules, or ox-drawn wagons.  Before the completion of the railway line to Graskop (8 km to the east) in 1914, most of it came from Lourenco Marques (now Maputo) in Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique), some 240 km to the east through some of the most hostile territory in Africa.

 
"You are never too late for the Gold Rush!"

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