THE JOHN BUCHAN STORY Peebles, Scottish Borders
Wolff’s House
JB together with three other members of Lord Milner’s staff, G C Sellar, Hugh Wyndham and Basil Blackwood set up home in “Wolffs House” in the Parktown suburb of Johannesburg
“Alan Breck” with GC Sellar and C H Ardwell
Hugh Wyndham with “Alan Breck” and “Major”
JB and Hugh Wyndham in the garden
JB joined GC Sellar, Hugh Wyndham and Basil Blackwood as tenant’s at Wolff’s House.
Charles, the Groom with “Alan Breck” at Wolff’s House
Lord Basil Blackwood - Milner’s staff - killed in action 1917
The Hon Hugh Wyndham
Major the Hon. W Lambton Military Secretary
Robert Henry Brand (RHB)
Lord Milner portrait
Possibly Lord Milner’s Residence
Hugh Wyndham on “Major”
Cape Cart at Wyndhamsdorp
The entrance to Wolff’s House
The garden
Lord Milner, Lord High Commissioner of South Africa appointed JB as a Personal Assistant in 1901
Lt Leonard Brooke -ADC - later killed in action 1918
President Kruger
General Joubert
Portraits from JB’s Photo Album
Wolff’s House
The stoop of Wolff’s House
Lord Milner’s Headquarters
The Land Department
The Market, Johannesburg
The Market, Johannesburg
JB, CHB and Mrs CHB
Klerksdorp - first shop
Klerksdorp - circa late1890s
H A Lester
C H Ardwell
Capt Henley ADC
F Peter Perry
E H Neal
Capt Henley ADC
In August 1902, JB set off on a 10 day tour with 2 Cape carts,a spring wagon, 8 mules, 2 riding horses as well as a guide, 2 servants and a cook. He trekked west from Johannesburg to Klerksdorf, Lichtenberg, Malmani, Zeerust and Rustenberg ending up in Pretoria
Three bush scenes near Komatipoort and a Corn field
The Komati River near Komatipoort and a wood pile beside a railway wagon
Harry Wilson (FHW)
G C Sellar returning from lunch
JB at home at “Wolff’s House
JB in hunting mode
JB at the Waldheim’s - 1902
One of the tasks which Lord Milner set JB was to improve conditions in the Concentration Camps. He was initially appalled by the conditions he met during his first visit and thereafter had to decide how to improve water supply, sanitation, catering , hospital and financial management. Quite a challenge for a young 26 year old administrator.
Mountain Stream in the Hartebees Mountains, north of Pretoria
Irene Estate
Irene Estate
Irene Camp
Irene Camp
Irene Camp
Cooking Ovens, Irene Camp
Sabbath Service, Irene Camp
Tennis Match, Irene Camp
Burghers carting wood, Irene Camp
Irene Estate
Described as a Kaffir bride
School Class, Vereeniging Camp
Hockey Match, Vereeniging Camp
Six Mile Spruit, Irene Estate
Irene Camp
JB also undertook treks north and east from Johannesburg to East Transvaal, to Zoutpansberg, Woodbush and Komatipoort which sits on the borders with Mozambique and Swaziland (now Eswatini)
Railway Bridge, Komatipoort
Lebombo Hills, Komatipoort
Komati River
Railway Bridge, Komatipoort
Bush scene
Cut timber, Komatipoort
Ass and colt
SAC Mess Komatipoort
Railway Station, Komatipoort
Customs House, Komatipoort
JB and Capt Doyle
Pure bred Africander cattle
Lebombo Hills, near Komatipoort
Swazis, Chrissiemeer
Florence Homestead, Chrissiemeer
Outspan in New Scotland (named by early settlers because of the mists)
Chrissiemeer and Township
View into Swaziland (Eswatini) from Bell’s Kop
View into Swaziland (Eswatini) from Bell’s Kop
RHB photographing local natives
A country store between Piet Retief and Wakkerstroom
Transport at Edward’s Store
Transport and JB
JB and Parsons
Swazis at Chrissiemeer
Swazis at Chrissiemeer
JB, Arthur and “Little Man”
Swazi Dance
Bush people
Ossewakop from north
Ossewakop from west
Maryvale Barn; our Outspan
Bushed. JB and Arthur on Bells Kop
Hamilton - (Von Ardt’s Farm)
Native women
Wakkerstroom Mts from Volksrust
Majuba from Volkrust
Stallions at a stud farm near Standerton
Standerton Stud Farm
Breakfast near Piet Retief
Leslie’s Farm, Amsterdam
View from Joubert’s Huyte
On the move
A very old and large Baobab tree
Stock at grass on the stud farm
Wakkerstroom at daybreak
JB and pony
Schoon Spruit near Klerksdorp
Main Street, Potchefstroom
Natives - W Transvaal
Diamond Diggers near Vaal Ouer
The Vaal River near Christiana in the North West Province
Dry Veldt, West Transvaal
JB was so taken with the Woodbush area that he wrote; “I resolved to go back in my old age, build a dwelling, and leave my bones there.” In his album he refers to many of the pictures of being around “Buchansdorp”.
Helpmakaar Spruit
View from Buchansdorp
Woodbush from Smith’s Drift
Morning : Woodbush
Groot Letaba
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Machabi Glen
Woodbush - hazy morning
Morning from Buchandorp
Shed/Farmhouse near Haenertsburg circa 1971
A memorial stone erected to honour JB near Magoebaskloof in 1987
Tzaneen - Agatha Forest
Magoebaskloof, Woodbush
Some youngsters who work on the Davidson farm during school holidays to earn extra pocket money
The photographs on this page have been contributed by Mrs Lynette Davidson who operates an Azalea nursery at Haenertsburg. Miss Sheila Thomson has a neighbouring farm where tourists come to see azaleas, cherry trees and crab apples and rhododendrons in bloom. Miss Thomson’s grandfather, who worked at the forestry centre in the area met JB who was in an old woodcutter’s hut just above the current site of the Magoebeskloof Hotel. JB was on his trek to Woodbush in the north-east Transvaal which he describes in his essay, “The African Colony”.
An ox grazing in an arid area near Haenertsburg. Aloes in the background
Mrs Lynette Davidson
Miss Sheila Thomson
Between Pietersburg and Haenertsburg on the way to Woodbush
Described as a misty morning but it looks idyllic
The area around Haenertsburg
“Shortly after dawn the next day we toiled to the top of a long hill and entered the Woodbush. A high blue ridge - The Iron Crown Mountain behind Haenertsburg - rose before us” This view from Lynette Davidson’s Farm
“ The mountains come into view a little way from Pietersburg but there are many miles of featureless High Veld to be covered before the foothills are reached. It was midsummer when i first travelled there and the dusty waterless plains were glazed by the hot sun. The Sand River filled with acres of fine sand, but not a drop of moisture, was not a cooling object in the scene…..”
Journey to Woodbush
Pine trees on Lynette Davidson’s farm
Maple and Birch in Lynette’s garden
“…but insensibly the country changed. Bold Kopjes of rose-red granite appeared on the plain”
A “rain shadow” area only 20 miles from Haenertsburg with Aloes, Euphorbias and thorn trees
The University of the North (Blacks only) . The Botany Dept is at the base of the Inselberg with a natural botanical garden on its doorstep