History of Dullstroom

Paul Kruger encouraged emigration to South African Republic (the old Transvaal) and to this end support committees were set up throughout Holland.

Wolterus Dull set up a company in 1883 with the purpose of strengthening the relationship between Holland and South African Republic. This company then bought two farms, Groot Suikerboschkop and Elandlaagte, with the view to create up a settlement for the emigrants. The first Dutch settlers arrived in the period 1884 to 1887. Wolterus Dull visited in 1890 and found that the settlers had founded a small village.

British war graves on the estate
circa 1900

In 1892 Paul Kruger proclaimed the village as a town and it was originally given the name Dull-stroom after Wolterus Dull and the nearby Crocodile River, or stream and therefore stroom in Dutch / Afrikaans. The name later reverted to the more well known Dullstroom.

The town continued to grow until it was occupied by the British soldiers in May 1900 during the Anglo Boer War. As part of the British scorched earth policy the town was destroyed and the woman and children placed in concentration camps. Many never returned.

British fort on the estate
behind the graves

In August 1900 at the battle of Dalmanutha and in December 1901 at Elandspuit, where Long Tom cannons were used, British and Boer suffered casualties. Guerilla skirmishes took place in the surrounding area during the rest of the war. At the end of the war survivors from both sides returned and began to rebuild the town.

Trout fishing started at the beginning of the 1900’s when J Gurr, the Lydenburg postmaster caught a trout looking fish in the Dorps River. Fingerlings from the Cape Winelands were introduced in 1916 in local streams with F C Braun, a watchmaker and jeweler, continuing in the task of stocking the streams. The first fingerlings were introduced in Dullstroom in 1927 in the old municipality dam while the current municipality dam was stocked with 17000 fingerlings in 1965.

So successful were these efforts that today Dullstroom and surrounding area is considered to have the best trout fishing facilities in South Africa and is often considered as another suburb of Sandton.