Springfontein

History and Overview of Springfontein

Overview
Springfontein/ Maphodi is situated 150km south-west of Bloemfontein on the N1 and approximately 22 km south of Trompsburg. Access to the town is gained from N1 route between Bloemfontein and Colesberg…

Social and economic functions
The main social and economical functions of the town is to serve as (a) general agricultural service centre to surrounding farming areas, (b) social functions such as residence, education and medical services, and (c) transport support services on major route. Springfontein is an important railway junction. The lines from Port Elizabeth and East London to Gauteng converge here while another line runs west to the diamond-producing town of Koffiefontein via Jagersfontein and Fauresmith.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The town derives its name from a strong artesian spring on the farm Springfontein. Hartleydale, part of this farm, was chosen as the site for the new village in 1904. Municipal status was granted in 1912.

ARCHAEOLOGY AND PALAEONTOLOGY

San Rock Art: The San petroglyphs (engravings) in the area date back approximately 1 000 years.

HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE

Anglo-Boer War Blockhouses
Little remains but the foundations of the British blockhouses built next to the railway line during the Anglo-Boer War.

Anglo-Boer War Concentration Camp
The Anglo-Boer War concentration camp was established east of town. In 1901 it was hit by a heavy snowstorm that severely damaged the already flimsy tents that housed the women and children. The death rate in this camp was particularly high: a total of 704 people, mainly children, having died here. Concentration Camp Cemetery: More than 700 Boer and 300 British casualties of the Anglo-Boer War lie buried in the Concentration Camp Cemetery, together with the other casualties of war. Child victims of the concentration camp who were not baptized lie buried in a separate cemetery.

De Bome House
Emily Hobhouse stayed over in the De Bome house on her visits to Springfontein. Her humanitarian work in the concentration camps necessitated regular visits to the town.

Great Trek Memorials
Memorials and Ox Wagon Tracks, commemorate the centenary celebrations of the Great Trek of 1838.

Historic Washing Stone
The original washing stone used by inmates of the concentration camp, now a monument, serves as a reminder of the awful conditions that Boer women and children suffered in the camp.