In the early 1800’s the Voortrekkers fleeing from the British ruled Cape and Natal arrived in Transvaal Republic. All they wanted was to farm in peace and as far from the British as possible. By the mid 1860’s The Four Farms around Benoni were established.
The Farm Benoni was originally uninhabited and deemed “Uitvalgrond”. The Four Farms surrounded this empty piece of land.
These four farms that surrounded Benoni Farm were:
- Rietfontein Farm
- Kleinfontein Farm
- Vlakfontein Farm
- Modderfontein Farm
Rietfontein was the first farm to be established on 11 September 1862. It was granted to D.J. Strydom by the Government. It covered approximately 1 118 Hectares.
The Apex Goldmine was started on this ground in 1893 . Coal mining starred in 1897.
Areas in the Rietfontein Farm – Dunswart, Benoni South Extensions, Actonville, Apex and Wattville. The remainder of the ground forms part of Brakpan.
A small spring was found by Johan Hendrik Botha a few miles North of Rietfontein. He bought the Farm from the Government in Febryary 1866 and named it Kleinfontein.
In 1895 after a few owners the farm was sold to G&F Syndicate. The prime member was George Farrar who knew there was a gold bearing reef in the South East corner of the farm.
Areas in Kleinfontein Farm – Farrarmere, Farrarmere Gardens, Northmead, Airfield, Goedeburg, Atlasville, Alphen Park, Lakefield. The land south of the spruit became Benoni Town, Western Extension, Westdene and The Stewards.
This farm was established in 1866 and was owned by the Nel Family originally and covered approximately 3 692 Hectares.
Sir George Albu, on this farm established the Van Ryn Gold Mines Estate. The Estate Manager planted acres of trees on the grounds. This area later became the Van Ryn Golf Course and is now the Benoni Country Club.
Areas of the Farm Vlakfontein – Rynfield, Morehill, Cloverdene, Boat Lake Village, Rynfield A/H, Fairleads A/H, Crystal Park and Benoni East A/H.
The farm was established by H.P van der Walt around 1873 and contained large deposits of gold. In later years it would house 5 wealthy Gold Mining Companies. Modderfontein covered approximately 2 974 hectares.
Willem Prinsloo became the second owner and later sold the farm to The Rand Mine Group.