In 1884, Fred and Harry Struben discovered Johannesburg’s first payable gold seam at Confidence Reef in Roodepoort, a find that prompted other fortune seekers to rush to explore this part of the Reef. The Roodepoort Museum tracks this gold rush and the resultant development of Roodepoort from a mining camp into the municipality of Maraisburg in 1904, and then into a city in 1977. Here you will learn about the geology of the Witwatersrand and how extracted gold from these reefs created a unique history.
The Roodepoort area was inhabited as early as the Stone Age, and black cattle farmers built their first settlements here. Some pioneers who left the Cape Colony in the Great Trek of 1834 to 1840 settled in the area, and the museum’s mid-18th century Pioneer Farmhouse provides insight into the lifestyle of these early settlers, displaying the furniture and household objects of the farming society.
The late Victorian house showcases residents’ more opulent lifestyle after the discovery of gold. The décor is highly decorative and shows off inventions such the gramophone and early radio. The displays of 1920s and 1930s sitting rooms are also interesting, as they reveal changes in living conditions influenced by World War I.
Objets d’art abound in a display room of international objects, including decorative glass and porcelain from producers such as Royal Doulton, Meissen, Rosenthal, Royal Worcester, Wedgewood and Lalique. Art nouveau and art deco are the major influencing styles.
Aside from these permanent exhibitions, the museum hosts temporary exhibits such as Go for Gold, which is centred on precious metal and features a range of items, including gold nuggets. A collection of Victorian jewellery has also been on display at the museum.
Pensioners and teachers: R15
Children under 18: R10
By appointment only