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The Barkly West Museum, Diamond Fields Region, Northern Cape

Barkly West Museum, Diamond Fields, Northern CapeThe Barkly West Museum is a treasure trove of information about the early history of alluvial diamond mining in South Africa. It is fitting that such a museum be located in Barkly West, as it was both the site of the first exploration of alluvial diamonds in 1870, as well as the bustling centre of the river diggings that stretched some 40 miles along the Vaal River. At the museum, you will find out about the early mining methods, life on the river diggings, diamond trading and the politics of this area.

The museum is largely based on the collection of mainly minerals and archaeological finds gathered in the earlier twentieth century by Mining Commissioner Gideon Retief.

Barkly West Museum, Diamond Fields, Northern Cape, DisplaysThe information panels, which were created by Kimberley’s McGregor Museum, describe the area’s pre-colonial history as well as the alluvial diamond diggings and the origins of the town. The displays, which complement the information panels, comprise exhibition cabinets on local geology, archaeology and historical artefacts.

Interestingly, the museum also includes displays of Cecil John Rhodes, who was the Cape Parliament’s representative for Barkly West until his death in 1902.

The Barkly West Museum is housed in the old Toll House building, standing beside the Barkly Bridge, on the outskirts of the village. The Toll House and the bridge, built in 1885, and were proclaimed national monuments in 1968.

More on the quaint town of Barkly West More on the Diamond Fields area

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