The town was proclaimed in 1904 after coal had been discovered in the area. Six coal mines were soon opened but the coal proved to be of inferior quality, prone to spontaneous combustion.
Fortunately, the discovery of gold saved the “one-horse” town, which until then consisted of a few corrugated iron cottages, some general stores and small hotels. Surrounded by eight important gold mines Springs was, for a time, the largest single gold-producing area in the world. An interesting result of the gold discovery was the indelible mark that the inflow of foreign labour from such places as Wales and China left on the city and its people. When mining operations eventually declined, the town concentrated on industrial development and today, it is one of the region’s industrial giants.
Art And Crafts
Springs Civic Theatre: The three theatres of the Springs Civic Theatre regularly host ballet, drama, classical and contemporary music events.
Springs Library Art Gallery: The Springs Library Art Gallery hosts regular exhibitions of fine art and mixed media. Its motto has always been to give equal exposure to the works of aspiring young artists and established professionals.
Indaba Tree: In the nearby Kwa-thema Township stands a tree that has great significance for the local inhabitants. This tree, referred to as the Indaba Tree, was the meeting place of the community elders during the early years of the township and the place where matters of importance were discussed and finalised.
Fauna And Flora
Grootvallei/Blesbokspruit Wetlands Reserve: On the outskirts of the city, stretching over a 350 hectare grassland and “vlei” area on the Blesbokspruit, lies the Grootvallei/Blesbokspruit Wetlands Reserve. This wetland area has been acknowledged as a wetland of international importance, the only such site in Gauteng. The reserve is home to over 250 species of birds, both local and migrant. The reedbeds in the reserve provide breeding sites for the glossy ibis, sacred ibis and various species of egrets, herons and cormorants. Threatened species of birds found in the reserve include the little bittern, greater flamingo, baillon’s crake, the y ellow-billed stork, goliath heron, african marsh harrier and the maccoa duck.
Murray Park Leisure Resort and Alexander Dam: Alexander Dam features marked walking trails, a bird sanctuary and some beautifully manicured lawns. Murray Park Leisure Resort is situated on the banks of the dam and offers relaxation for the whole family.
Pioneers Park: Built around an ivy-covered mine shaft and featuring a tree-fringed lake, this park has lovely aloe gardens, a stone bridge, streams and fountains and a functioning, trueto-life, Dutch windmill.
President’s Park: This Park is an unspoilt piece of land where visitors can enjoy nature and partake in regular events such as horse riding.
Springs Park: For a scenic stroll or picnic, visit Springs Park for its intricate and spectacular man-made water system of streams and waterfalls.
Windmills: The Springs area is a tribute to the creativity of man. Many of its entertainment venues have been built on old mine dumps that used to disfigure the town, for example the Windmills, a charming water kingdom of fishponds and fountains.
History And Architecture
Art Deco Buildings: The central business centre boasts a large collection of Art Deco buildings. The total of 34 buildings is second to only Miami, Florida (USA). When you know the history behind this style of architecture, it gives you an entirely new perspective. The style was designed between the two world wars and symbolised women’s newly acquired freedom and the faith of man in technology. The marked Egyptian influence on the style is due to the discovery of Tutankhamen’s grave.
Tibbot Memorial: Erected in Ermelo Road, this Memorial is in memory of a son who lost his life in 1907 during unrest at the Great Eastern Mine in the area.
Voortrekker Monument: The sandstone Voortrekker Monument, on the corner of Sixth Street and Fourth Avenue, commemorates the Great Trek of 1838.
War Cemetery: The bodies of hundreds of soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the Allied Forces during the Second World War were brought back and buried in the War Cemetery.
War Memorial: On the corner of First Street and First Avenue stands the War Memorial, erected to honour those who lost their lives during the two World Wars.