MEMORIES OF NORVALSPONT
The article about Norvalspont in the Spring 2017 issue of Platteland – and specifically the picture on page 51 of the two bridges across the Orange River – had me travelling far back in time. My father manned the pump station and treatment plant that provided water to the steam trains and the village from 1961 to 1973. In the picture, the zinc roof of the pumphouse is clearly visible.
In the pumphouse were four Ruston & Hornsby diesel pumps, and there was a deep well sunk down to the level of the river bed that you could climb down to see the pistons in action. The pumphouse was my dad’s pride and joy, and the interior and floors were kept sparkling clean.
The English fort just behind the pumphouse was a popular playground for us kids, and my dad’s vegetable garden and his fruit trees provided our basic necessities.
It was a spectacle of note to see the volume of water coming down when the river was in spate, before the Gariep Dam was built.
In those years, Norvalspont was a close-knit, busy farming community with a twoclassroom primary school under the command of Mr Connie Stander, a police station (Sergeant Frank Lotter), a busy road transport distribution warehouse, a station manager, a general dealer (Mrs Lotter), a hotel (Oom Eben van der Walt) and a post office (Shorty Cornelius).
On walks in the veld as a kid, I used to pick up all kinds of pottery shards at the site of the Anglo-Boer War concentration camp at Norvalspont. An interesting fact is that the journalist, poet and author CM van den Heever was born in this camp.
Frans Palm, LANGEBAAN