The tragedy of Tweespruit

Tweespruit was once home to top-qual­ity dairy prod­ucts, the world­fa­mous Bel­gian artist Fa­ther Frans Claer­hout and the old­est agri­cul­tural school in the Free State, but this pic­ture is very dif­fer­ent to­day…

go! Platteland - - ENTREPRENEUR -

The Free State is known as a place where peo­ple speak ei­ther Afrikaans or Sotho, yet in the vicin­ity of Tweespruit and West­min­ster you’ll hear a lot of English. There is a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion for this: after the An­glo-Boer War, Lord Al­fred Mil­ner and his friend the Duke of West­min­ster de­cided to es­tab­lish a com­mu­nity of English farm­ers in the Free State – as a buf­fer against the Boer ma­jor­ity, as well as to ex­per­i­ment with dif­fer­ent farm­ing prac­tices.

These im­mi­grants, mostly from Scot­land and the Bri­tish coun­ties of Nor­folk and Cheshire, were each given a farm of 500 mor­gen (about 430ha) in the Tweespruit and West­min­ster area, where most of them es­tab­lished dairy herds and pro­duced cheese and but­ter for their own con­sump­tion.

The town of Tweespruit grew out of a but­ter fac­tory that was built at Ea­ton Hall rail­way sta­tion in 1904. From December 1904 to June 1905, this fac­tory bought 30 tonnes of cream from 50 farm­ers and used it to make 12 tonnes of but­ter for trad­ing. The fol­low­ing year the num­bers in­creased to 120 tonnes of cream pur­chased from 156 farm­ers.

The suc­cess of the but­ter fac­tory re­sulted in the es­tab­lish­ment of Tweespruit Co-op­er­a­tive Dairy – Jenny’s great-grand­fa­ther, Arthur Carter, was one of the found­ing mem­bers.

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