BRITISH ASSOCIATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
|WITH THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION IN SOUTH AFRICA.|
By PROFESSOR ERNEST W. BROWN,
PRETORIA, the capital of the Transvaal, presents the greatest contrast to its ambitious neighbor forty-five miles away. Although it is 4,500 feet above sea level, nearly the average of the rest of the colony, the hills which surround it give the impression of a rather low situation, but it loses nothing from the numerous blue gums, willows and other trees which are to be found everywhere in the city. The chief interest to a visitor naturally arises from its past history and its connection with the last president of the South African Republic. The fine Parliament House and Law courts are imposing beside the many one-storied houses which constitute the greater part of the town; nearby are Kruger's house and the church which he attended. In spite of the fact that Pretoria was down on the program only as an excursion from Johannesburg, its residents were not behind those of other towns in making hospitable arrangements for such as were able to take advantage of them; perhaps the most fully appreciated was a cross country 'Trek' to Mafeking which will presently be described.
A few miles to the north lies the new Premier Diamond mine, a wonderfully rich pipe of yellow, red and blue ground which a short time ago produced the largest stone ever discovered. It is less than three years since the place was bare rolling veld; now there is a hole over seventy acres in extent and forty to sixty feet deep surrounded by machinery and a high barbed-wire fence. The statistics given to us showed that already more than a million carats of diamonds have been taken out and that test borings down to a thousand feet exhibited ground similar to that near the surface. An invitation from the management to lunch and to an inspection of the mine was accepted by at least a hundred and fifty members. It was amusing to be with and to watch the party, guided by Mr. Cullinan, the original discoverer, and his staff, wandering through the diggings and examining the ground, evidently in the hope of discovering another Cullinan diamond; and later crowding round the tables on which the concentrates were spread for examination—the stage where mechanical treatment ends and hand labor begins—and picking out a few small stones. This final process is shortly to be replaced by a mechanical one based