In 1866 the first "pretty stone" was found by a young boy on the banks of the orange river. The rest as they say was history.
Colesberg Koppie, where in 1871 a labourer found diamonds, was dug away to create the Big Hole, the most famous diamond mine on earth. Tens of thousands of diggers from all over the world rushed to peg out the whole area and the entire hill quickly disappeared. Now the Big hole of Kimberley marks the spot where the rush started.
The chaotic assembly of diggers who lived in shacks and hovels (sometimes elevated to great wealth by a single fantastic find), was gradually replaced by a company owned by Cecil John Rhodes - the company called De Beers Consolidated mines Ltd still dominates the diamond trade today.
The Kimberley Mine Museum consists of original and carefully reconstructed buildings where a great deal of the city's past is preserved. The Big hole is an amazing sight, the largest hand-dug excavation in the world, it is 215 meters deep, with a circumference of approximately 1.6 Km (1 Mile). In the end 22.5 million tons of earth had been removed by muscle power!
Some of the places of interest are:
Revived in 1985, the tram service now operates daily between 09:00 and 16:15 between the City Hall and the Big Hole and Kimberley Mine Museum.
The Market Square
Located next to the City Hall and now a national monument. This was the trading hub of the old diggings.
Old School of Mines
The School was established in Kimberley in 1896, This building is now a national monument.
The Honoured Dead Memorial
Commissioned by Cecil John Rhodes, this memorial commemorates those who lost their lives during the 124 day siege of Kimberley during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War.
Square Hill Memorial
This memorial was erected in memory of the members of the Kimberley Cape Coloured Corps who died in the Battle of Square Hill during the First World War.