Did you know? (2): What happened to the Amawasha and the Auckland Park Steam Laundry?

In 1896 there were over 500 Amawasha living close to the spruit near Richmond. The Amawasha were unique in the labour history of South Africa.

They were Zulu-speaking men who had learned laundry skills from the Indian ‘dhobis’ who washed clothes in the Umgeni River. They came to Johannesburg in the early years of its mining history to provide a manual laundry service to the miners. They were self-organised into regiments and wore a uniform with distinctive turbans modelled on those of their Indian counterparts. You can read more about the Amawasha here.

The Amawasha were eventually displaced by the commercial Auckland Park Steam Laundry in 1896 whose buildings stood on the corner of Barry Hertzog and Napier Road. The Laundry operated until 1962.

In 2008, residents returning from their Christmas holiday were surprised to see that this historical site was being demolished by a company that had bought the property. This led to a public outcry.

Finally, at the end of 2014, an agreement was reached with the company to rebuild the most important of the historical buildings. Read the Johannesburg Heritage Foundation’s press release of 1 December 2014 for more details on what is proposed.

Amawasha washing laundry in a river

The Rand Steam Laundries


APRA website

The APRA website has now been populated.

The home page is a blog site where notices will be posted.

Depending on your screen viewing option, you will find a list of pages either in the left-hand column, or in a menu on the top right. These store information useful to residents (such as contact details for complaints, policy documents etc.).

You will also find a list of ‘Categories’ which will take you to any notices under the theme category. If you click on a category, all the notices under that theme will pop up.

If you want to get the notices by e-mail you need to subscribe via the ‘Follow’ button (on the bottom left or top right of the screen). There will be some cross-posting to the Facebook page and regular e-mail list.

Out and about (4): religious institutions in Auckland Park and Brixton

Auckland Park has fourteen (or probably more) places of worship representing its multi-faith community. Many are open to visitors.

  • Anglican Church, 8 Walton Ave, Auckland Park
  • Melville Junction Church, 5 Sunbury Avenue, Auckland Park
  • Theosophical Society, 31 Streatley Ave (cnr Lothbury Avenue), Auckland Park (which also once housed Jo’burg’s first Buddhist Centre)
  • AGS Church and Seminary, Cnr of Richmond Ave and Cookham Rd, Auckland Park
  • Auckland Park Masjid, 46 Richmond Avenue, Auckland Park
  • Melville Union Church, 45 Ditton Ave, Auckland Park
  • Jesuit Institute, 15 Molesey Ave, Auckland Park
  • Brixton Church, 43 Putney Ave, Auckland Park
  • Brixton, Johannesburg Church of Christ, 88 Barnes Road, Brixton
  • St Nicholas Orthodox Church, 156 Fulham Road, Brixton
  • St Augustine’s, 108 Fulham Road, Auckland Park
  • Islamic Centre, 114 Caroline Street, Brixton
  • 14 Methodist Church, 114 Caroline Street, Brixton
  • Masjid Islam, Cnr of St Albans Ave & Indra Street, Brixton
  • Brixton Hindu Crematorium, Krause Street, Brixton

Did you know? (1): What happened to the Irish Volunteer Monument?

People who lived in Brixton twenty years ago may remember climbing onto the circular ramparts of the Irish Volunteer Monument just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. From this vantage point one could enjoy the 180 degree spectacle of fireworks shooting up into the sky across the city.

One can still climb onto the ramparts to enjoy the panorama but the monument, which used to be enclosed by the ramparts, is gone. Its departure in 2002 was unannounced and many people now living in Brixton and Auckland Park probably know nothing about the unlikely alliance that it celebrated.

The monument was erected in 1975 to commemorate the support provided to the Boers by around 300 Irish volunteers during the Second South African (or Anglo-Boer) War of 1899-1902. These volunteers provided this support because they, too, were resisting British colonial power.

If you want to know more about the history of the monument, why it was dismantled, and where it’s gone, you can read more here and here. The photo below and other information on the architect are available from the website Artefacts.

Irish Volunteer Monument


Did you know?: an APRA “Know Your Neighbourhood” initiative

APRA is writing a series of weekly blogs on the history and other interesting features of Auckland Park and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

This is part of APRA’s “Know Your Neighbourhood” initiative.

We will try to be as accurate as possible but if we make mistakes, please let us know by e-mail.

If you have any interesting facts to contribute, please forward them by e-mail.


Reporting illegal communes

This is the second of a series of newsletters we will be sending out over the next few months. The purpose of these newsletters is to assist you with the reporting of problems such as noise, illegal communes, cable theft etc.

While we as the Auckland Park Residents Association (APRA) committee are not in a position to solve these problems, we hope to provide residents with information so that you can take up matters yourselves where appropriate. In the case of serious or protracted incidents, the APRA will undertake to assist residents with some of the reporting processes.

With regard to illegal communes, you should be aware that there are strong efforts afoot to report and audit all communes in Ward 69. We are working with the COJ and with other RAs in Ward 69 to establish a registry of all communes in the Ward.

If you are having trouble with a commune close to you and you suspect that it is illegal, we urge you to contact Rowena Chetty at the COJ who is specifically handling these problems: Rowena Chetty at 011 407 6042 or RoweenaC@joburg.org.za. If the offer persists please contact APRA.

We are aware that there are many proactive residents in Auckland Park. Since the APRA committee is entirely voluntary, we are always happy to have assistance from residents not on the committee who have experience of some matters in the area or who have particular skills that would be useful to the committee in solving problems relevant to the community. Please contact us at aucklandparkresidents@gmail.com if you are able to offer assistance in any way.

APRA Committee