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Friedrich Wolff came to South Africa from Kempten in Bavaria, Germany in
eventually landed up in Johannesburg in about 1890 where he opened an
office for a London based company.
this time President Paul Kruger of the Zuid-Afrikaansce Republiek (Z.A.R.)
started negotiations with the Nobel Trust about building a dynamite
factory at Modderfontein. They were looking for a mediator for these
negotiations and Carl Wolff was the natural choice.
proofed to be a very efficient negotiator and the Nobel Trust appointed
him as the local director for the newly established Zuid-Afrikaansche
Fabrieken voor Ontplofbare Stoffen.
Nobel Trust exercised complete financial control over the dynamite
factory and Wolff’s major role appears to have been as negotiator with
the Z.A.R. government and local landowners. During the establishment of
the dynamite factory and the delicate negotiations, which evolved as a
result of the private rail link from the factory to Zuurfontein station,
Wolff played a prominent part.
exciting events taking place at this time can well be imagined. Gold
fever had gripped the Witwatersrand and the dynamite factory was a vital
industrial necessity. Land speculation was rife, community development
was beginning to take shape and Carl Wolff, at the peak of his career,
was right in the heart of the drama.
portion of the farm, Zuurfontein, on which the railway to Modderfontein
had to be built, belonged to Matthys Buitendag. Establishing the rail
link was of prime importance and successful negotiation with Buitendag
great complaint was that the existing Pretoria-Vereeniging railway line
already divided his property. Some 113 morgen of land on the east side
of the railway was completely cut off from the rest of his farm. The new
railroad to the dynamite factory would further divide their property and
disrupt their farming operations.
113 morgen east of the railroad is where Kempton Park eventually had its
succeeded in negotiating the sale of the farm Zuurfontein to the owners
of the dynamite factory. The important fact is that the 113 morgen east
of the railroad were not part of the deal.
of the discussions and intentions are not recorded but the subsequent
history of the 113 morgen portion leads to the conclusion that its
exclusion from the option to buy may have been no mere omission on the
part of the chief negotiator.
8 February 1895 Buitendag sold the 113 morgen on the east side to a
following year, on 7 May 1896, Just sold the same property to Carl
Friedrich Wolff, and the die was cast for the establishment of Kempton
Anglo-Boer war broke out in 1899 while Wolff was visiting Europe. The
Zuurfontein station became a significant link in the Z.A.R.’s
communications and munitions supply line during the struggle.
ended on May 31, 1902, with the Peace of Vereeniging and Carl Wolff, who
by now had severed ties with the dynamite factory, wasted no time. On 13
August 1902, he sold his 113 morgen portion of the farm Zuurfontein to
his own newly formed private company called Kempton Park Estates
property was subdivided into a township of 216 plots. Carl Wolff purchased for his own use stand 212, on the
southern boundary of the township, near the eastern corner and
subsequently erected the first house in Kempton Park on this site.
so we have the birth of Kempton Park.