It was an Australian who stumbled on the richest gold reef in the world while taking a leisurely walk on the farm Langlaagte one Sunday in February 1886, according to the book Like It Was: The Star 100 Years in Johannesburg (Argus Publishers, 1987, third edition). George Harrison was building a house for the farm’s owner, and was in a hurry to finish the job. He was a prospector and wanted to move on to the goldfields in the Eastern Transvaal. He came across an outcrop of lichen-speckled rock, known as "pudding stone" which can contain gold. Harrison, who had been a prospector in Australia, recognised what the rock was. He broke off a piece, which he panned; it formed a tailing of gold. He was rewarded with a free gold-seeker’s licence, which he sold for £10. News of the discovery of the gold reef travelled around the world. Hordes of people, mostly diggers and prospectors, arrived on the scene. A township was laid out and within four years it had become the second-largest in SA. Am...

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