Edenvale is a town on the East Rand in Gauteng, South Africa. It started out in 1903, after the Anglo Boer War as a small settlement named Rietfontein which sprung up around the Rietfontein Gold Mine. It was made a municipality in 1942. It was initially populated by Cornish mineworkers.
The farm Rietfontein No 9 was originally owned by Tobias Mynhardt whose home is still in evidence today and is called Frank Marret Park.
Mynhardt subdivided the area in the early 1890’s into four portions, selling Eastleigh to Father De Lacey and Edenvale to a Mr Amm, a leading Johannesburg grocer.
The major portion, which extended from Modderfontein Boundary to Elandsfontein station was sold to the Rietfontein Gold Mining Company, while the remaining portion of Edendale was retained by Mr. Mynhardt.
The first erven/lots were sold in 1903 and the town named after John Eden. John Eden was part owner of Rietfontein in 1900. Owing to the proximity of the Land to the Rietfontein Mining Company the new owners were induced to lay out the land as Townships.
Eastleigh was laid out in one acre lots while Edenvale and Edendale were sub-divided in quarter acre stands (991 sq metres).
In 1903, stands were offered for sale to the public at 20 pounds per stand, on terms of 2 pound deposit and 1 pound per month. Not surprisingly this cheap ground, which was also free of tax, encouraged folk to settle in Edenvale. At that time, Rietfontein Mine employed Cornish Miners called “Cousin Jacks”. They settled In Edenvale and Eastleigh in brick-lined wood and iron house, some of which can still be seen today. (Cache to be planted soon)
By 1907, a school opened in a house for the Edenvale children. In 1913, Rietfontein Mine was closed due to the first mining strike and miners were absorbed into mines in the Germiston area. During this period many Afrikaans families came to live in Edenvale, as an interest in mining grew.
The infamous Rand Revoilt of 1922, which grew out of the strikes on the gold and coal mines, retarded the progress of Edenvale somewhat. As a largely mining community, many families were hit hard as miners were un-employed for many months. To assist these families, a voluntary committee organized by the late Harry Sneech, wife of Harry Sneech, the then Postmaster, opened soup kitchens to feed the needy.
By 1924, a Vigilance Association was formed and raised money to build a concrete bridge which linked Edenvale to Eastleigh. From 1935 to 1938 this committee also functioned as a health Committee.
In 1939 Edenvale became a village and in 1954 was proclaimed a Municipality. Lights and water installations, which became available in 1938, stimulated a building boom in the Edenvale Municipal area. Industrialists also became more interested with the availability of cheap land so forming the nucleus of todays Sebenza Industrial Township (meaning “to work” in zulu).
I was born about 20 km further west, but after living in Bloemfontein, and Pretoria for a few year, my parents settled in Edenvale when I was almost 5 year old. I went to the local Afrikaans primary school. When I wanted to leave the nest, I could not afford to buy a house in the area, and settled on buying one in nearby Kempton Park. There I got married, and we had 3 children, 2 boys and, third time lucky, a girl. When we as a family outgrew the house, and we needed to look for a bigger house, it was the chance to move back into Edenvale. We have been living at the geocache "Coffee Stop" ever since.