PARK STATION


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History

HONORING AN ICON AND THINKING OF HIS FIRST STEP IN THE THEN TRANSVAAL AT PARK STATION

 

Today we celebrate the legend that leaved in our lifetime.

Today we celebrate the bed rock of our democracy.

Today we celebrate the man who sacrificed his life for us to see this day.

Today we celebrate his day by giving our time and resources to those less fortunate.

 His first step in the then Transvaal was in Park Station in the 1940s. Since then we have seen the evolution of Park Station to what it is today. Still in the heart of Park Station is servicing people from all works of life with love and dignity. He believed that love and dignity cleanses one’s soul. He adored kids of all colours. In addressing schools in his hometown, Qunu in June 1995 he said “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people”.

It is against this ideal that the Park Station Centre management team is running a blanket drive during this month and would like to invite you to take part.

Donate a blanket/blankets and give a warm smile to those in need. Blankets will be distributed to homeless people around the city and areas surrounding Park Station.

To participate contact Ms. Shereen Nortjie on 011 773 1716 or email snortjie@prasa.com 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”. - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 


 

 

The discovery of gold and the Wanderers Sports Ground (1887)

In 1887, a year after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand, the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) government had plans to build a railway that would connect Johannesburg to the seaports of the Cape and Natal.

In 1888, President Paul Kruger was approached with plans for the development of a sports ground. An empty piece of land, known at the time as Kruger Park, was to become the Wanderers Ground.

Park Station’s name originates from a tin shed in Noord Street, simply known as Park that was used as a stop on the early railway line to Boksburg. In 1889/90, the tin shed became known as Park Halt.

The inaugural arrival (1892)

On Thursday, 15 September 1892, the first train to arrive in Johannesburg from the Cape steamed in to Park Halt. In 1985, three years after the inaugural arrival the Natal line from Durban to Johannesburg was completed. Johannesburg was now linked to both the Atlantic and Indian oceans and was on the verge of great transformation with the rapid introduction of advanced technology, new ideas, European style and the increase of imported materials.

From mining camp to mining town (1890)

During the period 1890 to 1900 Johannesburg experienced unprecedented development and was transformed from a mining camp to a mining town.

Some of the most significant developments in the surrounding areas of Park Station at the time included the completion of two separate buildings. In 1905, the Administrative offices of the Central South African Railways was completed on the northeast corner of Rissik and De Villiers Streets and followed by the completion of the Witwatersrand Technical College with frontages on Eloff, De Villiers and Plein Streets.

In 1911, the foundation stone was laid for the Johannesburg Art Galley (JAG) within the grounds of Joubert Park. Four years later in 1915, the incomplete gallery building opened its doors to public.

Miners’ strike (1913)

In 1913, a small strike at the New Kleinfontein mine on the East Rand quickly escalated in to a general miners strike on the entire Rand. On 4 July that year, a crowd of rioters set fire to The Star offices in President Street and some buildings at Park Station. At the time, Johannesburg was on the verge of a civil war.

The First World War and the Multifunctional Wanderers Grounds (1914)

By the end of 1914, the industrial unrest was over but in the same year the First World War Commenced in Europe. The once exclusive Wanderers Sports Field was now being used by the South African Military as drilling grounds while the Club’s Gymnasium Hall was turned in to a convalescent home, later to become known as the Wanderers Convalescent Home. The Gymnasium Hall was leased to the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment and was later turned in to a hospital for military patients.

The Rand Revolt (1921)

Another instance of the Wanderers Grounds used for more than its initial purpose of sport events and social gatherings was during the white miners strike in 1921, known as the Rand Revolt. The Commissioner of Police at the time had to use the grounds as a camp for 500 men. Johannesburg became a warzone and as a result, martial law was declared.

The expropriation of Wanderers for railway extensions (1920 – 1926)

The daily rush of suburban and main-line passengers at Park Station highlighted the increasing inadequacy of station facilities. By the mid-1920s, the railway authorities had to extend the railway platforms and amenities, which necessitated expropriation of a section of the adjacent grounds of the Wanderers Club in 1926.

Johannesburg had grown and the grounds became surrounded by large blocks of flats, shops and encroached upon by much needed railway extensions.

The Wanderers Club was eventually compensated and a new club was formed in Kent Park, Illovo.

The new station plans (1928)

Facing De Villiers Street, construction on the new station building commenced in 1928. Major extensions soon followed which included eight new platforms and four tracks from either side.

According to architect Gordon Leith’s 1928 design, the new station building could be seen as a natural extension of Eloff Street, which at the time was quickly becoming the main shopping street in South Africa, stretching from the railway concourse entrance at the north end, past the great Carlton Hotel and extending beyond to Motortown at its south end.

In 1929, the St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral was completed and is only extant cathedral in the Johannesburg Inner City.

The new station building and white exclusivity (1932)

The new station building of 1932 did not shy away from the country’s strict segregation laws. Members of the white middle class had a sophisticated venue with their own Blue Room restaurant, leading off the “ whites-only” concourse, while black commuters were relegated to a separate entrance comprising of the most basic facilities.

Every year thousands of people would enter the city for the very first time through its underground tunnels.

At the time of completion in 1932, Johannesburg was already moving towards becoming a metropolis. With a newly built CBD, Johannesburg was recognized as a world city.

By the end of 1932, South Africa came off the gold standard and foreign capital poured in to South Africa through the City and its institutions.

In the CBD, skyscrapers became the norm and new apartment (for whites only) were built in the inner city residential zone (including on the perimeter of Joubert park).

In 1932, the number of commuters was 16 million and within ten years the number trebled to 50 million. As a result the need for a bigger station became urgent long before the end of the 1930s.

The Second World War and the extension of Park Station (1945)

Planning for the expansion of Park Station could only start in 1945 because of the Second World War.

A decision was made to separate the suburban and main line traffic by constructing two adjacent but independent stations. Various locations were considered but it was agreed upon to extend the old site by incorporating the old Wanderers Grounds with its legendary cricket oval to the north.

After the Second World War, the apartheid government expropriated and destroyed Wanderers and converted its prime site in to the station complex of today.

Preliminary work on the new Johannesburg Park Station was commenced in 1946. The project entailed a vast building programme that would extend over a period of twenty years.

The completion of the new Park Station (1965)

The rebuilding programme of Park Station proved to be the most demanding test at its time for the ingenuity and expertise of South Africa’s railway engineers.

Over the twenty-year period a virtual replication of the old station was completed in 1951 and the Johan Rissik Bridge was constructed in 1952. In 1954, the new station development was completed, which became the main line station within Johannesburg.

Station bombing of 1964

The station became an ever-increasing symbol of white exclusivity during its final years of completion and the target for the tragic and solitary act of defiance committed by John Harris in July 1964.

Station redevelopment and the South African Transport Services (1988)

In 1988, the Johannesburg City Council approved three sets of guidelines for the redevelopment of the station site and adjacent prime South African Transport Services (SATS) land in the Johannesburg CBD.

Long term plans or the station area at the time included a transport hub for trains, airline buses, and the establishment of an inner city road transportation network.

The Inkahta Freedom Party and Shell House (1994)

On 28 March 1994, more than 70 years after the Rand Revolt, the city centre was brought to yet another standstill. Thousands of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) party supporters marched down Plein Street toward Shell Hous (extant as Albert Luthuli House) in what many perceived to be an attack on Shell House.

The state of Park Station and its future (1996)

In 1996, the south concourse of Park Station was in a derelict and vandalized state. Intersite Managing Director at the time, Jack Prentice, initiated an idea to refurbish the neglected Park Station in to a public meeting place comprising offices and fast-food outlets.

The transformation to an inter-modal transport facility that would become the Park Station of today cost R16 million to redevelop.

The various phases of redevelopment included, a new Metro concourse for suburban services, a long-distance inter city terminal for coaches and main line trains, two retail malls and the renovation of the South Station in De Villiers Street.

On 02 October 1997, late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela officially opened the redevelopment of Johannesburg Park Station.

Moving forward (2000s – present)

Today, more than 100 years since the very first train arrived in the small mining camp of the Witwatersrand, Park Station stands as the foremost railway station on the African continent and a true monument of ingenuity and perseverance.

The discovery of gold and the Wanderers Sports Ground (1887)

In 1887, a year after the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand, the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) government had plans to build a railway that would connect Johannesburg to the seaports of the Cape and Natal.

In 1888, President Paul Kruger was approached with plans for the development of a sports ground. An empty piece of land, known at the time as Kruger Park, was to become the Wanderers Ground.

Park Station’s name originates from a tin shed in Noord Street, simply known as Park that was used as a stop on the early railway line to Boksburg. In 1889/90, the tin shed became known as Park Halt.

The inaugural arrival (1892)

On Thursday, 15 September 1892, the first train to arrive in Johannesburg from the Cape steamed in to Park Halt. In 1985, three years after the inaugural arrival the Natal line from Durban to Johannesburg was completed. Johannesburg was now linked to both the Atlantic and Indian oceans and was on the verge of great transformation with the rapid introduction of advanced technology, new ideas, European style and the increase of imported materials.

From mining camp to mining town (1890)

During the period 1890 to 1900 Johannesburg experienced unprecedented development and was transformed from a mining camp to a mining town.

Some of the most significant developments in the surrounding areas of Park Station at the time included the completion of two separate buildings. In 1905, the Administrative offices of the Central South African Railways was completed on the northeast corner of Rissik and De Villiers Streets and followed by the completion of the Witwatersrand Technical College with frontages on Eloff, De Villiers and Plein Streets.

In 1911, the foundation stone was laid for the Johannesburg Art Galley (JAG) within the grounds of Joubert Park. Four years later in 1915, the incomplete gallery building opened its doors to public.

Miners’ strike (1913)

In 1913, a small strike at the New Kleinfontein mine on the East Rand quickly escalated in to a general miners strike on the entire Rand. On 4 July that year, a crowd of rioters set fire to The Star offices in President Street and some buildings at Park Station. At the time, Johannesburg was on the verge of a civil war.

The First World War and the Multifunctional Wanderers Grounds (1914)

By the end of 1914, the industrial unrest was over but in the same year the First World War Commenced in Europe. The once exclusive Wanderers Sports Field was now being used by the South African Military as drilling grounds while the Club’s Gymnasium Hall was turned in to a convalescent home, later to become known as the Wanderers Convalescent Home. The Gymnasium Hall was leased to the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment and was later turned in to a hospital for military patients.

The Rand Revolt (1921)

Another instance of the Wanderers Grounds used for more than its initial purpose of sport events and social gatherings was during the white miners strike in 1921, known as the Rand Revolt. The Commissioner of Police at the time had to use the grounds as a camp for 500 men. Johannesburg became a warzone and as a result, martial law was declared.

The expropriation of Wanderers for railway extensions (1920 – 1926)

The daily rush of suburban and main-line passengers at Park Station highlighted the increasing inadequacy of station facilities. By the mid-1920s, the railway authorities had to extend the railway platforms and amenities, which necessitated expropriation of a section of the adjacent grounds of the Wanderers Club in 1926.

Johannesburg had grown and the grounds became surrounded by large blocks of flats, shops and encroached upon by much needed railway extensions.

The Wanderers Club was eventually compensated and a new club was formed in Kent Park, Illovo.

The new station plans (1928)

Facing De Villiers Street, construction on the new station building commenced in 1928. Major extensions soon followed which included eight new platforms and four tracks from either side.

According to architect Gordon Leith’s 1928 design, the new station building could be seen as a natural extension of Eloff Street, which at the time was quickly becoming the main shopping street in South Africa, stretching from the railway concourse entrance at the north end, past the great Carlton Hotel and extending beyond to Motortown at its south end.

In 1929, the St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral was completed and is only extant cathedral in the Johannesburg Inner City.

The new station building and white exclusivity (1932)

The new station building of 1932 did not shy away from the country’s strict segregation laws. Members of the white middle class had a sophisticated venue with their own Blue Room restaurant, leading off the “ whites-only” concourse, while black commuters were relegated to a separate entrance comprising of the most basic facilities.

Every year thousands of people would enter the city for the very first time through its underground tunnels.

At the time of completion in 1932, Johannesburg was already moving towards becoming a metropolis. With a newly built CBD, Johannesburg was recognized as a world city.

By the end of 1932, South Africa came off the gold standard and foreign capital poured in to South Africa through the City and its institutions.

In the CBD, skyscrapers became the norm and new apartment (for whites only) were built in the inner city residential zone (including on the perimeter of Joubert park).

In 1932, the number of commuters was 16 million and within ten years the number trebled to 50 million. As a result the need for a bigger station became urgent long before the end of the 1930s.

The Second World War and the extension of Park Station (1945)

Planning for the expansion of Park Station could only start in 1945 because of the Second World War.

A decision was made to separate the suburban and main line traffic by constructing two adjacent but independent stations. Various locations were considered but it was agreed upon to extend the old site by incorporating the old Wanderers Grounds with its legendary cricket oval to the north.

After the Second World War, the apartheid government expropriated and destroyed Wanderers and converted its prime site in to the station complex of today.

Preliminary work on the new Johannesburg Park Station was commenced in 1946. The project entailed a vast building programme that would extend over a period of twenty years.

The completion of the new Park Station (1965)

The rebuilding programme of Park Station proved to be the most demanding test at its time for the ingenuity and expertise of South Africa’s railway engineers.

Over the twenty-year period a virtual replication of the old station was completed in 1951 and the Johan Rissik Bridge was constructed in 1952. In 1954, the new station development was completed, which became the main line station within Johannesburg.

Station bombing of 1964

The station became an ever-increasing symbol of white exclusivity during its final years of completion and the target for the tragic and solitary act of defiance committed by John Harris in July 1964.

Station redevelopment and the South African Transport Services (1988)

In 1988, the Johannesburg City Council approved three sets of guidelines for the redevelopment of the station site and adjacent prime South African Transport Services (SATS) land in the Johannesburg CBD.

Long term plans or the station area at the time included a transport hub for trains, airline buses, and the establishment of an inner city road transportation network.

The Inkahta Freedom Party and Shell House (1994)

On 28 March 1994, more than 70 years after the Rand Revolt, the city centre was brought to yet another standstill. Thousands of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) party supporters marched down Plein Street toward Shell Hous (extant as Albert Luthuli House) in what many perceived to be an attack on Shell House.

The state of Park Station and its future (1996)

In 1996, the south concourse of Park Station was in a derelict and vandalized state. Intersite Managing Director at the time, Jack Prentice, initiated an idea to refurbish the neglected Park Station in to a public meeting place comprising offices and fast-food outlets.

The transformation to an inter-modal transport facility that would become the Park Station of today cost R16 million to redevelop.

The various phases of redevelopment included, a new Metro concourse for suburban services, a long-distance inter city terminal for coaches and main line trains, two retail malls and the renovation of the South Station in De Villiers Street.

On 02 October 1997, late President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela officially opened the redevelopment of Johannesburg Park Station.

Moving forward (2000s – present)

Today, more than 100 years since the very first train arrived in the small mining camp of the Witwatersrand, Park Station stands as the foremost railway station on the African continent and a true monument of ingenuity and perseverance.

HONORING AN ICON AND THINKING OF HIS FIRST STEP IN THE THEN TRANSVAAL AT PARK STATION

HONORING AN ICON AND THINKING OF HIS FIRST STEP IN THE THEN TRANSVAAL AT PARK STATION

It is against this ideal that the Park Station Centre management team is running a blanket drive during this month and would like to invite you to take part.

Donate a blanket/blankets and give a warm smile to those in need. Blankets will be distributed to homeless people around the city and areas surrounding Park Station.

To participate contact Ms. Shereen Nortjie on 011 773 1716 or email snortjie@prasa.com

It is against this ideal that the Park Station Centre management team is running a blanket drive during this month and would like to invite you to take part.

Donate a blanket/blankets and give a warm smile to those in need. Blankets will be distributed to homeless people around the city and areas surrounding Park Station.

To participate contact Ms. Shereen Nortjie on 011 773 1716 or email snortjie@prasa.com