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Alberton
—  City  —
Alberton Boulevard
Alberton is located in Gauteng
Alberton
Coordinates: 26°16′02″S 28°07′19″E / 26.26722°S 28.12194°E / -26.26722; 28.12194Coordinates: 26°16′02″S 28°07′19″E / 26.26722°S 28.12194°E / -26.26722; 28.12194
Country South Africa
Province Gauteng
Metropolitan municipality Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
Founder General Hennie Alberts
Named for Surname of General Alberts
Elevation 1,570 m (5,151 ft)
Population
 - Estimate (2007) 202,202
Time zone South Africa Standard Time (UTC+2)
Website www.alberton.co.za

Alberton is a town situated on the East Rand of the Gauteng Province in South Africa and celebrated its centenary year in 2005. As at 2007, it had a population of 202,202 inhabitants. It is known as a typical bedroom community, meaning that is it a community primarily residential in character, with most of its workers commuting to nearby suburbs or cities to earn their livelihood. The town has multiple access roads to all major freeways in Gauteng, most notably the R59, N3 and N12. Situated on the banks of the Natal Spruit close to the major urban centres of Johannesburg (15 kilometres south east) and Pretoria (76 kilometers), Alberton is unique and boasts a long and interesting history.

Contents

History and Founding

Org Meyer's Grave

At the age of 13, a boy by the name of Johannes Petrus Meyer bought 11 hectares of his father’s farm Elandsfontein. He built a house next to the Alberton stream or Natalspruit, close to where the civic centre stands today. After his wife died in 1870 at the birth of their fourth daughter, he decided to start a general store and built his farmhouse mansion in 1890. The house was miraculously left unharmed during the Anglo Boer War of 1899 – 1902 and can still be seen today from the bypassing N12 freeway.

Jan's brother, Johan Georg (Org) Meyer, took over the farm after Jan's death. General Hennie Alberts, a veteran of the war, purchased a part of the farm Elandsfontein from Org and he decided on the name Alberton.

The Afrikaans medium primary school Jan Meyer was named for the original farm owner, and the affluent suburb Meyersdal also refers to the family whose original farmhouse mansion still stands on the land behind the Meyersdal koppie. The primary school Generaal Alberts as well as Hennie Alberts Avenue in the suburb of Brackenhurst is named after the town founder.

The first official post office was opened in 1926 and in 1938 building work started original town hall. Street names in the Alberton North suburb were also re-named after Voortrekker heroes in 1938 to coincide with the 100 year commemoration of the Great Trek. The well-known Blou Meul was established in 1954 and is still trading today as a general store specializing in outdoor activity equipment and has a gun shop with a shooting range on the premises. It is situated in Van Riebeeck Street, Alberton North, next door to the iconic Proto bakery.

Town planning and geography

From a town planning perspective, Alberton is truly unique in that is does not have a reason for its location apart from its proximity to the major population centre. It boasts large industrial areas and has now become a part of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, which includes other towns such as Germiston, Bedfordview and Edenvale. There are a variety of shopping centres, libraries, clinics, hospitals and entertainment facilities available here.

The construction of the Alberton Boulevard was a major development that commenced towards the late 1980’s and early 1990’s with the aim of converting a section of Voortrekker Road that runs past the Alberton City Shopping Mall, into a pedestrian friendly zone.

The town's initial centre of development was in the area now known as Alberton North or ‘Old’ Alberton.

Alberton has an approximate elevation of 1,570m above sea level.

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Suburbs

Over the years development sprawled out into adjacent areas and today Alberton is made up of 18 suburbs, namely:

• Alberante • Albermarle • Albertsdal • Alberton North • Alrode • Brackendowns • Brackenhurst • Eden Park • Florentia • Mayberry Park • Meyersdal • New Redruth • Palm Ridge • Randhart • Raceview • South Crest • Thokoza • Verwoerdpark

Alrode, which is Alberton's current industrial suburb, was established in 1943.

The original black settlement in Alberton was in the area of the Alberton Dam, but after apartheid-era removals to surrounding black townships took their course, a white suburb was established around the dam and named Verwoerdpark, after prime minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Some locals still refer to the dam as the Kaffir Dam, a derogatory reference to the fact that black people originally lived in close proximity to it. The name has fallen into disuse following the political and social changes of 1994.

Facilities and recreation

Healthcare facilities include numerous government clinics as well the privately run Union Hospital and Clinton Clinic.

Sport facilities abound in the town and established clubs exist for tennis, rugby, boxing, wrestling, cricket, jukskei, netball, hockey, soccer, bowls, korfball and ring tennis. Alberton is also home to the renowned Reading Country Club and Golf Course. Until it became defunct, Alberton was also home to the New Market Race Course.

Climate

Alberton enjoys a dry, sunny climate, with the exception of occasional late afternoon downpours in the summer months of October to April. Temperatures in the greater Johannesburg are usually fairly mild thanks to the city's high altitude, with the average maximum daytime temperature in January of 26 ℃ (79 ℉), dropping to an average maximum of around 16 ℃ (61 ℉) in June. Winter is the sunniest time of the year, with cool days and cold nights. The temperature occasionally drops to below freezing at night, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, with snowfall having been experienced in May 1956, August 1962, June 1964, September 1981 and August 2006 (light). Snow fell again on 27 June 2007,[10] accumulating up to 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in the southern suburbs. Regular cold fronts pass over in winter bringing very cold southerly winds but usually clear skies. The annual average rainfall is 713 millimetres (28.1 in), which is mostly concentrated in the summer months. Infrequent showers occur through the course of the winter months.

Trivia

• It’s interesting to observe the contrast and pattern in the naming of streets throughout Alberton suburbs. Following the re-naming of street names in Alberton to honor predominantly Afrikaner influenced history and figures in 1938, the first new suburb to be developed outside of the town centre was named New Redruth and the street names have a predominantly English character with names such as Penzance, St Michael and Gatwick Circle. The majority of streets in Brackenhurst are named after flowers and in the case of Mayberry Park, after trees.

• Hendrik Verwoerd stood as the National Party’s candidate for Alberton in the 1948 elections, the outcome of which saw the National Party ascend to power, and some years later saw Hendrik Verwoerd appointed as president of the party and ultimately Prime Minister of South Africa. Though a suburb is named for him, it’s interesting to note that he lost out on the Alberton seat that year by 54 votes to the United Party candidate, Marais Steyn.

Notable Residents (Past & Present)

  • Japie Mulder (Springbok rugby player)
  • Carike Keuzenkamp (musician)
  • Arnold Vosloo (actor)
  • Carl Niehaus (Politician)
  • Herman Holtzhausen (musician)
  • Kevin de Klerk (Springbok rugby player)
  • Corrie Pypers (Springbok rugby player)
  • Derrick Gardner (TV and radio personality)
  • Gert van der Merwe (paralympian gold medalist)

Gallery

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