Heritage - Rail - News

Rare Breeds

7th December 2007

Amidst all the steam commotion, repairs, rescues and excitement we tend to forget another very important part of the Sandstone Heritage Trust's activities, namely rare breeds. 

Long before there were traction engines or railways there were oxen that provided the motive power for transport and agriculture for hundreds of years.  These beasts were the mainstay of the war effort during the Anglo Boer War in 1899 to 1902.  As one drives around South Africa one notices less and less of these majestic oxen and so the Sandstone Heritage Trust maintains a breeding herd of registered Afrikaner cattle, as well as a team of 16 trained oxen.

Due to our proximity to the Lesotho border and the high incidents of stock theft it was decided recently to move the oxen to another farm near Standerton, about an hour and a quarter's drive from Johannesburg.  The farm belongs to Mr. Dick Kerslake.  Dick is a great preservationist and a great friend of the Sandstone Heritage Trust, and he is currently looking after the oxen.  Their excellent condition testifies to the quality of his livestock management programme.

The oxen will be returned to Sandstone Estates for ceremonial events only.