Rewilding Sign

0c4a1b1b b576 410a 856e 876c9bbe5ad9 002

Rewilding is a progressive approach to conservation which we  support at Sandstone Estates. It is about letting nature take care of itself and enabling nature’s magical ability to heal itself.

By rewilding we allow nature to create undisturbed  biodiverse habitats. 

100% of the complex that you are in at the moment was put down to lawn or brick paving or roads. That is changing. We only cut lawns where people need to move around and we only cut grass if we think that there is a potential for a fire risk. Apart from that we will let nature dictate what it would like to see growing in a specific area.

If you walk into an area that was previously a cut lawn but which has now gone wild, you will discover a place that is alive with reptiles, small mammals, birds and of course insects. The only intelligent thing that man can do is to leave these areas alone – do not go there, do not walk there and do not disturb them.  Our complex is big enough that one does not need to take short cuts through rewilding areas because we have cut pathways to accommodate that.


An important travel advisory to all our visitors for the Sandstone Easter Steam event regarding  road conditions in the Sandstone area of the eastern Free State

We would like to advise you, that due to lack of maintenance by the Provincial Government in the Free State, that the road between Fouriesburg and Sandstone is in very poor condition with many potholes.  There are sections of it where one has to be extremely careful and go at extremely low speeds to prevent damage to your vehicle. Other roads in the area to Ficksburg and Sandstone are also in poor condition and should be driven with caution.

This is not a problem if people are aware of it in advance and of course it might add 15 minutes to your trip but we did want to ask you to be very alert and take care on your journey to the Sandstone Easter event.

Kalahari Sunrise - Classic Massey July 2012


Click here to read the article (PDF 1.7MB)

Narrow Gauge report

We have received the following report from Stephan du Preez on what his department has been up to lately which we thought our readers may find of interest.

New storage shed

The ground work is finished. I used the grader to flatten and move some of the soil out of the shed. There are enough rail sections on site to finish the track into the. We have started laying rails. We will need to collect ballast from Vailima as soon as I fixed the Hunslet. 








The first set of points is installed and we will start laying the rails from there.






I have made a new radiator cap for the BSA that needs to be polished and rubber insertion has been fitted to the running boards.




The new brake shoes have been fitted and needs to be set. The other items that needs attention is listed bellow

  • Air brake cylinders needs new pistons and seals
  • Fit drain to air tank and brake cylinders
  • Replace engine oil & filter
  • Set slack on gearbox
  • Fit water separator between air tank and compressor
  • Replace safety valve



 Scrap 19D locos

I had to go to Bloemfontein so Lukas could show me how to remove the cross head assembly and to get the tools to do the job correctly.

Arrival of McLaren Road Tractor

Our 1904 McLaren Road tractor is now on the farm after undergoing repairs following the mishap with the oil filler cap.










Charles Viljoen Charles Viljoen has been a friend of the Sandstone Heritage Trust for many years. Charles accompanied the Sandstone team to Cootamundra in 2004 to attend the massive Plough & Be Counted event. The Trust took three tractors along to support the Australians. Recently Charles was part of a team that supported the National Vintage Tractor & Engine Show in Villiersdorp. Charles is a master mechanic with broad ranging skills. If he cannot fix it he will make a new one. He is an ardent steam modeller and has produced some magnificent 5" models which he regularly exhibits at Model Steam weekends throughout the country. The Sandstone Heritage Trust cannot wait for him to retire so that he has more time available to get involved in "Old Iron". Charles, thank you for all you do for us, The Sandstone Heritage Trust. Charles Viljoen
Anna Nel

Mrs. Anna Nel works side-by-side with Lukas, her husband, at the Sandstone Heritage Trust Steam Refurbishment Workshops in Bloemfontein.
Anna, who raised two boys and who is now a Grandmother, ran her own transport business for many years. However, in her own words, she describes how she saw so little of Lukas because of his dedication to his work in the steam workshops. When Lukas is retubing a boiler he does not stop to go home at night - he just carries on until the job is finished. She felt that if she was to see more of him she needed to adopt the same interest as him. She therefore took the decision to work side-by-side with him in the steam workshops and is now an accomplished fitter in her own right. Because of Anna's caring personality she has also taken the whole team under her wing and handles the HR responsibilities, which has brought greater stability to the labour force in the workshop.

Many a steam enthusiast has had to do a double take when walking into the workshop to find Anna tackling heavy work. She always looks immaculate and has done much to make the visit to the steam workshops a more interesting experience.

Anna, thanks for your dedication and for your love of steam. You are truly, like your husband, a one off personality.

Anna Nel - Villiersdorp - September 2005

Keith Stevens has been a loyal friend of the Sandstone Heritage Trust for many years. Keith runs a professional engineering business specialising in steam and heritage restoration work. He is currently working on an S4 Sentinel truck that arrived in derelict condition. Once he receives some key components from overseas the item will be completed and steamed by road from Howick to the Sandstone Heritage Trust in the Eastern Free State.

Keith has rebuilt amongst other items an O&K locomotive, three Agricultural Portable steam engines, the company's Avonside locomotive Sizela No. 3 Kerr Stuart 4063 of 1924, he is currently working on a Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies Portable engine, a 1904 McLaren traction engine and an ex Angola O&K 2-ft narrow gauge Sugar Cane locomotive.

The Sandstone Heritage Trust is delighted to be able to support Keith who puts his heart and soul into the work that he does for the organisation. We salute him!

Keith's contact details are as follows:
Stevens Mechanical
PO Box 1057
South Africa
Tel: 033 330 7426

Keith Stevens
Gert is Sandstone's expert workshop manager and Loco driver. He writes up the superb weekly steam shed report and makes sure it's ready to go straight onto the web on time; every week. He's one of the friendliest people I know. The staff here have a nickname for him, "The White Stallion". You would understand watching him at full steam with the wind blowing through his hair! Gert truly loves his work, and you can see the passion and knowledge that goes into it.

Gert is always extremely accommodating; whether it's with staff, or the many visitors who come to Sandstone at event times, always ready to help. Whether he's fixing the piston rings on one of the locos, or steaming down the track, he's always professional.

Gert fell in love with steam whan he was a little boy, watching the locos steam past and being picked up by the drivers; who allowed him to stand on the footplate. He is still in love with what he does!

We are proud to have someone like Gert on the team, thanks Gert!
Just about to set off at the Cherry Festival with a train full of passengers
Always friendly
Gert at full steam, The White Stallion!
Oom Don Farrand - nearly 90 and still going strong. The Sandstone Heritage Trust is privileged to maintain continuous communications with many interesting people around the world. In the case of Don Farrand (now affectionately renamed "Oom Don" by the South Africans), has had a varied and interesting life. He is a specialist in working horses and spent many years of his life driving and ploughing with heavy horses. In fact Don made a magnificent contribution of a complete set of "The Heavy Horse" magazine to the Sandstone Heritage Trust library.

What is unique about Oom Don is the fact that he is very computer literate. He is currently writing a book and loves to share his memories with anyone who is interested. His entire life has been spent in the agricultural and construction sector. There were not many things in those two industries that Oom Don did not turn his hand to.

While in the construction industry, he spent many hundreds of hours on earthmoving equipment and developed an affinity to Caterpillars particularly. His stories frequently appear in magazines on the subject. His almost complete recall of the events all those years ago make his stories fascinating reading.

He has booked a ride on a D8 for his 90th birthday!

Good on you Oom Don - keep up the good work and thanks for helping us to appreciate the integrity and the sheer grit that characterised working life up to70 years ago.

Arno Serfontein is our personality of the month. A valued employee of Sandstone Estates, he can turn his hand to almost anything. He is a Code 14 HGV driver if necessary, he is a very competent rigger, and often accompanies big trucks to remote parts of South Africa to lift locomotive and other heavy items. He is an experienced carriage and wagon man and has many carriage refurbishments to his credit. Recently he has been helping with the relocation of items to the unique new Die Ou Plaas concept at the farm Lagerplaats.

The picture shows Arno with a Lanz 60 tractor about to haul a heavy load of implements to the new agricultural preservation centre. Arno has been with the company for almost his entire working life, i.e. since he left school.

Baas du Bruyn has been with the Sandstone Heritage Trust almost from the beginning and he is a well known character around Hoekfontein Farm. Baas has done a variety of jobs. He joined us as a long distance HGV driver, but he has gravitated to Station Master and Train Controller.

We like to refer to Baas as “The Big Controller”. More recently he has been attending to the gardens and infrastructure in and around the complex particularly with regard to the steam workshops and the heritage area. Baas is always cheerful, always willing to tackle anything and probably knows the farm better than anyone.

Events such as the Cosmos Festival provide an excellent opportunity to catch the stalwarts off duty. Gary Barnes (photographer, fireman and archivist). Gary's family including his mother and father, Ken and Maureen,
have been coming to Sandstone for many years and can be relied upon to support us for any event.

Left to right: Gary Barnes, Charles Viljoen and Chris Wilson.

Pat Ackerman has been a longstanding supporter of the Sandstone Heritage Trust. He is a dedicated steam enthusiast, a meticulous steam perfectionist, and a man who really understands the technology involved.
Pat is always ready to volunteer to assist in any steam related capacity.

Here is a picture of Pat doing what he knows best, urging an NGG 16 along with a fully loaded freight on a winter's evening.