It should be remembered that Johannesburg at the time was ugly, treeless and dusty and several ‘country hotels’, including the Craighall Park Hotel, offered city dwellers a temporary escape from these conditions.
In 1902, eleven years after Rattray bought Craighall, he advertised that he was selling 229 plots of land and described Craighall township as splendidly watered, having a s t r e a m r u n n i n g t h r o u g h i t … b o u n d e d b y t h e J o k e s k e i [ s i c ] R i v e r , b e s i d e s w h i c h t h e r e a r e innumerable fountains on the ground. 2 1
The sale of plots in Craighall Park was again advertised in 1911. It is unknown how successful the sale of the plots in 1902 and those in 1911 was. It appears however that the suburbs of Craighall and Craighall Park only developed in the 1930s. The suburbs were incorporated into the municipal area of Johannesburg in 1938 and improvements such as the tarring of roads and installation of street lights occurred after the Second World War. 22
According to several sources, the property where the Backpackers Ritz now stands was home to two lions, the pets of the then landowner. Thereafter the building was used as the Dunkeld Preparatory School and at the end of the Second World War, Baron von Oetzen, owner of Volkswagen in South Africa, bought the property. After his death, his widow s o l d t h e p r o p e r t y a n d i n 1 9 8 9 t h e B a c k p a c k e r s R i t z o f J o h a n n e s b u r g w a s o p e n e d a n d i s still operating today. 2 3
ASSESSMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
It is the opinion of the writer that the Road Reserve is of some historical significance for the following reasons:
Many thousands of years ago the Transvaal was settled by communities who lived in
small groups scattered across the grasslands. The Craighall ridge may have been a sought
after location because of the view of the surrounding areas as the ridge commands expansive views of Johannesburg and environs. Unfortunately, due to the large-scale development of the ridge, any evidence of pre-historic communities has long disappeared.
In addition, the topography of the site may have been useful in defending and securing territory and this appears to be the source of speculation regarding the existence of a blockhouse somewhere on the ridge during the Anglo-Boer South African War of 1899- 1902.
http://www.craighall.gp.school.za/craighallhistory.htm, p 3
http://www.craighall.gp.school.za/craighallhistory.htm, p 1 Copy of an article in The Gardner, Journal of T.H.S, Spring 2004