Millwood Forest – The Forest stage of SOX Trail run – the place of golden dreams and forest fairies.

Day 2 of SOX will take runners into the serene depths in the heart of the Tsitsikama Forest with its rich tapestry of history, blending tales of gold-laden dreams and whispers of fairy folklore. Its story begins in 1876 when James Hooper stumbled upon a shimmering secret hidden within a small creek off the Karatara River on the farm ‘Ruigtevlei,’ later christened Jubilee Creek in honor of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

It was during this time that Charles Osborne, with the support of a grant from the Cape Government, started prospecting in the area and unsuccessfully operated a “Woodmill” – hence the name.  It was only after Geologist E.J. Dunn and Thomas Kitto discovered alluvial gold in 1880 that mining prospects became a reality.

With the declaration of the area as “open public diggings” in 1886 and the appointment of John Barrington as the first Gold Commissioner, Millwood witnessed a frenzied rush of fortune-seekers from distant lands.  Despite efforts Thomas Bain to dissuade prospectors with an unfavourable report, the allure of gold proved irresistible. Within weeks, the once tranquil forest transformed into a bustling village, teeming with life and opportunity. Streets lined with hotels, boarding houses, and general stores sprung up, fueled by the hopes and dreams of those who sought their fortune in the glittering soil. 

Very soon a Post Office, Police barracks and a hospital was added, and a regular mail service established between Knysna and Millwood further solidified the village’s status as a hub of activity, while mining operations such as the Bendigo Gold Mine and the Oudtshoorn Company’s crushing plant underscored the region’s potential. Yet, despite initial promise, the harsh realities of mining soon set in, and by December 1890, most mining companies had collapsed, leaving behind a ghost town echoing with the whispers of bygone dreams.

Today, remnants of Millwood’s golden era stand as a testament to its storied past. Old mining equipment and artifacts lovingly restored adorn Monk’s Store and the Materolli Museum, offering visitors a glimpse into a time when the forest echoed with the clang of pickaxes and the dreams of fortune-seekers filled the air. And though Millwood House may have been moved from its original location, its spirit remains intertwined with the fabric of Millwood, a reminder of the enduring legacy of the forest’s golden age.


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