The Village of Cullinan
The charming little village of Cullinan with its mine village character - its historic stone and corrugated iron mine workers’ houses, offices and churches, a throwback to the mining times of the early 1900s - lies 30 kilometres east of the city centre of Pretoria, and is a must on anyone’s itinerary when in this part of the world. The big hole at the Cullinan Diamond Mine is spectacular to see and is reportedly four times the size of the Kimberley ‘Big Hole’. Cullinan is famous for the discovery of what became known as the Cullinan Diamond - the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found that gave rise to the Great Star of Africa - the largest polished gem from the stone, also known as Cullinan I.
The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, known as the Lesser Star of Africa, is the third largest polished diamond in the world and part of the British crown jewels, on display in the Tower of London. Cullinan’s Oak Avenue, richly
lined with both Jacarandas and Oak trees, is a living museum and tribute to this era - beautifully preserved Edwardian period buildings complete with picket fences, cool porches, appealing little gardens serve as museums, restaurants and coffee shops. Cullinan still serves the Premier Mine (now Cullinan Mine), located on a rich diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe, the largest in South Africa. The mine is the third largest diamond producer in the country and visitors can go on an above and underground tour of the mine and purchase a diamond on site.
Cullinan also housed the biggest concentration of Italian Prisoners of War during World War II, over 90 000 captured in North Africa. The entire Cullinan Village and all vacant houses were taken over for the South African War effort, including the golf course used for tents for the service men. The Cullinan railway station were used for both the troops and the Italian prisoners of war. The recreation club was handed over to the YMCA for the duration of the war. Used as an entertainment centre for the troops, any show being performed in Johannesburg, was also performed in Cullinan. Italian Prisoners of War artists painted eight murals, depicting items of South African and British historical interest in the Recreation Club Hall. Open
hours: Various as per individual attractions in village.