Pligrims Rest: Where ghosts are still panning for gold

Pligrims Rest: Where ghosts are still panning for gold

Time travel …  going back to live when you were not alive. It holds a peculiar, attractive mystery. Scientists have spent thousands of hours trying to fool time, with complicated equations and theorems. 

Pilgrim's Rest
Jacaranda FM News

But, its not that complicated at all. 

The Complimentary Breakfast team did it in about three hours by kombi … when we travelled to Pilgrims Rest. 

The mission:

- Find a way to bring Pilgrims Rest back to it’s former glory as a living monument. 

- Help the locals who have stuck it out, to make the town shine like a nugget again.               

- Remind SA tourists to not drive straight past

- Find ghosts 

Pilgrim's Rest
Jacaranda FM News

This remains the charm of the town: an almost unchanged reminder of a time of adventure, hope and change in SA history.

That’s after you’ve survived the treacherous, potholed pass through breathtaking scenery up and down the mountain. 


There is still only one, main street dotted on both sides with authentic buildings from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

No new buildings have been added to the town since 1915. 

What you saw then, is mostly what you see now.

Panning for gold is still a thing here … with a Pilgrim’s Team off to the “World Panning Championships” in the US next week.

Town tour guide and resident, Sharon Green boasts that the town has produced some top panning talent and even some medals.

The World Champs have been hosted here in Pilgrims’ not once, but twice.   

Many of the quaint corrugated iron buildings stand empty, with doors chained shut.

The bottle store closed in December 2013, but the Royal Hotel and Vine Restaurant are fully stocked. 

There are a few shops that sell trinkets and art and sweets. 

You can still dress up and take a picture.

More than 60 hawkers have stalls in town, but they sell mostly the same things that they buy elsewhere for cheap.

But, then there is Edwin and the Bugatti he's crafting by hand with wire and beads.

He’s been working on it for two months - after a collector ordered it from him. 

Edwin has no idea how much wire he has used: all it needs is the enjin and some finishing touches. 

Edwin says business is up and down … but he still makes his sales … which is better than not trying at all.

Pilgrim’s Rest is rich with tales as tall as the trees lining the main road.  

“When you take pictures in the grand old Alanglade house on the hill, you will see orbs”.

Orbs represent the presence of members of the Barry family, for whom the house was built in 1915.   

Alanglade House in Pilgrims Rest
Jacaranda FM News

Alan and Gladys Barry, their seven children and their staff and pets lived there for many years - when Alan Barry was the mine manager. The 27-room house is a monument now and open for tours by Brummer tours. 

It is stocked with authentic furniture, toys, kitchen gadgets, crockery (Royal Dalton) clothes, shoes and ghosts (orbs). Our cameraman, Lindu Nadabandaba swears he felts the dog brush against his leg.

Pilgrims Rest
Jacaranda FM News

Strange lights appeared on the wall in Mr Barry’s bedroom.

"The pram just moves by itself in the children’s playroom … look, there are marks on the floor”.

Pilgrims Rest
Jacaranda FM News

And then … for no apparent reason, the lights went off. The house was pitch dark and we screamed like girls.

We decided the Barry’s had had enough of this intrusion and we were on our way out, when the lights came back on - again for no apparent reason. 

This isn’t where the ghosty story ends.

Robbers Grave at Pilgrims Rest
Jacaranda FM News

A favourite past time is to have sherrie in the grave yard after dark.

So, we did …. 

The grave of the unknown robber has, like all the graves in the cemetery, have a unique story.

And if you still do not believe in the “presence” of orbs, or ghosts or whatever you want to not call it … check out this photo:

Pilgrim's Rest

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