Noupoort

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Noupoort,St Agnes Anglican Church Image source

Noupoort is a town in the Eastern Karoo region of South Africa. With the start of the Railways in Noupoort nearly all the personnel were English speaking and thus the first churches were WESLYAN, PRESBYTERIAN and ANGLICAN.

The St Agnes Anglican church was designed by a railway engineer in memory of fallen British soldiers. It was built in 1901 by British troops, of which some were stonemasons, who were stationed at Noupoort during the Second Boer War (1899-1901). The troops were repatriated before they could complete the church. The apse was later completed with red face brick. The British military camp and hospital contributed considerably to the completion and membership of these churches during that time. Thereafter the number of members dwindled quickly so that the Weslyan and Presbiterian churches amalgamated in the Presbiterian building, while the building of the Weslyan church was first used as classrooms during 1916-1918 after standing empty for a number of years, and then sold to the Apostolic Faith Mission for use as their church. The Anglican Church was mainly served by visiting ministers. The building is a National Heritage site and is protected. 

The Noupoort station – once one of the busiest in the Southern hemisphere. Noupoort used to be a trainspotters’ haunt back in the days of steam and really-rolling stock, when the old black steel Goliaths used to chug across the Karoo like smoking dinosaurs. Back in the 1920s, more than 85 trains came steaming through Noupoort daily. In 1966, diesel locomotives were first introduced. They were called the Red Starvation. Because they did not need a driver and fireman each, as did the steam locos, they cut down dramatically on overtime, and many families were transferred to other towns like Rosmead. Noupoort also has a very rich Anglo-Boer War history, and possibly the finest British blockhouse in the Southern hemisphere. Tourism expert Peter Myles says Noupoort has the potential to become another Alicedale – a railway-based village that has been returned to its former glory! Like most self-respecting Karoo towns, the Noupoort area has its own ghost story; On a nearby farm, a little woman dressed in Victorian clothes was once spotted walking around pointing at the ground. Later on, stacks of coins wrapped in cloth were found where she pointed, shiny on the inside, rusty on the outside.

Present-day Noupoort is perhaps most famous for being a centre for drug rehabilitation.


References:
• http://karoospace.co.za/noupoort/travelbucket.co.za/noupoort-northern-cape New Dictionary of South African Place Names by Peter E. Raper
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Last updated : 20-Aug-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Aug-2018