Introduction

Harvey Rawson, my great-grandfather, was the son of a Sheffield builder and contractor named John Charles Rawson.   He was born about 1853.   By the late 1890s he had emigrated to South Africa with his wife Edith and their infant son Arnold, to Kimberley which was famed for its diamond mine owned by Cecil Rhodes.
In Du Toitspan Road, Kimberley, Harvey Rawson bought and ran "The Creamery Café".

Soon the Böer War started and Harvey sent Edith and Arnold (my father's father) home to England while he stayed behind to look after the business.   He began writing this diary as a letter to Edith, but Kimberley was already cut off from the outside world and the letter became a diary of the Kimberley Siege, relating a fascinating insight into life in the town during those four to five months.

Click on the dates in the calendars to the left to read the diary entries for each day.  I have also included his obituary from the Kimberley Star of 24th August 1912.

Some of the words in the diary are indistinct and a few guesses have had to be made in transcribing the manuscript.   My thanks to Kokkie Duminy of the Africana Library in Kimberley for help with deciphering the script.

You can view the original manuscript here (opens in a new window).

I hope you enjoy reading Harvey's account of the siege.   Please let me have any comments you might have by e-mail.

This diary is now available as a printed book (click here to buy) and as a Kindle eBook (click here to buy).

Click here to go to the first diary entry for 22nd October 1899

Click here to go to my main web site.