THE HISTORY OF THE RAND HUNT
1886 to 1934 - from Germiston to Inanda
The Rand Hunt has its origins in the Germiston Hunt Club, which was founded in the summer of 1886, the year of the discovery of the Rand Gold Fields. Although they apparently used a motley collection of hunting hounds, these early pioneers set about to develop an African version of what was their favourite equestrian sport. In June 1896 Len Homan, then chairman of the local kennel club, was instrumental in the launch of the Johannesburg Hunt Club with the donation of thirteen and a half couple of hounds.
In 1901 when Queen Victoria's Royal Buckhounds of Windsor were disbanded, a Mr Cohen was asked to buy some of the hounds at the Tattersalls sale on behalf of the Hunt. He bought the third draft and employed Mr Smith, who was Second Whipper-in to the Royal Buckhounds, to bring them out to South Africa. Smith stayed on and hunted the hounds for a season at a fee of £100. The hounds proved unsuitable for South African conditions as they were too heavy and had soft feet. This together with the expense of Mr Smith's fee led to the disbanding of the pack and the sale of the hounds.
The Hunt continued to meet over the next few years, although details are sketchy. Those remaining members of the Johannesburg Hunt re-grouped in 1913 as the Rand Hunt Club, hunting from Langlaagte. Mr C A Hadley was appointed Master in 1914 and the Hunt carried on mainly as a social club as the hounds available were considered to be quite useless. The pack in those days numbered around 15 couple and were kenneled at Nelsonia, Booysens.
Our knowledge of the next few years are gleaned from a speech Joane Pim made in 1957 at the Inanda Club to mark Peter Wilson's 25th anniversary of service to the Rand Hunt.
"The Witwatersrand was lucky that the Wilson brothers chose to settle in Johannesburg.·One brother, Comar, came first, to be followed by Peter, and later by a then very junior member of this family from Cumberland - Tony, Comar and Peter soon became keen followers of the Rand Hunt Club, and it was not long before Comar was a most active Deputy Master to Mr T.R. Keegan, and Peter was hunting the Hounds. It was Comar's enthusiasm, and capacity to raise the cash which put the Hunt on a sound financial basis, and, in the end, incidentally, led to the founding of this, the Inanda Club".
Click here to see the original full speech by Joane Pim 4th May 1957
In 1930 two other packs are documented as operating in South Africa. the Cape Hunt under the Mastership of Com. C Struben OBE and a lessor known hunt called Ofcolaco in the Northern Transvaal, whose master and hunstman was Lieut.Com RH Donnell RN. Click here for more about Ofcolaco
The Birth of the Inanda Club
In 1934 the Rand Hunt and the Johannesburg Polo Clubs joined forces to form the Inanda Club although the Rand Hunt retained its name as a founding section of the new equestrian club. The hounds were moved to new kennels at Inanda, north of the outlying country area known as Rosebank. For many years the hunting territory covered what is now Sandown, Wendywood, Buccleuch and Petervale.