Thursday, 16 July 2015

Barbed Wire

As shared by the hosts of De Oude Huize Yard
Guest writer: Andrew Barlow
Barbed wire was originally intended for cattle farming and the need for more land led to strife and even several range wars.

However, as always happens, the majority of the people realised that law and order was a necessity and proper legal title to land was essential.
Cattle could then no longer roam freely and every rancher had to keep his stock on his own range. Fencing was needed. Plants took to long to grow well enough to be impenetrable, smooth wire did not keep stock in and other methods were far too expensive.
Barbed wire was the solution. The inventor was Lucien B Smith of Ohio it revolutionised farming and in the Free State and in 1890 it became a legal obligation. 
Many kinds of animals could by its use be kept in or out of certain areas thereby making proper husbandry of grazing areas possible. Planted fields could be protected from wild and domesticated animals. 
In other words it made scientific farming possible.
In the Free State sand stone was readily available and huge fence poles were used in the erection of the barbed wire fences. 

 Today these fence poles are still around especially in the Free State South Africa 


Close-up of the Sand Stone and barbed wire fences 
Ever so present in the Free State 
The Sand stone post has a charm of it's own.
Can you imagine the quarrying, cutting and planting of these huge blocks 
Barbed wire in our area

Unfortunately it also has a dark side.

In his quest and urge to kill and control his fellow human beings it was soon realised that barbed wire could be used as a military tool and a means of suppression and oppression.

Barbed wire was used during the Anglo Boer War.
The wire were mainly scored on farms and then utilized against the Boer Commando during the Boer War
During the South African War the British military used thousands of miles of barbed wire. 
They erected "forts" all over the Free State, the Transvaal and large portions of the Cape Colony in order to protect the railways and to hamper the movement of the Boer Commandos. 
All these "forts" were connected by several strands of barbed wire and on the strands they suspended empty tins containing a few stones. 
Any interference with these strands set the tins clanging and thus alerted the troops in the forts". 
Lee Enfield .303 rifles were fixed to steel posts and sighted along the wires.and any one who crossed the barbed wire lines would set off the rifle and be shot - this also alerting the troops in the "forts".

These block houses were erected over South Africa and Around the "forts" rolls of barbed wire were place making approach by any enemy very difficult..  The sketch in the middle is the Block House in Harrismith.  These block houses were also referred to as forts.
During that war the British used concentration camps as a weapon of war. 
Women and children were imprisoned in these camps which were surrounded by barbed wire. 
The Free State and the Transvaal were denuded of the rural populations, both black and white people which were then imprisoned in the concentration camps.
After that Boer War the British administration had a huge amount of barbed wire for which it had no further use. It could not sell the wire because the farmers would not buy it as it was not galvanised. 

A Karoo farmer thought that the Karoo being a very arid region would be a suitable place to use the wire. 
It would not rust there and would last for very many years. 
He bought enough to use on his farm for all his needs.  
The idea spread and the British administration soon sold all its unneeded barbed wire.

Since that war barbed wire has been used in all the wars.

But there is also new life for Barbed Wire that is positive 

My garden is proof 

De Oude Huize Yard's Gardens and Regenerated Barbed Wire 
A Ostrich egg in a Barbed Wire nest.
The Karoo is known for ostriches
Was this perhaps still part of the Karoo Farmer's British bought Barbed wire? 
 Lots of blessings to you all 

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