Cities and towns
Established in 1843 and named after Queen Victoria of England. Victoria West marks the beginning of the Diamond Way, lying on the main route from Cape Town to Kimberley. In 1866 diamond fever was sparked with the discovery of the gem at Hopetown and then at Kimberley.
The railway from Cape Town was also lured north but, perplexingly, missed Victoria West by 12km (See Hutchinson). Though Victoria West has suffered a devastating flood and dustbowl-drought, it has thrived.
In 1768 Johan Abraham Nel planted an almond tree in honour of his son’s birth. This tree eventually became enormous, and was an oasis in the dry treeless area of the Karee Mountains.
In 1845 Johann Heinrich Lutz established a mission station named Amandelboom (almond tree) at this spot. In 1883 the name changed to Williston, in honour of Colonel Hampden Willis.