History and Heritage Buildings

Modderfontein village was established in 1894 to meet the needs of the growing gold mining industry. With the advent of underground mining, there was a need to manufacture and sell dynamite. This resulted in, what is colloquially referred to as, the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory being built - it was far enough away from the mining hub to allay people’s fears around the manufacture of explosives.

The original factory was built by Germans, and immigrants were recruited from all over Europe. This gave rise to villages which sprung up around the factory. The residents of these areas took to naming the small villages after their countries of origin, such as Dutch Village and Italian village.

Various heritage buildings have been retained in Modderfontein, these include The Modderfontein Dynamite Company Museum (constructed in 1895 this was originally the residence of first chief engineer, it has served as a museum since 1987), Franz Hoenig Haus (first factory manager’s house, constructed in 1896), the Casino (established for recreational requirements in 1897) and 33 High Street (the assistant factory manager’s house constructed in 1897).

Zendai Development SA is committed to retaining the identified Heritage Buildings and plans to develop a Heritage Village which includes various cultural and recreational offerings. Majority of the existing buildings serve as offices to let for various businesses. Cultural offerings include the addition of art galleries and museums, this adding to the list of museums in Johannesburg. Plans for residential development in Modderfontein will allow for the New City to become a vibrant neighbourhood which promotes the live, work, play, grow concept.

Dynamite Company Museum

Franz Hoenig Haus

1 Casino Road