Thornhill is very fortunate to have a well-established management team of Trustees and staff with various portfolios including security, maintenance, beautification of the estate and gardens and the overseeing of Building Guidelines. The Trustees are democratically elected at an AGM and are also responsible for the management of the Estate finances. A code of conduct governs the behaviour of all residents and is strictly enforced to ensure a tranquil lifestyle and harmony for everyone living here. The current management team, trustees and their portfolios can be seen here.

A very active social committee enables the forging of a community spirit by organising functions that include fun for everyone, both young and old.

Security is of the utmost importance to the Thornhill Home Owners Association and this requires the co-operation from all residents and visitors to ensure the security rules and regulations are effective.

The Estate currently contracts iMvula Protection Services as our security service provider. They have a proven track record in Estate security to cater for our security needs. For more information on security, click here.

How Thornhill Estate came about

Thornhill Estate is a part of the greater Modderfontein area. It was established as an estate in the early 2000s and was the flagship development for Heartland Properties who would then go on to build some 33,000 residential dwellings over the next 20 Years on AECI Heartland Property.

Originally a residential area for factory employees, many of the houses still maintain their historic origins, although many have been altered into modern architectural homes. Many of the original street names in both Thornhill, neighbouring Lakeside and Modderfontein Village bear testament to the origins of the workers and managers of the time, who came from countries as diverse as Italy, Scotland, England and Belgium, to name but a few.

Thornhill Estate consists of the original housing area, where many Cape Dutch styled houses can still be seen, and newer areas that have since been developed, originally by AECI / Heartland, in order to establish the estate as a desirable place to live. These newer areas include The Cottages, The Villas, The Crescents and Golfview, as well as vacant areas that were proclaimed and sub-divided into stands within the older areas. Heartland had the foresight to retain many open areas for parks and gardens, which today lend the estate its country atmosphere.

Heritage of Modderfontein

Modderfontein itself has a very rich history going back to the late 1800’s when the Modderfontein Dynamite Factory was established.

Modderfontein (muddy spring) Factory was responsible for the birth of the explosives and chemicals industry in South Africa – an industry that has made a substantial contribution to the economy of not only the local community, but to that of the country as a whole. As such it has been an integral part of the country’s history. Modderfontein Factory was established as a manufacturer of dynamite specifically to supply the burgeoning gold mining industry. It was designed in 1894 as the largest commercial explosives factory in the world, a distinction it enjoyed up until the mid 1990’s.

As the construction of the factory neared completion, a call went out to Nobel factories throughout Europe for people to come and work at Modderfontein. Scots came from Ardeer, Italians from the great explosives works at Avigliana and Germans from the Baltic coast as well as Austrians, Irish and even Danes. Maintenance teams from Holland and England joined the workforce.

Officially opened by President Paul Kruger of the Transvaal Republic in April 1896, it was situated some 20 km north-east of Johannesburg so as to be a safe distance from human habitation due to the hazardous nature of its operations.

Just three years after the factory began production, its role changed abruptly and dramatically when the Anglo-Boer War broke out in October 1899. From making only commercial explosives it became, within a matter of months, the munitions supplier to the two Boer Republics, making propellants for the big guns and cartridges by the hundred thousand for rifles and hand guns.

Modderfontein was occupied by the 3rd Cavalry Brigade in 1900 under the command of General J R P Morgan. Soon afterward, a ‘peace keeping’ force called the South African Constabulary was formed under the command of Major-General Baden-Powell. Modderfontein became the South African Constabulary’s first depot and Baden-Powell’s headquarters

With the cessation of hostilities, the old explosives company was liquidated and reconstituted with a British parent headquartered in London. It was now called the British South African Explosives Company. The majority of shares were still held by the Nobel Trust and its subsidiary companies.

Subsequent events saw Modderfontein amalgamated with the De Beers dynamite factory in Somerset West and the Kynoch Factory at Umbogintwini on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast in 1924.

Modderfontein continued to fulfil its role as one of the world’s the leading suppliers of explosives and explosives accessories over the years and has remained one of the major industrial organisations in South Africa. However, changes in product mix and improvements in environmental areas have allowed large tracts of land to be freed up for development. Recent years have seen rapid change in the area. But even so, it also enjoys a village atmosphere for amid all this frantic development, Modderfontein still retains some semblance of its earlier tranquillity.

(With thanks to Robbie Vermont, well known as a historian of the Modderfontein area.)