Origins Of Circle City
Much of the history of Welkom is centred around the discovery of gold in the northwestern Free State. It was proclaimed a town in 1948, nine years after a major gold discovery was made in Odendaalsrus, just north of Welkom.
Welkom officially came into being on 15 April 1947, six years after the first mining lease in the area was awarded to the St Helena Gold Mining Company, and was proclaimed a town on 23 July 1948.
On 14 February 1968, after 21 years of existence, Welkom received city status, and celebrated this event with the opening of the Civic Centre by Mrs Martie du Plessis. The construction of this building commenced in 1964.
On 20 March 1990, Welkom was struck by a multi-vortex tornado which scoured through the suburbs. This tornado was part of a 240 km long storm front and had a width of up to 1.7 km. This weather event proved to be the most devastating recorded (financially/insurance) in South Africa to date, destroying 4000 homes.
On 26 September 1990, Welkom experienced a seismic event with a magnitude of 4.2, which resulted in two deaths and five injuries.
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