CAMPBELL ROSS STREET
The town, initially administered by White River Estates, was replaced by a Health Committee on 29 October 1932, under the chairmanship of Colonel R Campbell Ross, who arrived in White River in 1920/21, formerly in the Indian army. He was a director of White River Fruit Growers.
CHARLES NEL STREET
Carel Jacobus Nel (1890-1983) – he was a member of the first White River Health Committee, elected 29 October 1932 and was elected deputy mayor when the town elected it’s first Village Council on 17 August 1937. Charles was a teacher at White River Primary School when F Davey was the Head Master. The other teachers were: Willem Jacobus Swanepoel and Miss Tracey. Charles left White River in 1940 to become Head Master of the Indian School in Nelspruit. He died in Pretoria in 1983.
Born in Graaff-Reinet on 22 June 1905, he began his school career in Winburg and matriculated at the High School, Ermelo. He studied at the University of Cape Town where he attained B.A, B.Sc and B.Ed degrees and was a student teacher in 1931/32 at the University of Cape Town. Thereafter he lectured Psychology at the Natal University College. He returned to the Cape, lecturing at the Cape Technical College. In 1945 Danie moved to the Lowveld to farm near Plaston. He became involved in various organisations including irrigation boards, and played an important part in the building of dams in the White River Valley. Danie was also a director of White River Fruit Growers. The Danie Joubert dam (Klipkopje dam) is named after him. He married Helena née Strauss and they had three children, Jean, Annemarie and Francois.
JOHN BARKER STREET
The first Chairman of White River Fruit Growers was Capt. John P Barker (1888-1956). He was also the first chairman of the Citrus Exchange and served on the White River Village Council from 1940 until 1944.
John Barker was born in Melbourne in 1888 and married Lucy Hay Affleck-Scott, daughter of an Australian surgeon. He enlisted in the British Army (Royal Artillery) in 1915, served in Egypt, Salonika, the Caucasus and Anatolia until June 1920, then emigrated to White River, an almost virgin area in the very first stages of development. John found an immediate opening for rendering a service and earning an income by starting an ox-transport service from the railhead at Nelspruit.
From his office, a wattle and daub shack, grew the White River Co-operative Agricultural Services with John Barker as Chairman. The objective was to assist the settlers with their purchases by buying co-operatively. The company bought vehicles that did great service to the district by bringing in supplies for the fast-developing valley. These vehicles, on their solid rubber tyres, were still the best available transport when the first packed cases of citrus fruit left the district for export in 1925. John was the moving spirit in forming that much larger and broader co-operative company, the White River Fruit Growers. This company was the first Citrus co-operative to be registered in South Africa and replaced the old White River Cooperative Agricultural Services in March 1924. He was also the first chairman of the Citrus Exchange.
He left many monuments to his years of service in helping to develop White River and its valley. John was instrumental in establishing the White River District Farmers’ Association, the White River Estates Irrigation Board and the White River Valley Conservation Board (which came into being to control the water stored in Longmere Dam). Each of these bodies had difficult periods, and John Barker, as secretary, had to carry a heavy burden.
He was the moving spirit in forming the private company which financed and built the first Town Hall for White River in 1935, which was later taken over by the Village Council. John Barker was a member of the Village Council and Chairman for three years. It is fitting that his memory should be perpetuated by naming the main pool of the White River Municipal Swimming Bath after him.
Barker and his wife divorced and she and the two boys left for the English Midlands. Barker died on 4 December 1956, age 68, and was buried in White River.