Having spoken to my Brother-in-Law about the three photos from the Challenger collection I sent him copies after digitally enhancing them in a quick and rough way. His reply to me was as follows:
Dear Claude - delighted to see these enhanced pictures of the "New
Diamond Rush" as it was known from 1871 to about 1873 before becoming
DBCM under Rhodes' control. Question: Are the original pictures that you
have enhanced in sepia, but changed by you to black & white? I ask this
because I have a collection of original photos (now much
faded) in a folder that I bought on auction in Kimberley about 30 or 35
years ago.
My photos are annotated in ink by the photographers, The Gray Brothers,
with dates. My collection of 15 photos is not complete with some missing
- according to the auctioneer at the time. A full Folio is to be seen in
the Kimberley Library archive.

I feel quite confident in saying that all three photos of yours when
compared with mine are of the New Rush mine at Colesberg Kopje, later to
become The Kimberley Mine same as the Big Hole. The other New Rush
digging took place over what was known as the De Beers Mine - this name
remained until the present time. This latter hole is the one being
filled with tailings from the re-treating the old De Beers' dumps. Your photos, by comparison with those of my collection can be almost certainly identified as being of The Big Hole in its earliest stages (1871 discovered).

I expect that the Kimberley Museum will confirm this. Any current day photographs will be unrecognisable compared to the original. I will try and obtain some from the area.

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Comment by Claude Felbert on November 28, 2010 at 1:54pm
My neighbour is a librarian I will ask her about the books otherwise a visit to the National Library is needed.
Comment by Eleanor Muller on November 28, 2010 at 1:21am
There are two sources of information about Cape Photographers that may be of assistance. Unfortunately I nave access to neither, but putting it out there in case anyone else has them:

"Secure the Shadow: The story of Cape Photography from it's beginning to the end of 1870" by Marjorie Bull & Joseph Denfield 1970. Published by T McNally (Cape Town)
and
Nineteenth Century Photographers in SA - Africana Notes & News Vol 15, No 6 (June 1963) pp 219-252.
Comment by GaryMcLeod on November 27, 2010 at 11:39pm
I've looked in 19th Century newspapers for mention of the Gray Brothers and could only come up with that engraving made from one of their photographs. I am wondering if there was any contact between the Challenger crew and the Gray Brothers?
Comment by GaryMcLeod on November 27, 2010 at 9:53pm
@Claude, I hope you don't mind but some of the text was missing from your Brother-in-law's letter, so I reposted it below:
Comment by GaryMcLeod on November 27, 2010 at 9:52pm
"Dear Claude - delighted to see these enhanced pictures of the "New Diamond Rush" as it was known from 1871 to about 1873 before becoming DBCM under Rhodes' control. Question: Are the original pictures that you have enhanced in sepia, but changed by you to black & white? I ask this because I have a collection of original photos (now much faded) in a folder that I bought on auction in Kimberley about 30 or 35 years ago.

My photos are annotated in ink by the photographers, The Gray Brothers, with dates. My collection of 15 photos is not complete with some missing - according to the auctioneer at the time. A full Folio is to be seen in the Kimberley Library archive.

I feel quite confident in saying that all three photos of yours when compared with mine are of the New Rush mine at Colesberg Kopje, later to become The Kimberley Mine same as the Big Hole. The other New Rush digging took place over what was known as the De Beers Mine - this name remained until the present time. This latter hole is the one being filled with tailings from the re-treating the old De Beers' dumps. Your photos, by comparison with those of my collection can be almost certainly identified as being of The Big Hole in its earliest stages (1871 discovered).

I expect that the Kimberley Museum will confirm this. Any current day photographs will be unrecognisable compared to the original. I will try and obtain some from the area."

Original Challenger Photos

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