During the 1880’s, Paul Kruger set up various committees to encourage and finance Dutch emigration to the South African Republic.
One of these committees was headed by Wolterus Dull. Dull set up a company in 1883 with the express intention of strengthening the relationship between Holland and South Africa, by assisting the Dutch immigrants who had suffered losses during the first Anglo-Boer War. This company then purchased two farms, Groot Suikerboschkop and Elandlaagte and the first emigrants, led by JH Janson Jnr, arrived on these farms between 1884 and 1887.
In 1887, the settlement comprised 48 white citizens, 8 houses, 3 stables and ten cattle Kraals. The inhabitants were disillusioned by the mist, cold, lack of amenities and infertile soils of the area but some of them stuck it out and thanks to local Dutch farmers such as the Kraayenburg, Mar, Laubscher, Taute and Steenkamp families, and some of Irish origin like the O’Grady’s and the O’Neill’s, the settlement had grown into a small village when Wolterus Dull visited in 1890.
In 1893, President Kruger gave Dullstroom official town status, naming it after Wolterus Dull and the nearby Crocodile River (‘stroom’ is the Dutch word for stream). By 1894, the town boasted 100 settlers and continued to grow until the second Anglo-Boer War broke out and it was occupied by the British troops in 1900. The town was razed to the ground and the women and children were placed in concentration camps.
After the war, many survivors returned to their countries of origin but some returned to rebuild the town. Shortly afterwards, the postmaster of Lydenburg caught a fish which resembled a trout in the Dorps River. Seeing an opportunity, he introduced a number of fingerling from the cape in 196 into the local streams. F C Braund a watchmaker and jeweller in the area, continued this initiative, and Dullstroom was on its way to becoming the trout fishing Mecca of South Africa that it is today.