About Thomas Flemming McLachlan
Thomas (1829-1900) was a pioneer of the Transvaal and Swaziland and one of South Africa's successful gold prospectors. He was described as a tall and lanky Scotsman and was born in the Perthshire parish of Caputh into the family of Robert, a successful farmer, and his wife Janet McNaughton.
TOM MCLACHLAN Mclachlan despised what he called vultures waiting for other men to do the work and then descend on their findings, had led them a merry chase but he wisely never went back to Duiwels Kantoor. The actual site of French Bob and his companions find was along the banks of the Ngwenyana stream known as the North Kaap. Ingram James had been responsible for the first discovery. They worked in secret but in early 1883 Henry Culverwall stumbled on their site and pegged out a claim.
The news spread and within days there was a rush to what became known as Jamestown in honour of Ingram James. This rush was short lived and French Bob and his companions worked the length and breadth of the Kaap Valley and found many traces of gold, but a water shortage put them off working many of their finds, including what was to become the Sheba Reef. French Bob wandered along what became known as Queens River after the Swazi queen Moyo of the Mjindini Kraal. He found traces of "Rotten Reef" that he described as the best find yet. A man named Wylde tried to double cross everybody by getting a concession from the queen on what became known as Concession Creek.
French Bob called Mr Ziervogel the mining Commissioner to settle the dispute. Even though the findings were on Moodies grant nothing was settled. Most of the prospectors left in disgust. However on Sunday 3 June 1883 French Bob at the head of the Creek found what was then the greatest gold find in Southern Africa "The Pioneer Reef". The three prospectors agreed to inform Moodie and started working on a six mile water race. Once they started work on the race all secrecy ended and a rush started. Very soon news had spread not only throughout Southern Africa but right around the world. The greatest rush since the discovery of diamonds ensued and this was to establish the Transvaal Republic as the the greatest producer of gold in the world. He was a prospector of courage , patience, resourceful and held in high esteem by his fellow diggers.