The Immediate Post-War Era

After the re-opening of Dormy House to members when the War ended the Club went through a difficult period. The attendance during the Christmas, New Year and Easter Holidays was said to be satisfactory. However, the percentage of non members as guests was exceptionally high. The support of members at weekends was disappointing as the travel restrictions during and immediately after the war period had a marked effect on Maccauvlei. Membership started to decline as many new courses were built elsewhere on the Rand.

The local membership was small (292) and still falling. In August 1960 the Chairman pointed out that the club was no longer economically viable. Costs, though carefully controlled, were rising and revenue had fallen as a result of the decline in active membership. Times must have been bad, as in October 1960, Ian Smullen raised the question of the bar staff giving “short tots”. By 1963 local membership had fallen to only 250.

Owing to the rapid industrial growth of Vereeniging, and the resultant demand by a large number of “local” residents for membership, the Club came under strong pressure to admit more local members. The immediate response by the Club to this was that in order to show support for its existing members, who had demonstrated their allegiance to the Club during the war period, the position would only be reviewed again after the armistice (1 August 1944). In truth, the Club really did not want to be swamped by the “locals” and the committee decided that the best option would be to declare Maccauvlei strictly a “Private Club”. It was as a result of this Approach that the local residents labelled Maccauvlei a “Snob Club”.

The end of an era
During the last year of the war the Club’s situation changed significantly when negotiations led to the takeover on October 3, 1945, of Vereeniging Estates and Amalgamated Collieries, together with other Lewis and Marks interests, by the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa. The long and colourful era of Lewis and Marks had ended, but it had left Maccauvlei with a rich and treasured heritage.

Anglo American continued to control the affairs of the Club, but on the 30 June 1957, separated Dormy House from the Golf Club. Sadly, Dormy House was closed, and a place of much enjoyment, merriment and social activity shut its doors for the last time to members. However, the historic building was not abandoned and it was used as the focal point for the opening of a technical training centre, known as the Central Training Unit, for the gold mines in the Anglo American Group. New chalets and rooms were built around Dormy House and gardens laid out.

The Unit, better known as CTU later became an autonomous organisation within the Anglo American Group and started supplying services on a commercial basis to outside companies. Over the years the range of training services steadily expanded to include a full spectrum of human resource development services. The Centre is built around the classic architecture of the original buildings, and offers all modern technical aids, fine cuisine and recreational facilities – not least golf.

As a result of the changes stemming from the listing of the Anglo group on the London Stock Exchange, the name was changed to bring it back to its roots. The Maccauvlei Training and Conference Centre, as it is now called, is still an autonomous organisation within the Anglo group and significantly is still centred around Dormy House. In fact in 1998, the interior of Dormy House was extensively renovated and upgraded although the exterior of the building remains unchanged.
When CTU (as it then was) was established in 1957, Anglo handed over the golf course to the Maccauvlei members to run, and as a result of this, the “locals” finally took over.
Dr William Chapman, who had arrived in Vereeniging in 1910 as a “locum tenens”, intending to stay for only three weeks, but was to reside in the town for 50 years, became the first local Club President. He was followed by Dick Fourie and then Allen Snijman, who can probably be regarded as the first captain of the new local era. Dr “Denny” Chapman, William’s son, served as Vice-Chairman after his father died.