Baragwanath Family History In South Africa

(Page under construction - graphic intensive)

Baragwanath, Baragwaneth, Baragwanoth, - bara gwaneth, 'wheaten bread', alternately bar gwaneth, 'the top of the wheat field'. (A Gaelic family name originating in Cornwall circa 1590)*. Modern variations of the names include; Baragwana and even; Barraywanagh

* Detail of the Bara's in South Africa (under construction)

* See also other names associated with the Baragwanath Family - Unknown Bara's, where do they fit in ?

- Passenger list of the immigration ship "Lady Bruce" arrived in Port Natal (Durban) in May 1850, with the first Bara's on board.

- Arrival of the "Lady Bruce" as reported by the Natal Witness Newspaper - notice the spelling mistakes and omission of Wilmot ('Wilcox') as arriving passenger


The hospital at Baragwanath was built at the request of, and funded by, the British Imperial Government in the early stages of WWII, to treat troops from the Middle East Command. The hospital officially opened as the Imperial Military Hospital, Baragwanath, on the 23rd of September 1942, having begun accepting patients in May of 1942 after a relatively short construction period of 6 months.

In 1948, the South African government purchased the hospital from the British Government and in line with the segregated policies of the day, transferred the 'native section' of the Johannesburg General Hospital to Baragwanath. 'Bara' also served the then newly established native township of Soweto, which was only officially proclaimed in 1954. ("South Western Townships", abbreviated to: So-we-to).

The hospital was entered into the Guinness Book of Records in 1997 as the largest hospital in the world, and has become one of the country’s most-prized national monuments and important historical landmarks.


Extracts from Anna H Smiths; Johannesburg Placenames, (Janta, Captetown, 1971)

All Rights acknowledged.


See Encyclopedia  Britannica's info on Bara ... Hospital

See Travelingluck's info and Ariel photograph and local map of Bara ...


*G. Pawley White's Handbook of Cornish Surnames shows: Baragwanath, Baragwaneth

"From bara gwaneth: wheaten bread. Name mentioned in 16th cent. in Towednack parish.


An excellent and detailed link to meanings / origins of many traditional Cornish names.


See also other names associated with the Baragwanath Family

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