Gauteng is the province to film in if it's industrial locations you're after. This month's location feature focuses on industrial locations with historic significance.

Click on thumbnail below to view Industrious Gauteng Gallery

Since the discoveries of gold in 1886 and of the world's largest diamond in 1905 in Cullinan, in the Metsweding district, Gauteng has developed into the economic powerhouse of South Africa. Many of the big names in industry have their headquarters in Gauteng, and the sophisticated infrastructure caters for one of the fastest growing trade sectors in the world. Heavy and light Industries that contribute to the Province's GDP are basic iron and steel, fabricated and metal products, food, machinery, electrical machinery, appliances and electrical supplies, motor vehicle parts and accessories, and chemical products. There are 159 mines (44 of them gold mines) in Gauteng that together produce a quarter of South Africa's total mineral production, although mining is no longer a key driver of the Gauteng economy.

The main regions of industrial activity are Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng, the West Rand, and Johannesburg. Ekurhuleni, as one of the most intensely mined areas in the country, provides views of mine dumps and machinery on many routes through this district. Main industries consist of engineering, metals, auto manufacture, machinery and equipment. Crown Cork Factory was the first industry established in 1951 in Kempton Park. It was built in Art Deco style and has never been altered. Also of interest in Kempton Park is the Modderfontein Factory. Established in the 1890s, it is the oldest industrial site in the area. Germiston is a very important industrial centre and is home to 2 000 factories. It also has the world's largest gold refinery.

Sedibeng is a cluster of towns near the majestic Vaal River. It is the industrial heartland of Gauteng with Iscor's great steel factories in Vereeniging continuously belching smoke into the atmosphere. The landscape of the West Rand is highveld plains studded with abandoned and operational mine dumps and headgears. Contributing to the vibrancy of the West Rand are mining towns such as Carletonville and Randfontein. Mogale City is the commercial capital of the West Rand and both past and future are inextricably linked to mining. It is home to one of the first gold mines on the Witwatersrand dating back to 1881, the Old Kromdraai Gold Mine. Today, uranium, manganese, iron, asbestos and lime are mined in the Krugersdorp mines.

The two most exciting, innovative and film friendly industrial locations to come onto the Joburg scene this year are Arts on Main and Newtown's the forum | turbine hall. With a unique blend of studio, commercial, residential and retail spaces, Arts on Main is a hub for Johannesburg's creative community to develop and share ideas. Features include a restaurant, event and exhibition spaces, an outdoor cinema and a rooftop bar. There's even a courtyard planted with lemon and olive trees. It is situated in a gritty part of town, to the east of the CBD, on the corner of Berea and Main streets, surrounded by industrial buildings. In 1911, a mere 25 years after Johannesburg began developing, Arts on Main was originally built. It began as a bonded Liquor store for William Mcbain. DF Corlett, master builder and mayor of Johannesburg from 1931 to 1932, later used the front offices for his construction company. The conversion at Arts on Main honours the building's history highlighting features such as the double volume ceilings, concrete floors and over sized windows, while incorporating more contemporary elements to reflect the creativity and innovation the space promotes. Almost all the original industrial features and facades have been retained. High ceilings, open spaces, abundance of natural light, industrial style combined with the integrity of the original buildings, make this an ideal film location. Contact Jacqui Neal on +27 (0)11 334 1054 or email for rates.

The industrial significance of Newtown cannot be underestimated and while many of the original industrial uses have moved on elsewhere or have been eclipsed by new technologies, Newtown continues to benefit from some of Johannesburg's most imposing industrial architecture. Newtown in the 1910s and 1920s became the first area in Johannesburg to be given industrial status. A power station, electric workshops, tram workshops, hostels, a market, railway compounds and a major milling site re-enforced the area as Johannesburg's main centre for not only power generation and tram workshops, but also fresh produce trading and related food processing industries as well.

According to heritage expert and architect, Herbert Prins: "The Turbine Hall and South Boiler House are superb industrial buildings distinguished by their massive scale, fine proportions, inspiring interior space and delicacy of detail." Known as the Jeppe Street Power Station this was the last and largest of three power stations built in Newtown between 1906 and 1934. The complex of buildings was built between 1927 and 1934 and included Turbine Hall, a 'North Boiler House', a 'South Boiler House' and three concrete cooling towers. Following on from years of neglect the North Boiler House was demolished in 2005 and the international headquarters of AngloGold Ashanti built on the site.

The forum | turbine hall has also moved in as a tenant providing the most extraordinary and unique event space in the city. Situated on Miriam Makeba and Ntemi Piliso Streets, the forum | turbine hall provides a glimpse into the city's architectural style of the 1920s and 1930s. Exterior as well as interiors have been left as intact as possible providing a sense of scale, the grittiness of an industrial space, but with finishes that pay attention to detail, style and comfort. It is only a matter of time before this amazing space is discovered as Gauteng's premier film location and party venue. They are very definitely film friendly. Rates for 2010 still have to be confirmed. Contact Claudene Van Tellingen on +27 (0)73 877 0086 or email for more information.

Since the mid 2000s, an urban renewal process has resulted in many fine industrial buildings originally associated with the Premier Milling Company on the corner of Carr and Quinn streets transformed into upmarket offices and apartments. The Mills is one such building and has become a much used film location. In the surrounding streets an eclectic mix of Victorian, Edwardian, post Edwardian and Art Deco warehouses are still largely used for bulk storage, trading and light manufacturing.

The electric and workers precinct to the East of Newtown contains the Workers Compound, Turbine Hall, and the Electric Workshop now the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre. In the heart of Newtown is Museum Africa and the Market Theatre, once Joburg's fresh produce market, and arguably one of Johannesburg's finest examples of Edwardian industrial architecture. Often overlooked in Newtown are the many fine, small-scale industrial and commercial buildings, as well as the eclectic mix of architectural styles covering Victorian, Edwardian, Beaux arts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, modern and international, post modern and contemporary architecture.

Newtown and Soweto share a historical link in the form of the Jeppe Street Power Station and the Orlando Power Station. By the late 1920s and 1930s, the Jeppe Street Power Station had become the city's main source of electricity supply. By the 1940s it was already struggling to keep up with demand and by 1942 the Orlando Power Station in Soweto came into operation to handle some of the additional burden. Although the power station no longer produces electricity, it does cater for thrills of a different kind. The Orlando Towers, where Soweto bungee operates from, are situated next to a dam and the huge, now derelict power station. Soweto bungee is one of several new adventure activities offered in Soweto and the most exciting way to see South Africa's biggest township. An open-air lift transports you to a landing three metres from the top of the cooling tower and 100 metres up. A short walk along the floating staircase takes you to the tower's rim and either the sky-bridge (between the two towers) for the bungee or the platform for the swing. You can also jump inside the tower, swinging across the width of its base. There is also a viewing platform on the west tower which has been painted to reflect the famous sons and daughters of Soweto as well as traditional township scenes. The Orlando Power Station is situated at Dynamo Street, corner Old Potch Road, Orlando, Soweto. Contact details are +27 (0)12 345 5114 or email

Milpark is well-known to the film industry, with many of Joburg's film, television and media companies located there. Atlas Studio on Owl Street, alongside the hard to miss gas cylinders of Egoli Gas, is a landmark Joburg building. This multi-layered 1951 building has an unusual feature - a series of flat-arched, vaulted, concrete roofs, a typical factory feature in the 1950s, with stainless steel tiled floors. And of course its barrel-vaulted roofs, vast space and interesting shapes have long appealed to the film industry. 44 Stanley was once a series of 1930s industrial buildings transformed into speciality boutiques, restaurants and design studios. Further up the road is the Gas Works, another abandoned yet fascinating industrial building from the 1920s.