Tommy Ellis, Charles’ father moved to the area in 1964 after selling his hotel The Barbeque Ranch (later known as the Kyalami Ranch). Tommy had a vision of Johannesburg and Pretoria growing together and felt that any land between these two cities would be a good investment. Over the years he kept buying up portions of the farm Olievenhoutbosch which he named “White Hills Farm” from the white quartz reef which runs through the property.


He built a landing strip and had a lot of fun growing mielies, sweet potatoes and tunnel tomatoes. He also had a herd of jersey cattle and a flock of merino sheep. In those days the cry of the silver backed jackal could still be heard at night. Tommy mined a small gold reef in the area, bringing the ore back to “White Hills Farm” where he crushed it and extracted the gold. He loved building and built a number of cottages on the land which he let to interesting people. His tenants of choice were flying types who owned or had built their own planes which were kept on the farm.


One of these “mad” pilots would tie a net between his plane’s wheels every December and would fly to the mealiefields near Magaliesberg where he would ‘harvest’ the first mealies of the season by flying through the fields. From trapeze artists , missionaries and Zulu dancers – there were always interesting and exciting characters on the property. The Homeowner's office and the security office are two of the original cottages which still remain and Midrand Real Estate’s office is situated in Tommy’s old farmhouse in Thatchfield Close. In the 1970’s the area was incorporated into a municipality and a ‘land rush’ ensued, with companies such as Tuckers, Glen Anil , Rogoff Rand and Van Achtenberg buying up all the farms and submitting township applications. In 1974 Tommy submitted his own applications for township development, which culminated in the approval of Thatchfield Close and Thatchfield Hills some 30 years later! White Hills Farm was separated from the established residential areas of The Reeds and Rooihuiskraal by a large tract of vacant land which belonged to Absa Bank. In 2001 Charles managed to acquire the property and finalise the township application which had been submitted 30 years previously. After much discussion it was decided to call the area Thatchfield after the rolling fields of thatching grass.


The first phase of the development Thatchfield Crescent was launched alongside The Reeds in 2003.Prospective buyers queued for days, sleeping in their cars to secure stands. Some of the buyers who secured sites and sold them immediately to people at the back of the queue for a substantial profit. Since then Thatchfield has developed in phases over the years and by 2009 over 1500 homes have been built and occupied.


When it is complete Thatchfield will be home to over 3000 families and Tommy Ellis’ vision of the cities joining together will have become a reality.