Colourful characters in the Karoo

AG Schoombee, settler near Middelburg

Rocks truly are the curators of history in the Karoo.  Way back in 1780, a Dane left his mark on a Karoo boulder. A G Schoombee was so delighted by the Karoo that he carved a message on a rock and settled right there despite the fact that the area was in the grips of […]

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Anti-Establishment Early Doctor: Ambrose George Campbell

Early hinterland medics were a curious collection of men.  In Frontier Flames, F C Metrowich tells of Ambrose George Campbell, a cantankerous doctor who arrived with the 1820 settlers. The son of Major-General Campbell, he was a clever surgeon, good general practitioner and witty writer.  However, in those robust days of freedom of speech and […]

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Dynamic Jewish Brothers Helped Open The Hinterland

In the 19th century, most Jews leaving Germany in search of better lives chose to go to the United States. Before the discovery of gold and diamonds, very few came to South Africa because it was considered a wild place. Those who did come to “this wilderness” faced great difficulties. Most were forced by the […]

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Early forgers fled into the Karoo – 1791

The wagon route to Carnarvon wound through Schietfonteinspoort, which some called Kareeberge-poort, and past a lonely grave. This is the grave of Carel Kruger, or Krieger, once a veldwachtmeester of the Roggeveld. Together with his brother Jacob, he forged a large sum of money in the late 1700s. The two went to Cape Town and […]

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Henry Finch, photographer, Beaufort West

Dawn Mary Glegg (nee Finch), a proud Beaufort Wester, died on January 15 2013.  She was the daughter of photographer, Henry Finch and Irene Raath, and enjoyed a carefree childhood in Bird Street. She loved nothing more than reminiscing about the Beaufort West Primary School and later Victoria Girls’ High in Grahamstown. Throughout her life […]

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Killed By A Scorpion: James Simmons

In the 1890s James Simmons came to South Africa in search of a better life.  He thought that he had found it in the employ of the Cape Colonial Railways.  He served first as manager of the refreshment rooms at Fraserburg Road Station (Leeu Gamka) and later at Orange River Station (near Hopetown).  He found […]

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The Heritage Work Of Joanna Marx

Joanna Marx recently died in her sleep while visiting friends in London. She will always be remembered in the Karoo for the key role she played in the preservation of the historical architecture. She criss-crossed the Great Karoo, Klein Karoo, Southern Cape and Overberg, like a missionary fiercely preaching conservation and cultural heritage. Joanna developed […]

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The Story Of Melton Wold Farm, Victoria west

Robert Torr came out to the Cape as a soldier during the Second British Occupation in 1806. While in this country he lost his heart to the lovely widow of his late commander, and married her.  They migrated to the Eastern Cape Karoo area where he traded and in time was granted a piece of […]

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Tributes To A Great Man: Major-Genl Andrew Wauchope

It was dark on the afternoon of October 13, 1899, when the news of Major-General Andrew Wauchope’s death reached Edinburgh.  It flashed through the town and suburbs like wildfire – Red Mick as he was known to family and friends – had been killed at the head of the Scottish Brigade at Magersfontein, south of […]

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What A Place For A Wedding: The Pagel & Wilkie circuses

After circus owner William Pagel died, Aberdeen resident Frank Wilkie took over most of his animals.  Frank had collected animals since he was a boy.  At one time he had 24 lions.  He created a zoo in the little Karoo town of Aberdeen and this came to the attention of the world when Numero Killian […]

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