Graaff-Reinet

Nepotism In The Church?

In November, 1854, nepotism was questioned in the Dutch Reformed Church. Someone, using the nom-de-plume En Clique Tegenstaander, en Tegenstreever, wrote to the editor of the S A Commercial Advertiser and Cape Town Mail, on November 2, saying: I have been informed that it is contrary to the discipline of the Hollandische Gereformeerde Kerk in […]

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Praising the Lord – The Anglican way

Getting the word of the Lord to the far flung corners of the hinterland was a daunting task in the early 1800s. Scottish clergy arrived to preach to Dutch farmers of the interior, but a true Anglican service was a rarity and, when these services were held, they scared the locals! This is according to […]

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Railways In The Karoo: John Paterson and William Brounger

It was the son of a Scottish stone carter who devised a way to link Graaff-Reinet to the coast by rail. But John Paterson initially came to South Africa to teach English. He was recruited by James Rose Innes, and he arrived in this country filled with enthusiasm.  By 1841 he had established The Government […]

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Somerset East : A Wild And Dangerous Place

The Karoo was still a wild place in the 1850s and news was not always reliable. On January 10, 1851, the people of Somerset East were relieved to hear that Bear Moorcroft and his son had not been murdered as they had previously been told. But sadly, they were told, by travellers reaching town that […]

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The beauty of Graaff-Reinet

Bishop Griffiths found Graaff-Reinet a beautiful town with neat houses, all white-washed and thatched. “They are seldom more than one storey. The streets are planted at each side with lemon and orange trees. Water for irrigation purposes is conveyed to these by cart.  The whole town is surrounded by mountains. It is quite an oasis […]

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The earthquake in Graaff-Reinet, 1850

In May 1850 rumblings of an earthquake rocked the central interior. The Graaff -Reinet Herald reported that “The shock of the earthquake of the 21st ultimo was felt over a very extensive area. Accounts are coming in from the upper part of Graaff-Reinet in the north, to Uitenhage in the West, the land beyond the […]

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The Graaff-Reinet and Somerset East military units

Military historian Col Graham du Toit says, regarding the Graaff-Reinet and Somerset East military units: The unit referred to was the Graaff-Reinet and Beaufort Levy.  Formed in 1850, this unit was commanded by Captain Heathcote and consisted of 40 mounted men and 190 infantry. It served from 1850 to 1852 in the Eighth War on […]

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Titus Oates, Antarctica explorer, remembered In Aberdeen

The centenary of the death of Captain Lawrence “Titus” Oates was recently commemorated in the little Karoo village of Aberdeen.  On March 16, 1912, Oates, a member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole, stepped out tent during a blizzard saying: “I’ll am going out.  I will be some time.”  He […]

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William Burchell: Crops and spekboom in the Graaff-Reinet valley

William Burchell found “an abundance of verdure” when he traveled into the interior in 1812. On the way to Graaff-Reinet he found the road very steep, and in some places broken and dangerous. He saw trees of a larger size than he had seen before, he said. “The deep glens and bold sides of the […]

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Wings Over The Karoo

After WWI, small air transport businesses were established in several South African centres. Among these companies were South African Aerial Transport Company and South African Aerial Navigation Company, which operated on the Witwatersrand, Natal, and in the Eastern and Western Cape. Aerial Stunts, an air taxi company, offered joy rides over Durban. Aviation Limited which […]

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