sheep

Dr Thomas Smartt, who built a dam

Thomas William Smartt had such a high profile as a politician that his medical background has almost been forgotten. He was born in Trinn, County Meath, Ireland, on February 22, 1858, and he obtained his degree from Trinity College, in Dublin. He came to the Cape, was registered as a medical doctor and, in 1880, […]

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Drought Cripples the Central Karoo, 1933

Over the years the Karoo has seen many droughts and, even now despite good rains in the interior, Beaufort West’s Gamka Dam remains empty.  Droughts were reported in 1864, 1877, 1903, 1916, 1925 through to 1928.   The one considered to be the fiercest climaxed in 1933. Known as The Great Drought, it peaked after almost […]

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Drought: Gustav Lund’s experiences in the 1920s

Drought is a constant threat in the Karoo. Nelspoort farmer Pieter Lund has monitored the recurring droughts of the Great Karoo. Intrigued by the many tales of hardship during drought conditions that have now and then appeared in Round-up, he decided to share a series of stories.  “In the 1920s, my late father, Gustav Lund, […]

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Fauresmith Veld Reserve

A young girl, who was born in Basle, Switzerland, developed an interest in South African plants. She studied the vegetation of the Karoo and later died at the age of 79 at an old age home in Bloemfontein.  She was Dr Marguerite Gertrud Anna Henrici.  After completing her schooling, Marguerite spent some time in France, […]

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John Molteno’s pioneering farm: 1841

John Charles Molteno was a dynamic man. He first saw the Karoo as a fatherless lad of 17. By 23 he had founded Molteno and Company, a firm dealing specifically in the sale of wine, wool, meat and aloes. When the bottom dropped out of the wine market, he sold his business and warehouses to […]

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Layers of history on Rietpoort Farm

Fancy a stay on a historic Karoo farm? Try Rietpoort, 30 km north of Victoria West on the road to Britstown.  This farm lies right alongside the N12 and its “modern history”, say owners Dirk and Naomi Ras, begins in the 1700’s, when nomadic European farmers moved into the hinterland and started settling down. They […]

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Merinos Make Their Mark

By 1830 experts considered the teething stages of the Cape Merino industry to be over. F W Reitz, the man destined to become president of the Free State, believed that 1830 was the turning point for the South African wool industry. He was proved right, states Edmund H Burrows in Overberg Outspan.  In 1830 the […]

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The curative powers of sheep

The Karoo is widely hailed as excellent sheep country. Its mutton is world famous and many people know sleeping on sheep skin prevents bed sores. Few, however, realise that sheep are surrounded by a great deal of folklore. Way back, the great Roman orator Pliny observed: “while oxen help us cultivate our fields, it is […]

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The Depression in the Karoo: 1933

The worst thing about the Great Drought was that it coincided with the Great Depression – a terrible time for farmers and almost everyone else in the country.   Many farmers left their farms because they could not afford to stay. Animals stood forlornly about without food or water, abandoned by owners who could not afford […]

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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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