Bank Manager captured by Boers

The  Murraysburg branch of the Standard Bank was said to be the one most often robbed by commandos  during the Anglo-Boer War. It was first hit on January, 1901, and because the Boers got [...]

Renaissance Man Honoured

 In 1778 Captain Robert Jacob Gordon stood on a Karoo koppie near the Swartberg mountains and painted the tranquil scene of Zacharias de Beer’s farm Qweekvallei in the valley below. In time this painting [...]

Queen’s Death Stuns The Great Karoo

During the Anglo-Boer War,  the news  of Queen Victoria’s death on January 22, 1901, was greeted with deep emotions in the Karoo.  British gun salutes echoed across the veld and rumours of battles spread. [...]

The Land where the citrus blooms

A journey through the Karoo in 1856 so affected a Dutch traveller that he lapsed into philosophical meditations.  Hendrik Antonie Lodewijk Hamelberg wrote: “I compare this road to the life of man. The potholes are [...]

  • Frederick Guthrie Tait

Par For The Course?

Golf was first played at St Andrews in Scotland over 600 years ago, so it is little wonder that this venue is steeped in wonderful stories. According to Sporting Life’s Golf News some of [...]

  • naturalizations

Naturalizations and immigration records

Naturalizations and immigration records are an extremely valuable part of any application for Ancestry Passports or VISA’s. I provide a service for anyone looking to Immigrate to get Citizenship in a foreign Country from [...]

Women of the Slave Lodge

The women in the slave lodge were in a vastly different situation from the settlers' women slaves. Lodge women, for instance, were not under the direct domestic supervision of any settler or European official. There [...]

St. Johns Church

St. Johns Anglican Church The Anglican parish church of St. John's, Cape Town, began with the arrival of Bishop Gray on that memorable Sunday, 20th February 1848. With the Bishop were the [...]

  • Ancestry Gift Voucher

Ancestry Gift Vouchers

Ancestry Gift Vouchers are the perfect gift idea for family and friends for Christmas or Birthday presents. An Ancestry Gift Voucher is something that will last for generations to come and preserve family history's. [...]

The Villains Wore Hats

Danzer, a renegade Xhosa, who settled with a party of his followers on the banks of the Great River, in the territory of Jager Afrikaner. There was talk of their uniting their bands, [...]

  • John Graham

How Grahamstown got its name

John Graham was born on the 24th July 1778 in Dundee Scotland. He was a British officer and the second son of Robert Graham, the last laird of the Fintry demesne and twelfth representative [...]

Government Gazettes

Thanks to Lisette Forsyth for permission to use the above artwork The first South African newspaper, The Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, appeared on 16 August 1800, during the first British occupation. [...]

The Amazing Greens

It’s hard to believe that just less than three years ago, I knew virtually nothing of my roots, except of course occasional family hearsay. I was a high-school graduate with little more on my [...]

  • Maitland

The History of Maitland

Base Calvary Camp at Maitland where the Calvary were sent on arrival to retrieve their horses after the voyage. The first recorded grant of a section of land in the Maitland area [...]

Our Family Heirlooms

Do you have any precious family heirlooms or artefacts that you would like to share with our readers? Every one of us has something in our home that is special, that we would like to [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2017 No 285

FESTIVAL NOT TO BE MISSED A literary festival to honour South African author, Etienne van Heerden, will be held in Cradock from September 22 to 24. Arranged by well-known Karoo festival organizer Darryl David, it is the first event of its kind and promises to be a winner. “Van Heerden’s work is fiction at its best,” says Herman de Coninck, (NRC Handelsblad, Amsterdam), adding that: “You will have to read Van Heerden if you want to know anything about South Africa.” As the winner of two Hertzog prizes, and almost every Afrikaans literary award, Van Heerden, a son of the Karoo, is [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2017 No 284

IT’S ALL IN THE RECORDS Church records are the oldest records in South Africa. Churches keep records of baptisms and burials performed from the church or on church property. Church Minute books also have a great deal of interesting information, depending on how efficient the minister was Beaufort West’s Anglican Rev Guy Gething kept detailed notes, particularly on burials. Until 1778 the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk or NGK) was the only official church in South Africa. This church's records date from 1665. The next oldest church is the Lutheran Church with records dating back to 1778. Anglican Church [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2017 No 283

BOER WAR SERVICE MEN HONOURED DOWN UNDER Canberra, in Australia, now has a National Boer War Memorial after 115 years and it looks great reported John Sweetman. The official dedication took place on May 31, this year. This was followed by Boer War Day on June 4, 2017, when the Boer War Memorial Society of Western Australia paid tribute the 16,000 Australian men and women who served in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. For this anniversary commemoration and reconciliation service, held in Kings Park, Perth, the Botanical Parks and Gardens Authority completely restored and upgraded the memorial and 77mm [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2017 No 282

NEW BOOK HIGHLIGHTS COLLECTORS AND COLLECTIONS An exciting new “bird book” has just been released. Entitled Warriors, Dilettantes and Businessmen - Bird collectors during the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries in southern Africa, it was written by Prince Albert’s Dr Richard Dean, a man who is widely known and highly respected in birding and history circles. The book covers the collectors and collections of bird specimens, from 1850 to 1950, across an area immensely rich in bird life. This was a period during which the interest in Africa was high and museum collections, in Britain in particular, were growing rapidly. Natural [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2017 No 281

BRIEF TOWNSHIP TOUR ENDS IN A BOOKLET A tour of Lingelihle Township during a Cradock Karoo Writers Festival led to a booklet. Some time ago, Brian Wilmot, curator of the Schreiner House Museum in Cradock joined a tour to this township and found it inspirational. “So much general information and first-person anecdotal material was shared, particularly about the part erased by Apartheid, that I felt it should be preserved in a booklet,” he said. He immediately went to work and now an informative 42-page, well-illustrated, full-colour guide, entitled In the Footsteps of James Calata and Matthew Goniwe - a Tour [...]

Rose’s round-up April 2017 No 280

CALITZDORP – THE INSIDE STORY Malan Roux’s Calitzdorp Cameos is a gem. As it takes a look at the growth and development of Calitzdorp, this book examines several old houses and, in the most charming way, brings their former inhabitants to life, while also introducing some present-day owners. This is no dry architectural history; the book is full of excitement and surprises. While learning interesting and often amusing facts about places like De Oude Pastorie, Die Dorpshuis, Homestead, Aletta’s House, as well as Klaas Fouche’s House, Siesta and the Van Tonders, the reader discovers that Calitzdorp had a nobility and [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2017 No 279

A CLOSER LOOK AT KAROO BATTLEFIELDS In 2016 the Karoo Development Foundation received funding from the National Heritage Commission to establish a Battlefields Route. Work is now starting. “We aim to include Griqua and Anglo-Boer War history,” says Professor Doreen Atkinson. The battles of Swartkoppies (1845) and Boomplaats (1848), the Boer incursion of the Cape Colony, The Third “De Wet Hunt”, battles and skirmish sites as well as towns, such as Colesberg, Burghersdorp and Aliwal North, that were occupied, will be included. Concentration camps at Springfontein, Bethulie, Norvalspont, and Orange River will be on the route as well as places [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2017 No 278

ATTENTION ALL BOER WAR BUFFS Exciting plans are on the cards to host an Anglo-Boer War weekend at Matjiesfontein. It will be held in The Lord Milner Hotel from April 7 to 9. A “boutique collection” of top speakers will present a series of talks on various aspects of the war. Among them will be the eminent historian, Dean Allen, author of Empire, War and Cricket and an authority on “old Matjiesfontein”. He will lead a walking tour around the village during which visitors will be allowed to explore some of the unique Victorian buildings, many of which have fascinating [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2017 No 277

ON THE MOVE AGAIN I am on the move again. This time to our family farm, Chez Nous - which means home - 60 km south of Bloemfontein. There my youngest sister and I have built a lovely, two-bedroomed wooden cottage and hopefully will be living in it towards the end of January, with sheep, cattle, and donkeys as our nearest neighbours. Preparing to go has not been easy as we have had to pack up the memories of all who lived in this huge old family home. Everyone who has ever been part of this house seems to have [...]

Rose’s Round-up December 2016 No 276

SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH FOR THE YEOMEN Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein, was successfully launched at the Richmond Book Festival in October. One of the authors, Dr Arnold van Dyk gave talks in town and at the actual hospital site where there was a great deal of interest in the ruins of the old Adamstein Hotel and the two graveyards. This occasion was turned into a celebration by Mark Borrie, of Hawksmoor wines Paarl, who sponsored a wine tasting in the front yard of the once elegant old Yeomanry Hotel. Festival organiser Peter Baker [...]

Rose’s Round up November 2016 No 275

PRINCE ALBERT TAKES THE GOLD Gold medals went to two Prince Albert farms in the 11th Annual South African Olive Association award presentations in September. Kredouw Olive Estate won a gold medal for its Frantoia oil, as well as silver medals for their Italian Blend and Favalosa oils, while Fred and Hein Badenhorst of Prince Albert Olives were awarded a gold for their Karoo Blend. This well-balanced, soft, medium-style extra virgin olive oil is blended from a seasonal selection of Frantoia, Leccino, Coratina, Barnea, Dor Carlo, Koroneiki or Favolosa cultivars. Fred and Hein also grow figs, grapes, pomegranates and citrus [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 2016 No 274

ART BOOK HIGHLIGHTS RESTORED HOPE Professor Brenda Schmahmann’s new book, The Keiskamma Art Project - Restoring Hope and Livelihoods, will be launched in Johannesburg on November 30. Pre-launch copies of this excellently illustrated book can now be ordered from Print Matters. “The book, the first to be devoted to this project, is a definitive and authoritative resource covering the project’s extraordinary achievement,” says Print Matters creative and publishing director, Robin Stuart-Clark. He explained that the Keiskama Art Project was started by Carol Hofmeyr, in 2000 to provide opportunities for hundreds of people in the little Eastern Cape village of Hamburg. [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 2016 No 273

BEAUTIFUL NEW BIRD BOOK A new and beautifully illustrated bird book, entitled Levaillant’s Legacy – a history of South African Ornithology, has just been released. Written by emeritus professor W Roy Siegfried, it pays tribute to the French author, François Levaillant, a noted ornithologist, explorer, naturalist and zoological collector, who visited South Africa in the 1780s. He described many new bird species, and several are named in his honour. He was among the first to use colour plates as illustrations. Opposed to the binomial nomenclature introduced by Linnaeus he preferred instead to use descriptive French names such as the bataleur [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 2016 No 272

KAROO PARLIAMENT CANCELLED The 3rd Karoo Parliament, which was to have been held in Laingsburg in September this year, has been indefinitely postponed. “Several factors, beyond the control of the organisers, have led to the Trustees approving this decision,” says Professor Doreen Atkinson. YEOMEN SOLDIERING ON Yeomen of the Karoo, the story of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, near Richmond, is now in its final stages of production. “Working on this incredible story of a unique hospital, never seen before, nor again, was a fascinating journey,” say authors Rose Willis, Dr Arnold van Dyk and Professor Kay de Villiers. “While working [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2016 No 271

ATTENTION WRITERS AND READERS The 7th Annual Schreiner Karoo Writers Festival takes place in Cradock from July 21 to 24 this year. “This is the perfect place to indulge in warm Karoo hospitality; feast on fabulous farm food, mingle with like-minded spirits and marvel at the wonders of the Karoo,” says organiser Lisa Antrobus Ker. “Visitors will be able to meet old friends, make new ones; enjoy fireside chats and open microphone sessions.” The programme is packed with top level speakers and interesting outings. “Visitors should not miss the literary walk, a drive to the Mountain Zebra National Park, a tour [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2016 No 270

IN SEARCH OF VULTURE PHOTOS Well-known ornithologist, Richard Dean, is writing a book on the bird collectors in southern Africa. Part of the story includes information on the military men who collected birds. The army section includes information on the two men who helped Colonel Sloggett collect material around the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein during the Anglo-Boer War. Richard is now searching for photographs of the vulture colony at Nelspoort – it was one of the largest in the Karoo. Richard says: “The colony became extinct in the early 1900s.” There was also a huge vulture colony at Gamkaspoort, [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2016 No 269

OH YUM – IT’S CRADOCK The Karoo Food Festival, a feast of food and fun, takes place in Cradock from April 29 to May 1. Festivities kick off with a carnival, which promises to be highly entertaining, at the Meeting Ground at Cradock High School. Tickets cost R20 per person and children under 5 will be allowed in for free. “Live music and great food will set the pace,” says organizer Lisa Antrobus. “Visitors will be able to “build” their own feasts and choose their own portions. Among the typical Karoo dishes on offer will be skaapstertjies, bazaar-sosaties, gourmet boeries, [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2016 No 268

ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE RABBIT The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Drylands Conservation Programme has proved successful, reports senior field officer, Bonnie Schumann. This programme focuses not only on the conservation of the critically endangered riverine rabbit, but also on socio-economic upliftment opportunities for the rural community in this area and the provision of jobs during habitat restoration. “The restoration techniques improve habitats and the biodiversity of the ecosystem to ensure the survival of this unique, threatened species, and the other species sharing the riparian areas,” said Bonnie. “With quite some trepidation we planted out about 3 000 nursery-grown Karoo plants [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2016 No 267

DESERT TOURISM GROWS APACE Desert tourism is growing steadily. Previously a difficult product to sell, “dryland tourism” has now become a recognized niche market across the world for discerning arid zone travelers. “Perceptions have changed from down market and cheap to exciting and adventurous. Remoteness, bareness, silence and solitude have become drawcards,” says Doreen Atkinson, an authority on Karoo tourism. In an article in the Journal of Arid Environments, she states that the Karoo is reaping dividends from the trend towards “getting away” and really exploring the great outdoors. “The Karoo is no longer considered hostile, dangerous or boring. It [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2016 No 266

FOR ALL WHO LOVE PRINCE ALBERT There’s a treat in store for all who love Prince Albert. A new book, compiled by Cultural Foundation members, Lydia Barella, Mary Anne Botha, Judy Maguire and Derek Thomas, has just become available. Prince Albert - Sense of History, Sense of Place, celebrates the town’s unique cultural and environmental history covering everything from geology, palaeontology, archaeology and anthropology to architecture and agriculture. These are brought to life through stories of the people who settled in the area, among them the De Beers, of the original farm, De Queekvalleij, as well as residents of Bo-dorp, [...]