Towards the end of last year conservationists, Sue and Richard Dean, received two top awards. One was a Cape Nature Stewardship award for excellence in the field of conservation and the other a special award for their outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation in the Western Cape. Both were for work done at Wolwekraal Nature Reserve, a small 113 ha protected area on a farm, near Prince Albert. Richard and Sue identified this spot as a conservation area in 2005. In 2013 Wolwekraal farm owners and the Department of Environment Affairs officials signed a Memorandum of Agreement to register the nature reserve. “This reserve includes the only formally protected example of Prince Albert Succulent Karoo, a vegetation type threatened by development of housing, orchards, gravel and sand mining,” said Sue. “The good condition of the veld, healthy populations of local and rare plant species, as well as cultural artifacts, make it a valuable addition to the CapeNature protected areas network,” said Sue. “The reserve is close enough to the village to offer free environmental education to school groups.”


South African-born Dr Robert Eales, who now lives in Sydney, Australia, has written a book on Emily Hobhouse. Entitled The Compassionate Englishwoman, Emily Hobhouse in the Boer War, it was published by UCT Press and is now available from most reputable booksellers. Reviewers state that this book reveals a slice of history as it has not been told before and gives this remarkable woman credit, she did not receive in her lifetime. They hail it as “an arresting work of historical scholarship, well-researched and readable”. Most agree that it tells a story of determination and persistence and portrays the human spirit at its best. Eales, a former pupil at Grey College in Bloemfontein, and University of the Witwatersrand student, also studied at Balliol College, in Oxford. His varied career in management consulting and banking took him to many major corporations and cites of the world. He retired from business in 2005 and has been researching the South African War ever since. He aims to will visit South Africa in 2016 to promote this book.


Archaeologist, Cobus Dreyer, a man who described the Karoo as “an emotion and not a destination”, died on December 28, last year. His sudden passing came as a shock to all who knew him. Highly respected in archaeological, cultural history and Anglo-Boer War circles, Cobus loved nothing more than walking for hours across the arid veld of the Great Karoo and, like a detective, looking for even the slightest clue of what might have gone before. The mysteries of the arid zone fascinated him. A resident of Bloemfontein, he had an MA from the University of the Witwatersrand, was an accredited member of ASAPA and respected investigator of Stone and Iron Age sites. During the last 17 years he visited many places in the Karoo, such as Vosburg, Britstown, Fraserburg, Hanover, Loxton, Colesburg and Beaufort West, carrying out a wide variety of archaeological impact assessments for private companies and the South African Heritage Association. He was also a well-known researcher of sites in the Northern Cape, Richtersveld, Orange River and along the West Coast. Cobus enjoyed Round-up and was a constant contributor. He will be greatly missed.

Celebrate the history of medicine in the Karoo – in Richmond in October 2016.


Dr Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp was the only doctor in the Eastern Cape before the arrival of the 1820 settlers. “His name was anathema to farmers of the region,” said A H Tonkin (MB, CHB) in a presidential address to the Eastern Cape Branch of the Medical Association of S A. Van der Kemp, a Rotterdam parson’s son, qualified as a doctor in 1792 at the University of Edinburgh. As a student and army officer he was a wild but reformed after his wife and child drowned in as boating accident. He then offered his services to the London Missionary Society, came to South Africa and started a mission at Bethelsdorp. He was not popular. He married a Hottentot woman and constantly stirred up dissent. While he does not seem to have practiced medicine, he is said to have produced South Africa’s first medical textbook – a handbook on midwifery. Van der Kemp died in 1811.


The names of 19 doctors appear on the 1820 settler lists. Three – William Clark, David Thomas Nightingale and Thomas Calton – were party leaders. Nathaniel Morgan became an army surgeon and during the 6th Frontier War was attached to the burgher forces. He died in Salem in 1842. Thomas Cook, returned to England because his wife and children died on the outbound voyage. Robert Currie, who sailed with Phillips’s party, registered, but did not practice in the Eastern Cape. Among those licensed to practice in South Africa were: Peter Campbell, Daniel O’Flinn, James Pawle, Edward Roberts, James Younger, John Atherstone and Charles Augustine Wentworth. Ambrose George Campbell, an irascible Scot, came out in 1821. John Walker (Baillie’s party), W Combly (Wilson’s party) and John Griffin, 24, who sailed on the Stentor, were also listed as doctors, but Dr Tonkin said he could not trace their registrations. He was not sure whether Combly sailed because on February 10, 1820, Combley wrote to inquire whether he was “obliged to produce a Certificate of Marriage”. The ship’s captain, he said, had asked for one because he had received an anonymous letter. Tonkin found no record of a reply. Robert Holdich , who came out with the Irish party and went to Clanwilliam, but drowned while taking a break at the coast.


Calton died unexpectedly on July 8 shortly after his party disembarked and were camped at Algoa Bay waiting for transport. He was survived by his widow, Martha Maria (nee O’Brien), 22, whom he had married on August 21, 1800, and their four sons, Henry, Thomas, Richard John and Charles. Before bringing 167 settlers to South Africa Calton practiced as a surgeon in North Collingham. His party was troublesome and unruly. One woman was turned away by the Albury’s Captain “for fear she would ruin the sailors”. Calton said: “Were it not for some that I trusted I would have run away.”. He had to buy vegetables, candles and tin chamber pots, because his party members ran out of money. Calton predicted that some party members, were “better talkers than workers and had little chance of becoming good settlers.” Thomas Draper was elected his successor.


Charles Caldecott, 39, an independent settler from Huntingdonshire, sailed with Hezekiah Sephton’s party. Thomas Pringle described him as “a little dogmatic Anabaptist surgeon who frequently delivered sermons to passengers”. After visiting Van der Kemp Caldecott walked 14km back to Grahamstown in scalding heat. On arrival he gulped down ice cold water and because he was overheated this killed him. He left a widow, Mary, and six children – Alphonso 17; Christina 11; Timothy 9; Mary 8; Charles Henry 6 and Frederick 4. Some said Mary was “left destitute and suffering more privations than she had faced in London”. Charles Henry became a member of the Cape Legislative Council, mayor of Grahamstown and with a friend, Andrew Edward Vickers, started the Eastern Province Mercantile Gazette in the early 1860s.


Party leader, William Clark (25) approached the Colonial Department for an official appointment as a surgeon in South Africa. When this was refused, he applied to take out a joint-stock party of 33 men and their families. Clark also brought a group of 31 young men from the Refuge for the Destitute in Hoxton, London. On the recommendation of refuge governor, Robert Crosby, these men were supplied with outfits and their deposits were paid.

Peter Campbell, from Ireland, qualified MDCS in 1809 and practiced in London before sailing on the Aurora. He is reported to have entered community life “wholeheartedly and vigorously.” A prominent citizen and freemason he founded the Albany Lodge in 1828 and was its master for years. He was also district surgeon for Albany and a committee member of the E Cape Medical Council.

Daniel O’Flinn took up the position as district surgeon for Albany, but found this neither lucrative, nor challenging. Also, there was no suitable house for himself and his family. He resigned in 1822 and moved to Stellenbosch as district surgeon. There his duties included attending patients at Hemel and Aarde leper institution in Swellendam. He made many official complaints to colonial medical inspector, Dr James Barry, regarding the treatment of patients at this institution. Durbanville’s well-known Dr F L C Biccard was at one time apprenticed to O’Flinn at Stellenbosch.

James Pawle, 30, took up the position of district surgeon in Bathurst. He reported that “doctors” Howard and Williamson were practicing illegally at Kowie Mouth and that Hartley, a blacksmith, was acting illegally as a dentist and “fixing” dislocations. In1828 he went to George and later served as roads medical officer, Justice of the Peace and as church warden at St Marks.

Edward Roberts settled in Cuylerville at the mouth of the Fish River, but scope for a medical practice there was limited, so he moved to Cape Town where he worked at Dr Samuel Bailey’s Merchant Seaman’s Hospital (later Old Somerset Hospital) until his death.

Charles Augustine Wentworth was not fully qualified when he arrived, but he soon fixed that and registered as a surgeon, apothecary and accoucher on April 24, 1821. He was attached to the house of the governor on January 26, 1826, but in 1827 went to Uitenhage as district surgeon. He held this post until his death by suicide in 1834.

Ambrose George Campbell arrived in 1821. His father, Major-General Charles Campbell, a wealthy Scot, sent a party of 50 settlers, with his son, to prepare a home for him at Barville Park. The general followed six month later, but before he could settle in South Africa he was thrown by his horse and he died from his injuries. Ambrose, a good doctor, is credited with establishing the first hospital in Grahamstown, but he had a “disgruntled and psychotic personality”. He became very anti-establishment, anti-Atherstone and anti-Godlonton and anti-Grahamstown Journal. He served in two frontier wars, then returned to England in poor health. The British climate, however, did not suit him and so he came back to South Africa and died in the Eastern Cape on December 12, 1884.

A mystery surrounded William Combley, a doctor who came Wilson’s party. On February 10, 1820, he wrote to inquire whether he was “obliged to produce a Certificate of Marriage” saying the ship captain, who had received an anonymous letter had asked for one, but that such a document was not “mentioned in the instructions”. Could not find a record of his reply.


Round-up reader Noel de Villiers was amused to find mention of his uncle, DP, Dan de Villiers in Round-up. “He was one of a family of eleven – a wonderful man and a fine rugby player. As a child I was always struck by the degree to which he was revered by his siblings. They regarded him as “the clever one”. The hospital he established was in Bloemfontein. He wrote a book on the De Villiers family, realized his dream of restoring La Provence, the original family farm in Franschhoek, and he played a major role in establishing the Huguenot Monument. He died before he could enjoy his triumphs. His wife, Leonie, became a cherished member of this widely scattered clan,” said Noel.


In the mid-1800s William Ogilvie, who sold fire arms made by the famous Birmingham gunsmiths, Westley Richards, in his Grahamstown hardware store, received two interesting visitors. They were Henry and William Richards, sons of gunsmiths. They came to congratulate him on sales and ended up marrying his daughters, Caroline and Fanny. Ogilvie, who could trace his family history back to the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, fought at Waterloo and came to the Cape with Lord Charles Somerset. He moved to Grahamstown in 1816. RootsWeb genealogical website states that he was an Albany resident for 34 years. He married Mary Maria Hollings, governess to Lord Charles Somerset’s children and they eight children, four sons and four daughters. Mary was poisoned by a Malay slave in 1835. William was a well-known, well-liked man with a strong social conscience. He went to England in 1850 to discuss the difficult convict question on the frontier with Earl Grey. On his way home he fell on board ship and injured his spine. This led to his death in December 1850. One of his descendants, Cecil, married Emma Lauckert and settled in Noupoort. Her father laid the first Atlantic electric cable and lighted the first village in England.


Visitors to the Gamaskloof are often fascinated by the chassis of a 1958 Morris in the yard outside one of the little cottages. The story goes that it was carried over the mountain by Ben van Zyl, his twin brother, Dirk, ten helpers and four donkeys. They carried, pushed and dragged this precious and intriguing piece of local cultural heritage into the valley as a present for their nephew, Marthiens Snyman. The car was registered and still sports its original number plate – CJ 4238 – but in those days there was no road out of the valley, so the car had nowhere to go.


One of the most eccentric characters of the frontier was Major Charles Maxwell Maclean, of the Seaforth Highlanders. He arrived in South Africa in 1806 to fight in the Battle of Blaauwberg, but “his promising military career was marred by his love for the bottle”. Maclean in time adventured inland, saw service in a variety of border clashes and left in his wake tales of love and tragedy mostly related to his drinking. One night, very much the worse for wear, he clung precariously to his trusty steed, a fat, docile, pensionable old charger, as it clomped back to camp. While crossing a stream the thirsty horse put its head down to drink and the highly intoxicated Maclean slid gently over its neck and plopped into the water. Startled by the splash the horse took fright and galloped off. The major, slightly sobered by the cold water, but still too drunk to stand, floundered about filling the air with lurid language. Passersby heard the thrashing about and, thinking it was only a hippo in distress, would have moved on, but then they heard choking, coughing and language “fit to turn the air blue”. They rushed to the river bank and dragged the bedraggled major ashore. Back at the camp orderlies, who were assisting the major out of his sodden uniform found he was bleeding badly from a severed artery. A doctor was summoned, however by the time he arrived Maclean had fainted due to loss of blood and the only way to ensure his survival was to give him a good dollop of brandy.


Daniel Christiaan Esterhuyse, considered to be South Africa’s first “boer” poet, was born in Swellendam in 1814. He grew up in extreme poverty and in his entire life had only nine weeks of schooling. He accepted a job as a farm worker in the Sutherland area and worked so hard that he was in time able to purchase the farm. He became a wealthy man. In 1855, Daniel, then 41, was walking in the veld with his adored two-year-old son. He plucked what he thought was an edible plant and gave it to the lad to eat. Sadly, the species he chose was a poisonous plant and in less than an hour his child was dead. Daniel was devastated. His grief led to an anthology of religious poetry written mainly for his family. It was embellished with flowers and calligraphy. Daniel died in 1896.

The further backward you can look, the further forward you will see – Winston Churchill