Wellington Heritage Trail

Wellington was founded in 1840 and was named after the Duke of Wellington. The Wellington region is renowned for its beautiful Cape Dutch homesteads and gardens. The historic Bain’s Kloof Pass, with its unsurpassed vistas, indigenous flora and fauna and crystal-clear rock pools is the perfect spot for hikers and mountain-bikers, while closer to town guided wine-walks and horse-trails through farmland and fynbos can be enjoyed.

The town is surrounded by fruit orchards, wine estates and olive groves. Wellington boasts true country hospitality, some of the most idyllic wedding venues in the Cape Winelans, an award winning wine route, beautiful wine estates and accommodation to suit a variety of requirements and budgets.
We look forward to welcoming you to Wellington!

THE HISTORY OF WELLINGTON

Wellington lies in a beautiful and fertile valley surrounded by mountains – with Groenberg to the North-East and beyond Limietbberg, the Hawequas and the two Sneeukoppe. Many thousands of years ago, the valley was inhabited by indegenous people, the San and Khoi-Khoi and relics of their implements are still found in the area.

In 1677, the first European settlers came to the valley known as Limietvallei. In 1699 Willem Adriaan van der Stel allocated 15 farms to the French Huguenots. The first pioneers established a wagon maker’s industry and the valley became known as Wagenmakersvallei (Val du Charron) – the valley of the wagon makers. It was in 1840 that the Dutch Reformed Church was established, simultaneously with the proclomation of Wellington as a town in 26 March 1840. On the recommendation of the then British Governor at the Cape, Sir George Napier, Wellington was named after the Duke o Wellington 25 years later after the famous Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The founder of Wellington was Dr John Addey.

Thirteen years later, this quiet rustic village became a hub of activity. The roads were improved and on the 13 September 1853 the first bridge was opened across the Berg River and a day later, on 14 September, the Bains Kloof Pass was opened, thus the opening up of a route to the North. Andrew Geddes Bain was a brilliant Scot who had no formal training as engineering training but cut a pass through the mountains with dynamite and convict labour.

Ten years later, on the 4th November 1863, the Cape Town to Wellington railway line was opened by Governor Sir Phillip Wodehouse. Wellington was now a pulsating terminus of trains, stage coaches and wagons. A new era broke in 1871 with the arrival of the Reverend Dr Andrew Murray. Dr Andrew Murray was the insperation behind the building of the Huguenot Seminary, and establishment for the Christian Education of girls and young ladies. Wellington became known as the birthplace of education for ladies in South Africa. Many of the beautiful buildings on the Heritage Trailare the legacy of Dr Andrew Murray.

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Walking Tour of the Historical heart of Wellington

Market Hall

(1)Market Hall

The Market Hall which houses the Information & Tourism Office, was erected in 1847. The clock tower was built first and then the building. The market square was the centre of town where everything revolved around. On market day people came from far and wide to buy and/ or sell goods.

The Pick n Pay centre as it stands there today was the spot where the animals were kept on market days.

The open grounds surrounding the market area was used for recreational activities such as sport games and shows.

The Market Hall was the Town Council’s meeting place.

(2) Dutch Reformed Mother Church & Andrew Murray Statue

This church is a landmark in the centre of town and boasts a fine statue of the Reverend Andrew Murray, a Scot, and one of the pioneer theologians of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa.

The Dutch Reformed Mother Church’s congregation moved away from the Paarl congregation in 1838.

The plans for the church was drawn by A.Grove in 1838. The church building in Church Street was consecrated on 26 July 1840 and it consisted of just a nave. The first minister was Reverend AF du Toit.

Throughout the years various changes took place with regards to the church building. In 1842 the vestry was added. Wings on the side (transepts) were built in 1861. Galleries for the side wings were built in 1874 and the tower was built in 1895. In 1928 the roof was lifted by approximately two metres.

The statue was commissioned by the church and unveiled in 1923. This statue depicts Reverend Andrew Murray in later life, sitting down to preach. Reverend Murray moved to various congregations over the years and finally ended up in the Wellington church where he continued his work until his death in 1917. He was buried in the church gardens.

Imposing tombstones on the church premises bear names of prominent ministers and their families.

Grevilleas

(3) Grevilleas – Breytenbach Centre

The well-known South-African author, poet and artist Breyten Breytenbach lived here with his parents.

The house was built roughly 150 years ago and was first known as the Commercial Hotel, before it was sold in the late 1890s as a student boarding house.

Early in 1940 it was the base for the Wellington Voortrekker Commando before it was sold to Hans and Kitty Breytenbach in 1953 that used it as a boarding house, Grevilleas.

In 1974 the Breytenbachs sold the house to the Wellington municipality that used it as a day hospital.

Today it is a multi-dimensional cultural centre, The Breytenbach Centre. The centre opened in 2007 after extensive restoration work.

Wellington Library

(4) Wellington Library

Wellington’s Public Library was established in 1879. The library building which dates from 1923, has a sealed bottle in its foundations containing the signatures of the erstwhile mayor and councillors, local church ministers, library committee members, principals of local schools, the architect, builder and the librarian, as well as several coins and editions of the Cape Times, Die Burger and the Wellington Gazette.

Extensions to the building were added in later years.

Independant Friendly Library

(5a) Independent Friendly Society

The Independent Friendly Society was formed in 1894 as a community service organisation to support members in times of sickness or death. This building was used by the Society until 1957, after which they relocated to Park Street. The Society was disbanded in 1991. The Society also provided housing for the Coloured people. The building now serves as a Community Centre for the aged in Wellington.

Golden Calf

(5b) Golden Calf / Gemoedsrus/ Huis Kroneberg

This double-storey house on the corner of Joubert – and Milner Street belonged to Golden Calf Properties during 1947 – 1952, hence the name.

In 2000 it was made available to the Society for the welfare of the aged. It is situated right next to the Independent Friendly Society building.

Wellington Town Hall

Wellington Town Hall (6)

The Town Hall was formerly the Wellington Boy’s High School. When a new school was built the building was converted to the Town Hall.

St Geourges Presbyterian Church

(7) St Georges Presbyterian Church & Manse

This church building was designed by the Cape Architect, John Parker, and was built in 1908 in the neo-Gothic style. The intimate interior and open-roof construction recall the fell of medieval architecture. An extension was added and it is currently a pre-primary school.

Anglican Church

(8a) Anglican Church & Manse

As early as 1855  a small Anglican Church was built on the corner of Bain – and Cummings Street with the cemetery on the same premises. In 1903 the present church was opened on the corner of Joubert – and Milner Streets.

Synagogue

(8b) Synagogue & Rabbi’s Manse

On the corner of Milner – and Jan van Riebeeck Streets you’ll come across the Jewish Rabbi’s manse and the synagogue next to it.

The property to build a synagogue was bought by the Jewish community of Wellington in 1902 and the foundation stone was laid by Isaiah Goldstein on 24 August 1921. In 1942 the house adjoining the synagogue was purchased and in 1945 another property was acquired to convert into a communal hall and Hebrew School.

In 1981 these buildings were sold and the remaining nine Jewish families in the town joined the Paarl congregation. The building presently houses the congregation of the New Apostolic Church.

Murray Jubilee Hall

“SENDING INSTITUTE” | MISSIONARY INSTITUTE

(9a) Murray Jubilee Hall

The Jubilee Hall was built in 1905 as a lecture hall. The combined elements of Baroque gable and neo-classical windows are typical of the Cape Dutch revival style current at the beginning of the 20th century. It is currently used by Huguenot College students for lectures.

Samuel Hall

(9b) Samuel Hall

The inscription on the front gable of this building is a reminder that this building was “begged from God through prayer” and so “dedicated to God’, as did the boy, Samuel of the Bible’s mother, Hannah, immediately after his birth. Samuel Hall is a classically elegant building with dressed stonework, sash windows and louvres. It is currently used as a student hostel.

Clairvaux

(9c) Clairvaux

Clairvaux means “clear view” and this building was Dr Andrew Murray’s manse from 1892. He named it so to remind him of the view from the castle of St Bernard of Clairvaux in France.

Dr Murray did most of his writing while sitting on his north-facing “stoep”.

Since 1964 the building has belonged to the Huguenot College and is currently a family home.

(10) Joubert Park

This park area was donated by WA Joubert as a recreational area for the students and scholars of the old Piet Retief School and Wellington Teacher’s Training School.

The fountain was erected in 1938 to commemorate the French Huguenots.

SEMINARY BUILDINGS

(11a) Goodnow Hall

Early on in the history of the Seminary, the need for an assembly room or hall became necessary.  As funds were not readily available, functions were held under the trees and gymnastics were done on the back porch. At that time, the road ran close to the Seminary buildings – more or less where the remnants of the oak lane are found today.

When a plot opposite Murray Hall became available, Miss Ferguson purchased the land for £160.  It took many years before the road was diverted and the land could adjoin that of Murray Hall.

Miss EA Cummings, one of the Seminary teachers, was travelling from Glasgow to London while on holiday.  She noticed that a travelling companion was reading “Abide in Christ” by Dr Andrew Murray.  This travelling companion was the first person to donate £5 towards the hall.  On a visit to her relatives in America, Miss Cummings approached Mr AE Goodnow for a donation.  He offered £2000.  Plans were drawn up for a double-storey building.  However, the cost amounted to £4000.  The plans were revised and it was decided that the woodwork would be prepared in America and shipped over.  The new costing was £3000 and Mr Goodnow agreed to another £1000.  Mr Goodnow also aided in procuring 400 foldable chairs.

Miss Cummings was able to return to Wellington with the money and the plans in her pocket.  An official letter accompanied the money draft, outlining specific conditions.

The woodwork was shipped to South Africa on the “Olga”.  This ship was wrecked at Mouille Point.  Some of the wood was salvaged while the rest was washed up on shore.  As the salvaged wood was sold at an auction, it was bought for less than the original amount.  The seawater preserved the wood, but stained it to look more like oak than the original ash.

On Thursday, 29 October 1885, the cornerstone of Goodnow Hall was laid.  The building would contain a hall to be used for meetings, functions and gymnastics, a museum, laboratory, study and an art room.  The inauguration took place on 20 October 1886.

Goodnow Hall has long been used for music recitals and special functions.  Most of the music staff of the Seminary were from Germany.  The talented Mr Egel was appointed as music director until 1910 when he returned to Germany as a result of ill health. In 1949, Goodnow Hall was used as an annex to Murray Hall.  Partitions were installed in order to create rooms for 35 ladies.

In 1959, these were removed and Goodnow Hall was once again used as a community hall when the students were moved to the new building Wouter Malan Hall, which had replaced White House. In 1986, Goodnow Hall celebrated its jubilee with much pomp and ceremony.  Murray Hall, Bliss Hall and Goodnow Hall were all proclaimed national monuments in 1986.

Goodnow Hall was included in the status survey of all the valuable campus buildings commissioned by the College Board in 1990.  The research was completed by 1993 and the order was given that the building be restored to its former glory as a music conservatory.  A museum would exhibit the long and colourful history of the College and a suitable reception area would be included. Dr Jurie Joubert and his history students arranged the museum exhibits in 1996 and in 2000 the Boland College exhibits were included and arranged at the back of the upper hall.

Due to an unfortunate fire in 2016 the building was badly damaged and is not open currently for public viewing.

(11b) Murray Hall

The Seminary could not cope with all the applications received annually and many applications had to be denied.  Dr Murray immediately started a campaign to raise funds for more property.  He travelled to the Transvaal and Free State and within four months raised £2300.  A piece of land east of White House was purchased for £300.

On 19 November 1874 the cornerstone was laid for Murray Hall and on 25 November 1874 another two teachers from America were welcomed, namely the Miss Wells and Miss Bailey, as well as Miss Spijker from Holland.  It was then decided to divide the students into two departments – a Lower Department consisting of 40 pupils led by Misses Bliss and Bailey in White House and the Higher Department of 50 pupils headed by Misses Ferguson, Wells and Spijker who would be housed in the new building, Murray Hall.

In 1881 six music rooms were added to Murray Hall. During the years to follow, Murray Hall was to undergo further extensions.  The building made provision for 50 boarders after the lectures relocated to the new building, the Huguenot Girl’s High School.  It became the residence for the girls of the Girls’ School and the University College.

In 1941, Murray Hall became a residence for the female students of the Wellington Training College and in 1947 the College received the transfer deeds of the building.

Murray Hall was modernised in 1958 and a new wing was added to house another 50 students.

After the completion of the Goodnow Hall restoration project, an ambitious project to restore Murray Hall followed.  As in the case of Bliss Hall structural alterations were made which included the redesign and re-equipping of the kitchen and a cafeteria-style self-service was introduced.  A new and modern flat was added for the hostel superintendent.

Emphasis was given to keep the Victorian atmosphere of the building.

(11c) Holyoke

Coinciding with the restoration of Bliss Hall in 1938, a small hospital, namely Holyoke was built.  The architect was Mr SR Immelmann and the builder Grundlingh & Grundlingh.

At the beginning of 1993 the Executive Committee passed a motion to restore Holyoke and use it as a guest house.  The restoration was undertaken in 1994 by Ken Walter under the supervision of the firm Malherbe Rust Architects of Paarl.  The structural alterations included a second bathroom en-suite to the main bedroom, a kitchen and renovations to the existing bathroom.  The rear “stoep” served as part dining-room.  The guest house was opened on 10 December 1993.

Subsequently, the building was converted to house the offices of the multi-media department of the campus.

Mary Lyon

(11d) Mary Lyon

Coinciding with the restoration of Bliss Hall in 1938, a student study hall, Mary Lyon were built.  The architect was Mr SR Immelmann and the builder Grundlingh & Grundlingh. It bears the name of the founder of the Mount Holyoke Seminary in the United States of America. This building is part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology complex. 1797-1849 A schoolteacher from Massachusetts, an American pioneer, a remarkable woman who founded the worldwide model of higher education for women–Mount Holyoke College Chemist and educator Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke College—then called it Mount Holyoke Female Seminary—in 1837, nearly a century before women gained the right to vote.

At that time, there were 120 colleges for men in the United States, but none for women. With the opening of Mount Holyoke, college-aged women could claim their own institution of higher education.

Mary Lyon served as a study hall for students and was renovated both on the interior and also exterior in 1994.  A number of structural changes were made so that the hall could be a multi-functional facility for the Boland Training College.

The structural changes were as follows:

  • Doors were broken in at the sides of the stage to allow for two changing rooms. The floor boards were replaced.
  • At the entrance foyer, ladies’ and gents’ toilets were added to the right and a fully equipped kitchen to the left.
Bliss Hall

Bliss Hall (11e)

By 1902, the Huguenot Seminary was bursting at the seams and new plans had to be made for accommodation.  The Board of Trustees met on 8 August 1903 and Miss Anna Bliss was instructed to have plans drawn up for a new building.  By the next meeting on 8 October 1903, the architect John Parker was able to submit the plans for approval.  A piece of land was bought from a Mr Retief.  Donations were canvassed from friends.  Mr AE Goodnow was once again willing to make the substantial donation of £1000.  The building cost £5000.

Mr Goodnow suggested that the new building be named after Miss Anna Bliss.  John Dellridge, the builder, completed the building in June 1904 and it was officially named Bliss Hall at the inauguration in March 1905.

The walls were painted cream with white coping.  The roof tiles were red.

In 1938 restorations were effected and the woodwork on the rear balcony and also the trellis work on the rear “stoep” were removed.  New bathrooms were installed and the kitchen upgraded.

Bliss Hall is a double storey with a double gable above the main entrance.  The side facades are staked by turrets.  The well-known coppersmiths Woudberg, Woudberg and Sons were responsible for the copper in the turrets.  The outer entrance is topped by triangular gables resting on pillars.  The double front door is topped by a semi-circular fanlight.  Double sash windows serve all the rooms.

Up to 1947 Bliss Hall were inhabited by students from the Seminary; after this by Training College students until 1956, when the building once again became a school residence until the school relocated in 1970.  The building then once again became a student residence.

During the 9 May 1986 jubilee celebration of Goodnow Hall, Bliss Hall was also declared a national monument.

In 1993, the Department of Transport and Public Works repaired the roof and repainted the exterior of the building.

In June 1994 Ken Walter CC Master Builders under the supervision of Malherbe Rust Architects, undertook the massive restoration of the interior of Bliss Hall while the students were away on holiday and practice teaching.  The major part of the work was completed by August although restoration continued until the end of 1994.

In the early hours of 24 October 2000, Bliss Hall was ravaged by fire.  Although no lives were lost, the students lost everything else in the fire.  Thanks to the House Committee the evacuation process ran smoothly.  Wellington opened its arms and the students all found accommodation elsewhere.

Restoration started almost immediately and a fully-restored Bliss Hall was reopened to the students in January 2002.

Old Girls High School

HUGUENOT COLLEGE BUILDINGS

(12a) Old Girls’ High School

This building was designed by John Parker. It has a beautiful courtyard and a colonnaded entrance with vaulted archways. It originally served as the Girl’s High School and amalgamated Huguenot High School until 1970. The building now houses the Huguenot College.

Cummings Hall

(12b) Cummings Hall

Cummings Hall was inaugurated on 16 December 1898 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Seminary. The date on the gable, 1896, indicates when the foundation stone was laid. EA Goodnow also funded this building and at his request it was named after Anna Cummings. It was designed by an American architect and has Normandic features which is typical of the late 19th century revivalist architecture. A violent fire destroyed the original woodwork on 13 May 2008 and rennovations to the roof and outer part were completed in 2011. The building is unoccupied at present.

Ferguson Hall

(12c) Ferguson Hall

Ferguson Hall is another John Parker design and was built in 1908 for the Huguenot College, later the Huguenot University College.

The building was named after Miss Abby Ferguson, one of the founders of the Seminary. Since 1972 the building has accommodated the society, Bible Media.

New Englanders and daughters of Congregationalist ministers, Ferguson and Bliss graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1856 and 1862 respectively. Having absorbed the missionary legacy of Mount Holyoke’s founder, Mary Lyon, Ferguson and Bliss became teachers. In 1873 they answered the appeal of Andrew Murray for teachers from Mount Holyoke to open a female seminary in South Africa. With financial support from the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa, Ferguson and Bliss founded Huguenot Seminary (later Huguenot College) in Wellington as the first woman’s college in South Africa. Ferguson became the first president, and in 1910 Bliss became the second. Graduates from Huguenot fanned out across southern Africa, establishing schools and transforming the education of girls. Ferguson especially inculcated missionary fervour in her students, and in 1875 Johanna Meeuwsen left Huguenot for missionary service in the Transvaal. In 1878, upon reading the ten-year report of the Woman’s Board of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Ferguson and her students founded the Huguenot Missionary Society, which supported alumnae as missionary teachers and also supported pioneer male missionaries in southern Africa, such as A. A. Louw. Virtually the entire first generation of women missionaries from the DRC, both single and married, were Huguenot graduates. Approximately fifty Huguenot students had become missionaries by 1904.

Ferguson herself wished to become a missionary in the South African gold fields but was persuaded to remain at Huguenot. In 1889, with Mrs. Andrew Murray and Huguenot graduates as officers and leaders, the “Vroue Sendingbond” (Woman’s Missionary Union) emerged from the Huguenot Society as the first national organization for Afrikaner women. “The Vrou Sendingbond” appointed and paid all salaries of single women missionaries in the DRC. In 1890 Ferguson used her own money to begin a mission study class at Huguenot that became the nucleus of the Student Volunteer Movement in the Cape Colony. In 1904 the class became a separate missionary training school for women, Friedenheim, under the DRC. Ferguson’s brother, George, joined her in 1877 until his death in 1896 as head of a missionary training institute for men. Abbie Ferguson and Andrew Murray participated together in movements to promote higher spiritual life. After her retirement from the presidency of Huguenot, Ferguson helped to establish a Women’s Interdenominational Missionary Committee in South Africa.

Wellington Museum

(13) Wellington Museum

The Wellington Museum features not only the cultures of various African ethnic groups, but also prides itself in having ties with countries as far afield as the USA, England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands.

The museum also exhibits Stone-Age artefacts, a major collection of Egyptian artefacts and exhibits of various pioneers who made their mark on the history of Wellington and South Africa.

Many historical sites, as well as ancient San rock art, the graves of the Bains Pass builders and disused manganese mines can be experienced on routes in the Limietberg Nature Reserve.

(15) Martha Solomon’s House

Martha Solomons is an amazing story from the 1860’s. She was a slave that received and English title as heritage through interesting circumstances. She was known as the “Countess of Stamford”.

Her mother was a slave with the name Rebecca. It is assumed that Rebecca sent Martha to the school in Bovlei that was run by reverend Bisseux.

“Queen” Rebecca was assumed to be a prostitute that owned a sjebeen in Wineberg. Martha went with her mother to Namaqualand and there they met “Harry the Englishman”.

Harry Grey was the son of a noble man. In those years the boys of noble men that were troublemakers were sent to the colonies. Harry’s problem was alcohol. He stayed in Wineberg for a long time. He started to move around and eventually ended up in Namaqualand.

Martha had many children which had different fathers. Rebecca bought them a small house in Wellington which is now called Martha Solomon’s House.

One stormy night there was a knock at the door. It was Harry. He was ill and desperate. Martha looked after him. Harry could not behave himself and went back to Wineberg. He had a love for woman of poor disposition. He later married the ill Annie MacNamara.  Martha connected with Harry again and looked after Annie till her death. From then on Harry and Martha were always together.

Martha and Harry got married in Desember 1880. Three years later Harry’s nephew passed away. He was the seventh Count of Stamford. Harry inherited the title and became the eigth Count of Stamford. Harry behaved himself better and drank less.

Harry owned property in Muizenberg, Claremont and Wineberg. He donated property to the Anglican Church. Marth remained humble and lived a life of simplicity.

Harry passed away in 1890 at the age of 78. Martha donated money for the purchase of property for a school.

Martha returned to Wellington in 1892 and married Pieter Pieterse. They returned to Wineberg later on in life and became members of the Wineberg Missionary Congregation. Martha passed away in 1916 and is buried next to Harry in the Wineberg Anglican cemetery.

(16) Hugo’s House

Piet Hugo bought this house for his family. Before he became the owner it belonged to a religious sect and there was a small dam in the back yard where the believers were baptized.

The wooden structures were added to the building in later years and not part of the original design.

Bains House

(17) Bain’s House

Andrew Geddes Bain was born in in Scotland. He immigrated to the Cape and got married in “Die Groote Kerk” in Cape Town.

He loved to travel and went on various expeditions. His career in building roads started in 1832 when the Ouberg Pass was built in Graaff-Reinet as well as the building of the Van Ryneveldpas.

In 1845 he was offered the position as Inspector of Roads and that is how he got involved with the building of Bainskloof Pass.

This house in Bain Street was built for his family and the street was named after him. In early years Bain Street was the main route through the town of Wellington.

Jam Factory

(18) Hugo’s Jam Factory/ Dietmann’s Piano Factory

The “Piano Factory” housing development was once home to one of Wellington’s most well-known industries namely “Hugo’s Jam Factory”. Hugo’s business story is one of success.

Hugo met Bunny Porter who offered him the position to manage the “Wellington Preserve Company.” A huge building was erected to house the Jam Factory. Soon the factory was enlarged 20 times, Hugo bought the business from Bunny Porter and changed the name to “Hugo’s Wellington Jams”.

In 1929 a new wing was added to the building. Jam tins were manufactured in this wing. The biggest part of the jams were exported to England and Europe.

Moosa Moos stayed next to the factory were the horse’s stables were situated. He was responsible for the transport of the preserved products to the station.

Years later this big building were taken over by the “Dietmann Piano Factory, making it the biggest piano factory in the Southern Hemisphere. The factory started small in 1951 and grew to be known as the Piano Manufacturers of South Africa in 1968.

They started with building 3800 pianos a year and eventually ended up building 1976 5000 pianos per year. Most of them were exported. With the closing down of this concern in 1989 at lot of skills and knowledge were lost to Wellington.

WoudBerg House

(19) Woudberg House

In the late 19th century a renowned coppersmith, JM Woudberg, stayed in Wellington. 120 Copper Kettles were made by him and is housed today in the KWV. The turrets at Bliss Hall has got copper details that were also made by Woudberg.

Since the second half of the 19th century, Wellington played a special role in the production of copper items especially in the wine industry. The Woudberg 250 gallon copper steam jacket kettles and coolers were very popular.

Marthinus Woudberg launched the copper industry in Wellington in 1865.  After his death his sons, Johannes Marthinus and Daniel Benjamin, took over the business. The business was in located Bain Street.

Huis Lizelle

(20) House Lizelle

House Lizelle, previously known as Dorcas House, originated from a Miss Leeuwner’s concern about the big amount of lonely and single women in Wellington. She was a social worker in the early 1900’s and the idea started with her to create a home for women like this.

The public was asked for donations and the first donation amounted to four shillings. The building was built in 1916 by Mr Gielie Vlokman.

In the beginning there were facilities for 12 ladies to be housed and each lady had to look after herself. Additions were added later and the number of ladies to be housed amounted to 24.

As of 14 April 1944 the ACVV, an Afrikaans women’s society, took over the running of Dorcas House.

Mrs Mouton was appointed in July 1944 as matron and to oversee the building and the inhabitant’s meals. Her nickname was “Dingetjie”, meaning small and petite.

Fire were made in the wooden stove only twice a week and then the ladies could prepare their own meals. All the other meals were prepared on primus stoves. It was expected of each inhabitant to contribute wood.

Mr B J Vorster, the Secretary of Welfare, visited Dorcas in 1967 on a very cold and weary day. This probably played a role in his request that another building, Silwerkruin, had to be built.

Dorcas House was sold to Mr Tienie Malan on November 1969 and he renamed it as House Lizelle. There is still elderly people that is living in House Lizelle, there is approximately 36 men and women.

Petite Ecole

(21) Petit Ecole

Petit Ecole dates back to 1842 and was originally a homestead with dung floors. The school that was in Malherbe Street moved to this building in 1854.

The school was found by Jan Hendrik Retief, a farmer that went insolvent. Later on his son, Jan Hendrik Retief Junior, took over the management of the school and it moved to Bainstraat.

The school was successfully run in the beginning with 156 children.

In 1860 a revival took place in the town lead by a missionary from the Netherlands named Groenewoud that came to Wellington in 1863. He re-baptized people and he was joined by a man with the name Schoch in 1868.

Wellington was chosen because they believed it was the “new Jerusalem” and that the ascension of believers would take place in Wellington in 1869

Jan Hendrik Retief joined this group of believers. He was known as a terrible autocrat and angry man. By 1860 the discipline in the school was lacking, the building had been neglected and the dung floor caused a terrible stench throughout the school’s

The Community Service for the aged moved into this building in 1985 and is still being used for this purpose.

The name on the building “Petit Ecole” refers to the primary School’s name of Jan Hendrik Retief.

(22) Ouma Granny House Museum/ Mochudi Villa

This Victorian house was built in 1876 by a man called “Marchand” and he named it Mochudi Villa after a missionary settlement in Botswana (the old Betsjoeana Land).  The Malherbe family stayed here until the municipality bought the building in the late 1980’s.

It is a house museum today and was officially opened on 30 Mei 1990 and named Ouma-Granny’s House Museum. The content of the house is all collectables that belonged to Mrs Joyce Hoogenhout. Joyce Hoogenhout was of Scottish and English decent. Her husband, Imker Hoogenhout was the grandson of Afrikaans language pioneer, CP Hoogenhout. Ouma Granny incorporates all cultural – and language groups.

The collection was originally housed in the farm house dating to 1699 on the farm Optenhorst. When Joyce moved to town, the municipality provided the current house for the display.

Two years ago the building was renovated and re-opened in 2015. A visit to the museum takes you back to times long gone. Experience the old ways of living, while being guided by one of the Hoogenhout sisters.  There is a bedroom, tearoom, dining room, children’s room, history room and kitchen. All these room are fully furnished with items used more than 100 years ago.

(23) Victoria Park & Triumphal Jubilee Arch

The property where Victoria Park is situated today was initially part of the farm, Champagne. The Mother Church was also part of this farm way back then. A brick factory was operated where Victoria Park is now. The bricks which the Mother Church was built with was made here.

In 1883 this area where the brick factory was, was fenced, more trees were planted and it was named Victoria Park. 1897 was the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on the throne and the park was renamed, Victoria Jubilee Park. When Edward VII became King in 1902 the Arch was renamed, Coronation Arch.  In 1970 the Arch was declared a National Heritage site.

A Chinese Fossil Tree can be found in the park. The tree is from China and it is unknown how it came to South Africa. In the park there is also a monument for the soldiers from Wellington that died in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and the war on the border.

When you visit the park you will experience the beauty of the rose garden that was designed by leading rose specialist, Gwyn Fagen.

Church Hall

(24a) Church Hall

The church hall of the Dutch Reformed Mother Church was inaugurated by Dr Andrew Murray in 1914.

Martha Hall

(24b) Martha Hall

The original Martha Hall was built in 1872 and was demolished 40 years later when it became too small. The current building was erected facing Jan van Riebeeck Street and the same building materials were used.

(24c) Magistrate’s Court

Post Office

(24d) Post Office

The Post Office building was inaugurated in 1935/ 1936. The founding of the Post Office dates since 1850 and was at first a single roomed building in the nearby area of where the Post Office is situated today. Mail was delivered twice a week from Cape Town. On the days mail was delivered the towns people gathered at this building waiting for it.  Jacob Cilliers was the first Post Master and five of his nine children followed in his footsteps as Post Master/ Mistress. In 1874 Miss MC Cairncross became the Post Mistress. Her sister and in 1886 her brother, Eddie followed in her footsteps. At this stage the Post Office was in the building where the Standard Bank is today, just across the road.

After a disastrous fire in 1875 the Post Office had to find a new home. Eddie Cairncross rented a home in Church Street to stay in and two of the rooms in his residence were used for post office duties.

With time the post office activities became busier as the town of Wellington grew and the whole building was later used as the Post Office.

The Post Office was lovingly managed for 70 years by the Cilliers and Cairncross families.

Eddie Cairncross opened up every morning at 5:30am and the Post Office stayed open until 10pm.

Persent Jeftha was an important, hard-working and well-loved character in the history of the Post Office.

The Post Office as it stands there today was built in 1935. It borders the church office and the property was brought despite the Church Council’s opposition against it.

On 1 Mei 1936 the new Post Office was opened by the Postmaster-General, Mr HJ Lenton. The Post Office is 80 years old.

Standard Bank

(24e) Standard Bank

The Standard Building was at first the home of the Post Office. After the disastrous fire in 1875 the Post Office moved.

This building first hosted the Wellington Bank until Standard Bank took it over in 1890.

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