Sugar Bridge

August 15, 2021

Sugar Bridge

Named, legend has it, because they ran out of cement and used sugar instead.

The Bufflesjags river bridge was built 1845 by the Royal Engineers. It is referred to as a Mitchell/ Montegu bridge. It was part of the”Groote Wagen Weg’  that carried the eastern highway until the 1950s.

It has long been considered a local landmark and is described by historians: Hans Fransen, Dr Mary Cooke & Edmund Burrows : as consisting of 10 red sandstone buttresses joined by teak struts brought up the river to Malgas from the wreck of the Robert.

The bridge was damaged by floods 11/11/1936 and has been the subject of proper restoration ever since. It was declared a National Monument 6 Feb. 1989 Number:  18541/9/2/092/0067  and has become a grade 2 heritage site. Various local municipal departments and heritage bodies applied for repair /restoration work in 1950s, 1980s, 2000s.

One of the piers sagged and concrete and cables were used to shore it up, but without real repair  the wood has degraded further and with successive floods, notably 2009, most of the wood has gone completely.

In 2016 the Heritage Monitoring Project set out to define the Ten Most Endangered Heritage Sites in the country. Swellendam Heritage Association entered the Sugar Bridge and it was named second  on the list. The heritage listing received a lot of media attention and Heritage Western Cape took up the cause placing the bridge as their profile photo on social media.

Members of Swellendam Heritage Association attended a BELCom meeting where restoration of the bridge was on the agenda 22/11/16 and the decision was  to support the restoration.

The problem remains getting a Provincial department to take the responsibility.

Support includes; Swellendam Municipality, Swellendam Heritage Association, Swellendam Aesthetics committee, the Drostdy museum, Bufflesjags farmers, visiting architects & engineers.

Beside the bridge now is a drift for vehicles and there is a railway bridge close by.

The consensus of opinion is that the sugar bridge be restored as a pedestrian bridge for the use of local people who need to cross the river to and from work and who at present use the railway bridge for the purpose. Steel would seem to be a more economic material for the replacement.

Several visiting experts have offered their services towards the restoration, most recently Dennis Walters, a civil Engineer with experience working on Eastern Cape bridges, who has offered to prepare a proposal with costings at no charge.  Fassler Kamstra +  Holmes  Architects have also worked on a restoration plan. Local farmers feel their workers need a safe method to cross the river and would look to make the bridge a tourist site.

Swellendam Heritage Association (Swellendam Trust) has made many applications over years for the restoration of this bridge and would bring their support, time & skills to this venture.

CAROL PODD

Swellendam Heritage Association

More projects

August 14, 2021

Heritage signage

On Monday 3 September 2018 the Swellendam Heritage Association had two heritage information boards erected in the town.

One of these information boards is erected on the site of old lemmetjiesdorp (Lemmetjies Town) which area is still referred  to by this name. The inscription on the information board which is self explanatory reads as follows:

Lemmetjiesdorp

The area known as Lemmetjiesdorp was sold to one Dawid Lemmetjies in 1849. Upon Dawid Lemmetjies’ death in 1863 the plot of land passed on to his son, Arend Lemmetjies. Thirteen brown families lived on this land alongside the Glen stream.  In the 1970’s the Group Areas Act forced the Lemmetjies family descendents off their land.

This panel has been erected by The Swellendam Heritage Association as a dedication to the Lemmetjies family.

Lemmetjiesdorp

Die gebied bekend as Lemmetjiesdorp is in 1849 aan ene Dawid Lemmetjies verkoop. Met Dawid Lemmetjies se dood in 1863 is die stuk grond aan sy seun, Arend Lemmetjies, oorgedra. Dertien bruin gesinne het op die grond langs die Glenstroom gewoon. In die 1970’s het die Groepsgebiedewet die nageslag van die Lemmetjies-familie van hulle grond gedwing.

Hierdie paneel is opgerig deur die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging as erkenning aan die Lemmetjies-familie.

Lemmetjiesdorp Sign Erected 03. 09. 2018

Lemmetjiesdorp Sign Erected 03. 09. 2018

The second information board was erected at the old Anglican Cemetery and is again dedicated to members of the Lemmetjies family who were the stone masons who built the lovely old stone wall around the cemetery. Again the inscription is self explanatory and reads as follows:

THE ANGLICAN CEMETERY STONE WALL

This beautiful wall of dressed stone bonded with clay was built by one Arend Lemmetjies circa 1855 when the Anglican Church was built in Swellendam. Arend Lemmetjies was a sought after stone-mason in Swellendam in the 1800’s along with his builder father Dawid Lemmetjies.

This panel has been erected by The Swellendam Heritage Association as a dedication to the Lemmetjies family.

DIE ANGLIKAANSE BEGRAAFPLAAS-RINGMUUR

Die Anglikaanse Kerk is in 1855 in Swellendam gebou. Die Anglikaanse begraafplaas is ongeveer dieselfde tyd geopen. Die pragtige klipmuur, wat met klei gebind is, is deur ene Arend Lemmetjies gebou. Hy en sy vader, Dawid Lemmetjies, was in daardie tyd gesogte klipkappers en bouers in Swellendam.

Hierdie paneel is opgerig deur die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging as erkenning aan die Lemmetjies-familie.

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August 18, 2021

Wall Mounted Family Coats of Arms

Wall Mounted Family Coats of Arms.

Owing to the public’s enthusiasm regarding The Swellendam Heritage Association’s project “Swellendam Families” now in the process of lining the lower part of the town’s main road, the Swellendam Heritage Association are pleased to announce an extension to the project. The name given to this extension is “The Swellendam Families Private Collection”.

As the name try’s to suggests, the project enables families to erect their family’s crest at their home.

The crests are available in various sizes, are in colour and mounted on a rust resistant Chromodek® steel plate panel which can be affixed to a suitable place on a wall at the family’s home.

These family crest panels make an excellent long-lasting gift as well.

Prices are as follows:

  • 200mm X 300mm = R300* incl
  • 300mm X 400mm = R400* incl
  • 400mm X 600mm = R500* incl

Where a family crest is available in the SHA’s library.

There is an additional charge of R400 where a crest needs to be created.

Contact / Kontak Hennie Steyn 082 956 9454  [email protected] Philip Bromley 073 248 3999 [email protected]   Bank besonderhede / details Nedbank (Swellendam) Branch / Tak 19876500 Swellendam Heritage Association / Erfenisvereniging Rekening Nr / Account Nbr 1118273125 Please enter your surname as reference. Meld asseblief u van as verwysing.  

Muur gemonteerde  Familiewapens.

As gevolg van die publiek se entoesiasme in verband met Die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging se projek “Swellendam Families” wat tans besig is om die onderkant van die dorp se hoofstraat te versier, is die Die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging bly om aan te kondig ‘n uitbreiding van die projek. Die uitbreiding word benoem “Die Swellendam Families Privaat Versameling”

Soos die naam probeer aandui, laat die projek toe dat families hulle familewapen by die huis kan oprig.

Hierdie familiewapen bordjies maak ook sommer ‘n oulike duursame geskenk.

Pryse is soos volg:

  • 200mm X 300mm = R300* insl
  • 300mm X 400mm = R400* insl
  • 400mm X 600mm = R500* insl

Waar ‘n familiewapen beskikbaar is in die Erfenisvereniging se versameling.

Daar is ‘n additionele koste van R400 as ‘n familiewapen nuut geskep moet word.

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August 15, 2021

Sugar Bridge

Named, legend has it, because they ran out of cement and used sugar instead.

The Bufflesjags river bridge was built 1845 by the Royal Engineers. It is referred to as a Mitchell/ Montegu bridge. It was part of the”Groote Wagen Weg’  that carried the eastern highway until the 1950s.

It has long been considered a local landmark and is described by historians: Hans Fransen, Dr Mary Cooke & Edmund Burrows : as consisting of 10 red sandstone buttresses joined by teak struts brought up the river to Malgas from the wreck of the Robert.

The bridge was damaged by floods 11/11/1936 and has been the subject of proper restoration ever since. It was declared a National Monument 6 Feb. 1989 Number:  18541/9/2/092/0067  and has become a grade 2 heritage site. Various local municipal departments and heritage bodies applied for repair /restoration work in 1950s, 1980s, 2000s.

One of the piers sagged and concrete and cables were used to shore it up, but without real repair  the wood has degraded further and with successive floods, notably 2009, most of the wood has gone completely.

In 2016 the Heritage Monitoring Project set out to define the Ten Most Endangered Heritage Sites in the country. Swellendam Heritage Association entered the Sugar Bridge and it was named second  on the list. The heritage listing received a lot of media attention and Heritage Western Cape took up the cause placing the bridge as their profile photo on social media.

Members of Swellendam Heritage Association attended a BELCom meeting where restoration of the bridge was on the agenda 22/11/16 and the decision was  to support the restoration.

The problem remains getting a Provincial department to take the responsibility.

Support includes; Swellendam Municipality, Swellendam Heritage Association, Swellendam Aesthetics committee, the Drostdy museum, Bufflesjags farmers, visiting architects & engineers.

Beside the bridge now is a drift for vehicles and there is a railway bridge close by.

The consensus of opinion is that the sugar bridge be restored as a pedestrian bridge for the use of local people who need to cross the river to and from work and who at present use the railway bridge for the purpose. Steel would seem to be a more economic material for the replacement.

Several visiting experts have offered their services towards the restoration, most recently Dennis Walters, a civil Engineer with experience working on Eastern Cape bridges, who has offered to prepare a proposal with costings at no charge.  Fassler Kamstra +  Holmes  Architects have also worked on a restoration plan. Local farmers feel their workers need a safe method to cross the river and would look to make the bridge a tourist site.

Swellendam Heritage Association (Swellendam Trust) has made many applications over years for the restoration of this bridge and would bring their support, time & skills to this venture.

CAROL PODD

Swellendam Heritage Association

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August 15, 2021

Graves of DR Church

On 19th March 2018 the church council of the DR Church. Swellendam decided to ask the Swellendam Heritage Association to make a survey of the remaining graves on the church property because, at the time, there was no complete catalogue of the details of the graves. That made it difficult for researchers and family members to get information they required. It will also make history more accessible to visitors and will make it easier to find a specific grave. This survey subject to specific conditions contains the following:

  1. The drawing up of a catalogue with the location of each grave, as well as the wording of each tombstone. A short summary of the background of each grave is added
  2. The tombstones are cleaned to remove algae which makes it difficult to read the wording on the tombstones.
  3. When required the gravel on the grass will be supplemented or re-done
  4. Gravestones where lettering has faded are to be repainted.
  5. The church council wants the character of the graves to reflect the fact that the graveyard is already more than 200 years old.

The execution of these decisions was a special journey of discovery into the history of Swellendam, with this publication the church council, together with the Heritage association, hope to contribute to the writing of the history of Swellendam and hope that it will also be a valuable source of information to researchers and visitors to Swellendam.

The Church council hereby thanks the Swellendam Heritage committee for their great assistance and knowledgeable advice in the successful documenting and repair of the graveyard.

Hennie Steyn

SHA Committee

June 2018

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