HISTORICAL ROUTES AND OUTSPANS
The present day N7follows approximately the same route as one of the earliest routes out of the Cape – past Rietvlei and along the Diep River.
Koeberg Road follows approximately the same route as the early northward routes out of Cape Town.
In the early years of the twentieth century, Koeberg Road from Mailtland over Killarney and to the Swartland became known as the “hard road” in contrast to the sand tracks that ran through the dunes to Bloubergstrand.
TREE LINED AVENUE
The Map of The Cape Division (1901) shows tracks running in a north-south direction across Hartebeest Kraal (now Atlantis), from Blomboschfotein and the south-western end of Dassenberg northwards to Mamre. These tracks became the route from Saldanha to Cape Town. The existing tree lined avenue, the R304, which links the N7 to Mamre is a development of this early route.
THE POTSDAM OUTSPAN
The Potsdam Outspan was located in the area of the present-day intersection of Potsdam, Koeberg and Blaauwberg Roads and was used as an overnight resting place for farmers on their way to and from Cape Town. According to Dr Jannie Greeff (Milnerton Estates), the area was still known as the outspan in the 1920s and 1930s. It is unclear, however, when exactly it ceased being used as an outspan.
There was a series of outspans all the way along the old road from Cape Town to Saldanha Bay. Where the going was more difficult, these would be closer together. The first outspan was in Salt River and the next in Potsdam.
THE MAMRE OUTSPAN
The historic werf at Mamre was the Groenkloof outpost. Travellers through the kloof would have outspanned on this werf.
OLD CAPE FARMS
The Blaauwberg area has been farmed extensively since the first Dutch settlers. Farms of historical significance, still in existence, include:
Melpost, Hartebees Kraal and Witzand
The present-day industrial area of Atlantis was developed on the farm Melkpost and the township on the farms Hartebbest Kraal and Witzand. Both were Gouvernments Plaatsen in 1819. Occupations such as cola burning, wood gathering and lime-burning were common in that part of Blaauwberg and many families were bywoners on the farms on which they lived.
Signal canon, Kanonkop
In the 18th century, a system of signal cannons was used by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to communicate with people on farms and outposts beyond easy reach of the Castle. The six pounder canon is still in its original position near the peak of the hill on Klein Paardeberg, 5km east of Atlantis.
Atlantis Township and industrial area
Atlantis was built between 1976 and 1986 to accommodate part of the anticipated overflow of the “coloured” population of Cape Town, in accordance with the provisions of the Group Areas Act which enforced the residential separations of South Africans according to race. The township and adjoining industrial area were intended to provide living and employment opportunities for the “coloured” population who moved there from overcrowded areas in the Western Cape in search of employment and housing. In reality the area has remained underdeveloped and unemployment is rife. Atlantis remains as a living example of the apartheid era policies of separate development.
Bloubergstrand originated as a fishing village and holiday resort for farmers living inland.
Church venue, 3 Pelegrini Street, erf 445
In the early years of the twentieth century, Bloubergstrand had no dedicated church building or formal ties with established congregations. In the early 1920’s, a small hall was built on the property of Jan van der Spuy. An inscription on a plate inside the building notes that the building was built in memory of Anna Elizabeth van der Spuy, who died on 31 January 1919 aged 66 years. The building was intended as a place of worship for people of various denominations but was never a popular venue and was by the early 1930’s the private property of Jan van der Spuy. It was later converted into a house and remains in private ownership.
Dutch Reformed Church, 3 Batavia Road, erf 94
The land on which this church stands was purchased for a Dutch Reformed in 1925. The building was consecrated in 1927. An interesting feature of the house is the use of large, locally made, concrete blocks with a high shell content.
Most of the original cottages of Bloubergstrand were built alongside the track that became Stadler Road.
Ons Huisie, Stadler Road, erf 697
“Ons Huisie”, as it is now known, was in all probability the original hone of Fredrick Louis Stadler. It is uncertain when the house was built, but Thomas Bowler visited and made a drawing of it in 1853. In 1969 Ons Huisie was restored and the first restaurateur tenants took occupation. It was declared a national monument in 1973.
Killa Lime Kilns (along the road between Melkboschstrand and Bloubergstrand)
These two lime kilns, although built in the 1940’s were built in the same way as those built by Jan van Riebeeck in 1653 and operated in the same way, burning sea shells for building lime. The site is now unoccupied and the kilns stand derelict. Although their roofs have fallen in, the kilns could quite easily be restored.
“Die Groot Withuis” or the Lochner House, off Stadler Road, erf1189
This was the home of Helena (Mollie) Lochner who lived in the house from the 1940’s and wrote and illustrated children’s books. Her ashes are buried under the front stoep of the house. The cross outside the house was erected in memory of the Bam family (who owned the house at the turn of the twentieth century) and who drowned off the point in 1911.
“Highclere”, 6 Rancke Road, erf 280
This house was the holiday home of the educationalist, Sir Langham Dale (1826-1898) in the late 19th century. The house is relatively intact and is a fine representative of buildings in Bloubergstrand of the time.
The Blue Peter Hotel and restaurant, 8 Popham Street, erf 12
This building is a much-extended and modified version of one of the earliest houses in the area.
Old House, 6 Popham Street, erf 13
This building is one of several rooming houses for holiday makers that existed in the early 20th century.
House Faure, corner Popham and Verkouteren Streets, erf 862
This house, designed by noted Cape Town architect Revel Fox in 1967 is typical of his work of this period.
Deep under the sand, at some distance behind the Bloubergstrand dunes lie the remnants of the postal of the farm Compagniesdam. The farm was granted to Francois Duminy in the 1970’s on condition that he kept the dam clean so that the livestock of surrounding farmers could drink there. The farm occupied an important position in the history of travel at the Cape as it provided a convenient place for travellers to and from Saldanha Bay to rest.
BLAAUWBERG CONSERVATION AREA
Site of The Battle of Blaauwberg
The Battle of Blaauwberg centered around the vlei on Bloubergsvlei farm. It is believed that the original farmhouse, now demolished, was used as a field hospital for wounded soldiers.
World War II Buildings
An artillery observation post, diesel station and accommodation and mess buildings were constructed on top of Blouberg Hill during WW II.
A radar station was constructed and used on the slopes of Blouberg Hill during WW II.
The Citizen’s Housing League Utility (the pre-cursor of the present-day Communicare) was active in the Brooklyn area. By December 1931, the first 20 cottages were built in the Good Hope Model Village, as the area was then called. Between 1936 and 1944, The Citizen’s Housing League built a total of 742 houses in the area.
Albow Gardens, Koeberg Road, erf 19350
The Albow Gardens flats were built in the1970s to house low-income families.
The Mutual Building, Koeberg Road, erf 20090
This building pre-dates 1951 and is an interesting example of the Art Deco style. It is largely unaltered, although somewhat run-down at present.
Koeberg Road Street Front from Gleniffer to Justin Streets
This stretch of Koeberg Road has a number of interesting buildings, including the Mutual Building.
Church of The Nazarene, 24 Camden Street, erf 20082
An interesting late 1920’s building.
Terrace houses, corner Da Gama and Church Streets, erf 20392
Although much altered, this row of houses alludes to the early history of Brooklyn.
A number of streets in Brooklyn contain semi-detached houses. All pre-date 1951. The best examples are to be found along King’s Road (stretching from Florridan to Avondrust Streets), between between Da Gama Street and Koeberg Road in Loanada, Sheridan, Bower and Justin Streets and between Da Gama and King’s Street in Florridon street.
These also pre-date 1951 and are largely unaltered. The best examples are to be found between King’s Road and Da Gama Street and in Justin and Bower Streets.
Substation, corner Justin and River Streets, erf 202
This quirky little building dates from 1927 and makes a bold architectural statement in the Brooklyn landscape in determined local authority Cape Revival style, still promoting its importance.
Redoubt, possibly near Ysterplaat Primary School, Koeberg Road
A redoubt (military fortification) of unknown origin is marked on or near the site of Ysterplaat Primary School, on early maps of the area. Further archaeological investigation is needed to confirm this site.
In pre-colonial times, the indigenous Khoi people inhabited the area now known as Mamre. In the 1700’s, permission was granted by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to farmers to graze their cattle in the area, then known as Groene Kloof. Between 1701 and 1791 a permanent military outpost was maintained to deal with the problems arising from contact between the farmers and the indigenous inhabitants.
In 1806, the Cape passed into the hands of the British. The Earl of Caledon, the Governor of the time, asked the Moravian missionaries, based at Genadendal, to establish a second mission station at Groene Kloof. The government farm De Kleine Post and the adjoining Louwskloof and Cruijwagenskraal were given to the Moravians for this purpose. In 1854, the Moravians renamed the area as Mamre. Moravian converts were, from 1808, allowed to settle on land close to the church, the origins of the present-day village of Mamre.
The Moravian Mission Complex
The complex which includes a church, school, store, cook house and long house (former barracks) was declared a National Monument in 1967. The water mill was declared in 1973. The main group of buildings is still owned, administered and used by the Moravian Church.
House in Langlaan (exact location difficult to pinpoint)
This house is one of the last examples of a typical Mamre cottage. It is unoccupied and uninhabitable and without doors, windows or plaster. The roof structure and some thatch remain.
2 Bergstraat, erf 1447
This house is also one of the last remaining examples. Only the un-plastered walls remain.
Old farm house, 17 Sixth Avenue, erven 165, 166 and 626
Remnants of the old farm house group persist in two adjacent semi-detached houses on erven 165 and 166 and in the derelict building on erf 626, behind the shop.
Die “damhuis”, 32 Beach Road, erf 227
This building which appears in turn of the century photographs is in private ownership – the dam for which it is named no longer exists.
Kreef factory, 1 Beach Road, erf 630
The Melkbosstrand Fire Station is located in a building which originally housed a Kreef Factory. The 1960 aerial photograph is the first on which a building is evident on this site.
According to a local resident, the foundations of a British Fort, dating back to the time of The Battle of Blaauwberg may be buried beneath the old municipal reservoir on top of the large directly opposite the Caltex Service Station.
Lime kiln, Beach Road, erf 3182 or adjoining state land
A long term resident of the area has indicated that a lime kiln was located on the site. This information has not been confirmed by archaeological investigation.
The Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, the only nuclear power station in Africa, came into operation in 1984 to supply the Western Cape with electricity.
Police Training College, Koeberg Nature Reserve
This training college was used to train “kitskonstabels” in the 1980’s.
The Company, Milnerton Estates, was formed in 1897 and laid out, administered and developed Milnerton until a Municipality was formed in 1955.
The railway line linking Milnerton and Cape Town was inaugurated in 1903. A commemorative plaque marks the site of the Railway station opposite the Palm Site in Otto du Plessis Drive.
By the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899, Milnerton was an established township. By 1901 the British troops had taken Pretoria, and President Kruger had fled to Europe in an attempt to obtain assistance from the Kaiser. General Smuts had commenced on one of his many raids into the cape Colony, and to defend the Cape Coast, it was decided to build a military access to the island and via this up the coast. This is the access still used today as a pedestrian bridge. It was constructed in 1900, of jarra (Australian Mahogany), by the Royal Engineers. The wooden bridge was declared a National Monument in 1987.
Tea Garden and Dancing Pavilion
Recreational facilities were established very early in the development of Milnerton. Even before houses were built, people made day trips in the train from Cape Town. The Jansens Hall was built as a concert and dancing pavilion in about 1900 to cater for these pleasure seekers. This building was declared a National Monument in 1985.
The Milnerton Lighthouse situated on Woodbridge Island was built in 1960 as a beacon for ships entering the Cape Town harbour.
Marconi Beam Radar Station, Koeberg Road
The site has since been developed and al traces of the early telecommunications site lost.
Caltex Refinery, Plattekloof Road
The refinery was developed during the 1960s.
Killarney Race Track, Potsdam Road
The Killarney Motor Racing Track in Potsdam Road is the oldest motor-sport racing complex in South Africa and has been operational since 1946. It has been developed and expanded significantly since that time.
Ascot Mansions, Park Road, erf 498
Ascot Mansions is one of the earliest blocks of flats in Milnerton, constructed in about the 1920s and it has some distinctive decorative features.
Zonnekus, Woodbridge Island
This house was built in 1929 as a seaside residence for the Graaff family.
Moravian Mission Station
Wood and Iron House, 20 Farnsworth Road, erf 19000
Art Nouveau Villa, 27 Farnsworth Road, erf 18975R
Brooklyn Chest Hospital, Koeberg Road
Klein Zoar, Weymess Street, erf 20683
Rietvlei is an historical outpost which symbolises the colonial history of the area, where various trading outposts and forts were established in the Table Bay area after the Dutch settlement at the Cape in 1652.
The VOC outpost at Rietvlei (named Riet Valley by the VOC) was established in about 1660. The outpost included a residence, a lave house and a dairy, operated on behalf of the Cape Governors, with a subterranean milk room. Wolraad Woltemade, a VOC dairyman better known for his heroic rescue and death, is believed to have been employed in this dairy. A paved track on the northern side of the outpost leads to a dam. Thatching reed in the area was cut for the Company’s buildings in Cape Town.During the first British occupation in the Cape (1803-1806), the site continued to be used as a camp for Khoi soldiers. At the time of the Battle of Blaauwberg, the site was used as a base for General Janssens and his troops. Remnants of the outpost were uncovered during the course of building operations in 1988. The site is now occupied by a townhouse complex in Basile Close, off Pentz Drive.
Ysterplaat Air Base, Piet Grobler Street
Stadler family graves (Bloubergstrand erf 424)
Khoisan and non-indigenous burial sites
Battle of Blouberg graves