HISTORICAL ROUTES AND OUTSPANS
The present day N7 follows approximately the same route as one of the earliest routes out of the Cape past Rietvlei and along the Diep River.
The map of the Cape Division (1901) shows tracks running in a north-south direction across hartebeest Kraal (now Atlantis), from Blomboschfontein and the south-western end of Dassenberg 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 first outspan was in Salt River and the next at Potsdam. The historic werf at Mamre was the Groenekloof outpost. Travellers through the kloof would have outspanned on this werf.
HISTORY OF MAMRE
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 to farmers to graze their cattle in this area, then known as Groenekloof. Between 1701 and 1791 a permanent military outpost was maintained to deal with the problems arising from the contact between the farmers and the indigenous inhabitants.
In 1806, the Cape passed into the possession of the British. The Earl of Caledon, the Governor at the time asked the Moravian missionaries, based at Genadendal, to establish a second mission station at Groenekloof. 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. The Moravian converts were, from 1808, allowed to settle on the land close to the church, the origins of the present day Mamre.
THE MORAVIAN MISSION STATION
He complex which includes a church, school, cook house and long house (former barracks) was declared a National Monument in 1967. The water mill was declared a national monument in 1973. The main group of buildings is still owned, administered and used by the Moravian Church.
THE CHURCH BUILDING
The Mamre Mission Station is the fifth oldest church building in South Africa.
The building was completed in 1818 although the gospel was first preached from beneath the poplar trees of Louwskloof in 1808. The date 18 February 1818 can still be found on the original pediment.
In 1885, the organ was ordered from Denmark and was initiated on 27 November 1887 and can still be found in its original form.
THE CHURCH BELL
The Church Bell is a hanging artwork of 250 kg with certain biblical text verses inscribed on the bell, written in Dutch. The four angels motif is placed at the top watching over the bell.
The date on the Gable of the Parsonage is 1697, which makes this building the oldest in Mamre. This building served as a home, place of religious services and education for the children. In the early years it belonged to the Dutch East India Company, a hunting lodge for Adriaan van der Stel and finally was home to the missionaries.
In 1830 a horse mill was built to grind corn for bread making. In 1839 the horse mill was replaced by a water mill. In 1873, a steam engine was used to turn the mill along with the water, which was replaced with a diesel engine. The mill stopped operating in December 1954.
THE COOK HOUSE
This building dates back to 1700. It was used as a police station and a jail for a short period of time. The architecture of the building from an old photograph shows the chimney on the left gable. The fireplace inside is still on the left side, but for some unknown reason, the chimney is at present in the middle of the roof. It now serves as a kitchen in times of festivities.
THE LONG HOUSE
This is a long house with six front doors and six windows. The centre of the building has an attractive concavo-convex gable. It is a stone building with thick walls which are plastered in front. This building was used as barracks by soldiers of the Dutch East India Company in the early years.
Visit Mamre and experience history of a special nature.