The newly formed Hermanus Historical Society, with the purpose of bringing the history of the greater Hermanus alive to residents and visitors, held their inaugural meeting on 31 May.
Historian SJ du Toit outlined some aspects of the history of the Windsor Hotel, the venue for the meeting attended by about thirty people.
Angela Heslop did a roundup of the activities of the informal History group, precursor to the society, with the major achievement thus far being the creation of an illustrated time line for Hermanus, to be displayed at the upgraded Hermanuspietersfontein Plain. Other activities have included an exhibition of material from the life of Ella Gordon on display in the municipality’s foyer, and an oral history project with Gr 6 pupils in Hermanus, Gansbaai, Mt Pleasant and Zwelihle.
Asked how far back family history in Hermanus could be said to have begun, SJ explained the earliest family structure known was at De Mond, near the Klein River estuary. Permanent family settlement, however, dates from the removal of families from Herries Bay to what is now Hermanus, in the early 1850s. Prior to that, the area was part of a farm and before that it was assumed to have been visited by itinerant Koi tribes from time to time.
The society’s relationship with the Heritage and Aesthetics Committee (HAC) was also discussed. Nicholas Clark, chair, said when the council asks their input on specific issues they would prefer to commission the society to undertake the historical research, as the HAC itself does not do it.
Robin Lee outlined the draft constitution and stressed the society will be a voluntary association supported by members’ subscriptions and sources of funding in the future. An annual membership of R60 was mentioned.
Proceedings ended with the election of committee members: AngelaHeslop (chair), Robin Lee (secretary), Sleepy Kruger, and a representative from the HAC. SJ du Toit and Elsabé Brink will be proposed as honorary members at the next meeting.
Enquiries: Contact Robin on 028 312 4072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Cilene Bekker )