Swallow Neethling

Hermanus History Society

Recreate the garden of Swallow Neethling so that it can serve as a place of memory and an urban space that should become part of the lives of the local communities again. The garden, which overlooks Walker Bay and is a 3 A Heritage site, has become neglected. Redesigning the garden will need to take water shortage in mind. The proposal involves the Heritage Society, Municipality and Ward 3.

Swallow Neethling, a local school teacher was determined to give something to the village of Hermanus where she spent most of her life. She lived round the corner in the sanatorium (now the Windsor Hotel) with other teachers.  The park became the pride and joy of generations of Hermanus people. Frikkie van Eeden, a municipal worker, assisted her, with the construction of raised rockeries, two fountains and jarra wood picket fence. Swallow played the harmonium, was an excellent pianist and served as Justice of the Peace. Today the garden has a number of mature trees, grass and. The fountains have disappeared, however the arched entrance remains. This small garden is something of an oasis but badly needs attention.

The garden therefore aims to become a dynamic facility to provide for the following:

A point for walking through enroute or resting between central Hermanus, Westcliff and the cliff path
A place where a display board acknowledges/traces/informs the reader of  Swallow Neethling’s contribution to Hermanus
A place for community activities and education
A place for learning about our past and present
A place to host outdoor exhibitions
A place to host public exhibitions, artwork and for use by heritage organisations.
A place for outdoor theatre and performances expressing the history of the area

Possible display Board contents:

Magdalena Neethling (1877-1953), one of 11 children
Named “Swallow” because of the way in which se seemingly darted from one place to another. Trained as teacher in Wellington.  Started teaching career at farm school near Caledon.  Arrived at Hermanus Primary in early 1890s.

Completed her career as teacher for Standard 6 Hermanus High School.  She created this garden.

E du Toit/AH February 2012-02-20