Chairperson’s Annual Report: 1 January to 31 December 2015

Chairperson’s Annual Report: 1 January to 31 December 2015

Scope of Report

The Chairperson’s Report reflects the period from 1 January to 31 December 2015. This brings the Society into line with the Constitution which prescribes an operating year as a calendar year, with an AGM before 31 March the following year.

Aims and area of focus

Greater Hermanus from Voelklip to Fisherhaven is the geographical area that involves the History Society. Briefly the aims of the society expressed in the Constitution are to bring history alive to residents and visitors, disseminate information, collect and preserve historical resources and collaborate with relevant bodies.

Organisational activity

During the year the Society held 9 Members Meetings with an average attendance of approximately 45 members and guests. Three of the meetings were addressed by visiting speakers and one took the form of an excursion.

The Committee met on 4 occasions during the year.


As at 31 December 2015, membership stood at 114. However, many members still had to renew their membership for 2016. Current figures will be given at the meeting.


Of the 24 projects listed 14 have been completed, attention will be given to those active in the past year.

  • Projects 3 and 14: The history walks of Hoy’s Koppie and the Cliff Path are under review with Mapmyway organization. This will enable our walks to be available to the public as directional and informational route maps. Historical content is included in the Biodiversity walk and an app is available.
  • Project 5: Swallow Neethling’s memorial garden is complete and is the area in better shape. However, we have not been able to establish an organization dedicated to the care of the site, Friends of Swallow Park.
  • Project 6: As an extension of Demarcation of old town Hermanus, the History Society committee has written to the role players involved expressing our commitment and concerns to this matter.
  • Project 9: Ella Gordon’s Farm in Karwyderskraal has made progress in so far as the responsible Moravian church minister has become involved and meetings have taken place.
  • Project 15: research into the documentary evidence for Zwelihle is on track and three further interviews have been completed.
  • Project 18: As part of the Fynarts Festival a 2-part series on the history of the coastline of the Overstrand Municipality was presented by Robin Lee.
  • Project 20: The plaques and history boards completed to date are inspected monthly.  Printed text on the sea facing plaques has faded and awaits attention.


Research Reports

Four major Research Reports have been completed or are in hand. Completed reports are: Sir William Hoy- His Life Beyond Hermanus; History of the Water Supply in Greater Hermanus 1857 to 2015; World War II Radar Stations in the Overstrand; History of the Stony Point Whaling Station. In preparation is History of the New Harbour.


The new website became operational during December. Details of usage will be given at the meeting.

Publication of Book

On 9 December 2015 the book “Luyt’s Marine: A Diary of the Years 1942-1947” was published. Thirty-five copies were sold in December. Sales figures to 15 March will be given at the meeting.

Popular Articles

Five popular articles were published during the year.

Streetscape Booklet

A booklet on Aberdeen Street has been developed and will be published on the website soon.


The Society’s library opened to members in October. Stock of 85 items was catalogued. Members have started using the facility.

Damage to Hoy Grave

The grave of Sir William Hoy was vandalized in July and the Society was approached by the Municipality to advise on repairs. These were undertaken under our supervision and the outcome appears to be entirely satisfactory. A suitable craftsperson is being sought to carry out the carving of inscriptions on both graves.


The committee and some members are engaged in considerable work and we urge that our members become more actively involved in planning events and participating in project work so that the society’s work is can progress faster and benefit from shared ideas.

Next reporting period:

This will cover the period January- December 2016.

Next Annual General Meeting:  March 2017 (Date to be advised)