Mission Station caring for Lepers in Hemel en Aarde Valley

Mission Station caring for Lepers in Hemel en Aarde Valley

HERMANUS HISTORY SOCIETY: Site visit on 22 August 2022

A year ago Dr Pieter Boon gave the society a very interesting talk via Zoom on the history 0f the Leprosy Institute in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley outside Hermanus. During question time at the end of his talk he was asked if he knew the exact location of the Institute in the valley. His reply was that he did not and that he thought that there was some uncertainty about the location.

Two members of the History Society thought that they knew the location of the site and set about investigating if their knowledge was correct. After some interesting research they were able to confirm that the institute was on what are now the farms Vrede, Volmoed, Bouchard Finlayson, Mountain Rose and Braemar. All the literature, maps and paintings that came to light confirm this.

The discovery of the remains of an old wall/foundation on the farm Vrede was something new. This was exposed in recent years when excavations were made to build a new road on the farm.

The following publications were referenced:

  • Teenstra, M. “De vruchten mijnen werksaamhede” 1825.
  • De Villiers, S J. “Die Viljees van Hemel en Aarde.” 1995.
  • Annandale, J. “Hemel & Aarde and the Leper Colony.” 1995.
  • Burman, J. “Hermanus: A Guide to the “Riviera of the South”. 1989.
  • Sheffler, H. “Hemel en Aarde, Portion 49, Portion of Portion 4, (Willems Hof) From Mos To McDowell, 1739-1998.” 1998.
  • Boon, Dr P. “Moravian Ministry to South Africa’s Leper Institute at Hemel en Aarde 1817 – 1838.” A presentation to HHS August 2021.

It is proposed that efforts be renewed to further investigate the history of the Leper Institute with a view to gaining official recognition from the relevant authorities and establishing some appropriate memorial on the site of the Institute and that of the graveyard.

Jack van Dyk and Michael Clark: Committee Members

Wall structure

Gum trees

Grave site under gum trees