Plaque to be erected at ‘wasbakkies’

Locating the three historical public laundry sites, better known as the ‘wasbakkies’, an upcoming outing to Boontjieskraal and the launch of the historical walks are some of the activities the Hermanus History Society (HHS) is currently busy with.
Robin Lee (secretary), touched on these projects at the Annual General Meeting held on 27 March.

Plaque at Wasbakkies site
Old Hermanusers will know that in the late 19th century, the Hermanus Municipality built three public laundry sites (wasbakkies) as the tap water in the village, from surface rivers, was brown due to vegetation. Women used to wash linen for the local hotels here as clear water fed into the wasbakkies from underground streams.

An additional plaque is to be erected at the wasbakkies to denote their historical value to the area and HHS members Elsabé and Basil Brink and Angela Heslop went on a scramble outing to see if they could locate dates on the remaining wasbakkies. Four structures are located (two reservoirs and two wasbakkies) in various states of damage in extensive foliage.

“Sadly no dates were found so this period will be speculated as 19th century,” says Heslop.

Guided historical walks
Members have also participated in test-runs for the guided historical walks, another project of the society, which will be launched on 17 April.
Walk 1 is up Hoy’s Koppie, and Walk 2 is a stroll around Historic Hermanus starting from The Marine hotel (more about these walks in the HT pre-Easter issue).

Boontjieskraal visit
The next member’s outing is to Boontjieskraal farm, which has a long history in the development of the Overberg.
It is situated on the wagon trail from Bot River to Caledon and was visited by many well-known figures. Hermanus Pieters himself lived on the farm for some time and is buried there.

Other projects of the HHS include:

  •  The erection of a memorial plaque at the upgraded Swallow Neethling garden. An organisation dedicated to the care of the site, Friends of Swallow Park, is to be established.
  • The society may collaborate with Charles Fourie, the author and director of the production of “Ella’s Horses” (Ella Gordon farm in Karwyderskraal) later this year.
  • During FynArts (6 – 16 June) an audio-visual of the history of The Marine hotel and the people who stayed there will be presented.
  • Research into the documentary evidence for Zwelihle has begun with two pilot interviews and a search of the Hermanus Times and South African National Archives (WCape).

To become a member of the Hermanus History Society, you can contact or Individual membership R80; family membership R120; country membership R25.