August 15, 2021
Named, legend has it, because they ran out of cement and used sugar instead.
The Bufflesjags river bridge was built 1845 by the Royal Engineers. It is referred to as a Mitchell/ Montegu bridge. It was part of the”Groote Wagen Weg’ that carried the eastern highway until the 1950s.
It has long been considered a local landmark and is described by historians: Hans Fransen, Dr Mary Cooke & Edmund Burrows : as consisting of 10 red sandstone buttresses joined by teak struts brought up the river to Malgas from the wreck of the Robert.
The bridge was damaged by floods 11/11/1936 and has been the subject of proper restoration ever since. It was declared a National Monument 6 Feb. 1989 Number: 18541/9/2/092/0067 and has become a grade 2 heritage site. Various local municipal departments and heritage bodies applied for repair /restoration work in 1950s, 1980s, 2000s.
One of the piers sagged and concrete and cables were used to shore it up, but without real repair the wood has degraded further and with successive floods, notably 2009, most of the wood has gone completely.
In 2016 the Heritage Monitoring Project set out to define the Ten Most Endangered Heritage Sites in the country. Swellendam Heritage Association entered the Sugar Bridge and it was named second on the list. The heritage listing received a lot of media attention and Heritage Western Cape took up the cause placing the bridge as their profile photo on social media.
Members of Swellendam Heritage Association attended a BELCom meeting where restoration of the bridge was on the agenda 22/11/16 and the decision was to support the restoration.
The problem remains getting a Provincial department to take the responsibility.
Support includes; Swellendam Municipality, Swellendam Heritage Association, Swellendam Aesthetics committee, the Drostdy museum, Bufflesjags farmers, visiting architects & engineers.
Beside the bridge now is a drift for vehicles and there is a railway bridge close by.
The consensus of opinion is that the sugar bridge be restored as a pedestrian bridge for the use of local people who need to cross the river to and from work and who at present use the railway bridge for the purpose. Steel would seem to be a more economic material for the replacement.
Several visiting experts have offered their services towards the restoration, most recently Dennis Walters, a civil Engineer with experience working on Eastern Cape bridges, who has offered to prepare a proposal with costings at no charge. Fassler Kamstra + Holmes Architects have also worked on a restoration plan. Local farmers feel their workers need a safe method to cross the river and would look to make the bridge a tourist site.
Swellendam Heritage Association (Swellendam Trust) has made many applications over years for the restoration of this bridge and would bring their support, time & skills to this venture.
Swellendam Heritage Association
(Article from the Heritage Portal)
Over the past two decades, many bronze old National Monuments plaques have been damaged or stolen. For those owners and institutions looking to replace these plaques there is a cost effective ceramic substitute which is incredibly durable and looks exactly like the original. It is resistant to sun, rain and wind and is worthless to bronze thieves. The plaques are easily attached to walls with ordinary silicone adhesive.
*Only Registered PHS (Provincial Heritage Sites) should apply.
*It is recommended that where such an original bronze plaque is still in place, the owner of the building remove the original plaque and have this re-affixed safely inside the building and the facsimile plaque affixed in its place outside.
The ceramic plaques cost R700 each. The cost includes prompt delivery with Postnet’s courier service.
Contact Marthinus van Bart for more information or to order – email@example.com or 072 740 5203.
* Text inserted by The Swellendam Heritage association
On 19th March 2018 the church council of the DR Church. Swellendam decided to ask the Swellendam Heritage Association to make a survey of the remaining graves on the church property because, at the time, there was no complete catalogue of the details of the graves. That made it difficult for researchers and family members to get information they required. It will also make history more accessible to visitors and will make it easier to find a specific grave. This survey subject to specific conditions contains the following:
The execution of these decisions was a special journey of discovery into the history of Swellendam, with this publication the church council, together with the Heritage association, hope to contribute to the writing of the history of Swellendam and hope that it will also be a valuable source of information to researchers and visitors to Swellendam.
The Church council hereby thanks the Swellendam Heritage committee for their great assistance and knowledgeable advice in the successful documenting and repair of the graveyard.
Owing to the public’s enthusiasm regarding The Swellendam Heritage Association’s project “Swellendam Families” now in the process of lining the lower part of the town’s main road, the Swellendam Heritage Association are pleased to announce an extension to the project. The name given to this extension is “The Swellendam Families Private Collection”.
As the name try’s to suggests, the project enables families to erect their family’s crest at their home.
The crests are available in various sizes, are in colour and mounted on a rust resistant Chromodek® steel plate panel which can be affixed to a suitable place on a wall at the family’s home.
These family crest panels make an excellent long-lasting gift as well.
Prices are as follows:
Where a family crest is available in the SHA’s library.
There is an additional charge of R400 where a crest needs to be created.
Contact / Kontak Hennie Steyn 082 956 9454 firstname.lastname@example.org Philip Bromley 073 248 3999 email@example.com Bank besonderhede / details Nedbank (Swellendam) Branch / Tak 19876500 Swellendam Heritage Association / Erfenisvereniging Rekening Nr / Account Nbr 1118273125 Please enter your surname as reference. Meld asseblief u van as verwysing.
As gevolg van die publiek se entoesiasme in verband met Die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging se projek “Swellendam Families” wat tans besig is om die onderkant van die dorp se hoofstraat te versier, is die Die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging bly om aan te kondig ‘n uitbreiding van die projek. Die uitbreiding word benoem “Die Swellendam Families Privaat Versameling”
Soos die naam probeer aandui, laat die projek toe dat families hulle familewapen by die huis kan oprig.
Hierdie familiewapen bordjies maak ook sommer ‘n oulike duursame geskenk.
Pryse is soos volg:
Waar ‘n familiewapen beskikbaar is in die Erfenisvereniging se versameling.
Daar is ‘n additionele koste van R400 as ‘n familiewapen nuut geskep moet word.
Die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging het onlangs 60 nuwe bykomende familiewapens langs hoofstraat aangebring. Dit is moontlik gemaak met finansiering deur mense wat spesifieke families verteenwoordig of erkenning aan ‘n spesifieke familie wou gee.
Hierdie versoek gaan aan mense wat:
Alle families in Swellendam, toe en nou, is welkom om deel te neem. Ons het ook bydraes vir toekomstige instandhouding nodig. Geen bydrae is te klein nie en alle bydraes word erken. Alle donateurs se name word in ons argief aangeteken en bewaar.
Ons is baie bly oor al die positiewe kommentaar en hoop dit sal almal inspireer om hiertoe soos bo uiteengesit is, by te dra.
Die Swellendam Erfenisvereniging
Bank Besonderhede vir skenkings:
Branch / Tak 19876500
Swellendam Heritage Association / Swellendam Erfenisvereniging
Rekening Nr / Account Nbr 1118273125
Please enter your surname as reference.
Meld asseblief u van as verwysing.
The Swellendam Heritage Association recently erected 60 new additional family crests along Main Street. This was made possible with funding from people who represented specific families or wanted to give recognition to a particular family of their choosing.
This appeal is addressed to people who:
All families of Swellendam, past and present, are encouraged to participate. We need contributions for future maintenance of the crests. No contribution is too small and all contributions will be acknowledged. All contributors’ names will be recorded and preserved in our archive.
We are encouraged by the positive comments we have received about this project and hope this will inspire everyone to make a contribution along the lines suggested above.
The Swellendam Heritage Association.
Banking details for donations are above.