Sugar Bridge

August 15, 2021

Sugar Bridge

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.

CAROL PODD

Swellendam Heritage Association

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August 13, 2021

Swellendam Crests

C/O Moolman Street 10
Swellendam,
Western Cape Province ,
6740.

TO: Mr Dana Du Plessis
CC: Mr Anton Groenewald
FROM: The Swellendam Heritage Association (SHA)

Dear Sir,

SWELLENDAM FAMILY CREST PROJECT

Our meeting of 22 August 2018 to discuss the potential Family Crest Project has reference.

As communicated at the above meeting, it is the intention of the Swellendam Heritage Association (SHA) to launch a community focussed and inclusive heritage project with support from the Municipal Management Team.

This project entails the design and installation of board mounted family crests on existing lamp posts along the western end of Voortrek Street in Swellendam.

The aim of the project is not only to enhance our town and draw visitors, but also to draw together the diverse families within the Swellendam community. Less privileged families will be sponsored and assisted with the design and erection of their family crests to ensure representation that is true to the intention of this initiative.

Approval for this initiative from the Municipality, as well as assistance with the erection of the Crests is requested. We plan to launch a pilot project consisting of three (3) installations following which an assessment will be made. Depending on the outcome of the assessment the intention is to proceed with the rollout of approximately 60 installations.

I trust that the above will meet with your approval.

Kind regards

PHILIP BROMLEY
Chairman – SHA

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August 16, 2021

Request for donations

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:

  1. Aan die bogenoemde families behoort en nie die geleentheid gehad het om daartoe by
    te dra nie.
  2. Mense wat graag aan die projek wil deelneem en hul familiewapen borg omdat dit nie
    verteenwoordig word nie.
  3. Mense wat graag ń ander familie se familiewapen wil borg. Of miskien ‘n familiewapen
    van een van die ou vaders van die dorp wat nie meer hier verteenwoordig word nie. Bv Ds Von Manger
  4. Mense wat voel dis te duur, maar tog ń klein bydrae tot die projek te maak.

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:
Nedbank Swellendam
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:

  1. Belong to the above-mentioned families and did not have an opportunity to contribute to
    the cost of their family’s crest at the time.
  2. Families who would like to participate in the project and sponsor their family crest as it is
    still not represented
  3. Persons who want to sponsor a family crest for a family who financially find it difficult to
    participate or perhaps the crest of one of the past families of Swellendam no longer
    represented here. For example Ds Von Manger etc.
  4. Persons who feel the cost is too high but would still like to make a small contribution to
    the project

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.

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August 15, 2021

Sugar Bridge

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.

CAROL PODD

Swellendam Heritage Association

Learn More
August 15, 2021

Graves of DR Church

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:

  1. The drawing up of a catalogue with the location of each grave, as well as the wording of each tombstone. A short summary of the background of each grave is added
  2. The tombstones are cleaned to remove algae which makes it difficult to read the wording on the tombstones.
  3. When required the gravel on the grass will be supplemented or re-done
  4. Gravestones where lettering has faded are to be repainted.
  5. The church council wants the character of the graves to reflect the fact that the graveyard is already more than 200 years old.

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.

Hennie Steyn

SHA Committee

June 2018

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