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HERITAGE/ HISTORICAL SITES AND ATTRACTIONS

 

Concentration Camp  This site is a sad commemoration of what was the largest of the camps used by the British in the Anglo-Boer War. (1899 to 1902). As there was a possibility that the area where the Original Concentration Camp Area was located would be flooded as a result of the construction of Lake Gariep,a decision was taken to exhume, move and rebury 1 737 people to the present graveyard location, 3km from town - the original cairn and two monuments can still be seen..  Ex-State President CR Swart  unveiled the new Concentration Camp Graveyard in October 1996 [photo gallery].

 

Burgher Monument and Graveyard:   Apart from the Burgher Monument, the graveyard contains the graves of several British soldiers.

 

The DH Steyn Bridge is a beautiful sandstone bridge near the town, spanning the Orange River at Bethulie, connecting the Free State with the Eastern Cape. It is a combined road and rail bridge, and the longest in the country (1,2km)[photo gallery].

 

Dutch Reformed Church is a stately edifice, completed in 1887 -  now a national monument. [photo gallery]

  

Graves of Pellisier Family (of whom five (5) children were buried there), are in  the grounds of the Pellisier House Museum.  The Rev Jean Pellisier (who died in Bethulie in 1867), was the first French missionary stationed in the town.  (Also see Pellisier House museum).

 

Louw Wepener monument:  Wepener, who led the Free State commandos in the second Basotho war, is honoured by this memorial which was erected on his farm [Constantia] – 10 km north of the town on the Springfontein Road (R715).  Wepener was killed while storming the Basotho mountain stronghold of Thaba Bosiu [photo gallery].

 

Monument in honour of the Horse:  Loura Rautenbach was the sculptor of  this fine monument. It is situated on entering Bethulie from Springfontein /Gariep Dam entrance, and  commemorates the role of the horse in the history of SA.[photo gallery]

 

Ox-Wagon Monument  depicting an oxwagen with oxen, was made from molten metal of discarded cartridge casings, commenerating the 1938 re-enactment of the Great Trek. After the oxen were stolen in the nineties, the oxwagen was moved to the Pellisier Museum across the street where it can be viewed. [photo gallery].

 

Pellisier House Museum  The museum which is at 1 Voortrekker Street, is housed in the original mission station buildings and depicts the history of the area, including an exhibition on the Anglo-Boer War and concentration camp.  Built in 1834-1835 by C Gosseling, craftsman of the French Mission Society as residence for the Reverend Jean P Pellisier, a French missionary of the Paris Mission Organisation. One of the oldest settler-built buildings north of the Gariep [photo gallery]

 

Grave of JJ Venter:  Former acting President of the Free State Republic (1863);  he also helped with the founding of the Gereformeerde Kerk (Reformed Church) in the Free State.

 

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