BETHULIE ON FOOT
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1 Van Riebeeck Memorial This plaque commemorates the tercentennial anniversary of Jan van Riebeeck’s landing at the
5 Old Railway Station The railroad linking
6 Reformed Church: 3rd Building The church, designed by the architect Gerhard Moerdijk, was inaugurated in 1982. The original building included a tower which was subsequently demolished in 1985 due to construction failure.
7 Dutch Reformed Church in
8 Anglican Manse Built in 1916 this building currently forms part of “Huis Uitkoms”, the old age home.
9 Hearse Garage The garage situate at
11 2nd Reformed Church (currently
12 Watch Maker Premises This house was originally built with a flat roof. The roof covering the veranda together with the wooden carved arches are remnants of the original building.
13 The Post Office The current building housing the Post Office was erected in 1928 on the same site as that of the original.
15 Protea Store: was Gebr de Bruyn Trading from these premises dates back to 1903 when the brothers de Bruyn traded as a general dealer.
16 Cenotaph The cenotaph was erected in memory of those from Bethulie and surrounding district who gave their lives for their country during World Wars 1 and 11. The unveiling took place on March 14 1945. The MOTHS had until recently held a Remembrance Day Ceremony at eleven o’clock on the 11th of the 11th month not only to remember those who fell in the World Wars but also to honour those who perished during the wars in Korea, Vietnam and on our borders.
17 1st Dutch Reformed Church, 1864 The building currently serving as the church hall was inaugurated as the church in 1864. This is the 2nd oldest building in Bethulie and has been declared a national monument. During the Anglo –Boer War the building was used to house British troops. In later years the building also served as a school and as town hall.
18 Dutch Reformed Church, 1887 The church was inaugurated in 1887 and declared a national monument in 1987. The original steeple was built from brick but as a consequence of construction failure was replaced in 1906 with a lesser steeple constructed with zinc. The zinc was replaced with sheet iron in 1985.
19 Site of Orphanage Many children were orphaned after the war which prompted the Dutch Reformed Church to build an orphanage on the church grounds. Some of the blue gum trees seen today in this vicinity were planted by orphans. The orphans were later relocated to an orphanage at Ladybrand.
20 Masonic Lodge The lodge was established in 1896 and is known as the Allan B Gordon Lodge. The building was erected in 1914.
21 Police Station Built in 1907.
22 The Old Power Station The station was built in 1937 and supplied Bethulie with electricity until 1964 when electrical power was supplied from
23 Lephoi Memorial A plaque is situated on the site where Lephoi’s great hut stood in 1833. Immediately south of this hut he built a large brick house in 1863. Remnants of the wall of this house were accidentally destroyed in 2004.
26 Pellissier House The house was built for the Reverend Jean Pierre Pellissier, a missionary working in Bethulie during the period 1833-1867. It was erected by a French missionary, C Gosselin who had previously lived in Basutoland (
27 Nursing Home The Good Samaritan Hospice, current tenants of
28 1st Reformed Church Built in 1863 on the corner of Boshoff and Pellissier streets; demolished.
29 Mynhardt Residence This is where Patrick Mynhardt, actor and author of “Boy from Bethulie,” grew up. He lived here until the age of 14.
30 Roman Catholic Church Residence The house was purchased from a Mr. Gunn in 1937. A chapel was built inside the house. After World War 11 German priests were sent here from the internment camps to be placed under house arrest.
31 Batlhapin and the Burial Ground Having come under attack from Mzilikazi, the Batlhapin, a tribe of the Bechuana, fled from the Zeerust area, first seeking refuge with Adam Kok in Philippolis, but largely due to the size of their grazing herds they were not made welcome. They thus proceeded on their flight to a region then known as Boesmanskloof, arriving on October 14 1833. Their leader of this group of some 1800 people was one Lephoi. Pellisier worked as a missionary among them. In 1837 the tribe was attacked by the Tamboekies, killing ten herdsmen and stealing large numbers of animals. Dissatisfaction mounted when Lephoi began selling land from the mission station to white stock farmers. Henning Joubert, IPL Kruger, JJ Sauer and JF Klopper formed a syndicate to buy out the Bathlapins in 1860 and the town was established in 1863. Uncertainty abounds regarding the identity of the graves in the burial ground. Possibilities include the following: That of the original Batlhapins. That of residents of the black township prior to 1892 when the township was moved to its present locale. The inhabitants of the township did not comprise only Batlhapins .
33 Local Dam The first cement wall some 5 metres high erected in the poort in 1892 was unsuccessful. It was rebuilt to completion in 1921.
34 Remnants of Rice –
35 Stock Camps built by Migrant Farmers Migrant farmers occupied the environs during the period1809-1832 as evidenced by Colonel Collins during a visit to the district in 1809.
36 Concentration Camp Site with
· 1st was alongside the reservoir bearing paintings of horses. The camp under supervision of Russell Deare was known as “Rooibultkamp” and started with 180 people. On May 1 1901 there were 44 males. All cats and dogs were destroyed. Amongst the first casualties were a van der Walt and wife who had both survived the Great Trek.
· 7TH June 1901 saw the camp relocated across the way from where
· The last location on recommendation by Cole Bowen was sited south east towards the
Between 4800-5000 people were interned in this 3rd camp, the largest site. During the thirteen month existence of this camp a total of 1714 people (women and children) perished. This equates to an average of 9 deaths every two days or 63 deaths every two weeks. A daughter of the Kruger family was the first to be buried here. The remains of 18 prisoners who were buried at the first camp site were reburied here Conditions in the last camp were crowded with as many as 18 people sharing a bell tent. A camp secured with wire fencing served to mete out punishment whilst Russell Deare in particular went out of his way to make life unbearable for those interned here. Deare whose company included Percival, de Villiers and Devleter was replaced by Cole-Bowen. A well providing water to the camp had until fairly recently been supplying water to the station. The camp did not have a direct water supply other than flood water from a small stream nearby. The only laundry facility was a “washing hole” filled by muddy floodwater and guarded by a “joiner.” In 1902, 5 shops were opened in the camp. When the camp became too crowded some prisoners were relocated to Kabusie (
· The “mother and child” statues, also known as the “statues of angels,” “the women’s monument,” or the “Helpmekaar” monument.” On September 4 1915 an action group was formed to acquire funding for the maintenance of the graves and for a monument by women volunteers (Vroue Helpmekaar). A similar group comprising men amalgamated with the women in 1920. Their efforts culminated in the erection in 1923 of two sculpted angels (signifying mother and child) mounted on a base of blue granite. The monument was unveiled on March 22 1924. “Mother and child” were separated when the monument was relocated to the new memorial site.
· An obelisk was constructed with granite facings on opposite sides by one van Tonder. A poem by Totius was inscribed on one of the facings. The obelisk was unveiled at a ceremony presided over by dr. DF Malherbe in 1953. Both facings bearing inscriptions were later relocated to the new memorial site but the obelisk still remains on its original site.
The Helpmekaar association provided uniform cement slabs for all the graves and enclosed the cemetery. The rocks removed from the graves were piled on top of each other forming the mound that still exists at the site today. In June 1962 the Dept. of Water Affairs advised the cemetery committee that the cemetery was to be relocated at the expense of the State but any available monies in the committees coffers was to be distributed to the Council of War Graves for upkeep of the graves.
37 Hand pump for water This hand pump in front of the public library is an example of pumps which was used by households. It was donated by mr Pieter Coetzee in 1976 to symbolise the dominating role which water played in the history of Bethulie.
39 Water Reservoir serving English Horses The reservoir on which two white mules are painted was built during the Anglo-Boer War by the English Wiltshire Regiment to water their horses. The area also served as a depot for the supply of horses.
41 Venter Farm JJ (Koos) Venter, 3 times acting president of the
42 “Tussen die Riviere”
43 Gariep Dam Gariep is derived from the San meaning “red water”. The decision to site the dam wall near Norvals Pont was a disappointment for Bethulie as it was hoped that it would be close to Bethulie. A delegation met the Minister to discuss the impact of this decision as it meant that Bethulie District would lose some 60% of its land area and it would also necessitate the construction of new road and rail links. The dam measures 360 square kilometres and has a shoreline of 435 km. The Oviston project feeds water via a tunnel some 80 km long to the
Compiled by: Trudie Venter ©