On Wednesday 18th July the Swellendam Heritage Association held an outing to the Grier Bridge (known locally as Die Rooibrug) which is the old steel bridge over the Breede River on the road to Swellendam from the Cape. The bridge was built in 1895 and remained in service until 1953.
Mr Eric Koch addressed members on site on the bridge's history which included the fact that his grandfather was once the toll master of the bridge. The bridge is on private property and the association is grateful to the farmer who allowed members onto his farm for this outing.
From there members proceeded a little way up river (on the same farm) to the beautiful ruins of the old pont house which was built in the 1850's and served until 1895 when the Rooibrug was built to replace the pont.
The shale stone work of this +- 160 year old building is fantastic. A good section of the walls are still standing after all this time. Of special significance is the oven attached to the house. The vault like roof of the oven is also built from shale stone with each stone held in place by mud and by the support of the stones wedged against one another. The method being somewhat akin to how a corbeld house's roof is held up. It is amazing that the roof has not yet collapsed after all this time.
Members then went on to the magnificant Klipperivier homestead where they were received by owners and hosts Michael and Haneke Dippenaar with tea, coffe and a delicious variety of cakes.
Dr Morley Thomson gave an interesting talk on the the house, its previous owners and architecture. A most enjoyable outing with grateful thanks to the Dippenaars for opening their house to the association members.