The town of Knysna is situated in the heart of the Southern Cape Garden Route, with its history and character influenced by the vast indigenous timber forests, gold bearing mountains in the area and the shipping activity. When a harbour was established in the Knysna River Estuary by the British Navy in 1825, and the difficult access to the area by land until the coming of rail in 1928.
The Knysna Historical Society has its roots in the Friends of Millwood House, an association founded in the early 1970’s to preserve and protect historical records and artefacts of old Knysna. The Society was formally established in 2002, some years after the Millwood House Museum was handed over into the care of the Knysna Municipality
Whilst retaining its close association with the Museums of Knysna, the aims of the Society have been widened to include the protection of the heritage buildings and historic sites of Knysna.
The society also hosts historical presentations by experts on matters of historical interest and member group outings to places of historical and heritage interest and encourages and assists local historical research amongst its members.