Contrary to popular belief, Knysna’s colonial history did not begin with George Rex in 1804, but over 30 years earlier with the arrival of a young man from a well-connected family, Stephanus Esias Terblanche. He was granted the grazing rights and permission by the VOC [Dutch East India Company] to live at ‘Melkhoute Kraal gel. in ‘t Niqualand aan de grootse en laatste Valley’ on 14 September 1770. So who was this young man and where did he come from?
In the article below, Philip Caveney from the Knysna Historical Society unpacks the history of various homes built by members of the famous Thesen family of Knysna. Click here to download a pdf version which includes footnotes.
The First Generation of Thesens - Mathias Theodore and Arnt Thesen of Stavanger and Knysna
In this article, first published in 1976, Patricia Storrar does a masterly job debunking the myth that George Rex, the founder of Knysna, was the illegitimate son of King George III. She also reveals fascinating biographical information on Rex and provides details of the spaces and places associated with him. The article was published in Restorica, the old journal of the Simon van der Stel Foundation (today the Heritage Association of South Africa). Thank you to the Univerity of Pretoria (copyright holders) for giving us permission to publish.
We are very pleased to publish this fascinating article on the Forester's Cottage at Deepwalls (located about 25km north of Knysna in the Knysna Main Forest). Thank you to Philip Caveney and James Paterson of the Knysna Historical Society for sending it through.
Until the late 1880’s the Cape Colonial forest officers and their families lived in crude and unhealthy wooden cottages in the forests.
Thousands of people in South Africa and abroad dream of the day when the famous Outeniqua Choo Tjoe will run again. In the article below Peter Ball sketches the history and potential future of this world in one branch line.
This installment of the History of Southern African Railways series looks at the demise of the branch line network and will be relevant to many in the heritage community. Over the last few decades many lines have been closed and the heritage assets associated with them have fallen into disrepair. We certainly hope that Transnet's strategy to revitalise the branch line network will go some way towards turning this situation around.
Stephanus Jesaias Ter Blans, eldest son of Heemraad Pieter Ter Blans (Terblanche) of the Reeboksfontein farm near Little Brak River, was the first colonist farmer to settle in the Knysna area. He named his loan farm Melkhoutkraal, which he established in 1770, on the east bank of the Knysna River. The farm stretched from the Indian Ocean to today’s Long Street in the town of Knysna. Stephanus Ter Blans died in 1794 after having had the loan rights for twenty years.