HERMANUSPIETERSFONTEIN today HERMANUS   –   Dr Dawn Gould

The above is definitely a mouthful (a long odd word) but there is a story behind it. Hermanus Pieters was a teacher who arrived at Cape Town in 1815. Soon thereafter he, by way of an oxwagon, left to seek work.  He reached the Caledon area where he began to teach children of school age.  But as school days on a farm could sometimes be somewhat erratic, especially when even small hands, were needed to help on the land, Hermanus became a cattle and sheep herder. This was a survival necessity not unlike individuals today working at one job but  at the same time accepting any small part time work to make a living.

A contemplative day in Hermanus

The herding meant that Pieters had to move around the countryside looking for good grazing ground and for an essential water source.  This the teacher found.  He informed people of his find and slowly but surely others followed. By 1891 the then Hermanuspietersfontein could offer children schooling. There were two churches, an hotel, shops, post office and the start of a fishing industry.  However by 1902 the post master decided that Hermanus was now the name of the village. In 1904 Hermanus became a municipality.

Today Hermanus is an attractive seaside resort town,enjoyed by locals and overseas visitors.  Whale watching is very popular with a whale crier blowing a kelp horn as they are sighted. Some other attractions are the Old Harbour Museum, the beautiful Walker Bay coastal walk and  Fernkloof nature reserve.

Hermanus in Spring clothing

Travelling onwards the village of Stanford comes into view with its own attractions but with a history that pays no praise to the inhumanity of some fellow humans.  In 1845 there had been an Irish rebellion resulting in the British Government deciding to send a number of the captured to the Cape Colony. This many of the Cape colonists would not accept and when the Neptune arrived in local waters, the decision was taken that no food or any necessary service would be supplied.  Those on board were to be kept at sea. Some individuals had the courage to offer help, one of them being Robert Stanford.  He was a former member of the British Army and owned the farm Kleine Riviers Vallei. He was a progressive farmer and sent produce not by oxwagon but via a ship based at a small inlet a short distance up the coast which then sailed to Cape Town.  The result from the opposition was to spurn him, his family and others who also helped. The banks refused to do business with them, their children were refused schooling.  Sadly when Stanford’s youngest child needed medical attention, this was refused and she died.   Stanford then left for Britain to try and gain reimbursement for his losses. He received a sum of money and was knighted but on his return to the Cape he found all his properties were in ruins, some sold. Kleine Riviers was simply auctioned off. Stanford returned to Britain where he died in 1857.