The old timber shed receives some tlc

This “store”, built in the days of the Dutch East India Company, is one of the oldest historical relics on the South-East Coast of the Western Cape. It was declared a National Monument in 1936.

The building’s construction was approved by Governor Joachim van Plettenberg, who hoped that this Bay would become a port from which forest timber would be exported. The specifications which were given to Mr Johan Jacob Jerling who was commissioned to build the storehouse were: 61m in length, 6,7m in width and walls were to be 610mm breadth.

Construction was completed in 1788 and the first load of timber was taken out of the “store” in August 1788.

The Plett Historical Society (Mr David Rowe) approached the HOD Strategic Services, Mr David Friedman regarding possible assistance from Bitou Municipality with some general housekeeping on this National Monument as alien vegetation was causing damage to the structure. Together with Mr John Booyens (Horticulturist) from the Parks and Recreation Division of Bitou, a team of enthusiastic staff was assembled to attend to the requests.

They recently sprayed systemic herbicide on the plants growing in the cracks of the walls. The weed growth cannot be removed manually from the historic walls as it will interfere or damage the brick structure. It will need 3-4 weeks to disintegrate naturally. Special free standing ladders were used so as not to touch the wall surface. Lantana weeds around the building were also treated with systemic herbicide and will be removed at a later stage.

Overhanging trees were trimmed and lawn mowed opening up vistas previously not enjoyed from the site. There is still some tiding up to do and possible lighting to be installed. The surrounding area is being cleared of all alien vegetation and generally being neatened up.

The work is important so as to protect the walls from further damage and to beautify the area as a tourist attraction and asset. If the work had not been done the wall structure would in all probability have eventually been damaged, in all possibility what has happened in the past.•

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