Plettenberg Bay’s rich history will soon be highlighted as part of a campaign to identify structures and relics of historic importance in the coastal holiday town.
The Van Plettenberg Historic Society last year embarked on a plaque campaign to identify these structures and relics and on Saturday, September 24 the first plaque will be unveiled.
The first historical site to boast a plaque is the Timber Shed – Plettenberg Bay’s oldest structure.It was completed by Jan Jerling in 1788 for the Dutch East India Company. Johan Jerling, a direct descendant of Jan, lives in Plettenberg Bay to this day and has championed its preservation.The Timber Shed was built as a storehouse for timber after the first woodcutter’s post was established in Plettenberg Bay the year before.The remains of the building have been partially restored several times over the past two centuries and was declared a national monument.
“More than 25 relics and buildings will be featured in the campaign, which has been sponsored by Rotary Plettenberg Bay and should be complete by the end of the year. A route map will then be prepared for circulation through the media to assist residents and visitors in the location of the sites,” said society chairperson Peter Tullis.
Apart from the Timer Shed, properties already identified include The Rectory near Hobie Beach, St Michael’s Church, St Andrew’s Church, St Peter’s Church and Old Post Office in the town centre and Forest Hall in Kurland. The society was established to raise awareness among residents and visitors about the history of the town and its surrounds. And Plett has more than its fair share of historic sites and relics, some even dating back to the Stone Age, which saw the caves around Robberg being inhabited.
There is also evidence that Portuguese explorers were aware of the bay for 200 years before 1630 when survivors of the Sao Goncales shipwreck came ashore and lived in Plett for several months. And by around 1776 the first Dutch settlers started arriving.
Tullis said he believed it was therefore important to identify these sites and structures. He added that the simplest way of doing this was by means of a series of informative plaques.
The Van Plettenberg Historic Society is also urging residents to send the team suggestions regarding other historic sites deserving of a plaque.
* These suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the co-ordinator of the project, David Rowe, on email@example.com.
– Knysna-Plett Herald