The Strand History (Part 2)

Continued from The Strand History (Part 1)

The Cape Almanak reported in 1835 that several Houses and Huts that were erected at Mosterd Bay, and were occasionally visited by invalids and others for the purpose using the sea-bath. There were six fishing Boats manned by free people of colour (free slaves), and all sorts of small fish are caught. The health of those who ventured to Mosterd's Bay was said to be beneficial by the first visitors to Moesterd Bay.

These early fishermen, having no local market, piled their catches into carts and did the rounds of the farms in the district, announcing their arrival by toots on the 'fish-horn'. And then farmers and their families began to trickle into the bay for camping summer holidays, bringing with them their own supplies including live sheep and fowls. Abundant fresh fish however, was always obtainable.

First Reported Ship Wreck

In February 1847, some excitement was caused in the district when a vessel ran ashore at the mouth of the Lourens River. On hearing the news Mr D. J. van Ryneveld, Land-drost and Civil Commissioner at Stellenbosch, hurried to the spot. The ship was found to be the Robert (665 tons), laden with teak from Burma and bound for London. She had sprung a leak which, as Mr van Ryneveld reported in a letter to the Secretary to Govern­ment, 'had gained so rapidly' that her master, W. R. Sayers, had been obliged to 'run her ashore in order to save the crew and cargo in which he succeeded".

On 6 March a sale - to take place on the beach - of the cargo saved from the wreck of the Robert was advertised in the South African Commercial Advertiser. '500 tons, more or less of Teak Wood' were to be offered as well as '40-50 Cases and a few bags of Cutch, also Masts, Sails, Spars and Rigging, together with stores, boats etc of the vessel". The teak consisted of 'well squared beams and Planks measuring from 30-40 feet in length and from 18 inches square down to U inches thick, as also some staves and crooks, the latter suitable for shipbuilders'. At the same time would be sold 'the hull of the ship as she lies stranded on the -Beach with such portion of the cargo as may remain on board". Refreshments were to be provided.
A large quantity of the wood was purchased by Messrs Hovils and Russel, W. Martin and R.H. Arderne who continued to advertise for sale 'teak logs, planks etc either at Hottentots Holland or delivered at any place in Cape Town' up to May of that year. A small quantity was purchased by Mr H. Boase, Postmaster at Somerset, who is said to have used this timber in the construction of a house on the Main Road there. Many years later this Dwelling became the offices of the legal firm of Solomon and Wells Blake.

Soon after this event the infant 'fishing and sea-bathing village' of one hundred and fifty inhabitants became known for a while as van Ryneveldsdorp in honour of the Landdrost of Stellenbosch who built a house for himself in what is now Michau Street.
The wife of a member of the British garrison in Cape Town 'greatly enjoyed", in the year 1862, bathing at the Strand. A number of Cape farmers, she reported, were camping out the sands 'as coolly as if they belonged to the sea. The matrons wore the funniest headdresses sunshades conceivable, while the men sprawled about under the lee of their wagons.

Part three will be posted soon...


  1. Anonymous10/4/12

    Where can we see photos of this era

  2. Google "Strand" "Western Cape"

  3. Have a look at

    Btw, when could we expect part 3?


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