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Calitzdorp municipality had its own Coat-of-Arms which was registered to it in perpetuity. Calitzdorp Municipality no longer exists but legally no one else may use the Arms.
When electricity was installed in Calitzdorp in 1937, it was the smallest electricity supply setup in the country, the least costly installation and Calitzdorp’s supply price was the cheapest per unit in South Africa.
When built between 1943 -1954, the concrete road from Calitzdorp to Oudtshoorn - known locally as the \'sementpad\' - was the longest concrete road in South Africa. It was NOT the country\'s first concrete road, as is frequently claimed.
The last ever steam train on the Oudtshoorn-Calitzdorp line was a special Union Line day trip for steam train enthusiasts on 13 August 1997, four years after the official closing of the line. The loco was a class 19D No 2753
The Little Karoo was once an inland sea of approximately 14,500 square kilometers. It would have been a quarter the size of Lake Victoria, half the size of lake Malawi, 24 times the size of the Dead Sea and 87 times the size of the Sea of Galilee!
Huge Fossil bones found in the Calitzdorp district were thought by Hoffman in 1966 to possibly be those of the Giant Plesiosaur – the same as Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, ‘Nessie’. However they were later identified as those of the sauropod Algoasaurus related to the Brontosaurus.
In the 1800s and early 1900s there was a thriving Jewish community in the Little Karoo. Many of their shops had no doors for customers - who climbed in through the windows!
Calitzdorp has South Africa’s largest Pale Chanting Goshawk bird population – the only polyandrous raptor in South Africa.
The Calitzdorp Nel’s river dam was the first mass-concrete agricultural irrigation dam wall built in the country.
The dam was built in 1913-1918, before modern equipment was available, and work was done with picks and shovels. Donkeys and mules did the hauling. There was one 36 BHP suction gas engine which ran all the major plant.
The Nel’s river which flows through Groenfontein valley and fills Calitzdorp dam was previously known as the Kango river and is shown as such on the original subdivision map of the Buffelsvlei farm, dated April 1834.
The word Kango comes from the Khoisan language – The Khoisan called the Swartberg mountains the Kango and the word means ‘place rich in water’.
A Surveyor General’s Map dated 25 Jan 1847 shows that Daniel Nel owned large sections of the Kango river / valley farmland, Probably why the river became known as ‘Nel’s river’.
Cape leopards still roam freely in the mountains around Calitzdorp. Extremely shy, and ranging over enormous territories, these rare, beautiful animals are seldom seen.
Calitzdorp sits on a geological fault line that runs for 300 kilometers along the southern edge of the Cape Fold mountains – proof being our local hot spring at the Calitzdorp Spa.
In the 1850s the town of George was a 50 hour trek by ox-wagon from Calitzdorp! This time did not include overnight stops and time for the oxen to rest and graze.
After their discovery, the Cango caves were known as \'die Druipkelder’. and only became known as Cango Caves many years later.
When Electricity was first provided in Bergsig, each of the smaller houses had one connection to a street light, and electricity was only available at night when the street lights were switched on.
Lucerne – a major fodder crop around Calitzdorp, came to South Africa from South America in 1861. Its introduction into the Little Karoo dramatically changed the ostrich industry
There are 34 internationally recognised biodiversity Hotspots in the entire world - and Calitzdorp is surrounded by four.
The plant biomes – areas of a certain type of plant growth - are identified as World Hot Spots because of the unique - and threatened vegetation, found nowhere else in the world.
Each of the four World Hot Spots around Calitzdorp –fynbos, thicket, remnant forest and succulent Karoo – has at least 1500 endemic plant species – each Hot Spot biome having more plant variety than the whole of Europe
Calitzdorp’s first cemetery is said to have been in the area of “The Queen of Calitzdorp” Lodge - but maybe this old cemetery was under the \'spookhuis\' - giving reason for its name? Long demolished, the police station now stands where the \'spookhuis\' once was.
During the world-wide ‘flu epidemic of 1918, Calitzdorp was not spared and the beautiful double-storey home at 1 Queen street was used as a make-shift hospital for the duration of the epidemic
More than eleven thousand hand-cut stones were used to build the Dutch Reformed Church. The raw stone was transported by ox-wagon from Swartkop at Vlei Rivier and dressed on the building site.
Because of its enormous size, the Dutch Reformed Church vestry table (5,2m) had to be made on site.
On 22 February 1991 the imposing sandstone Dutch Reformed Church and its surrounding fence was declared a National monument - now known as a Provincial Heritage Site.
The cast-iron fencing, erected around the perimeter of the Dutch Reformed Church grounds in 1899, is eleven years older than the church itself.
The five massive Dutch Reformed Church bells - three huge and two slightly smaller ones, cost £425 and were cast in Germany. They were donated by J J Grundling and his wife in memory of their grandson Jacobus Johannes Grundling Meyer
The magnificent Dutch Reformed Church organ - considered the best in the country at the time and said to have then had 942 pipes, was imported from Hamburg, Germany.
The Huisrivier Pass underwent major upgrading in 2012 and 2013. To the astonishment of workers at a stop/go point on the construction site, a leopard crossed the road right in front of them - in broad daylight!
The very rare, unusual, yellow Protea - Mimetes chrysanthus – was discovered in the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve by game guard Mr Willie Julies in September 1987.
Calitzdorp is on Route 62 – the longest wine route in the world.
Voortrekker road – or Route 62 – was firstly known as Bloekomlaan (Bluegum avenue) due to the number of gum trees which lined the road.
A number of original little houses were demolished on Voortrekker Road and the bluegum street-trees were removed to widen the road when Route 62 was built.
The house which reputedly stood on the land where the police station and magistrates\' court now stand, was known as ‘die Spookhuis’. Could the reason be - that just maybe - this might have been the site of Calitzdorp\'s first unmarked, unidentified cemetery?
Axe Hill winery was named after stone-age hand tools, from some 250 thousand years ago, found on the property when the farm was being established by the late Tony Mossop and his wife Lyn.
It is rumoured that Cecil John Rhodes gave a speech to Calitzdorp residents from the steps of the beautiful residence at 1 Queen Street, but so far we have found no proof of him visiting the town.
Old timers have suggested that the beautiful home at 1 Queen street was ransacked or torched by Boer Commandant Gideon Scheepers and his men during the second Anglo-Boer War. We have found no proof - but we do know that Scheepers was active in the Calitzdorp area at the time.
In 1922 when Howard Carter opened Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt, one of the first things he found was a perfect, 3,000 year old, ivory-handled ostrich feather fan.
In 1918 there were outlying schools in Groenfontein, Buffelskloof, Buffelsjagsfontein, Gamka-Oos, Gamka-Wes, Huisrivier, Janfourieskraal, Kruisrivier-Wes, Uitvlug, Warmbad en Warmwater, along with the Juta and Reenen school.
Spekboom - Portulacaria afra - takes in and uses huge volumes of atmospheric carbon – part of the global warming problem – and converts it into oxygen. How great is that? Plant some and help save the world!
DID YOU KNOW ?
\'Kougoed\' - the Kanna plant, Sceletium tortuosum of the Mesembryanthemoideae family - is a local ancient herb with mood enhancing properties said to rival Prozac! – but it is non addictive and has no side effects.
In 1869 Arthur Douglass invented an ostrich incubator , causing a stir in the Little Karoo where farmers now started fencing their lands to farm ostriches more intensively
In 1872 Mr Burdett opened Calitzdorp’s first shop
On the 3rd of July 2015, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), at a meeting held in Bonn in Germany, approved the elevation of the existing Rooiberg, Gamkaberg and Groenefontein Protected Areas, to the status of World Heritage Sites
Each return journey of the steam train between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp, burned up four tons of coal!
The first regular train from Oudtshoorn ran into Calitzdorp on Friday 14th November 1924 and the official opening took place a few days later on the 20th November.
Seweweekspoort peak at 2,352m is not only the highest peak in the Klein Swartberg range, it is also the highest in the Western Cape. Classified as an ultra prominent peak it is also the 8th highest peak in South Africa.
Endemic to Seweweekspoort, the first specimens of an unknown, rare Protea were collected by botanists T P Stoekoe and R Primos in 1928. Later thought to be extinct – this Protea Aristata was ‘re-discovered’ in 1953.
The survey for the new Huisrivier Pass was started in 1951. It took almost ten years to find a suitable route over the difficult, treacherous mountains to Ladismith, before construction of the Pass could start.
Seweweekspoort’s rare endemic red Aristata protea was proudly displayed on the 10 cent postage stamp of the South African 1977 Protea Series.
Calitzdorp became the Port capital of South Africa by accident. Years ago, Shiraz vines ordered and planted by the Nel family of de Krans, later turned out to be Touriga Nacional – the main port grape! What a happy mistake!
On 25 December, 2015 there was a full moon. Younger than 38 years old at the time? Then this would have been your first Christmas full moon. The last one was in 1977 and the next one will only be on 25 December 2034!
DID YOU KNOW?
Everyone knows South Africa’s symbols – the flower symbol is the King Protea, the animal is the springbok, the tree is the Real Yellowwood and the bird is the Blue Crane. But did you know that we have a national fish? Believe it or not, we do! the Galjoen
DID YOU KNOW?
Western Cape’s provincial symbols : The provincial flower is the Red Disa, the provincial tree is the Silver Tree. Our animal is the Bontebok and our provincial bird is the Cape Sugarbird
DID YOU KNOW?
The ostrich is the world\'s largest flightless bird, followed in size by Australia\'s Emu and Cassowary.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Cape Leopard is a small animal - probably the size of a large dog – and is half the size and weight of its Kruger Park cousins. The average weight of a male Cape Leopard is about 35 kilograms.
No longer viable, the Oudtshoorn - Calitzdorp train service was officially stopped and the line closed to regular traffic on 31 May 1993.
 

cemeteries Calitzdorp and district

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Cemeteries of Calitzdorp and surrounding areas – For serious genealogists or those merely interested in tracing an ancestor in the Calitzdorp district, some cemeteries in and around Calitzdorp have been recorded.

Calitzdorp Cemeteries -AERIAL VIEW - BLACK INK labels

 

It is said that the first cemetery in Calitzdorp was located in the area of the present ‘Queen of Calitzdorp’ guest house.  There is however, nothing to indicate exactly where it might have been or who might have been buried there.

There was a house which stood a short distance from ‘The Queen’ which was known as die spookhuis’ – the haunted house. This house was demolished and the current police station and magistrate’s court now stand where ‘die spookhuis’  once stood. Could the old cemetery perhaps have been on that plot, giving rise to the ‘spookhuis‘ name?

There are still farm and private cemeteries – as well as individual graves on farms – which have not yet been recorded.  If you know of any unrecorded graves in the Calitzdorp area, please forward details, (with photographs and GPS position if possible) to  info@calitzdorp-everything.co.za so that we can add them to our records. All information will also be offered to the Calitzdorp Museum.

The Calitzdorp dam was completed in 1918 and it was also during 1918 that the great Spanish  ‘flu epidemic struck. It is believed – but not verified – that during the last stages of the dam’s construction, there were workers on the site who fell to this deadly disease. It is said that they were treated in a hastily erected field hospital on the koppie above the field of white quartz pebbles near the dam wall. Fearing the spread of the disease, those who died were buried right there.  If true, this historical episode seems to be completely forgotten and the graves are no longer visible.  It has been believed for centuries that white quartz promotes healing and repels illness. What better substance to cover graves of those who died from such a dangerous disease and to act as a sterilizer of sorts!  If true, it would be nice to mark this cemetery as a place of remembrance.

 

Calitzdorp Old Cemetery
GPS: -33 31.815, 21 41.438

Calitzdorp old cemetery

Calitzdorp old cemetery

 

Calitzdorp’s own resident historian, Malan Roux, undertook the mammoth task of recording every grave and headstone in this cemetery, producing an amazingly thorough work of the results, in October 2012.

The Genealogical Society of SA has recorded some of the headstones in this cemetery.

 

 

Main cemetery 2
Calitzdorp Old Cemetery  complete records. 

With grateful thanks to Mr Malan Roux
for allowing us to make his work available to all.

FREE downloadable pdf copy. 
Please note that document page numbers
start with page 1 being the first Register list page,
and not the front page or lay-out chart pages.

 

Calitzdorp New Cemetery
GPS: -33 32.018, 21 42.127

Calitzdorp new cemetery

Calitzdorp new cemetery

 

We have as yet, no records for this rapidly growing cemetery, on the upper eastern side of town.

 

The Genealogical Society of SA has recorded some of the headstones in this cemetery.

 

 

 

 


Old English / St Mark’s cemetery
GPS: -33 32.022, 21 41.312

Old English cemetery

Old English cemetery

 

Happy Sarah Baldwin, whose enthusiasm and determination resulted in the building of the little St. Mark’s Anglican church in Queen street,  is buried in this sadly neglected little cemetery in the middle of town. Few gravestones still stand and burial records have not yet been found.

The Genealogical Society of SA has recorded the remaining headstones in this cemetery.

 

 

 

Bergsig cemetery

Bergsig cemetery-black ink label

 

Bergsig suburb has a large cemetery between the edge of the township and Route 62. It is not known if any research has been recorded for this cemetery.

 

 

 

 

Gamka-Oos cemetery

This is a little  cemetery just off the road reserve at the intersection of the ‘sementpad’ and the Gamka-Oos road for which we have no burial records.

 

CEMETERY RECORDS HELD by the Genealogical Society of SA (GSSA)
These records include photographs of many of the gravestones. Visit their site for details.

CALITZDORP, Old cemetery   Cemetery ID: 3128

Google Earth GPSID: 3732
GPS: -33 31.815, 21 41.438

Album incomplete, GSSA does not have photographs of all the headstones in the cemetery.

CALITZDORP, New cemetery   Cemetery ID: 3080

Google Earth  GPSID: 3682
GPS: -33 32.018, 21 42.127

Album incomplete, only a few selected graves photographed.

Andries Kraal, farm cemetery   Cemetery ID: 1308

Google earth GPSID: 1303
GPS: -33 33.620, 21 54.012

There are 19 names in this cemetery and all were recorded and graves photographed.

 

Gamkaskloof, Die Hel,   Cemetery ID: 4123

Swartberg Nature Reserve, farm cemetery_1

Google Earth GPSID: 4875
GPS: -33 21.173, 21 44.584

Album complete.
 

Gamkaskloof, Die Hel,    Cemetery ID: 4123

Swartberg Nature Reserve, farm cemetery_2

Google Earth GPSID: 4876
GPS: -33 21.583, 21 40.493

Album complete.

Groenfontein, Kraal Doorn 11, farm cemetery   Cemetery ID: 651

Kraaldoorn cemetery

Kraaldoorn cemetery

 

Google Earth GPSID: 651
GPS: -33 28.016, 21 44.217

There were 22 names in this cemetery as at 6 Apr 2007 and all were recorded.  Situated 12 km from Calitzdorp, next door to Kraaldoring Gallery on the Groenfontein road, this cemetery is beautifully maintained by the Potgieter family of Kraaldoorn.

 

 

Matjes Valley 2,    Cemetery ID: 4553

Matjesvlei farm cemetery,

Google Earth GPSID: 5427
GPS: +/- -33 26.879,   21 39.055

Album complete.
 

Rooibergpas, Goedverwagting 35, Cemetery ID: 2605

farm cemetery,

Google Earth GPSID: 3143
GPS: -33 36.427, 21 41.290

There are 25 names in this cemetery, all of which have been recorded and headstones photographed

 

Rooibergpas, Welgunst 34, Cemetery ID: 2555

farm cemetery_1

Google Earth  GPSID: 3083
GPS: -33 37.651, 21 41.716

The 10 names in this cemetery have been recorded and all headstones photographed

 

Rooibergpas, Welgunst 34,   Cemetery ID: 2555

farm cemetery_2 Cemetery information:-
Google Earth GPSID: 3142
GPS: -33 37.068, 21 41.338

Two names only in this cemetery, both recorded and headstones photographed

 

The South African Wargraves organisation has the following listed for the area:

 

Goedverwagting Farm burial ground, Calitzdorp
The farm is about 10 kilometres from Calitzdorp

OOSTHUIZEN, Gunner, ADRIAAN S., 196376, South African Artillery.
31 January 1943. Age 25. Son of Mrs A P Oosthuizen, of Calitzdorp.

Uitvlugt Farm burial ground, Calitzdorp

ZANA, Private, W, C/301866, Cape Corps, S.A. Forces.
11 December 1946. Grave Ref. Grave 3.