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Road bridge over Holspruit
Dordrecht district, Eastern Cape

Status:Demolished 1974


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31°17'41.40" S 26°56'12.30" E Alt: 1584m

A most unusual item in the collection of the Anderson Museum in Dordrecht is a metal tipped hardwood pile used by the Royal Engineers in 1883 in the construction of the bridge over the Holspruit in the road between Jamestown and Dordrecht.

(William MARTINSON, August 2019)

Transcript of museum information note:

This heavy wooden beam with a tapering end encased in steel is known as a pile. Made of Burmese teak, it was one of six piles driven into the bed of the Holle Spruit in support of the wooden bridge that spanned the river on the farm Lion Hill on the Dordrecht-Jamestown gravel road. The bridge was constructed by the Royal Engineers in 1883 and was in use until it was badly damaged by the devastating floods of March 1974, the worst since December 1874. The structure was pulled down by the Wodehouse Divisional Council and the wood sold by auction. The date of construction was carved on one of the horizontal beams which has never been recovered. It would appear that, apart from this beam, the rest of the wood was used for making furniture. The "HFL" on this pile is an abbreviation of "Highest Flood Level". The present concrete bridge was constructed some months after the 1974 floods, The pile was donated to the Anderson Museum by Dr Lapa Munnik, former administrator of the Cape and resident of Dordrecht. He bought at a dispersal sale held on a farm in the Wodehouse district.