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Onze Molen, Windmeul (Windmill)
Durbanville, Western Cape

Date:pre 1848
Street:Onze Molen Road


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33°49'56.41" S 18°38'21.06" E Alt: 171m

At the beginning of the 19th Century, Durbanville in Cape Town was an outpost known as Pampoenkraal. In 1801, the great-grandson of the first Uys to land in the Cape in about 1700, Jacobus Uys, and his mother-in-law the widow Roeland, were granted two morgen of land. However, Johannesfontein, as the property was named, was too small for farming and keeping stock was forbidden.

In 1809, Uys was Field-Cornet of the Tigerberg district responsible for collecting taxes and in 1811, he met William Burchell when he outspanned at Pampoenkraal on his journey to Tulbagh. Burchell recorded in his journal that he bought wine and bread from 'the Veldcornet'. Uys was granted a further 36 morgen in 1812. In 1837, not long before he died, the entire property was sold to Mezst van der Spuy Meyburgh, who probably built the mill sometime before 1848.

In the early years, the Cape windmills were situated along the Liesbeek and Black Rivers, but with the rising demand for wheat, these mills could not cope. This is almost certainly the reason why Onze Molen was built in what was then an outlying area, on Uys's original two morgen. The mill was named when Mr B Brinkworth bought the farm in 1963 and his wife named it Onze Molen. Tentative plans for restoration proved impractical and 20 years later, in 1983, Brinkworth sold the property to the Natal Building Society. In the interim, Onze Molen had been reduced to a four metre high trunk with a corrugated iron roof that provided shelter for labourers on the farm. The NBS researched possible restoration with the help of the National Monuments Council and although no plan of Onze Molen was found, its restoration was based on Mostert's Mill, which is of a slightly earlier period. The architect for the restoration was JORDAAN & HARTWIG, Cape Town.

Paul Woolley of Daljosaphat Restorations, although not a millwright, did a great deal of research and undertook the restoration. The wooden mechanism of the cap was made in the company's workshop, dismantled, transported to Durbanville and reconstructed on site. The cap was thatched on the ground and the entire structure was hoisted into place by crane. The restored mill was officially opened in 1986. It is now the proud centrepiece of the Onze Molen Village development. Because it is sited on land designated as public open space, the Durbanville municipality has assumed responsibility for it.

(Staples, C.O. 2006, Mills of Southern Africa Water, wind and horse. Hatfield:Umdaus Press, pp. 70-71.)

Further reading: Walton, J. 1974. Water-mills, windmills and horse-mills of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik, pp. 143, 146.

Submitted by Schalk LE ROUX

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.