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Groote Post
Mamre district, Western Cape

DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY - VOC : Architect

Date:n.d.
Type:Farm
Status:Extant

 


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Coordinates:
33°28'58.45" S 18°24'35.86" E Alt: 83m

Groote Post is a declared National Monument (1979), now devolved to a Provincial Heritage Resource (1999).

From the SAHRIS database of the SAHRA
[See declaration]

No. 1707 10 August 1979
NATIONAL MONUMENTS ACT.
No. 28 OF 1969
DECLARATION OF THE FARM GROOTE POST.
DARLING. IN THE DISTRICT OF MALMESBURY
By virtue of the powers vested in me by section 10 (1) of the National Monuments Act, 1969 (Act 28 of 1969), I, Teunis Nicolaas Hendrik Janson. Minister of National Education. hereby declare the farm known as Groote Post, with the buildings thereon, at Darling, in the District of Malmesbury, to be a national monument.
Description
The property with the historic buildings thereon,.being certain piece of land situate in the Division of Malmesbury. being the remaining extent of the consolidated farm Groote Post and measuring one thousand one hundred and three comma nought nought nought (103,300 0) hectares.
Deed of Transfer 423/1973. dated 11 January 1973.
Historical and architectural interest
In 1752 Groote Post was already one of the largest and most important farms in the vicinity of Malmesbury.
The impressive homestead and outbuildings date from the early nineteenth century. From 1814 to 1827 it was the country house of Lord Charles Somerset.
The farm was divided into seven portions in 1827, after which the portion with the main homestead thereon, named Groote Post, belonged to several well-known families such as the Versters and the Duckitts.
10/2/688.
T. N. H. JANSON. Minister of National Education.

The historic buildings comprise a fort, now adaptively reused as a wine cellar, the Old Farm House called Groote Post, another out-house and various associated buildings and structures such as stables and a slave-bell.

The area lying sixty-four kilometres to the north of Cape Town, near the Kapokberg (Sleet Mountain), then known as Groene Kloof (now Mamre) served the VOC as a place for growing vegetables and grazing herds of sheep and cattle, a practice that attracted local Khoekhoen raiders to the area. This in turn necessitated the erection of a fort.

The fort is in the idiom of a stronghold with loopholes and windows raised above the floor level, in all probability served with a gangway, much as is the case with Lombard's Post, which once too served the VOC before its appropriation by the British.

When, in 1803, the Cape was returned to Dutch rule under the Batavian Republic, Commissioner General de Mist granted the area of Groote Post to the Board of Commission for Agriculture which he had established so as to continue research for farming by scientific method introduced by the British. William Duckit, of Esher in England, chose to remain and was appointed as Agricultural Superintendent there..A small flock of merino sheep were imported from the Netherlands and a stud bull and cows from England, with some horses. With these developments accommodation was increased by the addition of the homestead. Britain had once more taken the Cape but left arrangements as they stood.

Things changed with the arrival of the imperious Lord Charles Somerset the Board, of which he accepted the title of Patron, was dissolved and he took direct control of the experimental farm, using it for his own purposes as his private hunting lodge. He added the stables for his team of horses. When he left in 1827 the farm was subdivided into seven parts and all leased for seventeen years.

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.