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Montagu Pass and Toll-house
George district, Western Cape

Charles Cornwallis (alias Collier) MICHELL: Engineer


This was the first engineered pass over the Outeniqua Mountains. Construction commenced in 1844 under the auspices of the Central Roads Board of the Cape Colony by the then Colonial Secretary John Montagu with his surveyor-General, John MICHELL. It initiated the reformatory system of engaging convict labour, through the provisioning of rations and clothing, while inducing proficiency through rewarding their good conduct. The task was undertaken from both ends of the pass, all construction being of dry-packed stone and cut-and-fill, still in place.

The historic Toll House which had been painstakingly restored between 2011 and 2014 was destroyed in the fires that swept through the Outeniqua Mountains towards the end of 2018. See News 24.

Since then, the toll house has been rebuilt once again. The coffee shop with its antiques display reopened in 2022.

Writings about this entry

Whitehead, Marion . 2018. South Africa's Favourite Passes + Poorts. Maitland: Map Studio. pg 137-138; 141-142