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Faure Pier - Timber
Robben Island, Western Cape



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33°48'45.15" S 18°22'56.11" E Alt: 3m

Also referred to as Faure Jetty.

A new pier - to replace the original stone pier - was constructed some thirty years later when a substantial braced timber structure — probably of Karri or a similar robust hardwood — was completed in 1896. The pier was formally opened by the wife of the Honourable F. H. Faure, previously the Colonial Secretary and at the time the Secretary for Agriculture. It was thereafter to become known as the Faure Pier.

Pairs of timber posts with diagonal bracing were placed at regular intervals and this sub-structure supported a timber deck with a timber balustrade. A lifting derrick was installed at the extremity of the pier to facilitate the lifting of heavy cargo.

A mule tramway or trolley system had been installed on the east side of Robben Island prior to 1894, to transport goods and people. The mule trolley rails were extended to run the length of the timber pier deck to assist with the transfer of goods on and off the Island. The mule stables are presumed to have been sited in close proximity to the pier as the remains of 36 concrete feeding troughs - each with a wrought iron ring - still exist a short distance to the southwest of the pier.

A parcels office was constructed on land close to the entrance to the pier. All incoming parcels were stored in the parcel office prior to distributing to the intended recipients.

A single, short length steel railway line - set into the bedrock on the shore - directly below the concrete pier and now much eroded - remains as evidence of the construction detailing used to secure the bases of the timber posts of the pier in position.

The timber pier remained in place for only 19 years, until the First World War when it was replaced with a concrete pier.


Fish James W. Robben Island - the Home of the Leper. An Account of Thirty-Four Years' Gospel Work Amongst Lepers of South Africa. Published by John Ritchie, Kilmarnock, Scotland, 1924. pp 210 + 9

William MARTINSON, Osmond Lange Architects, February 2020

Writings about this entry

Bassett, BW, Rudner, J & National Monuments Council. Division of Professional and Technical Services . 1986. An annotated survey of buildings and sites of architectural, historical and contextual importance, and recommendations concerning a conservation policy for Robben Island. Unknown: National Monuments Council. pg 12, ill between 11 and 12
De Villiers, Simon A. 1971. Robben Island : out of reach, out of mind : a history of Robben Island. Cape Town: Struik. pg 33, 72-73
Deacon, Harriet Ed. 1996. The island : A History of Robben Island, 1488-1990. Cape Town: Mayibuye Books David Philips Publishers. pg 76 Map
Fish, James W . 1924. Robben Island - the home of the leper. An account of thirty four years' gospel work amongst lepers of South Africa. : John Ritchie. pg 65