The little 1820 Settler village of Bathurst survivedturbulent times in its infancy, to emerge today as a peaceful haven situatedin the midst of green hills intermingled with patches of natural bush andmagnificent trees, in the centre of a district famous for pineapples andcattle...
It was established by British settlers in May 1820, andwas named after the British Colonial Secretary, Lord Bathurst. Itwas for a brief period the magistracy of the district of Albany with CaptainCharles Trappe of the Seaforth Highlanders (after whom the valley to thenorth of the town is named) was installed as the first magistrate. However, in 1822 the administrative headquarters for Albany was transferredto Grahamstown because of its superior military position.
The Settlers in Bathurst were left to cope with droughts,floods, wheat rust and stock raids by neighbouring tribes. A seriesof Frontier Wars further decimated their families, their homes and theirlivestock, the Wesleyan Chapel and St John’s Church both serving as sanctuariesand forts during attacks.
However, Bathurst survived and is now populated by descendantsof that sturdy Settler stock, as well as daily commuters to Port Alfredor Grahamstown and many retired people who enjoy its English-village atmosphereand quiet charm. The large township on the outskirts of the town is calledNolukhanyo.
A Municipality runs Bathurst with a Mayor and five othertown councillors. Adjoining the village is a 3031-hectare commonagebelonging to Bathurst. It is forest and grassland, which has beenfenced into camps, all with water. Residents may run horses and cattleand during the hunting season days are set aside when they may hunt Bushbuck,Duiker and bushpigs. Domestic water is obtained from private boreholesor rainwater tanks. Electricity is obtained directly from Escom anddrainage and sewerage is on the septic tank and french drain system. A research station deals with agronomy, pastures and animal husbandry.
There are general dealers, a butcher, a feed wholesaler,a bottlestore, two hardware and farmers’ supply stores (one supplying bothpetrol and diesel), an hotel and a pub, an antique/gift shop, post office,police station, forestry station, estate agent, a beacon Toposcope,a nursery, herb garden, show-grounds, a primary school reputed to be theoldest in SA, a caravan park, chalets, B&B establishments, unique agriculturalmuseum, churches and a library.
SUMMERHILL, HOME OF THE BIG PINEAPPLE
Visitors can enjoy life on a pineapple farm. Visit theGiant Pineapple (17m high) and explore the farm with tractor-and-trailerrides, see the Xhosa village and video showing local customs. There isalso a mini farm on site for the little ones. Summerhill also hasa pub and restaurant, bed and breakfast accommodation and conference rooms. Tel: (046) 6250833. Postal address: PO Box 147, Bathurst 6166.
The Bathurst Agricultural show is held for three daysin early April each year, in its own beautiful show-grounds and has agricultural,commercial, home industry and entertainment sections. Enquiries: (046) 6250719. The Shaw Park Sports Club holds a huge annual spitbraai in the show grounds at the end of December, from dusk to dawn. Called the Bathurst Oxbraai, it attracts well over 4000 people.
ACCOMMODATION (Phone code 046, Postal Code 6166)
Pig and Whistle Hotel, Box 121, Bathurst, * 6250673 *Bathurst Caravan Park, * 6250897 * Cosy Corner Cottage B&B/SC, Box187 Bathurst * 6250955 * Bathurst B&B, M Wilson * 6250620 * HayhurstSelf Catering, Box 192, Bathurst, * 6250856 * Cloud 9 B&B, Box 154,Bathurst, * 6260861 * Summerhill, Home of The Big Pineapple, Box 147, Bathurst,* 6250833 * Terrace House B&B, Box 221, Bathurst, * 6250906 * Roundthe Bend B&B/SC, Box 186, Bathurst, * 6250778
For a sight-seeing guide, seePort Alfred Tourism’s “HISTORIC VILLAGE OF BATHURST” leaflet. Tel.046-6241235