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The Reverend Andrew McGregor

The History of McGregor

The charming village of McGregor lies at the foot of the Riviersonderend mountains, 20 km from Robertson on a good tarred road.  A dirt road does connect the village with the N2 via the Stormsvlei Pass, but the tar peters out a little way beyond the village towards the famous McGregor to Greyton walk via the Bushmanskloof Pass.  It is this physical sense of  isolation which has helped to preserve some of the most attractive 19th century architecture in the Western Cape.

The village shares the climate of the Little Karoo: hot in summer and cool to cold in winter, when the rain falls and occasionally snow shimmers in the sunshine on the encircling hills.  It is good farming country, and although the !Xan travelled through the area en route to the sea, it was the soil which drew the first farmers to settle in the late 1700s.

A few scattered houses were built in the early 1800s.  Some were used for nagmaal (such as a terrace of three known as Die Trein in Voortrekker Street), some housed labourers and some were built by people such as the miller and the whipstock maker.  The village was officially proclaimed only in 1862 and divided into 2½ha. Plots.  By 1905, all the land had been bought by 19 smallholders and farmers, and their names are recorded on a contemporary map now in the McGregor Museum.

When the plots were auctioned, an advertising poster apparently claimed that the main road to Cape Town from the north would probably pass through the village.  This never happened, and neither did the planned road over the mountains through the Boesmanskloof Pass to Greyton. As a result, the village has retained its friendliness and peaceful feel, with thatch-roofed cottages,  vines, apricot trees and olive groves adding a special beauty.

 

The McGregor Heritage Society aims to maintain its historical significance, in architectural and social terms, to promote conservation awareness and continue the development of the surrounding Nature Reserve.

The growing settlement was originally called Lady Grey.  Confusingly for the authorities of the day and the post office, the village shared this name with another in the Eastern Cape.  But in 1904 the congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church decided to call their parish and new church in Voortrekker Street after their much-loved pastor, the Rev. Andrew McGregor, who had just retired after 40 years of dedicated service in Robertson.   Two years later, in April 1906, the relieved authorities followed suit and gazetted an official name change to McGregor.

 

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Pic courtesy of Pam Golding,McGregor

A McGregor Story Of Yesterday

Author Unknown

 

I was born in 1969. My dad worked at Ouplaas in 1977 for Mr. Melvin who rented the farm. At that
time I was 8 years old. My father and Mr Melvin planted tobacco there. Ouplaas did not have water
at all, so they went to the municipality to apply for water. The municipality then laid pipes from the
dam over the ridge to Ouplaas.


 My dad had to climb the ridge to turn on the pump and then he told me and me Sister to stand
below and push the last sprinkler in before the water came down. The water pressure was very
strong and we were so weak and scared when that water came. 


After everything has been irrigated, he has to do all everything in reverse and walk out the cliff again
to turn off the pumps. And that’s how they got water to the tobacco farm and that year it was a
beautiful harvest. When the harvest was ready, the Mcgregor people came and helped my dad on
the farm. Before Shirley's house, there were tobacco rooms for the winter so the tobacco could not
rain wet. For the summer, they built a new construction in front of the house with small wire mesh.
We could not get through that and we had to walk right around the farm to get home. We stayed in
one of the tobacco rooms as a family. And then the tobacco hangs like biltong and then we think to
ourselves "is tobacco all that dad can plant? "

At that time Miss Ina had the Check In store. Mrs Plaatjies stayed in a large house just below it. The
house had a large lawn and our children always said it was the best playground.
In this section the colored people stayed and we called it the bakkies. The bakkies was in the Barry
street area. There was a deep ditch in Barry street on your left. In that ditch were many tadpoles.
There was no bridge over the ditch and people had to walk to Office Street to avoid it but because it
was a long way round, people just walked neatly on the ditch's bank. The ditch was so well trodden
that no one ever fell in. It was also a popular playground. At the bottom of Mill Street where Ben
and Marlien stayed was a big opening where all the grown up’s danced.
One day I met a friend at her home in that area and I saw that they had a big mountain tortoise in
their garden. I asked my friend what do they do with the tortoise. She told me that her father had
said he rides to Cape Town on the Tortoise's back. As children we always believed what our elders
told us. I went home and told my grandmother that my friends dad rode a turtle to Cape Town.
My grandmother laughed but did not tell me it was not true. I believed for a long time that one could
drive to Cape with such a large tortoise.

One day we played inside the tobacco room and we were not allowed to play there. The room was
empty because the workers put everything in boxes to go to the factory to be further processed.
My dad came into the room and we tried to escape but because wire mesh was so small we could not
get out easily. I got through and pulled my sister to help her get through but her arm got caught and
she cut her arm on the wire. She still has the scar on her arm and remembers how it happened.

We then moved to Caledon to a farm of Mr de Wet. The farm's name was Jakobsdal. We came to
McGregor every Christmas. Mr de Wet sent us by plane to Mcgregor because it was easier with all
our luggage to fly than to drive with the car. It was still in the apartheid years.

At the bottom of the village was abattoir. Uncle Gawie Snyders was the shooter and he shot all the
animals there. We always called him Uncle Boelie. My Dad's brother Henry. also always helped with
the dairy and slaughtering. We were never allowed near that area as children. Our parents never
said why we could not play there and one day we played there.


There was tar that fell out in a tin and the tar became hard and someone told us it could be a nice
toffee thing to chew on. We took a stick and put the tar on a stick to chew on. My grandmother
asked me where we were playing and then people told her where we were and she asked them to
take her there because she was blind. She hid a stick behind her back. When we saw her coming we
were happy and excited because we thought she was going to play with dolls with us. When she
found us she hit us with that stick. We could not understand why we should not play there but she just
said it was dangerous but did not want to tell us that animals are being shot there.
It was interesting years ... I want to go back to the plane story. ... Mr. de Wet had to arrange with the
police that Rhebokskraal Road was closed on a Sunday so cars would not drive there so the plane
could land. Everyone in Mcgregor just wants to know what it feels like to fly.
The day we went home with the plane my dad forgot to tell us. We were playing and swimming in
the rivers when we saw people running to the road because the plane landed. My father was

standing with the luggage and screaming where are my kids. If we did not run along with the people
we thought he would have gone without us.


The shops in the town were just Miss Ina's store, the slaughter house and the bottle store next to
the hotel. One side was the white section and the other side colored section. The police station was
not where it is now.


Our children should never swim at the dam, it was against the law but now and then we went
swimming.


In my childhood, I just knew the one road in Mcgregor and that is where the state built houses for
the people.
 And that is when we went to the new area. All our memories of the old Mcgregor were now gone.
There were some colored people who never sold their homes and they own them to this day.
I was at school behind the Methodist church. It was the only school we knew. The teacher I had is
still alive. Mrs. Fulhard. We had morning prayers every Monday. My dad always moved around but
we were always happy to come back to Mcgregor.


I was married in McGregor in 1987. I met my husband Bertus in Mcgregor in 1984. He worked for
another man who made tourist goodies with the horns of wildlife. Some of those horns are still in
his father's house. We stayed on the Cloete farm at that time, but Bertus did notwork there.
The state announced that plots are available but you have to build your own home. It was a self-
building scheme. You just have to put down R60 deposit and build your own home with building
materials that made available. We then put our name on the list and completed forms. Some time
later we were informed when our plan was approved and we were showed where our plot was to
build. We finished our house in 1991/1992. It was a struggle but we finished building with the help
of our neighbor who is a builder. We were still young , I was 23. We are still in the house today.
In 1991 I did a course in Ashton. This was my first work experience. We still stayed on the farm
because the house was not finished yet. Because I was working at the Ashton factory, I told Bertus to
move into the house so we can finish the house because I now earn money. We still had to put in
our geyser but I said the power for a geyser was expensive and the house had already been built.
Bertus then removed a roof plate to put the geyser in but we only put the geyser on after 10 years
when we could afford the electricity.


Our kids grew up there and went to the Mcgregor primary school and later to a high school in
Robertson because we did not have a high school in McGregor. Bertus always said a new school was
promised when he was a child.

I helped Mr Cloete with the crops when there was work. He always used us because we grew up on
his farm.
On our way back from school we used to go swimming instead of going to the orchard to pick up the
undamaged fruit that fell from the tree. Mr Cloete then came with his scooter with a stick in his
hand to find us because he was angry with us.
We ran to the orchard because we were afraid he would hit us and picked up the fruit. They made
dried fruit from this fruit.

Every night after work he gave something to everyone and then we got a handful of dried fruit or
sweets and especially if we were naughty then we got a big hand full.

It was very nice years and we missed him when he died.

 

The Kampterrein

 

History of the McGregor Secondary School

From “A History of the McGregor NG Congregation”, a Master of Theology Thesis by L.W. Breytenbach (Stellenbosch).

“Whatever happened, a village was created on Over-den-Berg. The community - or certainly the N.G. members - did not immediately build a church as did the neighbouring community of Robertson. Lady Grey (or Over-den-Berg as it was called in the beginning) connected up as a ward of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Parish of Robertson.

 

 

“ As such the members were served spiritually by the ministers of Robertson – first by the substitute clergyman Rev. W. Robertson of Swellendam and then by Rev. C.H. de Smidt, the first minister at Robertson. From 1862 it was served by Rev. Andrew McGregor after whom the village was later named.

Since, because of the size of the parish, the minister did not often visit Lady Grey, missionaries, and in particular the Rev. Stephan Weich, helped to take care of the spiritual needs of this community”

The thesis mentioned that poor people of the parish also had difficulty in attending divine service or confirmation classes in Robertson as they had no transport and could not afford the journey.

“In time, the idea of breaking away from the Robertson parish and forming their own parish at Lady Grey began to take hold. The first step taken was to nominate seven “Direkteuren of the Lady Grey Ward” at a meeting held on 10 March 1901. These seven members (all seven were later to serve on the first church council of the new parish) were required to prepare the way for separation. They carried out this duty with dedication.

“Concerning the practical side of the matter, the proposed new parish already owned two erven to build a church. This was land which A.P. Brönn had donated and which Rev. S. Weich had acquired earlier for church use. The seven authors of the letter had also undertaken to guarantee the salary of the new minister for three years.

“Apart from the responsibilities listed above, the first commission of the church council of McGregor had the task of negotiating with the school commission regarding the use of school property. After consultation the following agreement was reached: the church would have full use of the school hall. However the church would have to pay half of the rates and taxes on the building. The church council was permitted to use one room in the teacher’s house as a vestry provided that the church council built another room “in place thereof”.

“These negotiations between the church council and the school commission laid the foundation of a continuing good relationship between church and school in Lady Grey, later called McGregor.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extracts from the Lady Grey (now McGregor) School Commission Minutes

“1 August 1867:

The object of the meeting was to welcome the teacher, Mr. Livesly. At the meeting it was agreed that the land on which the school stood, together with the buildings thereon would be bought from Mr. J.P. van Reenen for the sum of £ 120. The size of the property was given as four erven with water rights on two erven. The Commission would pay interest of 6% on the £ 120 from 1 January 1868.

The Chairman of the meeting was Rev. A.G. McGregor and the teacher acted as Secretary.

“On 15 August 1867

Mr. J.F. Wessels acted as Chairman but there was apparently nothing of great importance placed before the Commission.

“However, on 2 October the beacons for the school’s land were checked and a Committee, consisting of Messrs. S. Malherbe, J.F. Wessels, P.D. Geldenhuis, C.J. du Toit and F.J. de Wet was appointed to direct the school’s case.

“At a Special Meeting held on 25 January 1868 it was decided that a country bazaar would be held on 15 February to raise money to pay for the purchase of the school grounds and buildings.

“On 30 June 1868 Rev. McGregor was able to announce that he had written to Mr. van Reenen asking him to deliver the title Deeds of the land on 1 August at which time the full price would be paid. The Commission had already collected £ 25 and would borrow a further £ 80 from Mr. Erasmus to be able to pay off the capital owing on the buildings. However, by the end of August it was announced that no title deeds had been forthcoming.

On 17 December 1873 the Commission again dealt with the purchase of the school property. The transaction was confirmed in a letter from Mr. D.J. van Reenen, son of the person from whom the land was purchased several years before. This person had now reached maturity. It was decided that no interest would be paid on the outstanding amount after 31 December of that year, since the Commission had received no title deed. However, the Chairman, Rev. McGregor, was able to announce on 19 August of the following year that he had received the title deed and that he had paid the purchase price together with interest, an amount of £ 160, to Mr. van Reenen.”

“On 16 December 1875 it was decided to build a new residence for the teacher and a commission was appointed to supervise building of the residence as well as a new school. These buildings were delivered by Mr. A.J. Schoonwinkel in September 1876.”

Teachers:

On 1 August 1867 Mr. Livesly was welcomed. He left for Mossel Bay at the end of 1874.

His successor, Mr. J.A. de Schmidt, apparently left at the end of March 1884. Then Mr. Collins of Graaff-Reinet was chosen on 29 March 1884, and when he did not assume duties, Mr. Weich of Stellenbosch was appointed.

(From an essay by van der Sandt de Villiers, formerly Std. VI and son of the headmaster of the McGregor Secondary School)

In another essay written by A. van Reenen formerly of Standard 5, which appeared in the 1938 School Yearbook:

“The school was formerly the (wine) cellar of the farm and it had an earthen floor. The desks were large stumps over which planks were placed. Every Saturday two girls had to smear the floor of the building (with cow dung) and two boys had to fetch water and scrub the desks.

“A new teacher’s residence and a new school were built later. Religious services were also held in the school and when another building was erected for the school it was suggested that the old school building be enlarged for a church. However, most of the public opposed this and preferred to have a new church built. So there were differences of opinion and Mr. A. van Reenen suggested that he circulate two collection lists; one for enlarging the school and the other for a new church. At the next meeting the lists were handed to the Church Council. On the list for enlarging the school hall nothing had been promised while £ 1700 was on the other list. The church was built and, together with the pews and the organ cost about £ 8650.

Later the manse was also built and Mr. C. Payne gave a donation of £ 500 towards this. The first minister was Rev. Weber.”

In the Headmaster’s Report which appeared in the same issue of the yearbook:

“It must also be mentioned that the school has designed a school crest with the motto “ALWAYS HIGHER”

From the above it is clear that:

  • Whilst the school commenced operations in August 1867 the classes initially took place in an old cellar with somewhat primitive amenities,

  • The teacher’s residence and new school were built later,

  • Since the Hall and teacher’s residence form part of the same building they must have been completed in 1876 as indicated on the gable of the Hall and

  • The inscription on the same gable is not the school motto (as I originally thought) but a phrase in Hebrew(?) stating some sort of religious message. This would have been completely in keeping with affairs as they were at that time since the school hall was used for divine services and was to continue in such use for another +/- 25 years.

  • The date shown on the gable is consistent with the information given above, i.e. that the School Commission only took transfer of the property in August 1874, that the new school and teacher’s house (which form two buildings) were then built (decision to build December 1875) and these were delivered in September 1876.

Lady Eliza Lucy Grey

When McGregor was proclaimed in 1862, it was named Lady Grey in honour of Eliza, the wife of Cape Governor Sir George Grey.  Anthony Abbott has written the following fascinating story about her.

According to documentation sent to him by a Mrs. Julie Lund, of the Strawberry Hill Farm management committee in Australia, Lady Grey was by no means colourless . She caused a lot of trouble. If Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships, Lady Grey managed the no mean feat of turning a ship around in mid-Atlantic.

 

 

Lady Eliza Lucy Grey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor, Sir George Grey

George as visiting magistrate to Albany Western Australia met the young Eliza Lucy, the seventh child of Sir Richard and Lady Ann Spencer, at the Strawberry Hill Farm , as we know, the Spencer family home. Sir Richard had served under Lord Nelson and been wounded three or four times, suffering a severe head wound ‘that was thought to influence his mood swings and rages and was a possible cause of his death in 1836’. George and Eliza married at the farm after a brief courtship. She was sixteen, he twenty-seven. If Eliza thought that being subjected to the mood swings of her father would be a thing of the past, in George Grey she had chosen a close-at-hand replacement.

In a cutting sent by Mrs. Lund, Eliza is described as ‘beautiful, fascinating, and spoilt.’ It seemed a love match of the two-moths-attracted-to-a flame variety. After the marriage they journeyed to England but would return to South Australia and New Zealand where Sir George undertook stints as Governor. In 1854 Sir George arrived in the Cape as Governor of the colony.

On a return voyage from a visit to England in 1860, which seemed somewhat of a round tour as the route took in South America on the way back to Cape Town, the marriage hit stormy waters. The ship was the HMS Forte, flagship of the fleet, captained by no less than the dashing Admiral Henry Keppel.

The Admiral in a spirit of self-sacrifice to the Governor and his Lady gave over his cabin for their use, and moved into the adjoining dressing room, to which, as fate would have it there was an interleading door, but, as propriety would have it, was locked.

Here we have all the elements in place to justify diminished responsibility. Any sea voyage, that is, once sea sickness has been overcome, is understandably stimulating by way of all that rocking about, but as well there was a dashing Admiral of the Fleet in splendid uniform; a moody husband; a beautiful, spoilt and dissatisfied wife; a too long voyage; restricted conditions; adjacent sleeping quarters; a locked door.

The tension broke when Sir George found the careless Eliza sliding a note under the door in question. "You must clear the door dearest and leave me to come when I think it is safe." The infidelity was compounded by her Ladyship signing the note ‘Lucy’ – the intimate used only among members of her close family. Even more careless she held in her hand a note from the Admiral. "I hope and expect to see my own darling . . ."

If this was meant to be a restorative voyage and a rest from the responsibilities of governorship, this was not what the moody Sir George needed. He lost it completely, raged around threatening to either murder his wife or commit suicide. The Admiral seemed to escape as a an object of his violent intentions. We can suppose that biffing the Admiral or pushing him overboard might have been classed as mutiny and not in the interests of Empire. Sir George’s display of emotion must have been convincing for the Admiral now in a fluster decided to turn the ship about and return to Rio, for after all where was her Ladyship now to rest her head? The disgraced Eliza was dumped ashore and sent to a hotel to mull matters over.

The voyage continued to Cape Town. We can imagine the strained atmosphere on board, yet Sir George and the Admiral, once again remembering Empire, Queen and Country, agreed to hush things up. At Cape Town Sir George, avoiding an official welcome, retreated to Admiralty House. The next day he announced that Lady Grey would be returning to England. For the next thirty years he would never again mention her name.

Part of the Empire building ethos involved making use of the hero ideal by pointing suitable candidates in the required direction and letting others follow. Sir George had persuaded himself that he was such a hero and now had to deal with his shattered self-esteem. Traditionally we are told that every hero has an Achilles heel. The difficulty was that Sir George had not enough heels to accommodate his weak spots. Keeping together his personality in the face of such odds must have been tremendous strain. But he was a man of talent and resource. With a combination of charismatic persona, bluster, smooth talk he would plaster over the cracks but not without paying a price with bouts of deep depression.

Efforts to repress the scandal did not help. Gossip was rife from London to Auckland. " She had been found in the arms of a young officer." "Sir George had found her in bed with the Admiral," etc.,etc.. Eliza retaliated by accusing her husband of ‘frequent infidelities’ with no supporting evidence however. Sir George flailed around to no effect, sending dispatches to the Colonial Office, the Admiralty and anyone who he thought would help to punish the rumour mongers. Little was done except to transfer Keppel to the Brazil naval station.

The effect of the breakdown of his marriage under such unfortunate circumstances was marked by paranoid and obsessively secretive behaviour, alarming mood swings, and violent reaction to the slightest criticism. While biographers suggest manic depressive illness, in the same breath his use of laudanum is mentioned. While the Victorians were in denial about the effects of laudanum we are less innocent today about drug-based behaviour. Not all manic depressives can be said to behave like Sir George, while to anyone who has come up really close to anyone seriously dedicated to drugs, Sir George exhibits all the symptoms, including the mesmeric pseudo-heroic aspects driven to the surface as part of the need to survive. When his marriage broke down and the scandal erupted, the laudanum was near at hand. Unlike cocaine and other stimulants, long-term use of opium derivatives such as morphine, heroin and laudanum are not much good if you want to get it up and keep it up. If this is the case - and this is only a guess - then no wonder the marriage was in trouble. Lady Grey had not done much keeping still and ‘thinking of England’, which had made her restless. That Sir George never took up with anyone else may be taken as contributory evidence.

Also when we look at the details of his career it is apparent that he was a master at manipulating people and facts, and handing down flawed directives for others to carry out, but on a practical level he was inept. Even before his marriage, two Australian expeditions were perilously undertaken. He kept exploring places where there was no water without taking any water with him. He was twice sacked as colonial governor, once in South Africa and once in New Zealand, yet kept coming back like a latter-day Jeffrey Archer. As Prime Minister of New Zealand, history records that he led one of the most inept cabinets on record.

There we have the background to Eliza Lucy Grey, called in old age ‘ a miserable wreck’ by her husband as he slipped into senility, speeded on by several minor strokes.

What’s in a name ? it is said, but our village, while named Lady Grey, did achieve a degree of economic stability out of proportion to its size and position. Under the name McGregor, called after a man with few inner conflicts, it slipped into the background. The influx from urban dwellers, seeking an escape from city life some ninety years later, revived economic activity – and small town gossip fit for any scandal, whether of Lady Grey proportions or not .

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AN UNUSUAL TWIST IN THE TAIL

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When travelling to McGregor from Cape Town, one passes through places like Worcester, Rawsonville, the Nuy valley and Robertson, and for those of us who live in the area, these names are part of our interior landscape. But few of us know about a rather unusual local hero, whose greatest feats were performed in these parts.....

 

In June of 1917, a Dobermann called Sauer was born at the premises of the South African Police Dog School in Irene. Although his breeding was sound, he failed to show much promise initially, and was very nearly written off as being too nervous for police work.

Patient and careful handling improved him, and he formed a strong bond with his trainer, Detective-Sergeant Herbert Kruger. Sauer was loyal and obedient to Kruger; others found him harder to handle.

Early in his career, Sauer gave the first demonstration of his legendary powers by successfully following a trail which was one hundred and thirty two hours old. This is believed to be a world record; but greater achievements would follow.

In 1921, Sauer led his handler thirteen miles from Worcester to Nuy Station, searching for articles stolen from a Worcester shop. At Nuy, he lost the trail; it transpired that the thief had caught the train to Tulbagh, where he was caught.

In another feat, while a minister was preaching his sermon, a thief broke into his home and stole a travel bag with some clothes and three pounds in cash – a small fortune in those days. The bag was found in the veld; Sauer was called to the scene. By the time Kruger and Sauer arrived, more than a day had elapsed. Sauer picked up the trail, followed it to a house not far away and started barking. As soon as the door was opened, Sauer rushed in and went straight up to the guilty party, who was later convicted.

In Paaupan, a thief broke into a house in open country, and left his knife at the scene of the crime. Sauer was given the scent and tracked for several miles along the railway line leading to Houtkraal. Eventually he led Kruger away from the railway, ending up outside a shop in Potfontein, where he appeared particularly interested in a certain spot on the stoep. The shop owner confirmed that a stranger had left his bundle lying on the stoep the previous night, in the spot Sauer had indicated. Sauer followed the trail for a further eight miles into the veld, where he discovered the remains of a fire, and finally led Kruger to the station at Houtkraal, twenty-six miles from the start of the trail. Enquiries were made; it appeared that a stranger had caught the train to De Aar.

Kruger and Sauer followed suit and caught the next train, and arrested the thief, who had not gone far, on the station at De Aar. In 1925, Sauer tracked his way into history. Called in on a case of stock theft, he and Kruger tracked the thief, without stopping, for one hundred hot, gruelling miles across the Great Karoo, and caught their man. To this day, over 80 years later, his feat has not been equalled, and Sauer, the dog once believed inadequate for police work, remains the proud holder of the world tracking record.

Sauer died, aged nine, in June 1926 in De Aar. He was buried in a place of honour on police property. His legacy remains as an inspiration to Dobermann lovers everywhere; Dobermanns excel at canine search and rescue, and it is an honour to be able to count Sauer as the finest of their number.

And to those of us who race through this beautiful, sun-scorched landscape in our cars, travelling to and from Cape Town or Worcester: slow down occasionally and spare a thought for Sauer and Sergeant Kruger. They did it all on foot.

A note from Caroline Barnard, the author of this article

As a 2nd generation Dobe fanatic, I've been fascinated by the story of Sauer for many years, but the only information I could find about his tracking feats was a very sketchy entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Then, while editing a Dobermann magazine called Dobe Capers (for the Dobermann Club of the Cape), I came into contact with an elderly lady called Mrs Irene Oosthuizen, who lived in Napier and whose father had brought the first police Dobermanns into the country in 1911. She was the person who provided me with all the information in the article, which had been collated by a Captain Hendrik Smit of the South African Police Services (Captain Smit was busy writing a history of the SAP Dog Unit at the time). Much to my surprise (I was living in McGregor at the time), I discovered that most of his tracking achievements had taken place in this area! 

The above article was the outcome of this, and was first published in Dobe Capers (the Christmas 1999 edition, which coincided with the centenary of the breed). It was subsequently reproduced in UDC Focus, the magazine of the United Doberman Club of America.

Unfortunately I have never been able to find a photo of Sauer, and the Dobermann head in the article is from a photograph of Bob v. Elfenveld, c. 1910

 
ON A MYSTERIOUS ROAD TO NOWHERE

An excellent road runs from Robertson to McGregor. It carries on through the heart of the village and then… stops. Originally, this road was meant to continue through the mountains to Greyton, and then on to Cape Town. In 1861 it was decided that another town was needed on this road, and the village of Lady Grey came into being.

 

In 1902, the local congregation requested independence from Robertson, which was duly granted. The congregation called itself after the recently retired Rev. Andrew McGregor, who had been responsible for the Lady Grey ward for all his 40 years in the Robertson ministry.

In 1905, the village name changed too (the Cape had another Lady Grey which resulted in no end of confusion, not least for the postal services). McGregor finally existed, in pretty much the form we know it now.

Its residents waited for the road to Greyton to be completed. They had a long wait. McGregor still sits at the end of the road to nowhere...

Some myths about the Boesmanskloof Pass road

There are many imaginative but erroneous stories told about the abortive attempts to build a road through the Boesmanskloof Pass to Greyton.  Its real history, however, is just as fascinating, and has been extensively researched by Dr. John Mortimer.

Here he dispels a few of the myths that have grown up around the pass that was never built.

 

Myth 1: That the pass was conceived in the 1920s.

No!  The first attempt to build the pass was made between 1865 and 1880.  Greyton and McGregor collected £700 and a start was made, but the money ran out when the Greyton side had progressed only as far as Perdekop and McGregor had only reached Takkap and the Rietvlei valley farms.  An engineer who climbed to Perdekop estimated it would cost £40 000 to complete the road.

In 1916 pressure began mounting once again for the road to be pushed through, and a second attempt began in 1924.  Province agreed to a survey, which took three years to do and estimated the cost at £25 310.

 

Myth 2:  That Lady Grey (now McGregor) was laid out to create erven which would be used to compensate people working the Boesmanskloof Pass.

No! Some workers did settle on erven, but they bought their plots.

 

Myth 3:  That convicts and/or prisoners-of-war were used as road workers.

During World War II (i.e. after work had stopped), National Roads did use PoWs.  The McGregor council suggested that labour could be supplied by convicts or as part of a poverty relief programme.  These requests were repeated regularly, but without success, until March 1936 when, following another approach, General J.C. Smuts persuaded the Cabinet to a poverty relief scheme, provided the Divisional Councils of Caledon and Robertson each agreed to contribute 25% of the cost.  Work started in April/May 1936 and stopped at the end of 1940/41 when World War II was absorbing manpower and resources.   In November 1942, 20 months later, a request was made to use Italian prisoners-of-war but this was also denied.

Myth 4: That work stopped because the engineer in charge absconded with all the funds.

No!  The engineer in charge of construction at the time the project was finally shelved was Mr. Ted Hittersay, assistant roads engineer of the Robertson Divisional Council, who continued to work for the Council.  There is nothing to substantiate that anyone ran off with the funds, or that any miscreant was arrested “up north” and returned to South Africa for trial.  A search of media archives, including the local Robertson newspaper Die Landsman, the local Caledon newspaper and Die Burger (a Cape Town newspaper very popular in the district) has turned up nothing, and such an important trial would surely have been reported extensively in the district at the time.

However, there is some question about the money sent up weekly to pay persons who had  absconded during the week and were therefore not around to collect, but the amounts involved would have been relatively small

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The Old Post Office

Over the years, McGregor’s post office has been situated in 3 different locations. The original one, which was some way out of the village, subsequently become a beautifully weathered earthen ruin - a naturally-eroded work of heritage art.

However, all have now gone, the ruins having been bulldozed by the landowner and the final working office closed by the postal authorities to cut costs. Such is the price of progress and a far cry from the old days when the post office, along with the church, was the focal point for village life.

 

McGregor's last full post office, which could be called version number three, was situated on the corner of Kerk and Voortrekker Streets, directly across from the church, with its predecessor having been a few doors down in the little ACVV building.

Post office number one? Well, that was about a kilometer north-west of present day McGregor. Access was from the old Robertson Road on the other (Robertson) side of the Houtbaais River, from which a dirt track leads off to the left through a gate which is kept locked by the municipality.

McGregor Postmistress, 1923 - 1940,outside the 2nd Post Office

It would seem that key custodians over the years have been somewhat absent minded as there are no fewer than eight disused locks on the gate!

The road then travels southwards onto the farm Ouplaas, past the ruins of a group of half a dozen or so small buildings made of unfired clay and stones.

On the western side of the track was a larger structure, which is believed to have served as the area's first post office. It had an external skin of half-fired clay bricks, all slowly crumbling under the sun, wind and incursions of grasses and bushes.

A few deep window embrasures emphasised the thickness of the walls, and doves had moved into the numerous small holes in the brickwork - maybe this is where the term "pigeon hole" comes from!

Although there was a mission station in the area prior to 1861, numerous farmsteads had grown up along the flood plain beside the river, and they would have needed some kind of central service. So, although there is no evidence of any internal walls ever having existed in the larger oblong building, it could have doubled as a small shop.

The upper line of some of the walls on the McGregor side provided an interesting glimpse of early building methods as large river-rounded stones had been exposed. These had obviously been included to give strength and help support roof trusses, but they were used at random - almost as if tossed into the wet clay rather than placed on it.

As a mute testimony to hopes and disappointments of bygone years, one wonders what stories these ruins would have had to tell us if they could have spoken

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THE MCGREGOR KRANTZ NATURE RESERVE

The Krantz Nature Reserve,situated on the outskirts of the village of McGregor was developed by the McGregor Heritage Society with lands given by the Roland and Leta Hill Trust under the auspices of WWF South Africa.The Society has been working on the proclamation of the reserve so as to preserve it for future generations.

The reserve is a part of the "meent or commanage" of McGregor and used to be available to all the villagers for grazing livestock.Historically it was also used as a dump.Old bottles and other treasures are still found from time to time.

STONE AGE

Millenia before the founding of the village in 1862,Middle and Late Stone Age people were active in the Krans during their gradual migration from the coastal plain to the Little Karoo.This is evidenced by large quantities of stone tools found in the area by paleontologists and archeologists.

BIOMES

The changing habitat of the reserve is an ecotone between mountain fynbos and succulent Karoo.Notice how the distribution of these different veld types varies according to the slope and aspect.Circular patches of lush vegetation called "heuweltjies" occur here and there.These mysterious mounds are probably caused by termites which enrich the soil around their termitarium.

The spaces between the the rocks spring into colour in August with wild Freesia,babiana and lapeirousia,which look like folded green concertinas until the pale blue flowers unfold.

After good rains,Chincherinchees  flower in an area near the path between the edge of the reserve and the dam wall.

Further along the path,aloes,succulents and mesems become the dominant plants.Bulbs and other geophytes appear good Autumnal rains.

If you visit the Krans in Summer there will be little sign of the heat and drought resistant species as they are safely underground.Groupings of Restios grow between the rocks.Yellow Euphorbia is common all over the reserve.

The koppie also hides a rare species of Protea (P humiflora) that hides its mouse pollinated flowers facing the ground.

FAUNA

On the path which follows the edge of the reserve,overlooking the valley, a variety of of birds are to be seen.listen for the occasional cry of soaring Fish Eagles and Blue Cranes.Listen out for the strange drumming sound of the McGregor Phantom (Ethiopian snipe) which dives through air thrumming its feathers in an eerie sounding mating display..

Occasional sightings are made of small buck like Grysbok and Klipspringers,hares,red rock rabbits,Porcupines,Tortoises and rodents.Also on show are Trapdoor Spiders,Reptiles and many fascinating insects.

Keep an eye open for plant fossils which can be seen on some rocks

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THE MCGREGOR LEIWATER LEGACY

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The heat is relentless on a still March day. Nothing stirs as adults and animals  seek shade and quiet until late afternoon. But stop and listen and you will hear the soothing sounds of leiwater gurgling down furrows alongside the roads. And then you might hear the happy shouts of small children as they race their paper boats in this river of life, keeping up with the surge of water as it quickens, then running faster to rescue their vessels from vegetation piled up against a restraining board.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thirstily, workers cool tired feet in the sloots. Ah yes, the leiwater does much more than water the gardens and orchards of village homes, as it soothes overheated  limbs, refreshes both body and soul.  For more than a century  it has allowed veggies and vines to be cultivated, orchards  to flourish, animals to be watered, favourite flowers to bloom across the four seasons. As an integral feature it has added beauty, character, and pleasure to all who live there,  while  charming  visitors to the village on the road to nowhere.

While we know the dates for several important past events, there are still gaps in our knowledge. Our village, named Lady Grey, was founded in 1861 when  large erfs were laid out. We know the names of the original owners from an unique early map which the Heritage Society rescued from a wall in Robertson.

High in the Riviersonderend mountains, in a deep kloof, the Houtbaai river starts life, gathering momentum as its flows through pristine fynbos  that flourishes in the  well-watered highlands. Baboons drink of it as do countless other animals, small and large, including the elusive McGregor leopard who is driven to the valley only by fire.

Aeons ago this water must have slaked the thirst of the first people to roam our valley, San folk who visited the rocky region that is now the Krans nature reserve. This was used as a tool workshop where they replenished their store of stone axes and arrowheads of shale.  The Khoi  tribes also spent time in the region, using  the Houtbaai river for watering herds and humans, and leaving a fingerprint legacy on the walls of caves on valley farms.

 Fynbos gives way to Karoo vegetation, and the river has been channelled into a venerable but well-organised gravity-fed system. Drinking water is fed to the processing plant, while irrigation water crosses the main road to be stored in the big  Vaaldam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McGregor resident Desiree Barry held the post of town clerk in the 1980’s when towns and villages in the Breede river valley still had their own municipal structures. Today she continues to be a wonderful source of information on village affairs.

Way back, she told me, before any dams existed, water from the Houtbaai river flowed down furrows in Long Street, which was then the main road,  to  villagers and  farms. Drinking water had to be scooped out with buckets and this source declined during long hot summers. McGregor residents decided they needed a dam, and were willing to work for it –

“They took spades and picks and wheelbarrows,  my grandfather told me, and dug the the Rooi dam,  the one closest to the village on the left, going up the main road. Donkeys helped humans...

Village smallholdings were large and sparse. Desiree’s grandfather’s block, near the cemetery, was planted to lucerne and vegetables. His leiwater allocation  was assigned  to the ungodly hour of 3am which meant  very early rising,  as, with lighted lantern, he received  his weekly ration... during the decade of the 1920’s.

“In those days this water was free, as allocations were registered on deeds of sale and the rights passed on to subsequent owners.”.

Fast forward to 1998 when  a McGregor water management plan records that around  330 plots in McGregor received leiwater for irrigation, diverted from the Rooi and  Nuwe Dams. Gardeners may like to ponder on one fragrant memory of longstanding resident Jane Banks who related that when she and her husband first settled in McGregor

“the sloots used to run all day long in the winter, with violets hanging over the edge.”

 Today plots are smaller but many homeowners still receive their weekly allowance from the furrows for a  fixed number of minutes. And of course this led – and still occasionally leads – to some clock-watching as neighbours downstream wait impatiently for the arrival of their share.  Woe betide the previous resident who fails to close off his supply on time...

By the 1990’s  several  village residents were happy to pay someone else to open their leiwater channel, keep time, and close it when their 20 minutes were up. For many years this job was the sole preserve of one Tannie Marie Maans, a larger-than-life character, teller of tales, sometime grave-digger and coffee addict.


She may not have been born in McGregor, but she became one of its best-known residents, and one of her self-appointed tasks was that of communicator, filling in as local newspaper and email, Twitter and general social media platform  long before these services were a reality.  Christine and Peter Lawley moved into their newly-built home in Darling Street in 1989 and Tannie Marie “did” their leiwater at 6h30, as she did for many every week day, arriving with her ever-present spade over her shoulder. Christine takes up the story:

“When she had filled our dam and had the water running nicely between the apricot trees she would come and sit on our stoep and await her cup of coffee and biscuits. And then we would talk.... Marie was able, since childhood, to see the ghosts of people who had crossed over. She believed... in the importance of prayer for troubled souls who had difficulty accepting that they had died.”

6.30 on a dark, still July morning. Freezing temperature, a light wind blowing from the snow-capped peaks of the Sonderend mountains. A lone figure trudges up Voortrekker road, spade over her shoulder, her limp evidence of a painful rheumatic leg. A shadowy figure  crosses her path, and Marie stops and asks: . ‘Paula, why are you wandering about – you must rest now’ – it is a month since this villager passed on.

The dam sluice gate opened, Marie heads across the mill property and, sure enough, there was another regular, a soul who chose to sit on the steps of the Old Mill house in the early morning. Bennie told her that the property had once belonged to him. His wife did not allow alcohol in their house, so he used the watermill to store his liquor... Myth or indelible memory?

Marie was sceptical about the arrival of UFO’s, however, which some villagers claimed to have seen hovering just above the Krans– “Those things I can’t see” she told a magazine journalist investigating such reports  as the 20th century drew to a close...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  waters of the Houtbaai river enabled the valley to mill its own flour, with a small waterwheel in the furrow along Long street, at the Oude Molen cottage, now a private home . Former owner Margie Phillips told me that the millwheel was no longer there when she acquired the property, but happily the large waterwheel at Green Gables is much in evidence behind the farmhouse.


A private manuscript dated 1976  describes a visit to the village mills by one G.S Hofmeyr who suggested that they may have been working  before 1880 and that both were worth restoring.

Today the large waterwheel dreams on below the Vaal Dam. The workings   present the village with a monument to early engineering and local industry, functioning, we understand, until the 1930’s.

The farmstead has developed a distinctive aura, a presence that cloaks the walls and woodwork with an invisible patina. Sit on the stoep with its wonderful views for a fine dose of nostalgia  -  imagine horse and carts, laden with stone ground  flour, rolling down  long, straight Mill street. Walk up Voortrekker road to the entrance of the large  Vaal Dam and spot, on your right, the stonework of the old millrace or leibeurt canal cut into a ledge on the hillside ....

In 2012, when McGregor marked its 150th birthday, the Heritage society hosted a celebratory event at the Old Mill, where watermill expert and renowned restorer Andy Selfe addressed visitors after a careful examination of the wheel and works.

 

 

“The mill machinery is eminently restorable! The waterwheel is in surprisingly good condition... the tail-race must be dug out as a matter or urgency so that no more water can accumulate in the well at the bottom. The main problem is the state of the axle tree at the outer end, it has collapsed... “ and much more in similar vein. Eight years on, one hopes that the deterioration has been minimal as circumstances have not allowed for the complex restoration to take place.

Talking of water and pipes, let’s speculate about the history of the large wooden water pipe, now hanging high on the Tourism office wall. Dug up from the corner of Mill and Hof streets, it’s an impressive 4,6 metres in length,  150mm in diameter and cleverly constructed: wooden slats slot into each other along their length to form a watertight pipe, bonded by spirally wound wire and  originally waterproofed with pitch. Research uncovered the use of Oregon pine for early 20th century North American pipes as  wood was cheaper than cast iron and the water tasted better! Nearer home, it was established that a tea garden’s stoep roof in Montagu was supported by no less than seven wooden water pipes, which, the owner was told, came from a pipeline in Ashton that channelled water to the railway station for the steam locomotives.

Walking back into the sunshine and the 21st century...The last surviving Cape Dutch gabled village townhouse gazes across to the church which has dominated McGregor’s centre for more than a century . Both sides of the main road are lined with furrows, still used for our life-giving leiwater.

Bricks and mortar, running water - welcome constants in a fast-changing world.

 

 

 

 

SOURCES  AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Many thanks to Desiree Barry and Christine Lawley for their valuable information and memories. I am also indebted to Jane Banks, both for her current research on the building of the first dam, and for  facts recorded in the Heritage Society booklet Memories and Myths about the history of McGregor. Committee members Marilyn Poole and Helaine Shand have also been very  helpful, as have Lide Kraukamp and Rhowena Arendorf. The 1998 Water Study and Water management plan for the McGregor Area has been useful, as has the MHS scrapbook. Heidi Muller shared some quality photographs taken recently,  which have greatly enhanced this essay  - my sincere thanks to her.

Myrna Robins

August 2020

WELCOME TO OUR MUSEUM OF MCGREGOR  HISTORICAL CURIOSITIES

We have a fascinating little museum,presently housed in the McGregor Tourism Info Office,situated in Voortrekker St filled with ancient artifacts,historical documents,historical photographs and simply oodles and oodles of historical pieces unique to McGregor.

NG Kerk

The exquisite NG Kerk in central Voortrekker street

Trowel used to lay foundation stone of t
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Mr Robin McGregor,past Mayor of McGregor and also publisher of "Who's Whom" in South Africa

Mr Peter (Pet) October, previous Mayor of McGregor 1995 - 1999

Militaria
Dress sword and various medals
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Ammonite fossil impression
Pre historic flake tools
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Ammonite fossil impression

Various fossil imprints of Ammonites,fossilised wood and early paleolithic scrapers found in the Krantz and nearby in McGregor

Morning all
Victorian kitchen scale
Relics of hunts past
Old lamp
Coal iron
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OUR CONSTITUTION

McGREGOR HERITAGE SOCIETY 

1. LEGAL STATUS 

1.1 The McGregor Heritage Society (the Society) is a juristic person existing distinctly from  its  officers  or  its  members  and  shall  continue  to  exist  notwithstanding  changes  in  its  membership or Committee; 

1.2 The  Society  is  a  registered  NPO  under  the  Non-Profit  Organisation  Act,  71  of  1997  (Registration number 097-978-NPO); 

1.3 The  Society  is  a  registered  conservation  body  with  Heritage  Western  Cape  (HWC/RCB/09/05). 

2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ORGANISATION 

2.1 The main objective and purpose of the Society is to preserve and conserve the heritage  character of the village of McGregor; 

2.2 Where development is to occur the Society will encourage and advise on development  that contributes to the attractive and memorable heritage character of the village; 

2.3 An  ancillary  objective  is  to  ensure  that  McGregor  maintains  its  charm,  dignity,  tranquility and historical significance in both architectural and cultural terms. 

2.4 The Society’s chief aims are:- 

2.4.1 To promote conservation awareness; 

2.4.2 To continue with the conservation development of the (Krans) Nature Reserve; 

2.4.3 To  promote  and  assist  in  the  conservation  of  the  built  environment  of  McGregor, guided by such reports as may be commissioned by the Society from  time to time; 

2.4.4 To support cultural heritage;  

2.4.5 To provide support in the form of advice or otherwise where appropriate; 

2.4.6 To  seek  support and assistance, whether  financial  or  otherwise  in any matter  related to the above. 

3. POWERS OF THE SOCIETY 

3.1 The  Society  shall  have  all  the  powers  necessary  to  carry  out  effectively  the  Aims  and  Objectives of the Society, while acting through its Committee or at a General Meeting of   members. 

3.2 These  powers  include,  but  shall  not  limited  to,  the  raising  of  funds,  the  investment  thereof as well as administrative  powers  of  the Society as  set  out in  clauses  10  to  13  below.   

4. MEMBERSHIP 

4.1.1 FULL  MEMBERSHIP:    Any  person  aged  eighteen  or  more  may  become  a  full  member  by  applying  on  the  prescribed  form  for membership  and  paying  an  annual subscription. 

McGREGOR HERITAGE SOCIETY | REVISED CONSTITUTION | MAY 2021 | page 1 

4.1.2 JUNIOR MEMBERSHIP:  Persons under the age of eighteen may become junior  members  by  applying  on  the  prescribed  form  and  paying  a  reduced  annual  subscription. 

4.1.3 CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP:  Corporate membership is available  to institutions  that  wish  to  have  a  close  association,  contribute  financially  or  otherwise  to  further the Aims and Objectives of the Society.   

4.2 No member shall be liable for any of the liabilities or obligations of the Society simply by  virtue of being a member of the Society 

4.3 Any  income  generated  by  the  organisation  as  well  as  property  owned  by  the  Society  shall  not  be  distributable  amongst  its  members.    Reasonable  compensation  may  however be awarded for services rendered. 

4.4 Members of the Society as well as Committee members have no rights in the property  or assets of the Society simply by virtue of being a member, or Committee member, of  the Society.         

5. SUBSCRIPTIONS 

An annual subscription may be required and shall be determined by the Committee and ratified by  at least two-thirds majority of those present at a subsequent Annual General Meeting (AGM). 

6. MEETINGS 

6.1 The Society shall meet in general meeting as often as necessary as determined by  the  Committee.  The  presence  of  ten  (10) members  of  the  Society, in  good  standing, will  constitute a quorum. 

6.2 Decisions at  these meetings  shall  be made  by a  simple majority and either a  show  of  hands or by ballot.  In the event of an equality of votes, the chairperson shall have the  casting vote. 

6.3 The Society shall hold an AGM each year, provided that the AGM be held within six (6)  months  of  the  end  of  the  financial  year  of  the  Society.  The  presence  of  ten (10) members of the Society, in good standing, will constitute a quorum.   

6.4 Matters  for  the  AGM  agenda  must  be  submitted  in  writing  to  the  Secretary  14  days  before the date of the AGM. 

6.5 Matters to be included on the AGM agenda shall include: 

6.5.1 Existence of a quorum; 

6.5.2 Approval of minutes of the previous AGM; 

6.5.3 Report on activities for the past year; 

6.6 Presentation and approval of the annual financial statements; 

6.6.1 Election of Committee members. 

6.7 Proposed changes to the Constitution must reach the Secretary 21 days before the date  of the AGM.  Such proposals should be in writing and bear the names of the proposer  and  seconder.  Such  proposed  changes  shall  be  promulgated  to  all  members  and  adopted at the AGM, if approved, by at least a two-thirds majority of those present.

McGREGOR HERITAGE SOCIETY | REVISED CONSTITUTION | MAY 2021 | page 2 

6.8 A Special General Meeting may be called at any time by giving not less than twenty one (21) days notice in writing to members.  

6.9 A proper record shall be kept of all meetings. 

6.10 Any  decision  made  by  the  members  of  the  Society at  an  AGM  shall  be  by  a  simple  majority and decided by means of a ballot or show of hands. 

6.11 Each  member  in  good  standing  shall  be  entitled  to  one  (1)  vote  at  any  of  the  above  meetings.                         

7. ELECTION OF OFFICERS 

7.1 A Committee consisting of at east four (4) but no more than seven (7) members of the  Society, in good standing, shall be elected to at each AGM. 

7.2 All members in good standing may seek election. 

7.3 Committee members may stand for re-election. 

7.4 The Committee immediately after the AGM, shall appoint: 

7.4.1 a Chairman; 

7.4.2 a Secretary; 

7.4.3 a Treasurer; 

7.4.4 any other officer required. 

The  Secretary,  Treasurer  and  other  officers  required,  need  not  necessarily  be members  of  the  Committee. 

7.5 Committee members, while performing their duties or functions in good faith on behalf  of  the  Society, shall  not  be  liable  personally  for  any  damage or  loss  suffered  by  any  person. 

7.6 The Committee may co-opt suitable persons for specific purposes. Such co-options are  valid only until the following AGM but may be extended if the Committee desires. 

7.7 The Committee will meet at least once every three (3) months but preferably monthly.  

7.8 A  quorum  for  any  such meeting  will  be  at  least three  (3) members  of  the  committee  present in person. 

8. COMMITTEE MEMBERS REMOVED FROM OFFICE: 

8.1 The  office  of  a  committee  member  shall  be  vacated  if  the  Committee  removes  a  member by a resolution adopted by at least three quarters of the committee members  in office at the time. Reasons for such removal must be provided to a General Meeting  as well as to the committee member being removed. 

8.2 Should  any  position  on  the  Committee  fall  vacant,  the  Committee  may  adopt  a  resolution by at least two-thirds of its members, co-opting a member to fill the vacancy.   This  election  must  be  ratified  by  the  members  of  the  Society  at  the  next  General  Meeting, or the election shall lapse. 

8.3 The  Committee  must  provide  for  an  appeal  process  for the  removal  of  a  committee member, including the independent body to which the appeal may be made.

McGREGOR HERITAGE SOCIETY | REVISED CONSTITUTION | MAY 2021 | page 3 

9. FINANCIAL MATTERS: 

9.1 The Treasurer shall be responsible  for the administration of the Society’s  finances and  shall  present  a  financial  report  to  each  Committee  meeting.  Audited  Financial  Statement must be presented at each AGM. 

9.2 All financial transactions shall be processed through a bank account in the name of the  Society, except that a reasonable cash float may be maintained. 

9.3 The  Society  will  set  up  a  financial  sub-committee  to  apply  for  and  manage  funds  donated  for  special  projects,  including a  separate  bank account,  in  order  to meet  the    donor’s or funder’s requirements. 

9.4 The  Society’s  funds  shall  be  used  solely  for  the  purpose  of  furthering  the  Aims  and  Objectives of the Society. 

9.5 The end of the Society’s financial year shall be 31 May of each year. 

9.6 The Chairman and at least two other office bearers or members of the Society shall be  the  joint  authorised  signatories  in  respect  of  the  Society’s  bank  accounts.  Any  two  signatures out of three may be accepted when required. 

9.7 The annual financial statements shall be audited by a Chartered Accountant (SA). 

10. GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS OF THE SOCIETY 

10.1 The Society may employ  staff, whether  temporary or long-term and  seek professional  or other services to perform its duties or functions. 

10.2 The  Society  may  institute  or  defend  any  legal  proceedings  including  arbitration  proceedings, and settle any claims made by or against the Society. 

11. INVESTMENT POWERS OF THE SOCIETY 

11.1 The  Society  may  make  or  vary  investments  and  may  re-invest  any  funds  from  such  Investments 

11.1.1 with  a  financial  institution  as  defined  in  section  1  of  the  Financial  Sector  Regulation Act  (9  of  2017)   and/or   in  securities listed  on  a  stock exchange  as  defined in section 1 of the Stock Exchanges Control Act  (1 of 1985), and/or 

11.1.2 in such other financial instruments and assets as the Committee may determine  after  consultation  with  the  Chief  Executive  Officer  of  the  Financial Conduct  Authority and the Director of Non-Profit Organisations. 

12. THE ACQUISITION AND CONTROL OF ASSETS 

12.1 The Society may canvass for and accept donations. 

12.2 The  Society  may  purchase  or  acquire  assets  and  property,  which  may  be  developed,  leased, maintained or sold. 

12.3 Assets or property acquired may be donated or transferred to organisations with those  similar objectives to those of the Society as agreed at a general meeting of the Society. 

12.4 Assets or property may be used by the Society as security for borrowing.

McGREGOR HERITAGE SOCIETY | REVISED CONSTITUTION | MAY 2021 | page 4 

13. DISSOLUTION OF THE ORGANISATON: 

13.1 The  Society  may  dissolve  itself, if  so  decided,  by  a  majority  of  two-thirds  of  those  present at either an AGM or a Special General Meeting called expressly for the purpose  of the dissolution of the Society. 

13.2 The Society  shall  settle all its  debts  on  termination.  Thereafter, any  remaining assets  shall be distributed to another non-profit organisation with similar objectives, as agreed  at a general meeting of the Society. 

14. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION: 

14.1 This  Constitution, whether in  part  or as a whole, may  only  be altered  or amended  by  approval of a two thirds' majority of members present at a general meeting.  

14.2 Whenever  alterations  or  amendments  are  proposed,  the  Committee  shall  give  two  weeks advance notice  thereof in writing  to  the members  to enable them  to comment  and make suggestions on the proposed alterations or amendments. 

The  Society  shall  notify  the  Commissioner  of  the  Non-Profit  Organisations  Act,  1997  of  any  alterations or amendments to the Constitution within one month of their adoption.   

For  record  purposes, it  is  stated  this  Constitution  was  originally  adopted  in 1995,  amended  in   November 2011, and has been revised and approved by the committee members of the McGregor  Heritage Society by Special Resolution adopted at its meeting held in McGregor on ………May 2021  and replaces all constitutions previously approved and accepted by the Society. 

Committee members for 2021/2


Jan Glazewski – Chairman
Helaine Shand - Vice Chair 
Bronwen Dawes – Secretary 
Louise van Riet - Treasurer 

Myrna Robins

Marilyn Poole - Museum

Gareth Nolan

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