De Doorns

De Doorns boven aan de Hex Rivier,

History of de Doorns


Province; Western Cape
Coordinates; 33°29′S 19°41′E
Area; 7.6 km2
District; Cape Winelands
Municipality; Breede Valley

The origin of the name

The name De Doorns was originally that of a farm with the name De Doorns boven aan de Hex Rivier, ” The thorns” on the upper Hex River”. There is a reference to this name as early as 1725. De Doorns was declared a sub-district (drosty) of Tulbach in 1819 and the farm became the seat of the De Doorns drosty in 1822. However, it was in 1700 when WA van Der Stel handed out licenses for grazing. Previously the area was a wilderness full of wild game, evidenced by rock paintings and engravings left by the San Bushmen. The first pioneer farmer was Janz van Hoeting. Other cattle farmers moved into the valley and by the end of the 1700s, there were six farms that had been granted each with a beautiful “Cape Dutch” homestead. Since then the farms have been divided into at least 150 separate smaller farms. The farm called Clovelly is the scene where the story of the Fair Ghost of the Hex River began.

The railway reaches De Doorns

The farm De Doorns was bought in 1875 for a railway station building which was needed by the growing Cape Government Railways. This was one of the most difficult construction projects in the history of South Africa. Two tunnels needed to be dug. There were some extreme curves and an average gradient of 1:31. This is so steep that trains need to have their length and weight reduced at Touws River in order for them to manage the steep descent into Worcester. The station was a stop on the line from Cape Town to Touws River and then on to Kimberly. Reconstruction of the line was commissioned in 1989. The length is shorter and there are more tunnels. The hamlet of De Doorns developed around the railway station with a management board instituted in 1933 and municipal status granted to the town in 1951.

The economy of De Doorns

The area around De Doorns was planted with table grapes. It grew and was successful because of the infrastructure for transporting the produce.
The rail link in the town also played an important role during the Second Boer War from 1889 to 1902. A series of stone blockhouses were built in order to defend the railway line. Some of these structures can still be seen today.
De Doorns is still the area supplying the most table grapes in South Africa.

The postcode for De Doorns is 6875


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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 023 356 4020
  • Municipality;023 348 2600
  • Traffic department:023 356 3006
  • Fire: 023 348 9060/023 342 2430
  • Municipal Services Support Centre: 023 348 8000
  • Ambulance:10177 Sozo Medical Rescue Montagu -023 614 2628
  • Post office;023 356 2436
  • Library:023 356 2700
  • Clinic 19 Wilger St 023 356 2642
  • Pharmacy; Hex-Kem Pharmacy-023 356 2348
  • SPCA: Aquila Safari Animal Rescue Centre Touws River – 021 430 7260
  • Schools: Hoërskool Hexvallei Hex Valley High School-023 356 2229
    Hexvallei Secondary School-023 312 1056
    Sibabalwe Primary School-023 356 3546
    F.J. Conradie Primary School-023 356-3250
    Van Cutsem Combined School-023 3562797
  • Tourism (0)23 356 2041                                                                                                                [/vc_column_text]

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