Overstrand Municipality Samson Gabriel Dyer and pale houses.

History of Hawston


Province Western Cape


Coordinates 34°23′S 19°08′E

Area 4.65 km2

Municipality Overstrand

Founding of Hawston

Hawston was founded by Samson Gabriel Dyer in 1859, Dyer was an American Negro harpooner who immigrated to the Cape in 1806 to be employed by Cloete, Reitz, and Anderson in Cape Town.  He was sent by them to an unnamed island (Dyer island) to collect seal skins where he also gathered guano which he sold to farmers as fertiliser. He gave up his right to Dyer Island in 1840 when he exchanged this right for 4 morgan of land in Middelvlei. Here he divided this land into plots and sold them off to become the town of Hawston. Settlers here came from Germany, Ireland, Holland, France, Sweden and England. The village was laid out in 1860 and named Hawston after commissioner Charles Haw of Caledon.

House building in Hawston

Hawston had its own particular style of house building. These houses were known as pale(pole) houses where construction involved building a framework of poles and filling in with sparretjies (rounded twigs) held in place with split poles. The walls were often plastered with mud. There is only one example of a palehuis still standing today though it is in a dilapidated state.

Economy in Hawston

The economy of Hawsron was supported by fishing and lime burning (burning seashells to produce lime) Hawston abalone industry also flourished during the Second World War when many fishermen adapted to this industry and they became abalone divers.


Many shipwreck survivors settled in Hawston and some of their descendants still live there today.

The postal code in Hawston is 7202


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Things to do and see in Hawston:

  • Beach in Hawston
  • Hawston is one of the safest areas in which to swim on the Western Cape coastline but the sand dunes are very sensitive and care must be taken to walk only on the designated boardwalk. Hawston Beach has blue flag status.
  • Hawston Sea Festival, a Celebration of seafood first week of December.

Useful Numbers

  • Police: Hermanus-028 313 5300
  • Municipality; Hermanus- 028 313 8000
  • Traffic department: Hermanus-028 313 8111
  • :Fire Hermanus-028 312 2400
  • `Water:
  •  Electricity:028 313 8000
  • Ambulance: CMC – Critical Medical Care-066 222 7219
  • Post office; Onrusrivier-028 316 1180
  • Library:028 313 1175
  • Closest hospital;
  • Hermanus Provincial hospital-028 312 1166
  • Mediclinic Hermanus-028 313 0168
  • Clinic: -028 315 2063
  • Pharmacy;Onrus Pharmacy-028 316 1515
  • SPCA: Hermanus Animal Welfare Society-028 312 1281
  • Schools :
  • Hawston Secondary School-028 315 1992
  • Hawston Primary School-028 315 1631                                                                                        [/vc_column_text]

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