History of Milnerton

Province; Western Cape
Coordinates: 33°52′S 18°30′E
Municipality: City of Cape Town
Area: 43.70 km2

In 1897, the year that saw the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the new High Commissioner for South Africa, Sir Alfred Milner (later Lord Milner)  arrived at the Cape. In honour of his appointment, the promoters of a new venture decided to name the enterprise in his honour.  Sir Alfred Milner was the Cape governor from 1897 to 1901.

In August 1897 the founding of Milnerton Estates Limited, under the Cape Company Act, reflected some temporary optimism and an urge towards development and progress that had swept the whole country as the trauma of the Jameson Raid faded into the background.

The Cape Argus of 25 October 1897 carried a historic item in its advertising columns: “MILNERTON ESTATES COMPANY LIMITED Notify that they have bought Paarden Eiland and Jan Biesje’s Kraal for a Township and intend connecting it with a Railway.”

Only in 1904 when the railway line was completed could the development of the estate commence on the site of the farm Janbiesjeskraal. It is the oldest residential suburb in the North area of Table Bay. There are spectacular views of Table Mountain from the beach which is also a popular surfing venue. The water, however, is cold due to the Benguela current.

On 4 February 1902, the Cape Argus, in an historic article, announced: “Perhaps the finest and best-situated estate in the suburbs is that lying between the main line of railway, beyond Salt River Station, and known as the Milnerton Estates. Looking at the property from a distance, or from a passing train, it appears to be quite infertile waste, in fact, marshy, but on closer inspection, such as was afforded the representatives of the Press yesterday morning, this impression is altogether dispelled and, instead of a vast stretch of barren land, one finds an expanse of rich soil, planted advantageously with abundant trees, and irrigated by the river, which cuts right across it, a land capable of and eminently lending itself to cultivation, development and improvement.

The area to the South of Milnerton separating the lagoon from the sea is called Woodbridge Island. The area was occupied by British troops during the 2nd Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) as a defence against coastal attacks by the Boers so they built the historic wooden bridge between the mainland and Woodbridge Island in 1901. 

, There are now two bridges. The original wooden bridge is a national heritage site which is currently closed and is scheduled for repairs (2019)
The new bridge allows traffic onto the “island” where the lighthouse is situated. This is a 21m high tower with an 800000-candela electric optic.


Milnerton had its own municipality from 1955 to 1996. The town council assumed a coat of arms, designed by Cornelis Pama, in October 1963


The postal codes for Milnerton are 7441 (streets) &  7435 (boxes)


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Things to see and do in Milnerton

  • Original wooden bridge
  • Lighthouse
  • Milnerton market; 021 551 7879
    This is an enormous flea market held on Saturdays and Sundays at 126 Marine Drive Paarden Eiland
  • There are fantastic views of Table Mountain from the beach which is a long stretch of white sand. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the peak season, the water here is a bit chilly compared with other beaches due to the Atlantic’s Benguela current. Milnerton Beach is popular with surfers. It is exposed and windy, therefore it is popular with kite surfers.]


Useful Numbers in Milnerton

  • Police: 021 528 3800
  • Traffic department: 0860 103 089
  • Fire: 021 400 6949
  • Water: 0860 103 089
  • Electricity: 021 710 9430
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • SPCA: 021 700 4140
  • Post office; 021 552 3500
  • Closest hospital; Milnerton Medi Clinic 021 809 6500
  • Pharmacy; Ascot pharmacy 021 552 2077
  • Joe Slovo Recreation centre:021 814 1527
  • Milnerton Hall : 021 814 1527
  • Library: 021 444 0815
  • Tourism 0)21 529 9798
  • Schools;
  • Milnerton High School-021 551 2217
  • Milnerton Primary School-021 552 2028                                                                                     [/vc_column_text]

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