The Republic of Swellendam , the gateway to the interior

History of Swellendam

Province: Western Cape
Coordinates:34°01′23″S 20°26′24″E
Area:58.14 km2
Municipality: Swellendam

Gateway to the interior

Swellendam was established when settlers began to explore the interior. The outlying settlement was a gateway to areas further inland. It became a magisterial district in 1743 and is the third oldest in South Africa. It was named after Hendrik Swellengrebel who was the first governor born in South Africa. The village of Swellendam was the last outpost on the way inland and it grew rapidly. As a result, goods and services were needed for the residents. In the 19th centurySwellendam was the base of the Overberg merchant empire of Joseph Barry and his nephews.  They even issued their own banknotes and they ran a courier service between the mouth of the Bree River and Cape Town. Merino sheep farming had its beginnings in Swellendam. two rams and four ewes from the Escorial flock in Spain were sent to the Cape in 1789. Some of their offspring were sent to Swellendam in 1803 and they were cross-bred with the local fat-tailed Cape Sheep.

In 1864  The Great Western Agricultural Show was held. Amenities in Swellendam in the early days included a library and a racecourse.

The Republic of Swellendam

By 1795 maladministration by the Dutch East India Company compelled residents of Swellendam to revolt and they declared themselves a republic, with Hermanus Steyn as president. This secession did not endure as later that year the Cape became occupied by Great Britain. With the arrival of British settlers, the area boomed. Swellendam served as an important refreshment station on the arduous journey up the coast. Swellendam is currently a flourishing agricultural area.
In 2011 the areas in the Swellendam municipality re-declared themselves as a republic dedicated to the principles of The New South Africa and respect for people and nature.

The license plate prefix for Swellendam is CCK and the Postal code is 6740

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Useful Numbers in Swellendam

  • Police: 028 514 8104
  • Municipality; 028 514 8500
  • Traffic department: 028 514 8558
  • Fire:028 514 3980 | +27 (0)83 274 9322
  • Water: Municipality 028 514 8500
  • Electricity:
  • Ambulance: 10177or 028 514 1219
  • Post office; 028 514 1220
  • Library: Drosty Museum library 028 514 1138 49 Voortrek St 028 514 8528
  • Closest hospital; 028 514 1141 Swellendam clinic 0285148450
  • Pharmacy;028 514 2020
  • SPCA: 028 514 2083
  • Schools: Swellendam high 028 514 1361
    Laerskool Swellendam 028 514 1347
    Swellendam hoer 028 514 1361
  • Museum; 028 514 1138                                                                                                             [/vc_column_text]

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