The Breede River area was teeming with game and VOC licences issued for trading elephant tusks.

History of Worcester


Province: Western Cape
Coordinates: 33°38′42″S 19°26′37″E
Area: 73.2 km2
Municipality: Breede Valley

Wildlife and elephant tusks

Before 1700 the area around the Breede River was teeming with game. Licences were granted by the VOC, even for trading elephant tusks. The indigenous people traded livestock with the European settlers but the Europeans brought the smallpox virus with them and an epidemic in 1713 almost decimated the Khoi people.

Establishment of the town

The town of Worcester was established in 1818 by Lord Charles Somerset when it was suggested to him that a new municipality be established between Tulbach snd Graaf Reinet. Worcester was established on the farm Hooivlakte.
The town was named after Lord Charles Somerset’s brothers’ oldest son “The Marquis of Worcester” The name was first published in the government gazette in 1819 when plots were up for sale in Worcester. The town was granted municipal status in 1842. The first electrical generators were installed in 1916, and were driven hydraulically in a pipeline originating in the Fonteintjies Mountain

German settlers’ skill at viticulture

The sale of these plots was postponed due to civil war on the Eastern border but 28 February 1820 was the date the Union Jack was hoisted to signal sales were open.
German settlers used their skills to improve the land and cultivate fruit but the decline of the demand for dried fruit after the Second World War compelled farmers to change their focus to viticulture.
When the town was being laid out the Tulbach magistrate ordered that as many oak trees as possible be collected and 48 were planted along the streets of the new town. Many are still there today.

Returning war veterans

Worcester was declared a separate district in 1822 and got municipal status in 1895.
Black Africans returned to Worcester at the end of the First World War when they were employed as cheap labour for construction projects. Housing was at a premium and a squatter camp grew up at Parkersdam.

The license plate prefix is CW and the postal codes are  6850 (streets) and 6849 (boxes)

weather in worcester today

Things to see and do in Worcester

  • Afrikaaner museum is in an attractive old cottage where there is a collection dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.  There is a display showing surgeries that were performed at that time and a display of dental and surgical equipment that was used. used. The cottage was originally a residential home. 75 Church Street-023 342-2225
  • Kleinplaasie showgrounds
  • Pioneer School Heaven & Hills MTB – raises funds for the Visually Impaired and Blind 023 342 6244
  • Worcester is known for its schools for the blind.
  • Worcester is the only town in SA that has traffic lights that emit sounds to signal colour changes to enable blind people to cross safely
  • Nuy Valley Fest
  • The Rainbow 30km race is held annually it is an out-and-back course from the Institute for the Deaf Sports Grounds.  082-771-1543
  • The Beesloop is held during March. It includes a road race between vineyards and orchards, a fun walk, a fun fair, tractor rides, and more at The farm Oudewagendrift 082-3318889  Evd20@hotmail.com
  • Karoo National Botanical Garden
  • Ditch Reformed Church, Built in1832

Useful Numbers in Worcester

  • Police: 023 316 1854
  • Traffic department: 023 347 0959
  • Fire: 023 348 9060
  • Water: 0860 12 12 12
  • Electricity: 0860 12 12 12
  • Ambulance: 10177
  • Post office; 023 342 6460
  • Library: 023 348 2773
  • Closest hospital; Provincial Hospital Worcester-023 348 1100
  • Pharmacy; 023 347 0844 (Quenet’s Family)
  • SPCA: Animal welfare 023 347 1049
  • Schools:
  • Worcester Primary School-023 347 0663
    Worcester Gymnasium-023 347 0426
    Lanner House School | An independentschool-023 347 5837
    Drostdy Technical High School-023 342 2320
    Worcester Secondary School-023 342 0857
    Victoria Park Primary School, Worcester-023 342 0770
    Worcester-Noord Primêre Skool sports grounds-023 347 0325
    Hexpark Primary School-023 347 5537
    P.J.B. Cona Primary School-023 345 1434
    Riverview Primary School-023 347 1817
    Laerskool Worcester-Oos-023 347 0453
    Somerset High School-023 346 4031
    Worcester NGK Oefen Primary Scool – 0233423993
    Vusisizwe Secondary School-023 345 2426
    Hoërskool Montana 023 347 0476
    Esselen Park Senior Sec School-023 347 0174
    Worcester RK Primary School – 0233423133                                                                                   Scherpenheuwel NGK Primary School 0233404149
  • Museum; 023 342 2225
  • Tourism; 023 348 2795

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