14 December 2005

Glen Avon Farm

Bill and Alison Brown run a bed and breakfast on their livestock farm, Glen Avon, near Somerset East. Hart Cottage is the restored wattle and daub cottage built by Robert Hart in 1817 when he settled on the farm. The farm has been in their family for 6 generations. Robert was Bill’s great-great-great grandfather. Pictures of him and wife Hannah are proudly displayed on the lounge walls. The cottage's last permanent resident was Robert's great-grandson, Lennox Brown, who moved out in 1938. The cottage was furnished with wrought iron beds, yellow wood dressers and tables dating back to the early residents. A watermill which dates back to the early 1800s was also built by Robert, and remained in use until 1992. The machinery and equipment used was shipped to Port Elizabeth and transported by ox-wagon via the old Zuurberg Pass to Glen Avon, some 200 kilometres. The yellowwood, sneezewood and olivewood used to build the three-storey mill were sourced on the farm. Area farmers would camp there while milling their wheat or mielies. There are barely-legible messages written in pencil on the wooden beams - "Ek was hier April 1892 met 27 zaken koren, J L van der Venter". J J Prinsloo, of nearby Spreeuwkloof, was a frequent visitor in the early 1900s and left a number of messages. Even back then, there was a “No smoking or spitting” law - as shown by an ink scribbling on the beam.