Friday, June 14, 2013

“Some preliminary research indicates that ships would travel up the Diep River from Table Bay and anchor at Vissershok, some 11 km inland, where there was a market at which goods were traded.
“There is apparently still a piece of a ship’s mast buried on the farm, and a gravesite was recently also uncovered. One of the walls on the farm appears to have a date on it of 1683. The homestead from 1789 still has many of its original features,” said Ms Molteno.
She added that further research indicated that development of the lower Diep River can be traced back to 1608, with maps dating back more than 200 years showing that the lower section of the estuary joined the adjacent Liesbeek and Black Rivers.
The Diep River was deep enough for sailing and fishing boats to make their way upstream to the Dutch East India Company’s post at Vissershok, which was established in 1683 by the Company as its furthermost outpost from Cape Town. It served as a cattle station and wheat growing area for the town.
According to Ms Molteno, the intention is to rehabilitate the river and restore important historical structures.
“While there is a lot of red tape and significant cost involved in the rehabilitation of the river and restoration of the historical structures, our team is working on a cutting edge legally integrated process to reduce the costs and red tape to save our rivers and heritage,” she said.
Departments involved in the project include the Departments of Water Affairs, Environmental Affairs & Development Planning, Agriculture, Heritage Western Cape, CapeNature as well as the City of Cape Town.
Members of the team being led by Ms Molteno include Megan Adderley of Bowman Gilfillan, Fabio Venturi of Terramanzi Environmental Consulting, Mark Rountree of Fluvius Consulting, Jayson Orton and Tim Hart of ACO Associates, and Sam Braid of Aurecon.
Officials from Heritage Western Cape have indicated their excitement about the project, which has amazing potential to restore history.