Damesfontein Museum


About Damesfontein Museum

Damesfontein Museum

An original collection of family history

This is an impressive collection of artefacts of the past. Marguerite, the fifth generation living on the farm has collected a large variety of collectables of the past, from wagons, implements, tools, to kitchen utensils, furniture - right down to newspaper editions as much as 60 years old and even needlework used by Marguerites’ grandmother.

Then there are the fossils - all collected on the farm and the district, known for its fossil findings. Even old medicines and livestock medicines.

Walking through the original homestead, you get the feeling of how the first settlers lived. How they worked, the hardships they endured, wars they lived through. One can only admire those hard people of the past.

The history of the Retief family is displayed in this old school building, built in 1838.

1. Petrus Jacobus Retief 1779 - 1852

He purchased the first section of Damesfontein in 1838. He was a cousin of the well-known Voortrekker leader Piet Retief. Even though there is no available photograph of him, we know that he was buried in Graaff-Reinet in 1852.

He was married to Francina Jacoba Minnaar. Their ninth child was:

2. Phillipus Johannes Retief 1821 - 1886

His wife was Sophia Maria Groenewald (1834 - 1907). They had 11 children. Three of their sons, Johannes, Francois and Danie were Cape Rebels on the Boers’ side during the Second Freedom War 1899 - 1902. During their 18 months with the Commando, they covered virtually the whole of South Africa on horseback, doing many brave deeds. Their youngest son was:

3. Francois Jacobus Retief 1875 - 1965

He farmed at Damesfontein and married Maria Magdalena Theron (1894 - 1955). They had 5 children; Phillipie, Barlo, Fie, Kootie, and Marie. Their eldest son was:

4. Phillipus Johannes Retief 1919 - 1976

He farmed at Damesfontein and married Joan Martens. They had three daughters; Elmarie, Jeanne and Marguerite.

5. Marguerite 1957 -

Marguerite married Retief Wolfaardt. They have four children; Jeanita, Estalet, Marguerite and Phillipie.

Please note that this museum can be visited by overnight guests only.

Directions to Damesfontein Museum

GPS : 31° 57' 1.05" S / 24° 15' 22.64" E

Damesfontein Farm is situated in the heart of the Karoo Highlands, just 50km from Graaff-Reinet and 48km from the village of Nieu Bethesda in the Eastern Cape

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