It doesn't take long during a trip to South Africa to realize that wind is an abundant resource in the area. As you drive along you pass loads of metal windpumps, whirring away merrily in the breeze. These were installed in their hundreds of thousands, and continue to work with little or no maintenance years later (as indeed they were designed to do).
The country also has a small number of historic Dutch style windmills, whose job it was to grind grain into flour, though this job was also performed by watermills, which remain in somewhat greater abundance.
This mill is the forgotten third surviving Dutch style windmill in South Africa. (In fact the Cape Tourist board state that there are only 2 remaining mills, totally ignoring this one which is readily visible as you drive into Cape Town).
Building of the Nieuwe Molen for the burgher council was completed in 1782, making this the oldest surviving South African windmill. In 1807 the Burgher Kassien Claasen Dekanah acquired it, and the same family owned it till 1847. In 1901 the Colonial Government bought the mill, and erected a hospital around it, known as the Alexandra Institution.
The mill was only placed on the list of National Monuments of South Africa in 1978, though it had been mentioned in the publication of the 1941 list.
Onze Molen was built about 1801 and worked by wind through to the early 20th century. The sails, roof and machinery were removed at some time, and according to tradition the structure was used as a horse mill. In 1984 a restoration was undertaken by the Natal Building Society - I assume at the same time as an estate of luxury houses was built around it. The estate includes a road called "James Walton", in tribute to the leading expert on South African mills.
The restoration included the reinstallation of machinery, but the mill is not operable.[info] [photo]
3/4 size replica of Zeldenrust Molen, Groningen, Netherlands. Constructed 1996.[info] [photo]
Mostert's mill, by virtue of its location, and history is the most well known, and best preserved windmill in South Africa.
It was built around 1796 as a privately owned mill, and worked through to the mid to late 19th century. In 1823 Sybrand Jacobus Mostert became the owner, from whom it takes its name, and in 1891 the mill and the farm on which it stands was acquired by Cecil John Rhodes.
After years of neglect the mill was first restored by the Public Works Department in 1935, and a second restoration in 1995 got the mill back into working order once again. The Friends of Mostert's Mill now operate the mill occasionally.[homepage] Waymarking]
Steel structure added atop existing restaurant c2006[info]
once a fast food restaurant, now houses a dive centre[homepage] [photo] [photo] [photo]
Stands above the Club Mykonos Greek themed holiday resort[photos] [photo] [photo]
Site of another Cape Town windmill, this lives on now just in the name - there is an "Oude Molen Eco Village" at the approximate site.
|Last updated 03/03/2017||Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -|