History of Die Ou Pastorie
Die Ou Pastorie in Skeerpoort was originally built as parsonage for the Dominee (Reverend) of the Dutch Reformed Church on the other side of the “bo-voor” (upper furrow of the lei-water).
1884 – 1885
The foundations for “Die Ou Pastorie” were laid in 1884/5. During this time Skeerpoort was a flourishing farming community, and the parsonage was a building of status – with well built foundations, wooden floors and ceilings as well as sash windows. Architecturally, the “Pastorie” was built in what was later identified as the “ZAR style” with fewer embellishments than the “Victorian Style” – so popular with English colonialists at the time. In contrast; these official buildings of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) were fairly simple and stark, but well adapted to the Transvaal climate and lifestyle although many materials, like corrugated iron, doors, windows, as well as floor and ceiling boards were imported by ship, rail and ox wagon via Durban.
Most of these items are still in good shape in this building, though some repair has understandably been done after more than a hundred years of service as parsonage, police station, private residence and more recently restaurant and guest-house.
1899 – 1902
Much of the know history in the early years revolves around the Anglo-Boer wars, in particular the Second war (1899 – 1902) and there are many relics and battle sites in the Magaliesberg mountains.
Skeerpoort was so named as it was the place where men on horseback or in ox wagon heading for Pretoria would shave and wash in the river, before the last part of their journey.
An interesting feature in the garden is a 200 year-old wild olive tree – a tree which was already established when the Boer/British wars occupied the valley, and must have provided shade for wild animals, horses, oxen and many people during its existence.
In the south-east corner of the property there is a small rondawel. This remains cool even on the hottest summer day and was used as a storeroom for dairy products. Near this is an old red brick structure which was built as a manger for horses – a reminder of a slower pace of life.
1838 – 1948
Between the years 1938 – 1948 Die Ou Pastorie became a police station. The site was ideal with plenty of grazing and drinking water from the furrow for the horses of the then mounted police.
Skeerpoort was at that time the hub of economic activity with a railway station, school, church, post office and store.
In 1948 the old police station at Skeerpoort reverted to private hands, and has the protection of SAHRA (South African Heritage Resources Agency).