Queenstown - South Africa


 The residents of Queenstown are justifiably proud of the town‘ s five National Monuments (four of which are built of local sandstone). 


 Queenstown’s original hexagon layout is unique in the world and was planned to enable the defence of the settlement along each of the streets, radiating like the spokes of a wagon wheel from the central point.  Fortunately it was never necessary to fire a shot in anger.  Subsequently, the Hexagon became a market place and later, with its beautiful fountain and garden, was declared a National Monument.


The Town Hall foundation was laid in 1882 with the clock tower added in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. 

 In addition to being the venue for theatrical and other productions, it still houses the municipal offices and seats the Town Council !! the purpose for which it was built.


 The museum was built as a school but now houses, among many other interesting exhibits, a fully rebuilt and furnished frontier cottage.  The history of the area is exceptionally well documented and illustrated in the most interesting manner. In the grounds is a 1921 British-built steam locomotive that was used to pull the  Royal train when King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret visited Queenstown in 1947.  There is also a stone drinking fountain for horses, dating back to the Victoria era.  The Museum is open Monday to Fridays from 08h30 to 12h45 and 14h00 to 16h45 (except on Wednesdays) and by appointment any other hours.


 The original part of Queen’s College in Berry Street, which in autumn is a magnificent sight in its mantle of Virginia creeper, is another reminder of the town’s proud heritage.


 Queenstown’s Hexagon has been a centre of commercial activity for the surrounding farming area since the early nineteenth century when it was used as a market place for selling produce.  The Old Market building on the West side of the Hexagon which now houses the Business Plaza complex replaced an earlier open-sided structure in the 1850’s.  After falling into did use, the market building was threatened with demolition in 1884.  It was saved by public pressure and declared a National Monument.  In 1989 the building was redeveloped by the Small Business Development Corporation and now comprises of commercial outlets.


 This site, 45 km from Queenstown, is where 183 members of the Israelites, an African religious sect, were gunned down by police on 24 May 1921 during a clash over land issues.