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Drostdy Museum

Built in 1747, the Drostdy House in Stellenbosch is one of the oldest and best preserved buildings in South Africa. The Drostdy was established by the Governor Hendrik Swellengrebel as the headquarters for the magistrate in charge of land affairs for the Breede River area.

The original Drostdy building was enlarged during the early 1800's, but the building has essentially remained unchanged ever since. Much of the original interior decor captures the Cape baroque style that was common at the time. Later occupation by the English is reflected by the neoclassical furnishings.

The house consists of a dining room, parlour, kitchen with pantry, and several bedrooms, all all which have been fully furnished with paintings, photos, and furniture that reveal the lifestyle of the well-heeled.

Beside the main building of the Drostdy stands the old gaol, along with a small cottage for the gaoler that dates back to 1790. A small central courtyard stands where slave prisoners would have once been beaten and flogged at the whipping post.

The Drostdy Museum complex has been expanded to include the "Ambagswerf" or trade yard, where typical homestead tools for making and repairing furnishings and farming equipment are displayed. The Ambagswerf has a reconstructed charcoal kiln, similar to that used by blacksmiths of the time. A mill and bakery demonstrate the milling of grain and baking of bread. Also found at the Ambagswerf is a tannery for preparing leather, a cooperage for constructing wooden barrels, and a copper-smithy for creating kitchen utensils.

Originally the estate was surrounded by vineyard and orchards, but most of this has long since become residential property

Recent additions to the Drostdy Museum Complex is a home called Mayville built in 1846, which has been fully restored, and the beautifully reconstructed Zanddrift, which now houses the museum's restaurant.

Address: 18 Swellengrebel Street, Stellenbosch

Mon-Fri: 09:00-16:45
Sat, Sun and public holidays: 10:00-15:45

18 Swellengrebel Street, Swellendam

(028) 514-1138

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