The Bergtheil museum is located on the oldest building in Westville, and
dates back to the 1840's.The museum was formerly a residence, and over the years
several additions have been made to it, though the original cottage with its
stone walls and yellowwood floors still stands. The Museum is named after Jonas
Bergtheil, who is best described in the historical records of Natal, as a
politician, entrepreneur, and early businessman. In 1983 the museum and
surrounds were declared a national monument.
Bergtheil was a partner in the Natal Cotton Company, and decided to change the name of his farm from Wandsbeck to Westville, in honour of Martin West who was the first Lieutenant-Governor of Natal; in an attempt to draw in British settlers to the area. Unfortunately his efforts failed, and Bergtheil went back to his native homeland of Germany. Upon his return, he played a pivotal role in bringing out the first organized group of settlers to our shores. The two hundred settlers who arrived from Germany chose their land by drawing lots, each received about two hundred and ten acres. Those settlers whose farms were on the northern bank of the Palmiet River went on to establish the borough of New Germany.
The museum displays various items which include household and workshop implements, documents and photographs of the settlement's early years , as well as records of the gradual expansion and successful development of the area. Aside from local history, the museum also includes numerous exhibitions of wider interest to the general public. For example the role of the first settlers in the South African war which took place between 1899 and 1902, as well as the first and second world wars. The museum houses a an intriguing display of medals and memorabilia. Other exhibits to be found within the Bergteil museum include a collection of Zulu artifacts and craft, and an overview of the local culture of Hindu and Muslim matrimony.
Opening Hours : Monday to Friday 08h00 to 17h00
Address : 16 Queens Avenue, Westville, 3630, South Africa
Contact : +27 (0) 31 203 7107
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