HISTORY OF QUEENSTOWN
Queenstown, named in honour of Queen Victoria, was always known as the Queen of the Border and Rose Capital of South Africa.
Queenstown was founded in 1853. It was intended to be a military outpost designed to protect the British subjects from attack during the time of the Frontier wars. The town was laid out around a central hexagon, which was to be the lager to which the citizens would flee in time of trouble. Although still a distinguishing feature of the town today, the hexagon was never used for its intended purpose.
Queenstown became a service town for farmers in the district. It was known for the quality of its wagon building and for the general quality of its (often) imported merchandise. Educational Institutions also flourished.
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…
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.
Gardens / Queens Casino
Lovers of nature and gardens will enjoy the year-round beauty of the Memorial Gardens in Shepstone Street and the quiet tranquillity of the Walter Everitt Sunken Gardens at the eastern entrance to the town. The Walter Everitt gardens have been beautifully restored by the newly built Queen’s Casino and Hotel complex.
The commercial centre of a rather prosperous farming community, the attractive town of Queenstown, known for its roses, climate and amicable townsfolk, lies on the Komani River close enough to the Wild Coast and Karoo Heartland to make it a favoured stopover.
Queenstown itself lies at the foot of the Hangklip Mountain, whilst other towns in the district include Dordrecht, Molteno and Sterkstroom. The area not only provides incredible scenery, but it is a hive of activity for the outdoor enthusiast: there are trails, rivers, rocks, mountains, hiking, climbing, fishing, mountain biking, canoeing and anything really, as long as it involves relishing all that is al fresco.
The Lawrence de Lange Nature Reserve, set on the slopes of the Madeira Mountain just outside Queenstown, has a number of trails worth exploring. Spectacular examples of flowering plants, and an array of different Antelope that include Blesbok and Springbok. The Zebra, Rhino and Giraffe families attract a great deal of interest. The reserve also has incredible views form the mountain summit. The Bonkolo Dam that supplies the town with its water is set in the hills surrounding Queenstown and is a great day out for picnics and water sports.
Queenstown was originally intended as a military outpost and as such is designed in a central hexagon meant to serve as a protective lager for its town’s people, who fortunately never had to use it for this purpose. Miss Lock’s Shell Art Gallery, JC Marshall Art Gallery, Queenstown Museum, Public Library and the Walter Everitt Sunken Garden are all worth a visit.