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History and Culture  

Mineral-rich beginnings

Most people will tell you that Caledon started as a cattle post after the first crude brick was laid in 1710. In reality it owes its beginnings to the hot water springs first discovered by the Khoi-khoi, the original human inhabitants of the area.

Formally proclaimed in 1813, the town was named after the Earl of Caledon. He was one of the Cape’s early governors after the British took control of the Cape Colony from the Dutch at the beginning of the 19th century.

Feeding the Cape Colony

The town developed as the Cape Colony’s appetite for produce grew. Before long the district became a critical grain producing resource for the rest of the colony. In the 1940’s local farmers pioneered Merino sheep breeding and transformed the country’s wool industry.

South Africa’s largest Malt Producer

Caledon is an ideal barley production area and home to Southern Associated Malsters, established in 1978. Processing thousands of tons of barley annually they are the South African beer industry’s largest malt producer.

Caledon’s Springbok Rugby Pride

The Springbok emblem is a source of great pride for many South Africans. Few can forget the day the ‘Boks won the Rugby World Cup on home ground in 1995. Nelson Mandela walked on to the pitch pre-match wearing the Captain’s number 6 green and gold jersey.

Caledon shares this pride and has contributed two Springboks - Ashwin Willemse (born 1981) and Errol Tobias (born 1950). In fact, Errol Tobias made history and headlines in 1980 when he became the first person of colour to receive Springbok colours.

Audio clips

Errol Tobias, the first person of colour selected to play for the national Springbok Rugby team.
Peter Clarke, (accomplished artist and acclaimed writer) recalls the event at which he donated many of his sketches to the Caledon Museum 1996.


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