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House Retief - Mooimeisiesfontein
Riebeek East district, Eastern Cape

Pieter RETIEF: Architect



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33°11'58.43" S 26°10'01.41" E Alt: 625m

This farm was the home of Voortrekker leader Piet RETIEF from 1814-1836. He sold half of the farm in 1829, and this was where Riebeeck East was established.

[Richardson Deidré, 2001. Historic Sites of South Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. p, 41.]

Mooimeisiesfontein was declared a national monument on 27 April 1937 vide Government Notice 702 of 27 April 1937.

Mooimeisiesfontein was owned by Voortrekker leader Piet RETIEF from the year 1814 to 1836. He built himself a large house with yellow wood floors and a slate roof. Restoration of the house was carried out around 1974. RETIEF also developed the property by planting a large orchard and vines although his main objective on the farm was the rearing of livestock. By 1829 he had already subdivided the property and sold a portion thereof. When the Retief family set of on their trek to the north of the country in 1936 the remaining section was sold.

After numerous owners had come and gone the property was acquired by a grouping in Riebeeck East headed by Ds. Hanekom for the Dutch Reformed Church in 1910. They transferred it to the State as living monument to Retief and for the specific use for the betterment of the impoverished Afrikaner children.

Consequently the house was utilised as orphanage. A new complex was erected in 1947 adjacent to the house.

This orphanage was closed down in 1978.

The Eastern Cape Herald of 07 August 1997 reported that the house had been earmarked for conversion into a development centre. An investigation by the NMC revealed that this report was slightly erroneous, the property in question being adjacent to the Retief house.

The SAHRA Property Register lists the historical importance as being:

This farmhouse was partially built by Piet Retief. He owned the property from 1814 to 1836.

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.