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Old Fishing Harbour
Old Harbour indoor museum PDF Print E-mail

The fisherman’s shacks house displays of some of the items used in the local fishing industry in the early part of the century as well as some items from the Selkirk Collection.  A variety of seawater tanks display life forms found locally in the intertidal zone. A temporary whale exhibition is still on display until completion of the exhibitions in the Whale House and in a sonar booth one can listen to pre-recorded sounds of whales, dolphins, seals and cracker shrimps.

The entrance area has been turned into a museum shop and many interesting curios with predominantly a marine theme can be found here at reasonable prices (Shop List?).

Development is in progress of cultural history exhibitions portraying the history of local fishing since the middle of the nineteenth century by the poor local fishermen in contrast to angling by the wealthy holiday makers at the same time and at the same harbour. (Transformed exhibitions will form phase 4)

The indoor museum houses a specimen display of flowering coastal fynbos that is linked to the Hermanus Botanical Society display in Fernkloof.

Open Air Museum PDF Print E-mail

The Old Harbour Open-Air Museum is a provincial heritage site. It is unique in that apparently it is one of only two fishing harbours in the world that has been conserved in tact. Remnants of the vibrant fishing industry are seen everywhere. It is the axis around which the fishing village of Hermanus developed.

The stone and concrete harbour consist of a sea wall, a breakwater, a few historic fishing boats along concrete slopes, the turn stone, gutting tables, brine tanks, “bokkom” stands and reconstructed fishing shacks. Some of the brine tanks have been planted with indigenous “veldkos” (food from the bush), with descriptive labels as to the usage of the plants. Along the slopes valuable coastal fynbos has been re-established.

The War Memorial, erected in 1929 in memory of those who died in WW I, heads the stairs leading down to the harbour. Hermanus sent more men to both WWs than any other town in South Africa, and in recognition the Union Government presented two field guns as trophies to be mounted on either side of the stone cairn. They eventually fell into disrepair and were replaced in 1963 by the present naval guns. The bronze plaque contains the names of those who died in both WWs as well as the Bush War. Another plaque commemorates Roger Bushell who master-minded the Great Escape. His parents were resident in Hermanus at the time.

The Old Harbour is the perfect backdrop for the Passion Play (Passiespele) held annually in Hermanus during the Easter weekend.



Hermanus started in 1855
Allengenski Complex built in 1870
Harbour wall was built in 1904
Crane was built in 1915
Gutting tables were built in 1935
Last boats in Old Harbour 1958 

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