1809 - The over-large Swellendam Drostdy had to be sub-divided. George was
chosen because of the availability of good water.
1811 - George was declared a separate district and Adriaan Geysbertus van
Kervel was appointed the first landdros (Mayor) and held the post until 1819.One of his first acts
as mayor, was to dig a furrow to supply the first thirty six plots in George. An 1819 map shows the
original furrows and storage dam where they remain to this day in the Garden Route Botanical
Gardens. The first Furrow originated from the Rooirivier (Red river) and later a diversionary weir
was built at the Camphersdrift River.
1875 - A second dam (now the wetland) was added and the two dams were called
the D&O dams. The open furrow below the dams divided into Caledon Street, the eastern fork
supplied Courtney and Meade Street, ending at the power plant in Albert Street. The western fork
supplied Caledon Street and then divided to run down both sides of York Street.
1884 - The open furrows were replaced with underground pipes, although the
water in the old furrows was still running.
1986 - The van Kervel Gardens were proclaimed as a Nature Reserve by the
administrator Nico Malan and managed by an advisory committee of the municipality.
1986 - A group of local residents tried to resuscitate the badly alien infested
nature reserve. “The main purpose of the Nature reserve is to protect the local indigenous flora.
Several Local tree species have been planted” –George Herald 1987
1995 - The Southern Cape Herbarium was founded, staffed by volunteers and
Housed at the George Museum.
1996 - Concerned residents and members of local NGO,s get together with the
George Municipality to plan a Botanical Gardens on the site.
1997 - The Garden Route Botanical Gardens Trust is formed.
1998 - Clearing of alien vegetation and preparation of planting beds was begun.
The pioneer Afromontane forest area on the eastern boundary was planted by volunteers of the George
branch of the Botanical Society of South Africa, The South Cape Herbarium, members of the local
community and people sentenced to community service under the Department of correctional
1998 - October -Official Opening of the Garden Route Botanical Gardens
2001 - Amalgamation of the Southern cape Herbarium with the Garden Route
Botanical Gardens Trust.
2002 - Audrey Moriarty buys the premises no 49 Caledon street- this becomes the
Moriarty environmental centre. The Southern Cape Herbarium and the GRBG trust offices move to the
2010 - Formation of the GRBG Association.