1809 - The over-large Swellendam
Drostdy had to be sub-divided. George was chosen because of the availability of
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
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
The open furrows were replaced with underground pipes, although the water in the
old furrows was still running.
The van Kervel Gardens were proclaimed as a Nature Reserve by the administrator
Nico Malan and managed by an advisory committee of the municipality.
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
The Southern Cape Herbarium was founded, staffed by volunteers and Housed at the
Concerned residents and members of local NGO,s get together with the George
Municipality to plan a Botanical Gardens on the site.
The Garden Route Botanical Gardens Trust is formed.
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 services.
October -Official Opening of the Garden Route Botanical Gardens
Amalgamation of the Southern cape Herbarium with the Garden Route Botanical Gardens
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 centre
Formation of the GRBG Association.
January 2011. Table Mountain / WESSA / GRBG Project of clearing out the 200 year
old Historic Water Furrows in the Botanical Garden was completed.
June 2011: A special resolution was passed by which the GRBG Association dissolved.
The GRBG Association’s members automatically became members of the
December 2011: Inaugural Carols by Candlelight concert took place, opening the
Gazebo Roof Stage to future concerts on the Events Lawn in the Botanical