Bathurst, Eastern Cape
Did you know?
Bathurst’s pineapple industry began in 1865.
Driving from Grahamstown into the decidedly English-looking town of Bathurst in the Eastern Cape, 1 of the first signs you encounter is: 'There’s no thirst like Bathurst.'
Welcome to the Pig ‘n Whistle, said to be the oldest licensed pub in South Africa.
It stands at the heart of this lovely little historic settlement and, although it has changed hands many times, ‘The Pig’ still serves hearty fare and liquid refreshments to travellers exploring 1820 Settler Frontier Country.
‘Pig’ refers to an ancient drinking peg, which determined how much monks and their guests could imbibe from a beer tankard. ‘Whistle’ is a corruption of the word ‘wassail’ (an old English word meaning an alcoholic beverage or to enjoy oneself heartily). In modern terms, ‘pig ‘n whistle’ means to ‘drink judiciously and party hard’. Hmm.
'The Pig' in 1832 was originally opened in 1832. Also established locally in 1832 was the elegant Wesleyan Chapel, which was later besieged during the long series of frontier wars.
A quick stroll around the village will reveal very old buildings bearing Victorian-era names like Bleak House, Morley House and Bradshaw’s Mill.
Bathurst has become a village of retired academics, artists, eccentrics and pineapple farmers.
You will not fail to notice ‘The Big Pineapple’ near the centre of the village. It’s a 16,7m-high, 3-storey fibreglass pineapple.
This monolithic faux fruit looms over a field of real pineapples, the principal crop in the area.
Following the motto of ‘today’s machinery is tomorrow’s history’, the Bathurst Agricultural Museum was established in 1970 as a home for old farming implements.
What began as a 30-item display has now developed into a remarkable museum with more than 1 300 objects. Ox wagons, steam engines, old tractors, ostrich incubators and dairy utensils are but a few farming artefacts to be seen.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Bathurst Agricultural Society
Tel: +27 (0)46 624 5421
Alan Weyer (Spirits of the Past Tours)
Tel: +27 (0)46 622 7896
Cell +27 (0)82 825 2685