The Granary

The Granary was built by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1788 after a record wheat harvest. 

The VOC first established a presence in present-day Mossel Bay in 1734 after a visit of the Dutch governor the previous year. Governor de la Fontaine thought that Mossel Bay will be a suitable place for passing ships to be repaired.

In 1787 a military post was established in the settlement to protect the VOC’s interests against competing European countries. In 1788, the Dutch governor at the Cape encouraged sheep farmers to switch to grain production.

The Granary - Dias Museum Complex

This decision provided the momentum for the development of Mossel Bay as a port for the export of wheat, wool, and ostrich feathers to Batavia (present-day Indonesia). The settlement continued to expand until Mossel Bay had become a town by 1852.

The Granary was built by Godfried Frederik Kock behind the house of the officer-in-charge according to these specifications: 150 feet (50m) long, 20 feet (6,5m) wide and 13 feet (4m) high. (Rhynland measurements) with a flat roof. The materials used were stone, clay and yellowwood for the beams and floor. A substantial amount of cork was placed underneath the floor to possibly prevent rising damp.

The area in front of the Granary was originally used as an outspan for farmers.

The VOC also erected more buildings next to the Granary and laid out gardens for its officials at the time.

In September 1807 builder Michael Anthony Muller constructed a new front gable and side gables with a thatched roof for the Granary. The height of its walls was also extended. In 1814 its roof was replaced with a pitched one with yellowwood beams. 

During the first British occupation of the Cape (1795-1803), the shipping of wheat was stopped. Local farmers now had to travel overland with their goods. The old Granary fell into disuse and Mossel Bay’s e expected growth did not materialise.

The South-Western Wheat Corporation bought the building in 1932 and demolished the original Granary in 1950/51. A new building was constructed on its original foundations, which was used for wool auctions. The trading of wool continued here until 1984 after which the building was demolished.  

During the development of the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex, the foundations of the original granary were found. After the Granary’s original specifications were also found, a replica with a flat roof was built on its original foundations in 1987. 


Sources: 

Sleigh, D.  (1993): Die Buiteposte. VOC-buiteposte onder Kaapse Bestuur, 1652 – 1795. HAUM Uitgewers, Kaapstad.

Scheffler, H. (1990): Die Victoriaanse era in Mosselbaai. Thesis, University of Stellenbosch.

The Granary The Granary

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Opening Hours
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Mossel Bay, South Africa

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