Onze Molen c/o High and Onze Molen Streets

In 1801 when present day Durbanville was known as Pampoenkraal, two morgan of land was granted to the burgher Johannes Jacobus Uys and the widow Roeland, who appeared to have been his mother-in-law. The land was named Johannesfontein, probably after Uys. Jan Uys as he was known, was the great-grandson of the first Uys, who came to the Cape after 1700.

The parcel of land was too small for agriculture, and the keeping of stock was expressly forbidden. It was however the standard size granted to artisans and tradesmen on which to ply their trade and build their homes. Uys was granted a further 36 morgan in 1812, and the entire property was sold to Mezst van der Spuy Meyburgh in 1837, shortly before Uys died.

The earliest windmills in the Cape were situated along the Liesbeek and Black Rivers, but the steady increase in demand for wheat products rendered these mills inadequate. Resultantly a number of mills, of which Onze Molen was one, were built in the outlying areas. While the exact date of the construction of Onze Molen is not known, a meticulously surveyed diagram prepared in 1848 shows the mill located in its present position on the original erf of 1901. Circumstantial evidence tends to indicate that Uys himself erected the mill.

In 1809 Uys was the Field-Cornet of the district Tijgerberg, responsible for the collection of tax returns and probably held this position when William Burchell, on his journey to Tulbagh, outspanned at Pampoenkraal on a wet afternoon in June 1811. He recorded in his journal:

"The Veldcornet here paid a visit to our wagons merely out of curiosity to know who we were. We purchased from him some wine and bread."

Perhaps the flour was ground at Onze Molen.

In the early 20th Century the roof, wings and machinery were removed and in later years it became derelict. It was eventually turned into a labourer's cottage.

The farm was bought by Mr B Brinkworth in 1963 and was renamed Onze Molen by Mrs Brinkworth. Investigations into the possible restoration of the building were originated, but the project appeared to be impractical and in 1983 Mrs Brinkworth sold the property to the Natal Building Society, which researched the situation thoroughly with the help of the National Monuments Council.

No plan was found and little specific information was available, so much of the restoration was based on the well-known Mostert Mill situated on De Waal Drive (Cape Town), which is of an earlier period. The authorities on Mill Architecture feel that their assumptions are reasonable in the absence of concrete evidence to the contrary.

The beautifully restored mill stands as the proud centrepiece of the Onze Molen development and Durbanville is rightfully grateful to private enterprises for saving this valuable piece of history for posterity. Because it is situated on land designated as Public Open Space, the Durbanville Municipality has assumed responsibility for it.

There are four fireplaces of which two have marble surrounds and two have wooden. Viewing of the interior of Kings Court is strictly by appointment.

About DurbanvilleINFO

DurbanvilleINFO is an independent initiative established in 2002 supporting business and tourism in and around Durbanville, Bellville, Brackenfell and the Northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa.

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