FLETCHER FAMILY ARCHIVE. The Jura, Scotland - Southern African branch.

Data capture and research notes. A work in progress.  Last revised: 7 May 2013

Orange and Olifants River mouths; Vanrhyns Pass; The Messelpad. Namaqualand, S.A.
Much of P. Fletcher's working life was taken up with the development of routes for export. Copper was first exported from Namaqualand in 1852 (G.Ross); he and C.Pillan arrived at Kodas mine near the Orange River on 7th July 1853. He represented one of several Cape Town mining syndicates. A letter of "appeal to Scottish capitalists" written by him from the "Banks of the Orange River, 25th June 1854," presumably to a newspaper, sought to create investment interest in Britain. In 1854 he is also reported to have surveyed the Orange River mouth. (....), and in a letter dated 22 January 1855 he claims to be the first to have "surveyed the course of the Orange River for about 120 miles from its mouth, and to have beaconed the highest peaks for up to 20 miles to the southeast along the course of the river." He also speaks of being first (with two others) to take copper down the Orange River. {"Would have been from Kodas mine in Richtersveld which transported its ore by boat down the Orange at least until 1857." - Graham Ross} Fletcher's description of river mouths, Western Cape Colony, 1854 From John Noble (ed) 1875, in Nat. Lib. Aus., Canberra. ===== In ca. 1857 he is reported to have spent 64 days studying the mouth of the Olifants River for navigation potential. (Lawrence Green."On The Wings of Fire" 1967:114 & 118). [Source??] See: http://ia700409.us.archive.org/12/items/OnWingsOfFire/OnWingsOfFire.pdf. [Chapter on "Elephant River".] P.F. and others who looked for navigation potential ===== In the 1850's when the building of Grey's Pass at Piekenierskloof was begun, the residents of Troe-Troe (Vanrhynsdorp), the Under-Bokkeveld and Hantam (Calvinia), headed by P.B. van Rhyn, sought to have a pass built over "Old Footpath" (Bokveldsberg) The van Rhyns of Troe-Troe realised that a pass in the Bokveldsberg would be important for the development of Troe-Troe, the Onder-Bokkeveld, Hantam and the Onder-Olifantsrivier, and would lead to new roads and port facilities Early in 1858, with the support of Thomas Bain, a number of petitioners appealed to Sir George Grey about the building a Bokkeveld Pass. Grey directed that the matter be investigated. As a result the surveyor P. Fletcher was sent toTroe-Troe to do an investigation. At that time Lamberts Bay was increasingly being used as a landing place. Fletcher found that a Bokkeveld Pass would provide great opportunities to Troe-Troe and adjacent areas, especially if Doring Bay and Donkinsbaai could be opened for ship traffic. He had a place fifteen miles south of the Hellish Road in mind, and estimated the cost of the work at £ 3,000. Based on Fletcher's promising report 160 petitioners from Hantam and Troe-Troe petitioned parliament in 1862, asking that a pass such as Fletcher suggested be built, such that people from the Lower Bokkeveld and Hantam could reach ports within four days. From an article by Prof P.L. Scholtz. Vanrhynspas: "Die stryd om `n pas" ====== In 1865 Fletcher went with Richard Thomas Hall to Cape Town to put the case for cutting a low pass in the hills between Springbok and Hondeklip Bay, partly along the Buffels River slightly to the north of where the copper ore-carrying wagons traversed at that time a very arduous route over the granite terrain. In 1867 work began on this project, known as the Messelpad. Background material on this and other copper mining matters in the region see Smalberger Fletcher's drawings, progress reports etc. see PcP reports Other old references to the Messelpad etc see "Travels etc"

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