About The Smithfield Caledon River Museum
The Museum is only about a 10 minute walk from the start of the mountain hiking trail and a wonderful place to see how the old lived in our area.
Smithfield was first founded in 1848 as a church centre on the farm Waterval, owned by CS Halse. As there was no water, it was decided to move the town about 24 km northeast to its present position, on another farm, Rietpoort. It was founded when the then Cape Colony governor, Sir Harry Smith (1847-1852), required a settlement north of the Orange River. Smithfield is the third oldest village in the Free State.
It had a village board by 1860, but became a municpality only in 1948. Smithfield features in some Boer-Basotho skirmishes. In 1855, a peace meeting was held between Sir George Grey and Moshesh of the Basotho people.
The well-known mission stations, Carmel and Bersheba, are situated in the Smithfield district. Their activities are represented in the museum as well as those of leading personalities such as general C.R. de Wet and the late P.G. Hoffman, president of the Free State Republic. Ou Grietjie, a cannon used by the Free State in the Basuto wars, has been mounted in front of the magistrate's office. It was named after Margaret (Grietjie) Finlay, wife of the gunner Robert Finlay.
The museum was opened on 7 November 1983. Open: Mondays - Fridays: 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-!6:00 Caledon River Museum Municipality, Smithfield, 9966 5 Douglas Street, Smithfield Tel.: (051) 6831105 Fax.: (051) 6831143 Mondays - Fridays: 10:00-12:00 14:00-16:00
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*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling