Burgers Park (1892)
Pretoria_the forgotten history
The oldest park in Pretoria (covers four (4) acres) and now a national monument, Burgers Park lies adjacent to Melrose House; George Heys, the first owner of Melrose House, who worked with botanist James Hunter, designed Burgers Park, which was completed in 1892.
Burgers park was named after Thomas Francois Burgers, fourth president of the South-African Republic.
The focal point of the park is a fish pond with fountains, dating back to the 1890’s, symbolising life in the city centre.
The typical Victorian cast-iron “Band Stand”, made by MacFarlane & Co in Scotland, was erected in 1895 and used for musical performances.
A KIOSK for serving food and drinks designed by Vivian Rees-Poole (who also redisgned Church Square in 1912) in Neo-Classical Style, was built between 1911 and 1913.
South-African Scottish WW1 Memorial
This memorial in Burgers Park Pretoria, commemorates the officers and men of the South African Scottish regiment that lost their lives in World War one.
The memorial, showing a Highlander in full battle dress, is based on the memorial in Killin in Scotland by Alexander Carrick, a famous Scottish sculptor and WWI veteran.
Thomas Francois Burgers (1834 – 1881)
Thomas Francois Burgers statue is located in Burgers Park Pretoria.
He was the 4th president of the South-African Republic from 1872 to 1877.
Born 15 April 1834 and died 09 December 1881.
The South African Republic’s first coins—the famous Burgerspond—was introduced in 1874.
The 1905 New International Encyclopaedia describes Burgers policies as president as ” characterised by brilliant but impracticable schemes, aiming chiefly at territorial expansion”.
By 1877, Burgers was very unpopular and his government was insolvent.
He ended his days disheartened and in poverty. His body was disinterred in 1895, to be reburied in the Pretoria cemetery now known as the Heroes Acre.
Queen Wilhelmina Tree (1898)
Wilhelmina became queen on her father’s death (23 November 1890) under her mother’s regency. She was inaugurated 6 September 1898.
The original orange tree was planted (31 August 1898) to celebrate Wilhelmina becoming Queen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. She ruled the Netherlands until her abdication (due to poor health) in 1948. She reigned for nearly 58 years, longer than any other Dutch monarch.
Born 31 August 1880 and died 28 November 1962.
At the age of 20, Queen Wilhelmina ordered a Dutch warship, HNLMS Gelderland, to South-Africa to help evacuate President Paul Kruger.
The current tree (the third successor) stands in Burgers Park (Pretoria), which was designed by Sytze Wierda and George Hays, with the help of the botanist James Hunter.
The Observatory Gates (1948)
These gates were the entrance to a peace of property, which was used as an observatory from 1948.
On this property, a telescope, equipped with a 74 inch (1.88 m) mirror was established. At the time it was the largest in the Southern hemisphere. Research undertaken here by Dr. A.D. Thackeray and colleagues, led to the doubling of the perceived age and size of the universe.
However, light and dust pollution caused a huge problem. Therefore, mandating the move to Sutherland. Above all, the SALT telescope is also situated at Sutherland.
These gates are located on Johann Rissik Drive as you leave Waterkloof Ridge going to Fort Klapperkop.
Jacarandas are indigenous to South America. But their history in South Africa starts as early as the 1880’s, when they were imported from Argentina. In 1888 two trees were planted at a school in Arcadia. Their popularity as a street tree soon took off. Therefore covering many kilometres of streets throughout Pretoria.
These trees bloom in the months of October and November. Transforming Pretoria into a glowing purple mass.
In addition, there is also almost 100 rare white Jacarandas. They can be found in Herbert Baker Street in Groenkloof.