Queenstown, founded in 1853, was originally a
military outpost designed to protect the British
settlers from attack during the time of the Frontier
wars. The town was laid out around a central
hexagon, which was to be the lager to which the
citizens would flee in time of trouble. Although
still a distinguishing feature of the town today,
the hexagon was never used for its intended purpose.
Queenstown became a service town for farmers in
the district. It was known for the quality of its
wagon building and for the general quality of its
(often) imported merchandise. Educational
Institutions also flourished.
In the late 19th century, Queenstown prospered,
and the huge local sand stone public buildings were
built, most still standing today. The magnificent
Town Hall facade is an example, as are the Methodist
Church, the Anglican Church and the Dutch Reformed
After the world wide depression in the 1920's,
Queenstown once again entered a period of prosperity
while still acting as a supply and educational
center for surrounding farmers and smaller towns.
After 1948, and the beginning of the Apartheid era,
the district changed character as white owned farms
were bought out and the land incorporated in the
Transkei and Ciskei and settled with people.
Queenstown has since then been a service centre for
Mlungisi (the traditional "Location") has been
incorporated into Queenstown since 1984. Mlungisi
was perhaps best known as a training ground for
political activists, and also for the dedication of
its school teachers. Many of the leaders of the
present government have had links with the town
through its political connections over the years.
The political clout of Mlungisi was demonstrated by
the residents� participation in a consumer boycott
in 1985. The motivating factor was the atrocious
conditions pertaining in the township.
Ezibeleni was a town established near Queenstown
in the 1960's as part of a master plan to move all
Black people to the homelands. It was incorporated
into Queenstown after 1984.
The Lukhanji Municipality came into being on 5
December 2000 and includes Queenstown, Whittlesea,
Sada, Lesseyton and surrounding rural areas.
Queenstown�s original hexagon layout is unique
in the world and was planned to enable the defence
of the settlement along each of the streets,
radiating like the spokes of a wagon wheel from the
Fortunately it was never necessary to fire a
shot in anger. Subsequently, the Hexagon became a
market place and later, with its beautiful fountain
and garden, was declared a National Monument.
The Town Hall
The Town Hall foundation was laid in 1882 with
the clock tower added in 1897 to commemorate Queen
Victoria�s diamond jubilee.
In addition to being the venue for theatrical
and other productions, it still houses the municipal
offices and seats the Town Council � the purpose for
which it was built.
The Frontier Museum
The museum was built as a school but now houses,
among many other interesting exhibits, a fully
rebuilt and furnished frontier cottage. The history
of the area is exceptionally well documented and
illustrated in the most interesting manner.
In the grounds is a 1921 British-built steam
locomotive that was used to pull the Royal Train
when King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and the
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret visited Queenstown
in 1947. There is also a stone drinking fountain for
horses, dating back to the Victoria era.
The Old Market Building
Queenstown�s Hexagon has been a centre
of commercial activity for the surrounding
farming area since the early nineteenth
century when it was used as a market place
for selling produce.
The Old Market building on the West side
of the Hexagon which now houses the Business
Plaza complex replaced an earlier open-sided
structure in the 1850�s. After falling into
disuse, the market building was threatened
with demolition in 1884. It was saved by
public pressure and declared a National
Monument. In 1989 the building was
redeveloped by the Small Business
Development Corporation and now comprises of
Queenstown is renown for its beautiful
gardens. This will become eminent when
driving or walking through the suburbs.
Lovers of nature and gardens will enjoy
the year-round beauty of the Memorial
Gardens in Shepstone Street and the quiet
tranquillity of the Walter Everitt Sunken
Gardens in the eastern entrance to the town.
The Berry Reservoir off the end of
Milner Street is virtually within the
residential area and provides a beautiful,
tranquil haven for picnickers, fishermen,
For the more energetic, two Aloe walking
trails originate from and return to the
waterside of the Berry Reservoir.
Well laid out and signposted, there�s a
shorter one taking about three-quarters of
an hour for the casual stroller and a longer
walk of about two and a half hours for the
more serious hiker, both offering marvellous
views of Queenstown.
Lawrence de Lange Game Reserve
The reserve is situated on the slopes of
the Madeira Mountain, which overlooks the
town from the west and provides panoramic
views of Queenstown and its surrounds.
The species of game include: eland,
Indian water buffalo,
giraffe and many others.
The reserve is also home to the
Aloe Ferox, which is a magnificent sight
in winter when it is fully clad in scarlet.
In summer, the tamboekie thorn (Erythrina
acanthocarpa), also known as �wag-�n-bietjie�
� as its hooked thorns make progress
difficult) which is unique to this area,
adds its colour to the many species of
acacia which are covered in yellow flowers.
Longhill Nature Reserve
On the northern boundary of the town
lies the aptly-named Longhill.
Entry to this reserve may be obtained
through a gate opposite the Lawrence de
Lange entrance and the drive includes
delightful picnic spots offering pleasant
views of the town, while several species of
antelope and other wild animals can be seen
along the road.
The Bongola Dam, about 5 km from town on
the Dordrecht road, is one of the town�s
main sources of water. The wall was begun in
1905 and was for years the largest concrete
dam wall in South Africa. Incidentally the
origin of the name Bongola has cause some
controversy, but it is believed by some to
have been derived from the Xhosa word �mbongolo�
meaning donkey, as these animals were
extensively used in the construction of the
Now a popular recreation spot, the
beauty of the dam is enhanced by the close
proximity of hills which hold the expanse of
water in a deep basin. The surrounds of the
dam are equipped with picnic spots under
The dam is widely utilised for all sorts
of water sport such as yachting, power
boating, water-skiing and wind surfing.