ARTICLE CREDIT: Knysna Plett Herald – Correspondent Yolandé Stander | Tuesday, 30 August 2022, 08:01

Enthusiasm for Plettenberg Bay’s history was tangible on Friday 19 August as more than 150 locals and visitors gathered at the iconic and historic Forest Hall in the Crags on the outskirts of Plett.

 The reason for the gathering was a talk by local resident and amateur historian Murray Crawford about the  property and surrounding areas.

The event was spearheaded by the Van Plettenberg Historical Society and took place at Forest Hall on Friday afternoon.

“It was a resounding success… it shows that there is a great interest in the area’s history,” said the society’s chairman, Len Swimmer.

The talk was received well. The crowd, who sat along four long tables, hung on Crawford’s every word as he delved into the history of the area and shared stories of the people who called this part of the world their home many years ago.

One of the most touching stories he told, especially for those with a soft spot for romantic gestures, was that of a Major Rivven from Scotland.

More than 150 people gathered at Forest Hall to listen to Murray Crawford talk about the history of the area

 It is believed that he wanted to purchase Forest Hall for his beloved wife, but could not as the owners at the time did not want to sell it. Crawford said that Rivven then decided to purchase land surrounding Forest Hall all the way to the Keurbooms River. He promised his wife that he would build her a house on the property and carry her over the threshold in his arms.

Fate however had something else in store. Before he could build the home, his wife passed away. Holding on to his promise, he built the house of her dreams as a mausoleum in her honour and carried her ashes across the threshold.

 Crawford also spoke about the rich history of Forest Hall itself. Dating back to 1864, it was the first manor house in the Plettenberg Bay section of the Garden Route.

It was the South African seat of the aristocratic British Newdigate family.

While it is now a prominent historic feature in Bitou, Forest Hall started off with a “catastrophic construction error” that caused it to decline into decrepitude. It was abandoned as a hopeless case and left to rot, but was acquired by a visionary outsider who had the will and resources to rescue it. Thanks to him and subsequent owners, it is today a beautifully restored and maintained historical monument.

After the talk, attendees were treated to a tour of the pro

Murray Crawford with Deonette de Ridder member of our ExCo
Bitou Wines

The Rise & Fall of the Brenton Blue Butterfly

Our first talk was held at Sky Villa where members and friends enjoyed views over Plettenberg Bay while listening to a most informative talk by Graeme Young on the Brenton Blue Butterfly which rather like the Van Plettenberg Historical Society, has survived against all the odds.

Dr Mark Brown: 20 years of conservation in Plett

Dr Mark Brown: 20 years of conservation in Plett

20 years of conservation in Plett.
The developing role of the Nature’s Valley Trust

Dr Mark Brown, Program Director, Natures’s Valley Trust.

The Van Plettenberg Historical Society is delighted to announce that Dr Mark Brown will be speaking at our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 14th November. Please join us to hear how the Nature’s Valley Trust has developed over the last 20 years.
This event is open to non-members – everyone welcome.

DATE: Thursday, 14th November 2019
VENUE: The Lounge, Formosa Garden Village, Ferdinand Street, Plettenberg Bay
TIME: 17.30 for 18.00
PRICE: R30 per person

Refreshments will be available after the talk.
RSVP by email to: by Monday 11th November 2019
For further information please email:

David Hall-Green: British Repertory Theatre in the 1960s

David Hall-Green: British Repertory Theatre in the 1960s

DATE: Thursday, 13th September 2018

VENUE: The Plettenberg Bay Angling Club at the Keurbooms River

TIME: 17h30 for 18h00

SPEAKER: David Hall-Green

SUBJECT: British Repertory Theatre in the 1960s: Personal Memories of a Young South African 

ENTRANCE: R30 per person

SUBSCRIPTIONS: R70 per member

“Rep”, as it has been known for scores of years, has been the hard-knocks training ground of many famous (and not so famous) actors.  Although for obvious reasons, the vast majority of them have been British, there have been a few South Africans who have taken the plunge into unfamiliar waters abroad, including Patrick Mynhardt, Estelle Kohler, Syd James and Lawrence Harvey. As we know, Syd James became one of the leading lights of the “Carry On” team, while Lawrence Harvey had a distinguished career as a leading actor on screen. 

Weekly Rep involved joining a theatre company for either a summer or a winter season of roughly twenty weeks and performing a new play every week.  This is very different from Repertoire Theatre, where four or five plays are repeated throughout the season.  Weekly Rep meant rehearsing the next play during the day while performing the current play each night and then going home to study the script for the next morning’s rehearsal.  

After DAVID HALL-GREEN started in British Rep at the age of 21 in 1960, he worked and toured with various theatrical companies throughout the 1960s.  He will share with us some of his often hilarious anecdotes, liberally illustrated with his personal photographs, theatre programmes and posters – recalling a long-gone era of more than half a century ago. 

Phone Mike Kantey at 072 628 5131 for further information.

Seats are limited and unreserved, so come early if you want to be sure of a good seat.