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Bailey's Beacon and 1820 Toposcope, Bathurst

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Dilshaat.Davids

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Post date: 07/08/2012
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History: Col. Jacob Cuyler's Camp stood on this site when he supervised the settlement of the 1820 settlers on their allotments. The Governor, Sir Rufane Donkin also pitched his camp here when he determined the site of the town of Bathurst.

About a kilometre north-east of Bathurst and on the left of the road to Trappes Valley there stands a hill, somewhat higher than the surrounding undulating country. On its summit there is a simple stone cairn, known as Bailey’s Beacon, which has a most significant history.
Colonel Jacob Cuyler was in charge of settling the various groups of British Settlers in this area. He pitched his camp on this hill in May, 1820, and directed each party of Settlers as it arrived from Algoa Bay, to the particular locality that had been allocated to it. Here, too, Sir Rufane Donkin, the Acting Governor of the Cape pitched his camp when he decided on the site for the town of Bathurst. He instructed Johan Knobel, a government land-surveyor from the Uitenhage district, to lay out the town and to reserve suitable sites for the drostdy, military post and other buildings.
The beacon was built by Capt. W. Bailey when he surveyed the eastern districts in 1859.
In 1968 the National 1820 Settlers Memorial Committee erected a toposcope as a memorial near the beacon and the Historical Monuments Commission added an inscribed plaque and its badge.
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