Welcome to Station Four of the Mossel Bay Historical Tourist Route.
Google Maps Co-ordinates -34.18155019031734, 22.14802889607435
The Route is +/- 5km long and introduce you to the “Story” of Mossel Bay town and the Mossel Bay community. It is a circular route, so you can start at any point.
Feel free to take short cuts, stray from the route, but whatever you do, do not rush through our beautiful town. You will not get to know Mossel Bay by rushing, but you will experience Mossel Bay by taking your time and taking it in. The Route introduce you to things to do, food and drink to enjoy and sights to see.
General Tour Guide Tips:
Read the Raliway Story on the pedestal or below.
Station 4 is located at the entrance to the old harbour where goods were imported and exported via wagon, railway and ship for years. This area has three prominent historic building. As always with imports and exports Customs House (1874). Look out for the “wagon stone” which was strategically placed to ensure the wagon axles does not damage the building. Mossel Bay Boating Company Building (1901) with it’s beautiful clock tower was used as offices and the tower to time how long it takes to load and offload loads. See if you can spot the fanlights above the windows which depicts scenes of the day. The Goods Shed (1900) as the name indicate was used to store produce for import and export. Today it houses the Goods Shed Flea Market with local produce, food and drink and souvenirs.
Proceed east down Bland street to Station 5 (350 m) which is located on the corner of Bland and Beach Street under the large tree. You will pass several tourism related businesses, restaurants, art exhibitions and historic buildings on both sides of Bland Street; Alex Company Warehouse (1888).
The railway and railway-related industries played an important role in the establishment and development of Mossel Bay as a town. Transportation of goods, fuel and people via rail and sea formed the foundation of a thriving Mossel Bay economy – at one point providing major employment opportunities to the local community.
The regional railway line was extended from Worcester to Mossel Bay at the start of the 20th century and reached Mossel Bay in 1906. The line was extended to George in 1907. The first station buildings and a house for the port superintendent followed soon after. In 1914 the railway line was further extended over the Montagu pass to provide improved access to the northern interior. The rail service was linked to the harbour as landed goods had to be transported to the hinterland.
Farmers delivered their produce to the station by horse trailers from where it was transported overnight to the Cape Town Fresh Produce Market by goods train – the coolness of night prolonging the life of the fresh produce. The horses were stabled overnight at a facility close to the presently-named Blue Shed coffee shop. Over time, extensions to the railway system were made to service the adjacent fish industry, the oil industry and winery depots in The Point area.
Passenger trains left for, and arrived from, Cape Town daily with a twice-a-week service to and from Johannesburg. Back in the day, holiday trains were a highly popular mode of transport and successfully ferried excited holiday makers to Hartenbos and Mossel Bay. Trains were usually packed to capacity at the beginning and end of academic terms, carrying students to and from educational centres. Interestingly, students had separate coaches: one for males and one for females!
Thanks to the railway network and port, the impact of trade can be seen in several of the large existing historic buildings. As the relevance of the railway network in Mossel Bay began to diminish, the buildings have gradually been repurposed.