Diamant, a portrait of a farm in 1885

Diamant farm in Agter Paarl, land grant 1693

Diamant farm in Agter Paarl, land grant 1693

Diamant farm was officially granted to Coenraad CLOETE in 1693, although it is likely that he had already started farming the 60 morg property by 1692. Cloete was married to Martha VERSCHUUR and owned the farm until his death in 1704. The farm lies on the western slopes of Paarl Mountain, and is flanked by Sandwyk and Fairview wine estates.

It is often very difficult to imagine what a farm looked like a century ago, and here old newspapers prove to be an invaluable resource. Take for instance the auction notice for the sale of Diamant farm on 25 April 1885. The advertisement in the Paarl District Advertiser mentions the owner’s name – Jacob Jozua Francois LE ROUX (Joz zn) and describes the property as follows:

De beroemde plaats ‘Diamant’, groot circa 260 morgen, gelegen te Achter Paarl omtrent half uur rijdend van de Paarlsche en Klapmuts Spoorwegstaties, aan den Paarlschen Berg, beplant met een uitgezochten wijngaard van omtrent 140,000 stokken, meest allen jong en in vollen draagt, eene groote hoeveelheid Vruchteboomen, Houtbosschen, Tuinen, prachtige Zaailanden en Veeweide met loopend Water, de Gebouwen met veel kosten daargesteld bestaan uit fraai ruim en luchtig Woonhuis onder strooidak, prachtige Wijnkelder, Bedienden vertrekken en Stallen onder Ijzeren daken, schuur, hoenderhok, alsook twee afzonderlijke buitenvertrekken voor bedienden. De plaats, zoo welbekend als eene der vruchtbaarste en welbebouwde in het district, behoeft geen verdere aanbeveling. Komt en overtuigt uzelven.

Two Cape carts, 14 mules, two horses, 20 ostriches, 60 sheep and two pigs were also for sale, as were then bags of guano are also listed – a fertiliser that was harvested in such large quantities in the early 20th century that it nearly caused an ecological disaster.

From the auction notice we also know that the farm’s wine cellar contained the following

16 Stukvaten, 17 Kuipen, 2 Kleine Stukvaten, 10 Leggers, 16 Pijpen, 5 Trap- en Onderbalies, 1 Wijnpomp, 1 Persmachine, Emmers, Trechters, Vlootjes, Kranen, 2 Brandewijnketels, 1 Rozijnen ketels, 7 Vellen voor Kuipen, Halfaamen, Ankers, enz.

as well as …

35 leggers Zoete Wijn, 100 leggers Rijzende Wijn, 8 leggers Brandewijn.

These auction notices are far more than a listing of objects for sale, but also provide valuable information on the art of making wine in 1885.

Source:
Paarl District Advertiser, 15 April 1885.

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