How did Bosman’s crossing get its name?

How did Bosman’s crossing get its name?

Last week I explained where the names Murray-, Neethling- en Hofmeyer street originated.

Today I look at Bosman’s crossing, an area on the Western periphery of Stellenbosch.

The exact origin of the name Bosman’s crossing is debated, some reckon it is named after a certain Mr Daniel Bosman who owned a brandy distillery next to the river. Others believe Bosman was simply a farmer in the area.

Bosman’s siding, probably late 1800s (Photo: Stellenbosch Drie Eeue book)

Factories and distilleries

The area around plankenbrugrivier and Papegaaiberg was quite industrial since the start.

In die 1700’s a quarry was built to mine clay from papegaaiberg for bricks.

Distilleries like Collison’s and Santhagen’s arose in the area around 1875.

In the early 1900s a large part of Bosman’s crossing was bought up by the KWV to serve as their Stellenbosch headquarters (1918 to 1995).

The railway

When the railway came to Stellenbosch for the first time in 1862, the authorities initially wanted to build the main station at Bosman’s crossing.

In the end however it was located at Du Toit’s station (read here), with a smaller train stop at Bosman’s crossing, as shown in the photo above.

About the same time, a proper dirt road (‘hardepad’) was completed between Stellenbosch to Cape Town. This was a major breakthrough. The large, sandy area between the two (known as the cape flats) was difficult to navigate with ox wagons and horse carts.

The new routes made communicating with the outside world easier, and showed much promise for Stellenbosch.

Geological finds

In 1911 some interesting geological excavations were done by L. Peringuy, who was then head of the state run museum in Cape Town.

He found a series of ancient hand tools made by primitive people under the clay at Bosman’s crossing. Their origin is estimated at 300 000 years BC.

The tools are currently in the Museum de Toulouse in France.

The words ‘Bosman’s Crossing’ as well as his name are written on the artefacts, as seen in the photograph below.


Article: Y Coetsee 2017
Sources: Stellenbosch Drie Eeue
wikimedia commons:,_South_Africa_-_MHNT_PRE.2009.0.195.1


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