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Published:  2016-02-21 Views:  848
Author:  Fanie
Published in:  Harties Heritage/Erfenis
Ons Erfenis - Die Preller Huis

HOEV: OPNAME VAN BESIENSWAARDIGHEDE                  Nr 031

HEHA: SURVEY OF HERITAGE SITES                                     No 031

 

GUSTAV PRELLERHUIS “DIE STERREWAG” (PELINDABA)

DATUM 1934

SAEA-BESKERMING (60JR): ja

VERKLAAR: ja, Maart 1973. GELYS: nvt

GPS data:X 27.54.28 Y –25.47.42

WELGEGUND 491JQ

PAD P 31-1.

EIENAAR / KONTAKPERSOON: Prellerhuis-restourant (012-3055380)

 

Die suidekant van die huis wat baie aan ‘n tradisionele Swart woning met rondawels rondom ‘n lapa herinner. Hierdie akkulturasie was ‘n kenmerk van die Transvaal Styl uit die 1920’er jare.

 

The south side of the house that reminds of a traditional Black homestead with round huts grouped around a lapa. This acculturation was a characteristic of the Transvaal Style of the 1920’s.

 

Die plaas, Welgegund, is aan M W Pretorius (“Swart Martiens” ‘n neef van president, M W Pretorius) deur die ZAR aan die einde van die negentiende eeu toegeken. Hy was die grootvader van Hannie Preller, gebore Pretorius. ‘n Gedeelte van die plaas is in 1920 vir die bou van die Hartbeespoortdam onteien en die res is deur die staat vir dorpsontwikkeling onteien. Hierdie ontwikkeling het vir ‘n lang tyd in beplanningsfase gebly en toe die planne oplaas afgewys is, het ‘n ou plaasarbeider van Welgegund uitgeroep: “phelile indaba!” (“Klaar gepraat!” of “Die saak is afgehandel”) Hierna het die gedeelte van die plaas die naam PELINDABA gekry. Hannie het toe haar man oortuig om die gedeelte van die plaas terug te koop. Hier het die Prellers in 1924 die rondawelhuis (kyk nr 033) en in 1934 die huis “Sterrewag” laat bou.

 

Die bouwerk aan Sterrewag is deur Hannie se broer, Lood Pretorius (029), en sy seun gedoen. Die 60 cm dik mure is tot op vensterbankhoogte van plaaslike rooibruin verweerde “ysterklip” en daarbo van gesaagde lei in lae gebou. Die aankarwei en saag van die klip was ‘n geweldige werk en het amper ‘n twis tussen die swaers laat ontstaan. Die dakke is van plaaslike dekgras, die vloere van lei en selfs die bad is van lei gebou. Ook die groot eettafel op die stoep is van lei. Hier is dus weer hoofsaaklik van plaaslike materiale gebruik gemaak: ‘n kenmerk van die Transvaalse Styl. Kyk nr 033 vir meer besonderhede van die styl.

 

Die huis is blykbaar so in die ontstaan beplan en verander. Die agterste gedeelte wat uit ‘n groepering van rondawels om ‘n lapa met ‘n lae muur en tuinhekkie na suid bestaan, is eerste gebou en sou feitlik soos ‘n Tswanakraal daar uitgesien het. Daarna is die voorste gedeelte van die huis aangebou. Hierdie deel is reghoekig en versmelt nie eintlik met die rondawels nie, behalwe dat die dak groot sagte wolwe-ente het. Dit bevat ‘n grondverdiepeing en ‘n solderkamer met ‘n uitsigbalkon waar die teleskoop (sterrewag) opgestel kon word. Ook was daar ‘n kelder. Die huis is noord gerig en na die uitsig op Hartbeespoortdam. Die agterste lapa asook die klipgemesselde stoepe en groot bome aan die noordekant dui weer daarop dat die huis buite netsowel as binne bewoon is.

 

Sketse vir die kaggel wat deur Skote Petoors se seun gemaak is.

 

Construction sketches for the fire place were made by the son of Lood Pretorius.

 

 

 

 

Die Prellers het in 1936 hier kom woon terwyl Eugéne Marais in die rondawelhuis ingetrek het. In 1973 is die huis deur die AEK onder toesig van argitek, Hannes Meiring en kultuurhistorikus, Elize Labuschagne restoureer en as Nasionale Gedenkwaardigheid verklaar. In die restourasieproses is die oorspronklike kaggel weer agter pleister blootgelê en volgens ‘n oorspronklike tekening van Lood Pretorius se seun herstel. Die leiklipbad is ook herstel en die oorspronklike sinknok op die grasdak teruggesit. Die bombuis is verander om aan restourantvereistes te voldoen en die kelder is ongelukkig toegegooi.

 

Foto van 2002 wys die kaggel wat toegebou was en volgens die sketse gerestoureer is.

 

Photo of 2002 shows the fire place that was bricked up but later rediscovered and restored with the help of the sketches.

 

Gustav Schoeman Preller, seun van Kommandant Robert Clunie Logie Preller is op 4 Oktober 1875 in Pretoria gebore. Sy moeder was Stephina Schoeman, suster van genl. Hendrik Schoeman. Die feit dat hy net drie of vier jaar skoolgegaan het maak sy latere prestasies as Afrikaanse skrywer, joernalis, historikus en taalstryder te meer merkwaardig. In 1898 trou hy met Johanna Christina (Hannie) Pretorius.

 

Tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog veg hy as artilleris in Natal en later as bittereinder in Oos-Transvaal en tree deurentyd op as oorlogkorrespondent vir “De Volkstem” en “De Zoutpansberg Wachter”. Vier maande voor die einde van die oorlog word hy by Ermelo gevange geneem en na Indië gestuur. Na sy terugkeer oorreed Eugéne Marais hom om nie na Argentinië te immegreer nie maar as joernalis by die koerant, “Land en Volk” aan te sluit. Hier lewer hy sy bydrae as redakteur tot 1936. Vanaf 1903 tot 1924 is hy ook assistent-redakteur en vanaf 1925 tot 1926 redakteur van “De Volkstem”, waarna hy redakteur van “(Ons) Die Vaderland” word tot sy aftrede in 1936. Na sy aftrede op Pelindaba in 1936 sit hy sy geskiedskrywing en navorsing vir die Staatsargief voort. Die omvangryke Prellerversameling in die argief in Pretoria getuig van sy baanbrekerswerk en ywer. In 1909 is hy stigterslid van “De Zuid-Afrikaanse Akademie voor Taal, Letterkunde en Kunst” (tans: Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns). Hy is een van die belangrikste figure in die Tweede Afrikaanse Taalbeweging en een van die stigters van die Taalgenootskap in 1905.

 

Gesinsfoto van die Prellers in hulle huis.

Family photograph of the Prellers.

 

 

 

Die prellers het graag vriende om hulle vergader.

The Prellers liked to entertain many friends in their home.

 

Gustav Preller was ‘n beskeie en hardwerkende mens wat nie tyd gehad het vir beuselagtige geklets nie. Met sy vriendekring van invloedryke politici, digters, skrywers en kunstenaars soos Eugéne Marais, Frans Oerder, Erich Mayer, Henk Pierneef, Coert Steynberg en ander het hy Pelindaba ‘n integrale deel van die Afrikaner se geskiedenis en kultuur gemmak. Na sy dood op 6 Oktober 1943 is hy op die familiebegraafplaas te Pelindaba begrawe.

 

 

 

 

GUSTAV PRELLER HOUSE “DIE STERREWAG” (PELINDABA)

DATE 1934

SAHRA PROTECTION (60yr): yes

DECLARED MONUMENT: yes, March 1973. LISTED: na

GPS data: X 27.54.28 Y –25.47.42

WELGEGUND 491JQ

ROAD P 31-1.

OWNER / CONTACT PERSON: Prellerhuis restaurant (012-3055380)

 

The farm, Welgegund was awarded to M W Pretorius (“Swart Martiens” a nephew of President M W Pretorius, founder of Pretoria) at the end of the 19th century by the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR). Swart Martiens was the grandfather of Hannie Preller, who inherited the farm. A portion was expropriated in 1920 for the building of the Hartbeespoort Dam and the remainder for township development. The township remained in the planning stage for a long time and when finally the development was abandoned an old farm labourer at Welgegund exclaimed “phelile indaba!” (“end of discussion”). This is how the name PELINDABA came about. Hannie Preller convinced her husband, Gustav to repurchase the farm from the State and the couple built a weekend rondavel house here in 1924 (see no 033) and a larger retirement house in 1934. This they called “Sterrewag” (“Observatory”).

 

Hannie’s brother, Lood Pretorius (029) and his son who lived close by undertook the building of this “Sterrewag”. The 60 cm thick walls were built of reddish brown weathered “Ironstone” up to window cill height and with sawn slate laid horizontal, above cill height. The difficulty in sawing and transporting of the slate almost led to a feud between the brothers-in-law. The roofs are thatched and throughout local materials were used as far as possible. Most of the characteristics of the “Transvaal Style” were applied in this house. (For more information on this movement see no 033).

 

The house plans or design was altered as it evolved. The earliest part consisted of a group of loose around a lapa, enclosed at one end by a low wall and entrance gate. This would have strongly resembled a Tswana homestead (kraal). A northern rectangular section was then added which does not readily amalgamate with the rondavels except for the soft flowing lines of the thatched roofs with low eaves. The northern section consists of a ground floor and an attic with a balcony where the telescope could be set up – hence the name of the house, “Sterrewag” (“Observatory”). The house also had a cellar but this was filled up in 1973 during restoration.

 

Noordekant van die huis wys die balkon op eerste verdieping waar die teleskoop opgerig kon word.

North-elevation of the house with the balcony on which the telescope could by placed.

 

The house enjoys a beautiful view to the north where the Hartbeespoortdam is seen through the Crocodile River Poort in the Witwatersberg. Its lapa, stoeps, balcony and huge slate table built under shading trees are evidence that the Prellers enjoyed living in the traditional Transvaal farm style outside and around the house. Here they came to live permanently in 1936 while Eugéne Marais lived in the “rondavel house” nearby.

 

Restoration of the house was undertaken by the Atomic Energy Board under the supervision of cultural historian, dr Elize Labuschagne and architect, Hannes Meiring in 1973, whereafter it was declared a National Monument.

 

During the restoration the original stone fireplace was discovered under a layer of later plaster and restored to the original design of the son of Lood Pretorius.

 

 

Die foto wys die ysterklip mure tot vensterbankhoogte en die gesaagde lei daarbo.

 

This photo shows the “ironstone” foundation walls and the sawn slate above.

 

Gustav Schoeman Preller, son of Commander Robert Clunie Logie Preller, was born in Pretoria on 4 October 1875. His mother was Stephina Schoeman, the sister of Genl Hendrik Schoeman (082). The fact that Preller had only three or four years of formal education makes his achievements as Afrikaans writer, journalist, historian and language activist all the more remarkable. Preller married Johanna Christina (Hannie) Pretorius in 1898.

 

During the War (1899-1902) he fought with the artillery in Natal and later as “bittereinder” in the Eastern Transvaal all the while acting as war correspondent for “ De Volkstem” and “ De Zoutpansberg Wachter”. Four month before the end of the war Preller was taken prisoner near Ermelo and banished to India. When he returned after the war his friend, Eugéne Marais persuaded him not to emigrate to Argentine, but to stay behind and work as a journalist at the paper, “Land en Volk”. Preller worked there as an editor until 1936. From 1903 to 1924 he also worked at “Die Volkstem” as assistant editor and between 1926 and 1936 Preller took over the reins at “Die Vaderland” when he retired. Work for him did however not stop there and at Pelindaba he was occupied with historical research for the State Archives. The comprehensive collection there is testimony to his pioneering work and enthusiasm.

 

Preller was also a founding member of the “Zuid-Afrikaansche Akademie Voor Taal, Letterkunde en Kunst” (now: S-A Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns). He was one of the most important figures of the Second Afrikaans Language Movement and a founding member of the Language Fellowship (Taalgenootskap) in 1905.

 

Gustav Preller was an unpretentious and hardworking man with no time for foolish barter. With his circle of friends who where each influential in their fields such as politics, poetry, writing and arts, he created at Pelindaba a platform for the formation and exchange of ideas. Eugéne Marais, Frans Oerder, Erich Mayer, Henk Pierneef, Coert Steynberg and many others became an integral part of Afrikaner history and culture. Preller died on 6 October 1943 and was buried at the family graveyard on the hill at Pelinda.

 

 

Selfs die bad was van leiklip gemaak.                           Even the bath was built from slate.

 

 


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