History of our school

Swartberg Primary School came to be on 19 July 1966 when the Holy Trinity English Church School and the De Vos Malan Dutch Reformed Mission School united to form the Vleiview Primary School.

The Vleiview Primary School was renamed as Swartberg Primary School on 1 January 1979. Although the school still uses the same school buildings as in 1966, two additional wings had to be added in 1975 because of an increase in pupil numbers. On 1 January 1976 a class for learners with special needs was added to the curriculum of the school, with a Pre-primary class being added on 1 January 1987

Word of mouth and research revealed interesting pieces of information regarding the history of the school.

The first Anglican minister who apparantly became involved with education at Caledon was the Reverend Albertyn who worked at Caledon during the middle 1840's. During the 1880's the first English Mission School was situated in Haw Street. This school used a building, previously known as the flowershed. The same building was later used by the Theunissen Undertakers. Today there is a modern building on the same site, from which the Rust Attorney does business. It may seem as if the Reverend Myddleton was involved with the establishment of this school. It was not possible to obtain names of educators who taught at this school.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the school moved to a building in Dempers Street. When the primary school vacated this building, the Swartberg Secondary School moved in. When they also left for a new building, the Anglican Church used the building as their Parish hall. Lessons were taught in English and two of the most well-known educators who taught here were Miss Mary Dunsdon en Miss Emily Metcalf, as they were called. Miss Metcalf was the principal of the school. Other known educators at this school were Mr Grieve, Mesdames Eileen Viljoen, Joey de Bruyn and Caroline Hendricks and Messrs Clarence Reid and Simon Ess. Other principals who can be recalled, were Messrs Barren and Theo Pheiffer.

On 29 October 1949 the cornerstone of the new Holy Trinity English Church School was laid. The inscription on this stone read as follows: "EMDG (To the greater glory of God.) This school was dedicated by the Most Reverend Geoffrey, Lord Archbishop of Cape Town, on 29 October 1949."

In that year the local rector of the Anglican Churh was the Reverend William Gregorowsky, the bishop was Bishop Lavis and the archbishop (who also unveiled the cornerstone of the new school) was Archbishop Geoffrey Derbyshire. The name of the school was derived from the local Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Mnr. Theodore Pheiffer was the first principal and he filled the post until December of 1954. As Mr Pheiffer was also the last principal in Dempers Street, it automatically fell on his shoulders to start the new school in the area known as the Lower West End of Caledon.. Another well-known teacher of Caledon wo started the school with him, was the Reverend Simon Ess. Only one principal, Mr John Hendricks (1 January 1955 until 30 June 1966) followed Mr Pheiffer before the school moved to Vleiview Primary School at its present location in the Bergsig township.

Of interest is the fact that, when the primary moved from the building in Dempers Street, the Swartberg Intermediate School moved into the same building, with Mr Golding as their first principal. The early history mentions the name of Mr John C. Golding who succeeded one Mr Goldsbury as principal of the then English Free School at Caledon during 1848. The surname Golding thus has a long relationship with education at Caledon.

The first Dutch Reformed Mission School was established during 1851. There is no certainty as to which building this first school used. What ís certain, is that some of their classes were taught in rooms of private homes. The school later moved to the hall of the Dutch Reformed Church in Trinity Street. There is some confusion as to the original name of this first school. However, it seems as if the school in Trinity Street was already called the De Vos Malan Dutch Reformed Primary School, the school being named after the then Superintendent-general of Education in the Cape Colony, Mr Wouter de Vos Malan. It is also interesting to note that a minister working in the Dutch Reformed Church at Caledon from 1871 until 1880 went by the name of Reverend P. J. G. de Vos, and that he was deeply involved with the education of the youth at Caledon and within the district. There is no clear proof that his name had anything to do with the De Vos Malan school. The Dutch Reformed Mission School was apparantly established by Reverend P. M. Spratt, with Mr Louis as the first principal. Reverend Spratt was an educator himself and he also established the first Dutch Reformed congregation in 1908. He worked at Caledon for 16 years

The new building of the De Vos Malan School was erected during the service of Reverend P. J. Theunissen at Caledon. It is also during his service that a hall for the Dutch Reformed congregation was erected within the Vleiview township. A well-known prinsipal in the history of this school, was Mr Jack Viljoen, who was principal of the chool from 1921 until his death on 9 Februarie 1949. He was also there when the school moved from the hall in Trinity Street to the new school buildings in the Lower West End at the end of Nuwerust Street. Unfortunately the cornerstone of this school got lost when the school was demolished in 1975. This move from Trinity Street to Nuwerust Street could possibly have taken place during 1937. Mr Jack Viljoen was succeeded as principal by Mr George Volkwyn, who was also the first principal of the Vleiview Primary School. He remained in this positin until his retirement on 30 September 1975.

The new buildings of the De Vos Malan school were soon too small for all the pupils and the junior primary classes (Grades 1 and 2) had to move back to Trinity Street. These classes were taught here for long until they were later taught in the hall in the Vleiview township. When the De Vos Malan School moved from the school buildings in Nuwerust Street in 1966, the Swartberg Secondary School, which by then has also moved from Dempers Street to a site next to the two primary schools in Nuwerst Street, also took over these buildings. Lessons for their Grades 8 and 9 classes were taught in these buildings until this school also eventually moved to the Bergsig township in 1975. When they moved out, the De Vos Malan buildings were demolished.

An interesting fact from the history of primary schools at Caledon, is the long terms of office of their principals.