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South Africa-Hankey.jpg
View over Hankey from Vergaderingskop, with Centerton visible in the distance
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Coordinates: 33°49′53″S24°52′51″E / 33.83139°S 24.88083°E / -33.83139; 24.88083 Coordinates: 33°49′53″S24°52′51″E / 33.83139°S 24.88083°E / -33.83139; 24.88083
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape
District Sarah Baartman
Municipality Kouga
  Total21.02 km2 (8.12 sq mi)
 (2011) [1]
  Density560/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
   Black African 45.5%
   Coloured 51.5%
   Indian/Asian 0.1%
   White 2.3%
First languages (2011)
   Afrikaans 55.7%
   Xhosa 39.4%
   English 2.0%
Time zone UTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Area code 042

Hankey is a small town on the confluence of the Klein and Gamtoos rivers in South Africa. It is part of the Kouga Local Municipality of the Sarah Baartman District in the Eastern Cape.

Gamtoos River river in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Gamtoos River or Gamptoos River is a river in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. It is formed by the confluence of the Kouga River and the Groot River and is approximately 645-kilometre (401 mi) long with a catchment area of 34,635 square kilometres (13,373 sq mi).

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European, Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Kouga Local Municipality Local municipality in Eastern Cape, South Africa

The Kouga Local Municipality is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, approximately 80 km west of Port Elizabeth, and forms part of the Sarah Baartman District Municipality. Its territory includes the coastal zone between the Van Stadens River in the east and the Tsitsikamma River in the west, and stretches inland towards the Baviaanskloof Mountains in the north.


Engraving of Reverend William Alers Hankey on a monument in Hankey William Alers Hanhey-001.jpg
Engraving of Reverend William Alers Hankey on a monument in Hankey


Hankey was established in 1826 and is the Gamtoos Valley's oldest town. It was named after the Rev. William Alers Hankey, (1771-1859) an ex-banker and the secretary of the London Missionary Society (LMS). He was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, (though the Missionary Society's successor body's obituary gives the place of his birth as London), the natural son of the London banker, merchant, Jamaica planter and treasurer of the Foundling Hospital, Thomas Hankey of Fetcham Park, and educated, according to his father's 1793 will, at the University of Edinburgh. Sir Maurice Hankey, later Lord Hankey, the creator of the modern UK Cabinet Office, was William Alers Hankey's descendant.

University of Edinburgh public research university in Edinburgh, Scotland

The University of Edinburgh, founded in 1582, is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's ancient universities. The university has five main campuses in the city of Edinburgh, with many of the buildings in the historic Old Town belonging to the university. The university played an important role in leading Edinburgh to its reputation as a chief intellectual centre during the Age of Enlightenment, and helped give the city the nickname of the Athens of the North.

The purpose of the establishment of the village was to grow mielies and corn for the LMS main station at Bethelsdorp and also to carry out evangelistic work. The first property was "Wagondrift" owned by the Damant Bros. And although the town was planned for 250 families it started with 25 families. The first inhabitants consisted of a large number of Khoi, a few Mfengos, a few farmers and mixed "Gamtouer" (1700) descendants.

Bethelsdorp Place in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Bethelsdorp is a town in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, 20 km north-west of Port Elizabeth.

The LMS founded the station in 1822, terminated it in 1875 and in 1876 it became independent from the LMS. It became a Congregational Church as it is today. The first trustees of the LMS were Dr John Philip and the Rev. William Alers Hankey. The first missionaries were Messrs Miles, Melville, Williams, later the Philips' (Will Enowy and Thom Durant Philip)

Dr John Philip was superintendent. Some of the residents were Windvogel, Diederich, Abraham, Stuurman, Dragoonder, Armoed, Scheepers, Mahtjies, Gerts, Matroos, Konstabel and Kettledas. The first white farmers were Messrs. Wait, Salmon Ferreira, Stefanus Ferreira and the Damant Bros.

The first irrigation scheme on the Klein Rivier was started by James Wait in 1827 and completed in 1830. It extended for 3.5 miles and he was awarded 50 cattle and the use of 50 workers.

What the papers said about the opening of the scheme on the Klein Rivier:

"......the course swung into action sending streams of water down its winding length ....."

People came from far and wide to view the spectacle and Dr Philip later declared it the greatest work of its kind ever undertaken in the Colony. Part of this irrigation scheme can still be seen today and forms part of the Hankey Golf Course.

The second irrigation scheme on the Gamtoos River, a provincial heritage site in Hankey today, was carried out by William Enowy Philip, the son of the Superintendent of the LMS, Dr John Philip. His inspiration was the window in the hill between Backhousehoek and Vensterhoek and was dug using pick and shovel and wheelbarrows. The length of the tunnel is 228 meters and the speed of construction was very slow - about 1 to 2 feet a day. It was started in April 1843 and completed in August 1844 – 15 months later. It was in use from April 1845 to 1970 - a period of 125 years. Note: This was the first ever tunnel scheme in South Africa.

Provincial heritage site (South Africa) heritage site in South Africa

Provincial heritage sites in South Africa are places that are of historic or cultural importance within the context of the province concerned and which are for this reason declared in terms of Section 28 of the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) or legislation of the applicable province. The designation was a new one that came into effect with the introduction of the Act on 1 April 2000 when all former national monuments declared by the former National Monuments Council and its predecessors became provincial heritage sites as provided for in Section 58 of the Act.

A tragedy: The builder of the tunnel, William Enowy Philip, drowned on 1 July 1845 in the Gamtoos River "apparently in a desperate but vain attempt to save his ten year old nephew, John Philip Fairbairn. William was only 31 years old at the time." according to the family history book, compiled by Peter Philip in 1980, "A Fifeshire Family:The Descendants of John and Thomas Philip of Kirkcaldy."

In 1822 Dr John Philip, the superintendent of the London Missionary Society established a mission station on the farm Wagendrift and named it after Reverend William Alers Hankey, the treasurer of the London Missionary Society. [2] An irrigation tunnel constructed under direction of William Philip, the son of Dr John Philip, is today protected as a provincial heritage site. [3] [4]

Dr John Philip, was a missionary in South Africa. Philip was born at Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland to a local schoolmaster. After starting as an apprentice to a linen draper in Leven, and working as a clerk in Dundee, he entered the Wesleyan theological college at Hoxton, and in 1804 was appointed minister of the first Scottish Congregational chapel in Aberdeen. On 24 September 1809 he married Jane Ross, the daughter of a prosperous Aberdeen engineer; they had seven children. His daughter, Elizabeth (Eliza), married John Fairbairn, the renowned educator, politician and financier, on 24 May 1831.

London Missionary Society British religious organisation (1795-1966)

The London Missionary Society was a predominantly Congregationalist missionary society formed in England in 1795 at the instigation of Welsh Congregationalist minister Dr Edward Williams working with evangelical Anglicans and various nonconformists. It was largely Reformed in outlook, with Congregational missions in Oceania, Africa, and the Americas, although there were also Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and various other Protestants involved. It now forms part of the Council for World Mission (CWM).

On 19 August 2002, the remains of Saartjie Baartman were laid to rest on Vergaderingskop, a hill on the edge of town. [5]

As is the case with most South African towns, there are residential areas previously reserved for non-white residents set up on the outskirts of the town. In the case of Hankey these are Centerton on the western edge of the town (on the opposite bank of the Klein River ) and Weston, located about 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) to the south-west (on the opposite bank of the Gamtoos River ).


Hankey is located on the junction of the R330 and the R331 roads and the Avontuur Railway passes through the town.

See also

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Hankey at Wikimedia Commons

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Main Place Hankey". Census 2011.
  2. Olivier, Willie & Sandra (2001). Touring in South Africa (First ed.). Struik Publishers. ISBN   1-86872-388-7.
  3. "Irrigation tunnel Hankey District". South African Heritage Resources Agency. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2009.
  4. "The History of Hankey". The Wilderness Foundation. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  5. Kerseboom, Simone. "Burying Sara Baartman: Commemoration, Memory and Historical Ethics" (PDF). Stellenbosch University History Department. Retrieved 23 October 2008.