Wellington, Western Cape

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Dutch Reformed Church Complex in Wellington.jpg
Lady Loch Bridge over Bergriver, Wellington.jpg
Coronation Arch, Wellington.jpg
Block House, Wellington.jpg
From top, Wellington CBD, with the NG Mother Church and snowy Wemmershoek Peak beyond. Dutch Reformed Church Complex in Wellington (centre left). Lady Loch Bridge over the Berg River (centre right). Coronation Arch in Victoria Jubilee Park (bottom left). Second Boer War block house (bottom right).
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Coordinates: 33°38′S18°59′E / 33.633°S 18.983°E / -33.633; 18.983 Coordinates: 33°38′S18°59′E / 33.633°S 18.983°E / -33.633; 18.983
Country South Africa
Province Western Cape
District Cape Winelands
Municipality Drakenstein
Established1840 [1]
  Total30.16 km2 (11.64 sq mi)
 (2011) [2]
  Density1,800/km2 (4,800/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
   Black African 16.2%
   Coloured 67.3%
   Indian/Asian 0.4%
   White 15.4%
First languages (2011)
   Afrikaans 81.2%
   Xhosa 10.7%
   English 5.9%
Time zone UTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
PO box
Website Wellington Tourism

Wellington is a town in the Western Cape Winelands, a 45-minute drive from Cape Town, in South Africa with a population of approximately 62,000. Wellington's economy is centered on agriculture such as wine, table grapes, deciduous fruit, and a brandy industry. The town is located 75 km north-east of Cape Town, reached by the N1 motorway and R44. Due to the growth of the Mbekweni township south of the town, it now forms a de facto urban unit with Paarl, just 10 km to the south. Wellington now officially falls under the Drakenstein Local Municipality, which also covers Saron and Paarl.



Wellington is situated at the foot of the Groenberg on the banks of the Kromme Rivier (Dutch for Bend River) and forms the center of the Cape Winelands with its picturesque environment and numerous wineries. The town is at the base of one of the oldest mountain passes in South Africa, Bain's Kloof Pass, built by master road-builder Andrew Geddes Bain. The town is the home of the Boland Rugby Union and the professional rugby team the Boland Kavaliers. The town is also an academic centre, with Cape Peninsula University of Technology, the Timothy Ministry Team, Bible Media, Huguenot High School, Weltevrede Senior Secondary School, and Bergriver Senior Secondary School all falling within the town.


Originally known as Limiet Valley (border or frontier valley), the area became known as Val du Charron or Wagenmakersvallei (Valley of the Wagonmaker) toward the end of the seventeenth century when the French Huguenots settled there. After the formal establishment of the town in 1840, the name was changed to Wellington in honour of the Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, renowned soldier and conqueror of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, as suggested by Sir George Napier. [3]

Coats of arms

Municipality (1) — Wellington was a municipality in its own right from 1873 to 2000. On 18 June 1918, the town council adopted a pseudo-heraldic design as the municipal arms. [4] The shield was blue, and contained a landscape scene in a circular border. The shield was supported by two red lions, each with a golden coronet around its neck (these being the supporters of the arms of the Duke of Wellington). The arms were depicted on a cigarette card issued in 1931. [5]

Municipality (2) — On 22 June 1948, the council approved a new coat of arms, designed by Ivan Mitford-Barberton and H. Ellis Tomlinson. [6] This was in response to a Cape Provincial Administration circular calling on municipalities to have their arms checked and, if necessary, re-designed to make them heraldically correct. The arms were registered at the Bureau of Heraldry in February 1987. [7]

The design reflected the Huguenot origins of the town: Per chevron Argent and Azure, in chief two hurts, each charged with a fleur-de-lis Or, in base a Huguenot cross, Argent (in layman's terms : the shield is divided into silver over blue by a chevron-shaped line, in the upper half are two golden fleurs de lis on blue discs and in the lower half is a silver Huguenot cross). A blue mural crown was added as a crest. The existing supporters were retained, but were differenced by adding a silver anchor to the coronet. The motto was "Par foi et loyaute".

Notable Sites

Established in 1886, the James Sedgewick Distillery is located in Wellington, and produces the Three Ships range of whiskies, as well as the single grain Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky.

Related Research Articles

Heraldry Profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol

Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement. The achievement, or armorial bearings usually includes a coat of arms on a shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

<i>Fleur-de-lis</i> Stylized lily, heraldic symbol

The fleur-de-lis, also spelled fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily that is used as a decorative design or symbol.

Division of the field

In heraldry, the field (background) of a shield can be divided into more than one area, or subdivision, of different tinctures, usually following the lines of one of the ordinaries and carrying its name. Shields may be divided this way for differencing or for purposes of marshalling, or simply for style. The lines that divide a shield may not always be straight, and there is a system of terminology for describing patterned lines, which is also shared with the heraldic ordinaries. French heraldry takes a different approach in many cases from the one described in this article.

Variation of the field Heraldic term

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Paarl Place in Western Cape, South Africa

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Ordinary (heraldry)

In heraldry, an ordinary is a simple geometrical figure, bounded by straight lines and running from side to side or top to bottom of the shield. There are also some geometric charges known as subordinaries, which have been given lesser status by some heraldic writers, though most have been in use as long as the traditional ordinaries. Diminutives of ordinaries and some subordinaries are charges of the same shape, though thinner. Most of the ordinaries are theoretically said to occupy one-third of the shield; but this is rarely observed in practice, except when the ordinary is the only charge.

Drakenstein Local Municipality Local municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

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Cape Winelands District Municipality District municipality in Western Cape, South Africa

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In heraldry and heraldic vexillology, a blazon is a formal description of a coat of arms, flag or similar emblem, from which the reader can reconstruct the appropriate image. The verb to blazon means to create such a description. The visual depiction of a coat of arms or flag has traditionally had considerable latitude in design, but a verbal blazon specifies the essentially distinctive elements. A coat of arms or flag is therefore primarily defined not by a picture but rather by the wording of its blazon. Blazon is also the specialized language in which a blazon is written, and, as a verb, the act of writing such a description. Blazonry is the art, craft or practice of creating a blazon. The language employed in blazonry has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax, which becomes essential for comprehension when blazoning a complex coat of arms.

Western Cape wine

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Pile (heraldry)

In heraldry, a pile is a charge usually counted as one of the ordinaries. It consists of a wedge emerging from the upper edge of the shield and converging to a point near the base. If it touches the base, it is blazoned throughout.

French heraldry The use of heraldic symbols in France

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  1. "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)" (PDF).
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Main Place Wellington". Census 2011.
  3. "Wellington Guide". Wellington Tourism. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  4. Western Cape Archives : Wellington Municipal Minutes (18 June 1918).
  5. http://www.ngw.nl/heraldrywiki/index.php?title=Category:UTC_South_African_town_arms
  6. Western Cape Archives : Wellington Municipal Minutes (22 June 1948).
  7. National Archives of South Africa : Data of the Bureau of Heraldry