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Tulbagh - The Earthquake PDF Print E-mail

On the 29th September 1969, the quietness of night was shattered at 22h05 by tremendous explosive sounds followed by a gigantic roaring, rumbling noise rolling forward like the waves of a stormy sea. Stupefied people rushed outside over broken glass and fallen plaster. The mountains surrounding Tulbagh resembled a city of lights as falling rocks acted like flints on the tinder-dry vegetation and started fires.

Many folk thought that the end of the world had come. Some in their terror, fled in their cars, while others gathered in groups in open spaces, and waited, shivering, for the morning. A few risked entering their crumbling houses to look for torches, blankets or something to drink. There were severe tremors throughout the night. Some brave people offered help at the Home for the Aged. It was the greatest blessing that the Waveren te huis happened to be empty because of the school holidays, as it was reduced to a ruin overnight.

A thick cloud of dust and smoke hung over the Tulbagh valley in the morning. The earthquake, measuring 6, 5 on the Richter scale, had left this lovely little Boland village in ruins, 11 people had lost their lives. Many had miraculously escaped death. The beautiful old NG Church, the school, the stately old Town Hall and many other buildings had to be demolished. People lived in tents, caravans and pre-fabricated houses for a very long time.

But accidents have their compensations! Kerkstraat was restored and has become the showpiece that it is today; the mouthpiece to display the rich history of this village.