Ever wondered why this landmark in the city centre of Bloemfontein is called Naval Hill?
Bloemfontein does not have a naval base, nor is it close to the ocean. The origin of the name is steeped in the history of the town. Before the Anglo Boer War the hill was named Bloemfonteinberg (Bloemfontein Mountain), Tafelkop (Table Kopje) or sometimes Platberg (Flat Mountain). However, after the British occupation of Bloemfontein in March 1900 a division of the British Naval Brigade, as well as a few naval guns were placed on the hill to fortify it. According to the English newspaper, the Bloemfontein Post of 12 May 1900, the name was changed to Naval Hill “in perpetuation of its occupation by our [British] Naval Brigade immediately upon the taking of the late capital of the Orange Free State”. After the war, the name Naval Hill was retained. Dr Marianna Botes of the National Museum is busy with a research project on the history of Naval Hill and all the structures on it.
Photo: South African Tourism from South Africa [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]