Saldanha History


Antonia de Saldanha took on fresh water in Table Bay in 1503, which because he was assured by his pilot that they had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, was taken to be a new discovery and become known forthwith as Aguada de Saldanha.  During the early 17th century seal hunting was carried out by the French in the area.  The French formed a colony in Saldanha in 1632.  The Dutch took over control in 1677.  During this time grazing rights were granted to the north and farms and fishing posts were started.  One hundred and fifty years of sealing had by know stripped the area of it seals.  Saldanha was the scene of two major clashes between the Dutch and the English in the late 1700’s.  After a number of skirmishes the British took over rule in 1796.  Guano was removed from Malgas Island in the so-called 1845 guano rush. Then followed the harvest of penguin eggs from Jutten Island.  American, British and French whalers had been operating from Saldanha from as early as 1788.  During World War II Saldanha Bay assumed great importance. Saldanha Bay was identified as a Convoy staging point.  In 1942 the 8th Heavy Battery of the coastal Artillery set up coastal defence guns at South Head, Baviaansberg, Malgaskop and Elands Point.  A boom defence system was laid between Hoedjies point and Marcus Island and between Marcus Island and Elands Point and was administrated by the SA Naval Forces.  In 1948 the first naval training base in Saldanha HMSAS FIELD MARSHALL SMUTS, was opened on the present site of SAS SALDANHA.  It was later moved to Durban.  In 1951 it was decided to open Gymnasia in all arms of the then SADF.  The Navy opened the SA Naval Gymnasium at Saldanha to provide naval training on a one year full-time voluntary basis. It was renamed SAS DROMMEDARIS and in 1956 SAS SALDANHA.  SAS SALDANHA presently conducts training for all non-commissioned officers of the SA Navy.

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