The "Damhuis" was originally one of the outbuildings of the De Melkbosch farmstead, and was known as the "Vischuur" (fish store). The building later became known as the "Damhuis", after a nearby dam. The Damhuis is one of South Africa's oldest buildings.
The Damhuis was built from local stone and plastered with a mixture of cow manure, sand and hay. The building has a buttress which was built to support its sea-facing wall, which during heavy storms was pounded by rough surf coming right up to it.
The dam has long been filled, but a fresh water spring which fed it still exists on the property.
The structure, which is well over 100 years old, falls under the 60-year blanket protection, which stipulates that one cannot neglect, deface or damage such a property, or carry out alterations without permission from the relevant authorities. The urban legend was that the owner, Jse de Nobrega, left the protected structure to fall into a state of ruin so that he couldn't be accused of demolising a national monument. The beachfront plot on which it stands is worth millions. De Nobrega has now clarified that it was never his intention to develop the property, but that after he inherited it from his father he wanted to move into it with his wife, but the repair costs were too much. De Nobrega wouldn't elaborate except to say that this part of Melkbosstrand's history would be preserved.
The “Damhuis” in Beach Road, is to become part of a heritage-tourism development, its original structure will be restored and and information centre and traditional restaurant added. A key role-player in the proposed development is Nic Badenhorst of the Battle of Blaauwberg Heritage Society. He researched and documented the history of the Damhuis and brought it to the attention of the SA Heritage Foundation. The Damhuis could soon be declared a cultural-historical monument.
Soldiers taking part in the famous Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806 broke into the old "Visschuur" (fish store) and made off with 3 fishing boats and some dried fish.
16 August 2006