Addo’s Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Look Out

An interesting bit of Addo and Kirkwood history from Tracey Stratford of Avoca River Cabins.

Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, (24 July 1862 – 24 January 1931) played a big role in the early development of the Sundays River Valley, but is best known for writing the classic book Jock of the Bushveld.

After coming to the Sundays River Valley, he founded the Sundays River Settlement Company which encouraged people to settle in the area.  Sir Percy Fitzpatrick played a key role in the establishment of the citrus industry, including the incredible irrigation system – which was his brain child. His idea was to channel water from the Orange River, six hundred kilometres away from Sunland (and the Sundays River Valley), into this arid area thus enabling agriculture to flourish here, as it does today, providing employment for the many and in a thriving citrus export industry.

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Fitzpatrick bought a piece of land next to the river from where his guests could enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding valley.  He even had a lookout platform built where visitors can still go to marvel at the view – Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’s Look Out – today, known locally as ‘Percy’s Place’.

His later life was clouded by a series of personal tragedies. His wife died in 1923. His eldest son, Nugent, had been killed in France in 1917 and his other two sons died within a week of each other at Christmas 1927: Alan from an accident in Johannesburg and Oliver from typhoid fever in Mexico. This left him with his only daughter who married in 1923 to Jack Niven. Sir Percy Fitzpatrick is buried at “The Look Out” (33°28′25″S 25°36′20″E) with his family, overlooking the Sundays River Valley. This burial place has been declared a National Monument. View The Look Out on Google Maps

Image: Firefly Africa

This historical National Monument overlooking our beautiful valley is approximately 8km from Avoca River Cabins. At Avoca, whenever there was a celebration, it was customary to cooler box, pile into the bakkie and cruise over the rhythmic bridge towards ‘Percy’s Place’ for sundowners or ‘sunuppers’, and a Kodak moment. History has a funny way of repeating itself as we now watch our children head off to ‘Percy’s Place’, enjoying the same views whilst sipping on a G&T and having a selfie moment. Happy memories are still being made…

Please ask your hosts for more information on picnicking and sun-downers at the Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Lookout.

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