Fish Hoek is now a century old, and many of us never truly consider the age of a town, its origins or why it was built in the first place.
We tend to live in the present and seldom look back at what led us to this point. Fish Hoek was established through the sale of property in 1918, the year the First World War ended, and in the beginning it was a town without a large population, it had limited water and no electricity and, other than a beach, there was very little reason to come here at all. By all standards, Fish Hoek was a simple and innocent place.
In the beginning
It all began when a former teacher named Hester de Koch bought the land in 1883 and settled it as a farm; she was a woman before her time as women in those days were not encouraged to be in the property developing business, but this did not stop her. She piped in water and as the beach became more and more popular, she decided to capitalise on this influx of potential paying customers by renting out holiday accommodation on the farm. She began the tradition of older people watching the beach like a hawk to keep littering and bad behaviour to a minimum.
After Hester died, the property was sold off and began to develop incredibly fast. What was once a small holiday destination with rental accommodation available in a woman’s barn was fast becoming a place to buy up a piece of land and throw down a small wooden shack to keep your belongings safe while you go for a swim. The small wooden shacks eventually became more sturdy structures (obviously) and the town was born.
Fish Hoek was born
In many ways, the influence of the beach being right next door, was the reason for the developing town but it was what brought people to the beach that truly led to its growth: the railway. The railway was built to accommodate Simon’s Town and, by happy chance, it turns out that there was a cute beach along the way that people wanted to visit. It was a beach that was fated to be a popular holiday destination for decades to come.
From its early beginnings as a location for the horrible industry of whaling to a place in which people simply watch the whales during their annual mating season, has entertained young and old for over a century.