“William Burchell is my favourite South African character and almost my favourite explorer. I hope, before I die, to see a monument raised to his memory, but it is probably a vain hope.”
– Alan Cattrick, Author of Spoor of Blood, 1959.
William John Burchell, British explorer and naturalist, travelled by ox-wagon through the Cape Colony during the period 1810 to 1815. During this time he identified, catalogued and described numerous specimens of South African fauna and flora. By the time he departed for England in 1815 he had collected over 60,000 specimens, which are today
held in the British Museum, Kew Gardens, London and at the Oxford University.
He spent the rest of his life cataloging these specimens.
In 1814, during September and October, he camped at the foot of George Peak, a prominent landmark in the Outeniqua Mountain range, not far from the Garden Route Botanical Gardens.
To commemorate his visit to the Garden Route, four historical societies in the Southern Cape have come together to celebrate his achievements.
This Commemoration Celebration will be held at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens in George in the Western Cape, on the morning of 19 September 2014, followed by the unveiling of a memorial in recognition of his large contribution to the advancement of
the understanding of the natural sciences, and other spheres of knowledge, in South Africa.
Two experts in this field have offered to give illustrated lectures on Burchell’s achievements:
- Dr. Stanley Caveney (DPhil) and Professor Emeritus (Biology Department, Western University, Ontario, Canada
- Dr. Roger Stewart, MB ChB, PhD (Med) (Author, Lecturer and Management Consultant)
Preliminary Programme for September 19 2014:
- 08:30 – 09:00 Registration and Payment.
- 09:00 – 09:10 Welcome & Introductions.
- 09:10 – 09:50 William John Burchell, his early years up to his departure into the interior of South Africa, by Dr. Stanley Caveney.
- 09:50 – 10:30 William John Burchell, his travels in South Africa, with emphasis on the Southern Cape, by Dr. Roger Stewart.
- 10:30 – 11:00 Tea break and leg stretch.
- 11:00 – 11:40 William John Burchell, the Naturalist, by Dr. Stanley Caveney.
- 11:40 – 12:20 William John Burchell, the Polymath, by Dr. Roger Stewart.
- 13:30 – 14:00 The Burchell Memorial.
An admission fee will be charged to cover overhead costs, morning tea, etc. A light finger buffet lunch will be available. This pre-paid lunch will be available to order, prior to the event.
For planning purposes, we do need an estimate of numbers at this early stage. Please reply by e-mail to Burchell2014@gmail.com giving your name and names of any colleagues who are likely to attend.
Please also advise if you wish to have the optional lunch and if a vegetarian lunch is preferred.
Please pass this notice onto others who may be interested.