Old Aerial Ropeway

Simon's Town Historical Society

Old Aerial Ropeway

Cape Town, Simon's Town, Western Cape 7995, South Africa

Created By: Simon's Town Historical Society


The Aerial Ropeway owes its existence to the fact that the Royal Navy needed to build a new hospital and sanatorium, the old hospitals having been in use since 1810 and 1812. This was to be South Africa’s very first passenger rope way – the only other rope way at this stage was in Simon’s Town for the building of the Dry Dock to transport materials only. Works department started erecting standards of tarred wood for carrying the wire rope in January or February 1903. In March the brushwood surrounding the area was cleared by fire to a width of 40 ft on either side. Among those that were employed in the erection of the pylons were the Kroomen. In 1913 the wooden supports of the aerial rope way were replaced by the present steel structure as a result of frequent bush fires. In 1927 the Aerial Rope way was shut down and in 1934 the wire ropes were removed. The reason why the ropeway was shut down was that it was used once a week solely for the transport of stores to the Hospital and Sanatorium and a notice was issued by the Officer Commanding the Dockyard to all ships and stations that it would be out of action for that day.
It appears that this routine signal was picked up by some bright public servant in Whitehall and he found what he considered a dead loss . He reported the affair and stated that the ropeway was costing too much since not a week passed without it being out of action and that in his opinion it should be closed down. At the time there was a big economy drive on the go and so the Aerial Ropeway was shut down.


This point of interest is part of the tour: Simon's Town Historical Society


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