Barrydale is a tapestry of stories from the past, still very much a part of the present.
Barrydale is certainly a population who finds new ways to celebrate the old and locals seem to have a passion for the uniqueness of the handmade and individuality of beautiful objects. This is no wonder, as little fragments of the past lie scattered everywhere. Starting with the mystique of the ancient landscape to the numerous ruins that lie between Barrydale and Ladismith and give insight into the simple building materials used in the early days of European settlement.
Word of mouth has always been the best form of communication in any small town, but until quite recently the farmers and inhabitants of Barrydale relied on the telephone exchange for communication with the outside world. In fact, the outdated switchboard only stopped being used in 1996!
Frans Crafford and Barrie Beukes served the town for 39 years as the friendly operators, who became better known as ‘Nommer Asseblief!’ Automation finally caught up with the tiny village on the edge of the Karoo, but the old machine can still be viewed at the tourist information center on Van Riebeeck Street.
Of course, no story about a small South African town would be complete without mentioning the local ghost story. Back in the 1970’s during the horrific flu epidemic, a kind-hearted nurse cared for those who were ill when others were too afraid to go anywhere near them. As the flu swept through the village, the nurse and her family stayed in good health and she soon became seen as an angelic figure. Fast-forward to the present day, visitors who have stayed in the old house where she use to nurse the ill have reported seeing a woman sitting at the edge of their bed, but most notably, feeling completely at ease and unafraid.
It’s these stories that bring the little, unassuming village of Barrydale to life. It’s an alluring adventure learning about all the small pieces of heritage that make up the town. There is so much more to Barrydale than meets the eye, and with each new discovery, the village will dig a little deeper into your heart.