Recreation in Pinelands Part 2

Over the years a multitude of  social clubs were formed in Pinelands. Among them were a Writers Circle, a Stamp Circle, Toastmasters, Caledonian Society, Study Group, the Mothercraft Circle, a Sequence Dance Club, Woodworkers Club, Choral Society and Cine 8 Club. However, the most important for many years was the Horticultural Society.

A meeting held in the home of Mr Liesching in Woodland Close in 1923 led to the formation of the Pinelands Horticultural Society which became a way of life in Pinelands. Later that year the first Horticultural Society show was held in a tent where the DRC Church now stands. It was opened my Mrs Stuttaford with an amazing 173 classes of entries. For many years the annual show was held as one of the highlights in the Pinelands calendar. The Society also organised arbour day celebrations, dances and concerts. In 1926 a one-page newsletter called Pinelands Horticultural Times was produced. After two years the newsletter was replaced by the Garden City monthly in 1928 which was issued every month until 1983. Initially it was dedicated to news about the Society but very soon it’s content was expanded to include general news of interest to Pinelands’ residents.

In 1949 Madge Harding an ex-actress and member of the St Stephens Church held concerts to raise fund for the newly built Victory Hall. Out of this the St Stephens’s Repertory Society was born. The first performance was the Man from Toronto. Over the next three decades the Society staged up to 5 productions annually including a year-end pantomime. In 1986 the Society was given notice by the church, and the name changed to The Pinelands Repertory Society and later to Pinelands Players. The Society nearly folded in 1991 when the rondavels that were hired to keep costumes and props were set on fire by vandals. Starting over in 1992 they staged South Pacific at the Little Theatre with a good profit which resurrected the society.

The Pinelands Club was created as a social club, and the idea had first been raised in 1954 with the support of Garden Cities. Eventually the Club was inaugurated in 1956 with Graham Dale-Kuys as the Chair. The Club managed to raise enough funds for a suitable site. However, the club entered into a 6-year battle to obtain the only available site, which the Municipality refused to sell.  However, after elections, the new Council took a different approach. The club purchased the site and opened their clubhouse in 1962. The swimming pool built by Ninham Shand is of an unusual design in that the deep is in the middle of the pool.

Service clubs have had a strong membership in Pinelands. Over the years these included Red Cross Voluntary Service, St Johns Ambulance cadets, Lions Club, Rotary, Round Table, Toc H and at Pinelands High, Rotaract.

Scouting and Girl Guides have played a meaningful role in the life of Pinelands youth. From 1923 to 1926 there was an unofficial group of scouts who did their scouting in the area where the Brown and Annie Lawrence Home now stands. The first formal scout troop was started in 1928 consisting of Scouts, Cubs and Rover Scouts. They met in the old Uitvlugt Manor House until 1940. The troop moved to a shack at the home of Mr Oram in Letchworth. Unfortunately, all their equipment was lost in a fire before a clubhouse was built next to the Oval in 1941. Richard Stuttaford laid the foundation stone, while the club house was opened by the wife of the founder of the Scouting movement, Lady Olive Baden-Powell. The clubhouse was named Oram Hall after the Scoutmaster “Bok” Oram. Camps were held in the Pinelands North Primary School area of the Forest. Saturday activities took place in the area of Scouts Place where a major Scout Jubilee Camp took place, hence the name. A second Scout clubhouse was built next to SAWAS House in 1958, with a third clubhouse built in the early 1960s at the end of Stellenberg.  A Voortrekkers organisation for Afrikaans youth was established in Nursery Way with a series of rondavels as a clubhouse.

In 1928 Pinelands Girl Guides initially joined the Rondebosch District meetings in Silwood Road. They soon graduated to a full Pinelands branch and met in the old Uitvlugt Manor House. In 1941 they moved into their own  building in Central Square, which was opened by Mrs Smuts, wife of  the Prime Minister. A second Girl Guide Hall was built next to the scout hall near SAWAS Home in Cedar Road.