Riversdale is situated on the busy N2 Highway leading to the very popular Garden Route. It boasts with many fine schools, churches, hotels and carefully tended bed & breakfast accommodation for the weary traveler. For the Africana enthusiast there are many fine pieces of old furniture exhibited in museums as well as many old buildings and residences dating back to the early inhabitants.
The town boasts with an ultra modern civic centre. It offers a fine mixture between modern day conveniences and olden day peacefulness and is well worth a stay over.
The first expedition to the Riversdale region was led by Hieronymous Crüse in 1667 to barter for cattle. 20 years later an expedition led by Izak Schryver during which he befriended Goukou the leader of the Hessequas after which many barter expeditions followed. By the year 1772 five cattle posts had been established in the area then known as Overberg and farmers had started to settle here, leasing farms from the Company. These included farms such as Plattekloof, Assegaaibosch, Welgevonden, Hollebak, Doornkraal and Zeekoegat (now a historical monument).
As the population increased a need arose for a church and the farm Doornkraal was bought in 1837 for R640 to establish the first church farm. The church authorities approached Sir Harry Rivers, Civil commissioner of Swellendam, for his permission to name the town Riversville, after him. He suggested that the name Riversdale would be better suited. On 30th August 1838 Riversdale was proclaimed a town. The congregation was founded in 1839 and the Rev. Moorrees appointed as the first minister.
On 9th March 1848 Sir Harry Smith proclaimed Riversdale a magistracy and Major Barnes was appointed the first magistrate. On the 6th of June 1849 Riversdale was granted a Municipality and three commissioners were appointed.
PROGRESS THROUGH THE YEARS
As the inhabitants were mainly farmers the development of the town was slow and the 1857 census showed that there were 760 inhabitants, 120 dwelling houses and 18 huts. Today Riversdale has a population of just over 6000.
In June 1882 tenders were invited for special iron pipes to install a water reticulation system. These pipes arrived in Mossel Bay during 1883 taking 56 ox wagons loads to bring to Riversdale. The scheme was inaugurated on July 1, 1884 at a cost of R16000.
On the 3rd of December the first locomotive of the N.C.C.R steamed into the station with Uncle Tom Wolhuter at the controls.
Farming activity consisted mainly of sheep farming. The Agricultural Society, founded in 1858, used the wool store, granted to them by the church, for their shows. This wool store was later converted to the town hall.
During 1925 Riversdale received its first D.C. electrical power system, which was replaced with an A.C. system during 1958.
The first hospital was built in 1922 and has since been replaced by a modern Provincial Hospital.
The town library was founded in 1869 and was taken over by the Provincial Authorities in 1960.
|Fire Dept||713 2418|
|Electricity Dept||713 1109|
|Water Dept||713 3335|
|Traffic Dept||713 2334|
|Post Office||713 1039|
|Information Bureau||713 2418|
|Municipal Offices||713 2418|
|International Airport George||044 876 9310|