History

The farm which Experience 1880 is situated on was originally named Killrush. The name originates from the sentries that were placed nearby on the three peaks surrounding the area. The first owner of Killrush was Donald Strachen. He played a key role in the negotiations with the indigenous people. One of the great characters who arrived in the area was Frederick Johnson Hayward or "Bull" as he was known because of his size. He arrived in South Africa in 1889 and bought mischief as far as he went. Hayward regularly organised parties at farm Killrush and later on built a house on the farm. During the war in 1898 the Cape Mounted Rifles (consisting mostly of Scotsmen) were stationed on Killrush. They built four barracks. Today the farm seems to be quite remote, but a hundred years ago this area of Swartberg was well populated and people often passed through the farm to make the Natal Weekly deliveries by ox-wagon. Hayward made sure that Killrush was a place of activity and entertainment. He built a tennis court and swimming pool in the garden and started a public library known as the Killrush Public Library. In addition to that he ran an illicit still, keeping someone on guard to give warning in advance of the authorities arriving. Every historical hotel in South Africa has at least one really funny legend that is told around the fire after dinner - and Experience 1880 is no exception. Ask around about Hayward and the sneezewood!