The first Jersey Cows in South
Unfortunately no irrefutable records are available as to the correct
date the first Jersey was imported into South Africa.
It is, however, generally accepted that the first Jerseys were
imported by Mr. Andrian van der Byl of Roodebloem Estate, Woodstock, Cape,
from Jersey Island, in the early 1880`s, with 1881 as the most probable
van der Byl
Mr. G. Harcourt Vernon, Keble, Clocolan, O.F.S., in a letter to
me dated October 4, quoted information obtained from the dairy of his father
the late Rev. Harcourt Vernon: "My father bought some Jersey females from
Mr. Andrian van der Byl in 1893. Amongst them was the cow Buttercup born
in 1889, whose great-granddam was the cow Eva imported by Andrian van der
Byl i 1877." I can, unfortunately, find no further reference to this date,
but this date is not out of the question, if we take into consideration
that Bridesmaid born on August 27, 1891, was the great-great-granddaughter
Lawrence Green writes in Grow Lovely,
Growing Old: "Dr. Jonas Michiel Hiddingh died in 1888 and his nephew Michiel
became heir to a great deal of the valuable property and a very large income.
Michiel Hiddingh cared for none of this. He liked the doctor`s Jersey cattle
and attended personally to their ailments."
No mention is, however, made of the year Dr. Hiddingh started
with Jerseys. It might have been any date between 1859, when he bought
Newlands House and the large surrounding estate, and 1888. No mention is
also made of the origin of the animals.
The possibility, that Jersey cows might
have been landed as "ship cows" in S.A. before 1881, cannot be excluded
in view of the fact that records available in the Archives in Cape Town
make mention of Friesland cows which were brought as "ship cows" to S.A.
and landed in Cape Town. It stands to reason hat the possibility cannot
be excluded that Jersey cow might also have been used as "ship cows" by
the British ships.
As a result of insufficient authentic proof of the actual date
of the importation of the first Jersey into S.A, it would appear that 1881
might, under these circumstances, be the most acceptable date and that
Andrian van der Byl be considered the first importer of Jerseys.
[Gabriel Daniel Nel: Jerseys in Southern Africa. Cape Town, Tafelberg
According to G.W. Johnston: "It is said that as a boy Andrian
van der Byl was sent to school at the Victoria College on the Island of
Jersey and there learned to appreciate the Jersey. He was probably the
only man in South Africa in the early days, who really knew much about