Who was Robert Hart? In 1795 he was an 18 year old private in the Argyllshire Highlanders when the regiment disembarked at Cape Town. The regiment served for a while on the Cape frontier until Britain returned the Cape to Holland where after it returned to Britain.
In 1807, however, Robert Hart, now a married man, returned to the Cape as an officer in Colonel Graham's newly formed Cape Regiment and was stationed at Grahamstown. Later, he was put in charge of the experimental farm founded by Lord Charles Somerset, the governor of the Cape, and which provided supplies to the army.
In 1825 the farm was closed down and the little town of Somerset East laid out on its grounds. Many of the original houses still stand in this charming little place.
Hart and his family then settled on farmland adjacent to the town which he was granted in recognition of his services to the government. Here he built a homestead - Glen Avon. Hart, who was a pioneer of Merino sheep farming, farmed sheep, grew fruit, especially citrus, and grain. So successful was grain production in the region that it justified him building a commercial mill for neighboring farmers.
Guided tours of the recently restored Water Mill can be arranged.
R50 Per Person