Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate was developed on a farm with an abundant history.
At one stage the land on which the estate was developed belonged to Abraham Fischer. He was the first and only prime minister of the Orange River Colony before the country became a union in 1910. The house in which he stayed can still be seen on the grounds today. It will soon be incorporated in a new Lodge that will be developed on the stand.
His son, Percy Fischer, and his wife, Ella, lived in a house in Reitz Street. Ella Fichardt also came from one of the prominent families of the Free State.
Percy was an advocate, but due to his involvement with the ‘Rebellie’ he lost his job and the family were forced to let their house and move back to Bergendal, ‘n part of the farm Hillandale which he inherited from his father.
Here the Fischers, as well as their children – among whom Bram Fisher – stayed in a small shack of which the ruins can still be seen today.
Bram (short for Abram, his granddad) loved this farm tremendously, with its scenery and various indigenous trees including karee, white stinkwood and wild olive, planted by Abraham and Percy.
Bram was born in 1908 and was raised on the farm. He was a pupil at Grey College and was a junior tennis champion for the Free State, as well as a talented rugby player who played for the Free State against the All Blacks in 1924. Bram completed his B.A. and L.LB. degree at the University of the Orange Free State. He was later advocate in the Rivonia high treason trial and leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP).
Another snippet of history is that the Canadian regiment was stationed on the farm during the Anglo-Boer War. Guard posts were erected and even today various spent cartridges, horses’ hoofs and bomb shells can be seen here.