Fonds BC543 - Bain Family Papers

Reference code



Bain Family Papers


  • 1797-1927 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

26 archive boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Name of creator


Biographical history

Andrew Geddes Bain (1797-1864), came to South Africa in 1816, eventually settling in Graaff-Reinet. He soon acquired a reputation as a trader and explorer, writing a good deal about his experiences. After participating in the Sixth Frontier War, he accepted a job building military roads in the Eastern Province. In the mid 1840s Bain became Inspector of Roads for the Western Cape, and in this capacity built Michell's Pass, Houw Hoek Pass and in 1853, Bain's Kloof Pass. Bain is also known as the Father of South African geology. As a writer, Bain is still remembered for his play, Kaatje Kekkelbek.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Thomas Charles John Bain (1830-1893), joined his father as an assistant after the Seventh Frontier War, and in 1854 succeeded his father as Inspector of Roads. Passes that he built incl. Gray's Pass, Prince Alfred Pass, Cogman's Kloof and the Great Swartberg Pass. In 1888 he became Irrigational and Geological Surveyor of the Colony, and was responsible for the construction of a number of dams. He also continued his father's geological work.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Miss M H Lister, May 1968.

Scope and content

Journals of journeys undertaken by Andrew Geddes Bain; copies of letters reflecting his building of military roads in the Eastern Cape; TS copies of articles on Geology, Geological reports; items relating to his play Kaatje Kekkelbek.

Pamphlets and articles written by Thomas Charles Jeddes Bain.

The papers incl. thirteen photographs of various members of the Bain family, as well as 10 items covering the reclamation of driftsands at Port Elizabeth, by Joseph Storr Lister, son-in-law of TCJ Bain.


System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A detailed list of the collection is available on request.

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Alternative identifier(s)

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area