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History of Irene

Irene has a long and colourful history. The original owner of the farm known as “Irene” was Hugo Alois Nellmapius who had named the farm after his daughter Irene - which means peace in Greek. It is notable that to this day the element of “peace” pervades every suburb that developed over time on the extended farmlands.In 1896 Johannes Albertus van der Byl bought the farm on auction from the estate of the late H A Nellmapius and the nature of the activities evolved to the current focus of dairy farming.

The Dairy Farm remains the anchor for the suburbs of Irene and residents can stroll down the leafy lanes to get a litre of fresh milk, farm products and tempting treats, or visit the calves, the restaurant under spreading oaks, or simply enjoy the charm and peace of the farm.

Other colourful characters in the history of the village include former international statesman, Jan Christiaan Smuts, whose home was converted to a museum and is the site of the very popular Irene Village Market.

More recently, the establishment of the Anglo Boer War Concentration Camps in the valley adjacent to the railway line witnessed the shameful treatment of both Boer and African women and children. A memorial to the victims is sited in the original Irene Village.

The area is steeped in history and has been sheltered from the influences of inappropriate development and exploitation. This is demonstrated by the abundant bird and mammal life in the suburbs, which is underpinned by the nearby Rietvlei Dam and Nature Reserve

The overriding essence of this unique and friendly haven from city living has been captured in Irene Farm Villages which has been designed to embrace the advances of our modern age but maintain the best of country style living.