Author: Madré du Plessis


Cannons at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve

History of the muzzle loading cannon on the Tygerberg Hills

The original 12 pounder Dutch signal cannon was moved in 1994 to the entrance of the Parow Municipal Building.

In 1996 Vice Admiral Simpson – Anderson organised the donation of the current cannon, a six pounder Finbanker.

This long, slim style of gun was cast at several foundries in Sweden between C. 1620 and C.1750. The primary users were the Swedish, Dutch and Danish navies, merchant fleets and shore defenses, but many found their way into the hands of other users. The original calibre of this gun was determined from the outer dimensions and compared with many other guns of the same style and make.

On suggestion from the former Friends of Tygerberg Hills Chairperson Jürg Zimmermann, the six-pounder Dutch Finbanker cannon was restored to full firing power in early 2005 and fired for the first time officially in September 2005.

First official firing of the Tygerberg Hills Signal Cannon on Heritage Day

24 September 2005

On a grey overcast day, 65 people attended the first official firing of the signal cannon on Tygerberg Hills since 1806. Our Guest of honour was Vice Admiral Simpson – Anderson who organised the donation of the current cannon, a six pounder Finbanker to the reserve in 1996. The gunner firing the first shot was none other than Master gunner Gerry de Vries from the Cannon Association of South Africa, who is responsible for the restoration of hundreds of cannons all over South Africa.

Gerry explained that between 53 and 56 of these guns were mounted on strategic heights to form a signal chain that extended from Salt River to Citrusdal in the north and Swellendam in the east. The purpose of this chain was to call the burghers to arms in defense of the colony and it fell into disuse in January 1806. He also explained and described the various implements used to clean, load and prime the cannon. Then the long awaited moment arrived, the count down began, and at noon the gun was fired.

Firing the muzzle loading cannon

On various public holidays our fully qualified gunners, fire the 12 pounder muzzle loading gun next to the Sentech mast in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve.

The cannon can also be fired on a special occasion such as a wedding or a birthday at a fee.

For more info, contact gunner Jürg Zimmermann 083 7018496 or gunner Neville Potgieter 021 913 4618.

Jürg firing the cannon

Past events

25 September 2017
Cannon fired and soup in KP Centre

9 August 2016
Cannon fired and soup in KP Centre


For more information on our next cannon firing, contact us.