A Town 573 km from Cape Town, established in 1818 on the Farm; 'Hooyvlakte'. Named by Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape, 1814-1826. After his father, the fifth Duke of Beaufort. It became a municipality on the 3 February 1837 and therefore the oldest Municipality in South Africa!
John Molteno bought some land in the arid, Beaufort area and successfully introduced Saxon Merino sheep, building up the vast Nelspoort Estate! Among his many other business ventures, he founded the region's first bank, Airport & Co.- in Beaufort West. Molteno had been elected to the Cape Colony's first parliament in 1854, representing Beaufort, the first municipality! From his first entry into parliament, he began a long political battle to make the government 'Responsible' as it became known! Thus gave the Country a little independence from Britian.
New Dictionary of South African Place Names by Peter E. Raper.