Port Nolloth Museum

Popped into the Port Nolloth Museum yesterday morning and spent a few hours looking at some  interesting displays. Janine Olivier, who has been working at the museum for just over a year, was very helpful and passed on some  enlightening  information. I am not going to try and give a history lesson so hopefully the pictures will do the talking.

Port Nolloth Museum.

Port Nolloth Museum.

The building that houses the museum is a bit of history itself in that it was built in 1880.

The Port Nolloth Museum was opened over ten years ago and  presents the history of Port Nolloth for approximately 2000 years. It also displays the history of diamond diving in the area, as well as geology and natural history.


Display about early inhabitants of the area.

History of Port Nolloth

History of Port Nolloth

Information about the old copper train and building of the jety.

Information about the old copper train and building of the jety.

Great display about diamond diving.

Great display about diamond diving.

The west coast is known for all the ships that have been wrecked over the years.

The west coast is notorious for all the ships that have been wrecked over the years.

A display of products in their original packaging.

A display of products in their original packaging.

While I had been wondering round and taking photographs I was drawn to the portrait below.  The photograph was clearly not that old so I was wondering what it was doing hanging in the museum and asked Janine what the story was. (To be honest she also reminded me of an ex girl friend from way back when.)

Grazia de Beer.

Grazia de Beer.

Well it turns out that I am standing in the Port Nolloth museum  as a result of all the work that this woman did in Port Nolloth over a period of  20 years.

Grazia de Beer was born in Italy and later came to Cape Town where she went to school at Springfield Convent and Ellersley in Sea Point. She graduated from UCT with a BA, was a singer in a leading jazz band, played guitar, composed songs and worked at the Italian Consulate as an interpretor. She married Coen de Beer, a diamond diver, and moved to Port Nolloth in the late 1980’s.

She ran a restaurant, established the Bedrock Lodge and opened the Port Nolloth Museum. She held a black belt in karate and started the Port Nolloth Dojo.

The Bedrock Lodge.

The Bedrock Lodge.

She was fearless in her convictions and brought up many cultural and environmental issues of the area. She put a stop to the slaughter of seals, and began marketing Port Nolloth as a special place to visit.


Grazia de Beer Beach Front.

Unfortunately Grazia de Beer passed away on the 25th of December 2007.

Grazia was so well liked and respected by the community, that they decided to name the new beach front development after her in honour of all that she had done  for Port Nolloth and it’s inhabitants.


  1. Hanlie on August 2nd, 2009

    I love reading about people who made a difference in their communities. She must have been quite young still when she died…

  2. pbdphoto on August 2nd, 2009

    Hi Hanlie, I hear she died from cancer and I am guessing she was in her late 40’s.

  3. Chris M on August 4th, 2009

    The photographs are fantastic, it allows us readers to really understanding what you are doing, who you are meeting and what you’re finding.

    The museum looks like quite a treat!

  4. pbdphoto on August 4th, 2009

    Thanks Chris. I am not much of a writer so have to try and make the photos tell the story.

  5. Chris M on August 4th, 2009

    Oh believe me, photographs are SO much better than long blog posts 🙂

  6. ILV on August 13th, 2009

    Great pictures. I was born in P.N. Left P.N. for good, middle of 2000, to further my studies. I was Janine Oliver’s computer teacher when she was in high school. Just looking at these pictures made me home sick.

  7. pbdphoto on August 13th, 2009

    Hi ILV thanks for dropping by. I enjoyed Port Nolloth.

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