Between the seas that wash the Cape and the sun-baked stretches of the vast Karroo there lies a belt of fertile country, known as the Western Province. In summer it is buffeted by the boisterous trades. In winter the northwest wind caps the coastal ranges with generous clouds, and in the intervals of glorious sunshine rain drenches hill and dale. This is the land of the vine, the land of the golden grain. It is the land of which an ex-member of the Union Assembly spoke when he said that "the first twelve inches of the soil between the Hex River and the sea were worth more than all the deep levels of the Rand put together." Its beauty, now smiling, now rugged, haunts the memory of him whose lines are cast in less pleasant places. Its oaks are mighty, its pines statuesque.
When, in bygone centuries, the staid burghers of the city of the Peninsula were taking the air on the Heerengracht or in the street called Broad, the men of the Western Province began their systematic inroads on the unknown wilds of the African continent. Whilst forts and garrisons watched over the people of Table Bay, Dutch farmers carved out homes for themselves in hoek and kloof. Theirs the battle against the natives and the beasts of the field, what time Cape Town garrulously absorbed the latest news brought by vessels from East and West.