Lets do something about it
Information supplied by Lieutenant Colonel A.L. (Tony)
Are we still really worried about loosing valuable
historical places with its old buildings and artifacts? Will
we come to the rescue of a historical site and be prepared
to participate in its restoration? Is it still important for
us as soldiers (airmen and women) to know that a place like
Swartkop is part of our rich Air Force and national history?
How many of us know that Swartkop is after all the oldest
air station in the country and second oldest in the world
and presently the oldest operational station anywhere?
This is a plea to read further and to take interest in
Swartkop and more importantly to the value it has for all of
us. This is also a request to you the reader to help us with
any bits and pieces, text or photographs of the past in
order for us to research the true origin and historical past
of this exceptional and valuable place known in the past as
Zwartkop. Please submit your material or copies thereof to
the AD ASTRA office at Air Command, DCSS, Level 2 – Room
F205 or mail us at
or send mail to:
AD ASTRA Magazine,
Private Bag X199
For more information contact Lt Col
Tony Cockbain at (012) 553 2218. If you are interested in
participating in any restoration work please contact the
given telephone number. Now read on:
There is so much aviation history at Swartkop that is not or
cannot be enjoyed by the visiting public. The SA Air Force
Museum is rightly situated on this heritage sight and they
receive many visitors from all over South Africa and the
Swartkop the “heritage sight”
It may sound strange to say that some people
may be interested in the old barbershop that was situated
between the control tower block and the hangar currently
used by the emergency services.
The old barbershop
There are other buildings, for example, what
was the building that is half submerged in the ground behind
the guardroom building? This building is currently being
used as a store for fire fighting supplies?
Chemical store or fire drill building?
Why has the old control tower on top of
hangar #7 not been reconstructed to its original
configuration? Why not put up some of the signal features
(large black balls and pennants) that were on the yardarm of
this tower in the past? These things are of genuine interest
to those that knew these features and to those that did not
know them but would like to know what life was like at
Swartkop in the good old days.
Original control tower
The old and the new
The fire station occupies hangar #7 at
present but it used to be positioned to the north of the
hangars. Has anybody seen it?
Two views of the original fire station
In the early days very few people had
motorcars to get to work with, therefore they made use of
horses. Where did they park their transport during the day?
The stables for this purpose were situated on the northern
side of airfield.
Two views of the horse stables
Here are some other buildings that may be of
Photographic section dark rooms and cinema hall
Two views of the old Carpenter shop (note the work bench)
Sir Pierre van Ryneveld’s office
Where is this information recorded for the
everyday visitor to the museum to get an insight into the
history of this very important heritage sight? We cannot let
this heritage sight go to rack and ruin, as it is far too
Talking of the name Swartkop, why not, for historical
accuracy, give the name of Zwartkop back to the
station? This would make so much sense for posterity. There
are many other features at Swartkop that are not mentioned
here and if something is not done soon these things will
have been forgotten, as the older generation will soon be no
more and the information will be lost.