This quaint rondavel-style double storey home was built originally roundabout 1915 as a
single storey by one Jameson, who during that time, was the city engineer of Pretoria. The
house was built with solid slate with an original thatch roof. Jameson was also the culprit
who was responsible for the import and mass planting of the Jacaranda trees in Pretoria, which
gave the capital of South Africa the nickname of "Jacaranda city". He also planted a Jacaranda
tree on his property which, today, is one of the biggest and oldest Jacaranda trees in
This Jacaranda tree has been invaded by a bougainvillea which is photographed by
many tourists during the month of October when in full bloom. This property was
acquired by Dr Jack Holloway, on a public auction in 1923. Holloway was a government
economist, politician, socialite and University of Pretoria professor.
Tienie, the wife of Jack, was a well-known Afrikaans nursery poet. The family had three
daughters and a last-born son. When playing outside in the garden each child had a special
spot. Soon the area at the pedestrian gate, on the corner of the property, became the place
where the family's eldest daughter, Ellen, used to play. Ellen, died of glandular fever at the
age of fourteen. The family then started to refer to the property as Ellensgate in honour of
their beloved one. The current owners were so touched by this story that they decided to
continue the Holloway tradition.
The upper storey was added in 1923 to change the quaint cottage into a mansion.
The property was sold to Mr. Brent, a government official in 1953. His wife was a
well-known piano teacher who had a piano in almost every room. Brent-Wessels is
also the composer of many traditional Afrikaans songs like, "Ken jy die land waar die
Boerevolk woon". A fire burnt down the thatch roof in the 1970's.
It was almost a ruin, waiting to be demolished, when the current owners saw its potential
and bought the property in 1995. With love, tender care, and a passion, Ellensgate was once
again restored to her former glory of the previous century.