Burgers Park is the oldest park in Pretoria and the site that it has been developed on was used as a camping area by Voortrekkers before the city was established. The land was selected for a botanical garden as early as 1874 by Thomas Francois Burgers (1834-1881), President of the ZAR from 1872 until the annexation by the British in 1877.
Money to develop and finalise the layout of the park only became available in Paul Kruger’s time as a result of the gold rush. The final layout was done by George Heys, the first owner of Melrose House, in collaboration with botanist James Hunter, and was completed in 1892. The original caretaker’s house, designed by Sytze Wierda, was replaced by a small house built in the Art Nouveau style in 1904. Burgers Park is bordered by Park Lane, Andries, Jacob Mare and van der Walt Streets.
Objects of interest in Burgers park include several trees planted in commemoration of important events and a florarium on the north-eastern side that houses plants from different climatic regions. The Parkzicht iron gates came from the long since demolished house where Boer signatories of the 1902 Peace Treaty were housed.
Burgers Park also houses several structures of historical importance.
The Kiosk: this is a typical feature of parks at the turn of the century. The Burgers Park Kiosk wqs deigned by Vivian Sydney Rees-Poole (1883-1965) in 1910 to coincide with an expected visit from the Prince of Wales.
The Bandstand is also one of the cast-iron structures that could be ordered from catalogues at the turn of the century, Glasgow, Scotland. The stand was regularly used by the 24th regiment of Robert’s Heights, now Voortrekkerhoogte, and for official receptions for Prime Minister General Louis Botha.
A statue of President Burgers is also housed in the park. It was commissioned in 1950 by the city council after funds had been made available from the estate of one of the president’s daughters, Mrs Mary Adelene Jorissen.
It was completed by Lithuanian artist Moses Kottler and was unveiled in 1953. The Scottish Monument on the western side of the park was erected to honour the members of the South African Scottish Regiment who died in World War 1.
Burgers Park today
This 4 hectare park is located in the Pretoria city centre. Developed in 1872 as Pretoria`s botanic garden, Burgers Park is one of the best examples of a late Victorian park anywhere.
Burgers Park was proclaimed a National Monument in the 1970s. Burgers Park was the national winner of the larger parks category in the Townscape Millennium Open Spaces competition in 1999.
How to find Burgers Park:
Entrances to the park are in Jacob Mare Street (opposite Melrose House), van der Walt Street and Andries Street.
Open daily, closed at sunset in winter and at 22:00 in summer.