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Johannes Albertus ‘Bertie’ van der Byl was born on the farm Elsenburg near Stellenbosch in 1856. He received his education at Victoria College on the Island of Jersey, between France and the United Kingdom. “Intelligent, full of vitality, fun and common sense, Bertie rapidly made a name for himself as an efficient and popular farmer” The first two years at the Irene Estate were favourable for Bertie financially, and the greatest profit came from the Estate’s building lime that was sold to the public. Interestingly enough, the second most profitable sector of the estate was the garden, which sold “strawberries, fruit, flowers and seedlings to the Johannesburg and Pretoria markets”

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