Located on the Northern edge of the Agulhas Plain, about 160 kilometres South-East of Cape Town and 35 kilometres, North of Cape Agulhas. The Town was named after Michiel van Breda the first mayor of Cape Town, Bredasdorp was established with the building of a Dutch Reformed Church in 1838 on the farm Langefontein. Mayor van Breda is the founder of South Africa’s merino sheep industry which, to this day, forms a large part of the farming community.
Bredasdorp was named after its founding father Michiel van Breda who was the first mayor of Cape Town. Van Breda is also believed to be the father of the merino sheep industry as he was the first to introduce this valuable livestock to the area when he started farming sheep on his farm; 'Zoetendals Vallei'. Besides his valuable inputs into the farming industry of Bredasdorp, Van Breda was also a member of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Port Trading Company and later the Chairman of the first Council of Commissionaires of the Cape.
With the town established and finally laid out, the Dutch Reformed Church in the centre of town was erected in 1842. The growing population of the town and growing church community made it necessary for the church to be enlarged and so it was done in 1856. The continued thriving community also soon saw the building of what is now known as the very centre of town, the Du Preez Building. This building was built in 1894 and is presently the host to the Cape Agulhas Tourism Offices.
Audrey Blignault, the famous South African writer, was born in Bredasdorp. Born on July 6th 1916, Audrey Bettie Blignault found a love for books and writing from a very young age. The passion grew and in 1927, at the mere age of 9, her first essay was published in the Bredasdorp-Napier-Nuus newspaper. In 1955, her first book, In Kleine Maat (In Small Measure), was published followed by numerous short stories and articles for 'Naweekpos', 'Sarie' and 'Juweel-Novelles'. Audrey Blignault was also the first presenter and organiser of 'Vrouerubriek' (Women’s Rubric) and was the editor for Die Huisvrou (The Housewife) for 11 years. After a full life of literacy, Audrey finally passed away on October 1st 2008 at the age of 92 in Cape Town.
As the Years continued and with all the artefacts having been collected from the unfortunate demise of all the ships along this treacherous part of the coast, it was suggested that a museum should be built to showcase all these treasures in 1967. This appeared to be the year for paying tribute to their unique heritage as the same year the Independent Church in Bredasdorp was also proclaimed a National Monument. With lots of planning and the help of many a community member the Shipwreck Museum was approved and opened its doors in April of 1975.