In August 1838 the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) at Swellendam established a new Parish on the Farm 'Doornkraal', on the banks of the Vet River, near the foothills of the Langeberge. It was named after Harry Rivers, Commissioner and Resident Magistrate of Swellendam from 1834 to 1841. On 9th March 1848, Sir Harry Smith proclaimed Riversdale a magistracy and a Major Barnes was appointed the first magistrate. On the 6th of June 1849, Riversdale was declared a Municipality and three commissioners were appointed. Again the Doornkraal Steyns featured prominently, this time in the governance of the Town when Jacobus J Steyn, son of Hermanus Egbertus Steyn and Great-grandfather of the current owner of De Doornkraal Estate, was appointed one of the commissioners .By 1882 the Village of Riversdale consisted of about 250 dwellings, many of them fine structures. Social and economic life centered about its main street, planted on either side with oaks. The 1865 census indicated that Riversdale had a population of 1 025. In 1875 this number had risen to 1 177, and in 1891 it was 1 802. By 1904 it stood at 2 643, of whom 1 256 were literate.
statistics By Franco Frescura