Thomas Bain

Thomas Bain, South African road and pass builderThomas Charles John Bain (born in 1830 at Graaff-Reinet, died in 1893) was a South African road engineer, the son of Andrew Geddes Bain, also a road engineer in South Africa.

Bain served as his father's assistant in the construction of Michell's Pass. After passing first in the Government examinations in 1854, he was appointed road inspector. He built 24 major mountain roads and passes in the second half of the 1800s. His father built eight during the first half of the same century. One of the few passes in South Africa not built by a Bain during that period was Montagu Pass from George to Oudtshoorn, which was built by a road engineer from Australia named Henry Fancourt White in 1843-47.

Thomas Bain's Construction Projects

  • Meiring's Poort (after local farmer Petrus Johannes Meiring), 16km long 1854-58
  • Grey's Pass near Citrusdal (after Sir George Grey), 11km long 1857-58 (Piekenier's Kloof 1958)
  • Tulbagh Kloof (after the town of Tulbagh), 5km long 1859-60
  • Seweweekspoort (thought to be after Berlin Mission Society preacher Louis Zerwick) from Laingsburg through Swartberg, 17km long 1859-62
  • Prince Alfred's Pass (after Prince Alfred) from Knysna to Uniondale, 70km long 1863-67
  • Seven Passes road (after number of passes along route) from George to Knysna, 75km long, ending in the Homtini Pass near Knysna 1867-83
  • Robinson Pass (after Chief Inspector of Public Works, Murrell Robinson) from Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay 1867-69
  • Tradouw Pass (Boschkloof, Southey Pass) near Barrydale, 13km long 1869-73
  • Garcia's Pass (after Maurice Garcia) from Riversdale to Ladismith, 18km long 1873-77
  • Pakhuis Pass (after Pakhuisberg, a branch of the Krakadouw Mountains) from Clanwilliam to Calvinia, Cederberg 1875-77
  • Koo Pass or Burger's Pass (after Koodoosberg) near Montagu 1875-1877
  • Verlaten Kloof Pass from Sutherland to Matjiesfontein -1877
  • Cogmans, Kogmans or Kockemans Kloof (after a Khoikhoi clan) from Ashton to Montagu, 5km long 1873
  • Swartberg Pass from Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert, 24km long 1880-88 (John Tassie built 6km of road from Prince Albert end)
  • Baviaanskloof from Willowmore to Patensie, 3km long 1880-90
  • Bloukrans Pass near Nature's Valley
  • Grootrivier Pass at Nature's Valley
  • Storms River Pass on the Garden Route
Meiringspoort through the Swartberg, built by Thomas Bain Prince Alfred's Pass, Knysna to Uniondale, built by Thomas Bain [vdb]

(information derived from


thomas bain, road and pass builder of south africa

website design, search engine optimisation by ZAWebs Designs ZA Webs
web hosting by ZAWebs Hosting ZA Web Hosting