Tribute to Graeme Ressell, March 2015
Graeme hailed from Gauteng – he attended Pretoria Boys’ High School – and is one of those Hogsbackians who were smote by the magic of Hogsback on a visit and promised to return one day. That happened 20 years later in 1978 when he bought the Hogsback Inn. His wife, Phyllis, did the catering and beautified the gardens which had been laid out by Iris Hood. She did it so well that the gardens of the Hogsback Inn were featured in A Visitor’s Guide to Gardens in South Africa in 1988. The trees have now grown into magnificent specimens. Pride of the garden is a lace-leaf Japanese maple – the second largest in the country – whose variegated leaves are a glorious sight in autumn.
Graeme ran a popular hotel for 23 years. He had high standards and an enlightened mind. He saw to it that the Hogsback walking trails were maintained with their iconic pig signs. There were difficult times especially with the Group Areas Act when Graeme had to apply to Pretoria for permission to accommodate ‘certain persons’. Permission would be granted only with the proviso that there was to be no swimming or dancing. Graeme was of a liberal disposition and was not fazed by the cumbersome ‘hoops’. With the emergence of the Ciskei Bantustan, Pretoria civil servants would stay at the hotel and discuss where the boundaries would be made. It resulted in Hogsback becoming a South African peninsula on the Ciskei border.
We are the poorer for his passing; he was one of the grand old men of Hogsback.
– Trevor Webster
Attached are two pictures: one of Graeme with the glorious 7m high rhodedendron in the Inn garden and the other of the sign for the Hogshead pub named by him.
A giant, magificent rhodedendron, about seven metres high, in the garden across from the stream with Graeme Ressell, photo Graeme Ressell
Graeme re-named the pub the Hogshead, photo Ken Harvey