Apples of the Sun — The lives, vision and achievements of the Molteno brothers, Edward Bartle Frere and Henry Anderson — by Phillida Brooke Simons


Apple orchards in the Elgin valley today

Note: The necessary computer files are not yet posted on this website, pending their arrival.

This readable and beautifully illustrated book was written by the late Phillida Brooke Simons, South African author and historical researcher. It tells the story of Ted and Harry Molteno, who were sons of Sir John Molteno, the first Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. During the first half of the 20th century, Ted and Harry pioneered in the Elgin valley the largescale growing of deciduous fruit, in particular apples, for export to Europe.


Harry and Ted Molteno with Con Pare, Glen Elgin, c. 1940s

When Harry Molteno died in 1969 almost 20 years after his elder brother Ted, he left his estate to a charitable trust, the Molteno Brothers Trust. In the decades since then, the Trust has modernized and diversified the farming enterprise, greatly improved the conditions of its work force, and donated funds to a great variety of educational and other projects in South Africa. The Trust decided after the first quarter of a century or so of its being in charge, to commission Phillida Brooke Simons to write a history of how Ted and Harry had built up the farms, and what the Trust had done in the subsequent years. Her book includes a short account of the origins and history of the Molteno family.

Apples of the Sun was published privately for the Trust by Fernwood Books in 1999. The book is not commercially available, and copies can be only obtained by applying to the Trust in Elgin. The Trust has kindly given permission for the entire book to be viewable on this website. I would like to thank the Trust, and I am confident that everyone reading the book on-line will join me in being most grateful to  them. I also draw your attention to the fact that the PDF of the book may not be used for any other purpose without the user getting in touch with the Trust and obtaining permission. You should also note  the two Copyright notices – the text copyright in Phillida Brooke Simons’ name, and the long illustrative material copyright (acknowledging the Molteno Murray Collection in the UCT Archives and a long list of sources of additional illustrations) which is in the name of Leonie Twentyman-Jones, who did the research for all the visual material.

Robert Molteno

October 2013

P.S. Two Vignettes you might like to read

There are two other delightful and insightful glimpses of Ted and Harry Molteno, one by their great niece Cynthia Payne (nee Stanford) who stayed with them on the farm for some time after she was demobilised at the end of the Second World War (1939-45), and the other by the English writer on gardens, Marion Cran, who met them when she was staying with Kathleen Murray, Ted and Harry’s niece, in the 1920s.

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