Cambria is a variation of Cumbria – Cymru i.e. ‘Wales’ – and it can only be presumed that a homesick Welshman was reminded by the surrounding peaks of his native land. According to Pieter Streso’s grandfather, Pieter Streso, there was a Welsh missionary passing through Cambria in the 1800’s. To the present inhabitants it is more generally referred to as Die Kas – because of the ‘boxed-in’ configuration of the area.
The original farms, Onverwacht and Goede Hoop, were granted to Nicolaas Lochenburg (or Van Loggerenberg) in 1818, but he had occupied them for several years before this. He came originally from Graaff-Reinet where he had been one of the anti-government ‘Republicans’. In 1820 our great great grandfather swapped 10 oxen with Nicolaas Lochenburg for a piece of land in Sandrivier, also known as Armmansvriend, ‘Poor man’s friend’, approximately 10 kilometres from where we are now. The entrance to that piece of land and valley used to be where the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve’s Interpretive Centre are located today. The name Armmansvriend came from the history of the Streso’s generosity in the area which never turned away a thirsty or hungry friend, family member, traveller, etc. who came through the valley.
The Streso’s were locally renowned for the quality of the tobacco they grew and the sweetness of their oranges. There used to be a lot of old wives tales that the Streso’s used to plant Cannabis / Dagga. One day these stories caused a lot of havoc, because the police decided to send in a group of mounted police members with a warrant to search the whole property for the alleged Cannabis - It was really ironic, because the Streso’s never knew what Cannabis looked like. Unfortunately in the 1950’s the government decided to expropriate the land with compensation – compensation was determined by government – in the early 1970’s the Streso’s had to finally leave their beloved Armmansvriend behind and this saddened Henry Bloem Streso till the day he died in 1996.
The farm we are on today was bought by Henry Bloem Streso in 1952 and is still known as Onverwacht or Onverwags. In the past farmers farmed with cattle, Potatoes, Wheat, Pumpkins, Butternuts and at one stage Broccoli, Watermelons and Green Beans, but today the main agricultural crops in this area are only Citrus, Tobacco and Butternuts. On Onverwags we currently farm only with Citrus, which includes Lemons, Clementines, Navels and Midknights. The water and soil in our area are of high quality and maybe that is why Onverwags’ oranges are famous for the sweetest in the area. We focus mainly on the export market to Europe, Middle East, Far East and sometimes to Canada and China.
Today, there is only approximately 6 remaining farmers in Cambria.