The village of Pearston is situated in the shadow of the Coetzeesberge at the north eastern edge of the wide open Plains of Camdeboo. A stroll along the dusty streets of the town will reveal an array of typical Karoo architecture with small square cottages predominating. Notwithstanding its diminutive status the village was the home of a number of prominent South Africans.
South Africa’s first and only rugby and cricket caption, Herbet Hayton Carstens was born in Pearston in 1864 and went on to become Captain of the Springbok Rugby team in the first international match against the British Isles at Port Elizabeth in 1891. He was selected to play cricket for Western Province and captained the South African Cricket Team on tour to England in 1894.
Scottish born professor Robert Bloom settled in Pearston in 1900 to further his studies in palaeontology. His work was so highly regarded that in 1920, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1947 together with John Robinson he achieved instant fame with the discovery of the most complete skull of an Australepithecus africanus ever found in South Africa, nickname Mrs Ples.
Leading Afrikaans poet Ernst van Heerden was born in Pearston in 1916. He was famous for his poems on sport, and received a silver medal in the Olympic Games International Poetry Competition for Ses gedigte/Six poems. The local library has been named after him.
Eve Palmer lovingly described the quintessential Karoo farm; her family home Cranemere; in her books, The Plains of Camdeboo, and Return to Camdeboo. The farm has remained in the Palmer family for five generations and has attracted visitors like Cecil John Rhodes, and James Kitching.