Historical significance: Blue Plaque unveiled at Cape Town’s Killarney International Raceway

Aerial photo of Killarney Raceway. Picture: Supplied

Aerial photo of Killarney Raceway. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 29, 2023


It was a proud moment for Cape Town motorsport lovers when the Killarney International Raceway in Table View was awarded with a Blue Plaque this week, marking its heritage significance.

Blue Plaques are revered, as they are awarded to historical buildings and organisations.

The Blue Plaque was handed over by the Cape Town Heritage Foundation, the oldest heritage foundation in the City and the second oldest in South Africa.

“History, family, and connection is so important. We are putting up and unveiling this blue plaque because it is such a significant moment.

The Blue Plaque was unveiled by the City of Cape Town's Alderman JP Smith at the clock tower at the raceway. Picture: Dave Abrahams

“We are honouring Killarney as having given us 76 years of goodness, joy, dreams, careers, and moments that we can celebrate. It has really given us the landscape of our city.

“We don’t just hand out blue plaques, it has to be significant and this is the first one in 2023 that is being given and the first since 2019 that has been given,” Lauren Jacobs, committee member of the Heritage Foundation said.

Jacobs said getting a Blue Plaque is a rigorous process and a place, building or area has to be nominated.

Extensive research is then done and a vote ultimately has to take place by members of the heritage committee. This process takes months.

The Blue Plaque was unveiled by the City of Cape Town's Alderman JP Smith at the clock tower at the raceway. Picture: Dave Abrahams

“I believe Killarney is only as good as those who uphold it. So I want to say thank you to everyone who has served faithfully.

“The people who uphold this raceway make it what it is today.

“I believe Killarney is powerful because this is a place of dreams and when dreams are ignited it creates a positive energy. It creates something that is lasting and also I know a lot of girls and women who have wanted to break into motorsport and been able to do that at Killarney. It has become a part of their journey and that is very significant. Well done,” Jacobs said.

Executive manager of Killarney International Raceway, Des Easom gave a brief history of the raceway and said its evolution into what it has become today is because of the forward-thinking and innovation of people who are still involved.

While the privately-run raceway has no funding from government in any way, it has fallen on hard times, but has proved to be a phoenix, as it has risen from the ashes time and time again.

The raceway receives over 150 000 visitors annually.

It has become a pivotal role in investment within Cape Town tourism and hosts more than 200 events a year, of which about 70 are for charity.

It has hosted about 7 000 registered races and offers not only rallies, but also robot racing, drifting and spinning, cartways and more.

Easom was also proud to announce the lease for the land has been extended for another 30 years.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith also thanked the raceway for the valuable contribution to motorsport and opportunities it gives races, especially in Cape Town to show off their skills.

The unveiling of the plaque was conducted by Smith and is erected at the raceway’s clock tower.

Jacobs added that people are welcome to nominate areas, places, buildings in Cape Town to the Heritage Foundation.

“We have very few (blue plaques) in this city which we have to work on.

“Johannesburg has got 200 to 300, where we (Cape Town) have got about 20 -30. It is something we need to work on more, and in this way we are protecting our heritage and honouring it. The process is long and the criteria are heavy, but feel free to nominate,” Jacobs added.

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