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This area was home to South Africa's first inhabitants, the Khoi and Mfengu people, centuries ago.

Ironically, it was only in 2002 that the remains of Sarah Bartmann, a Khoi-San woman, were laid to rest upon a hill outside the town. She finally returned to her homeland in death after spending a tragic and lonely life as an object of display in Europe during the 18th/19th centuries. This was one of the biggest events in the history of Hankey and 1000's of people attended. Also in attendance were President Mbeki and a host of other dignitaries.

People came from far and wide to view the spectacle and Dr Philip later declared it the greatest work of its kind ever undertaken in the Colony. Part of this irrigation scheme can still be seen today and forms part of the Hankey Golf Course.

The second irrigation scheme on the Gamtoos River, a National Monument in Hankey today, was carried out by William Enowy Philip, the son of the Superintendent of the LMS, Dr John Philip. His inspiration was the window in the hill between Backhousehoek and Vensterhoek and was dug using pick and shovel and wheelbarrows. The length of the tunnel is 228 meters and the speed of construction was very slow - about 1 to 2 feet a day. It was started in April 1843 and completed in August 1844 - 15 months later. It was in use from April 1845 to 1970 - a period of 125 years. Note: This was the first ever tunnel scheme in South Africa.

Hankey today:

It is still the administrative town of the Gamtoos Valley. It has modern waterworks, residential areas as well as many church denominations, primary and high schools, modern businesses, a well-known golf course, picnic places, hiking trails, etc.

Sundial - The largest in South Africa. It is 34.6m in diameter. The gnomon is 18m high and weighs one ton. Its is Hankey's 160-years Founders' monument.

Magistrate's offices, police station: Hankey was unique in the founding as a LMS station. The town is surrounded by beautiful and picturesque landscape and fertile farming land.

Golfers will also be keen to putt on the well-kept greens of the 9-hole Hankey Golf Course.