Welcome to the Kowie Museum

The Historic Hub of Port Alfred

Morse Jones

The father of the Kowie Museum

Home of many cultures

1820 British Settlers, ama-Xhosa and more


Objectives of the Kowie Museum

Display objects of historical interest in the Port Alfred and Lower Albany areas and to encourage interest in the area’s history and historic sites.

Acquire, borrow or lend items, which can further the objectives of the Kowie Museum by direct grants, or for the loan of specific and/or temporary displays on pre-arranged terms.

Encourage, support and carry out research into the history of the above-mentioned area by making available the Kowie Museum’s records and library to bona fide students of history, to friends of the Kowie Museum, or to any member of the Lower Albany Historical Society (LAHS).

To not take any steps contrary to the Museums’ Ordinance No. 8 of 1975, nor the ethics of museum practice, in the interests or furtherance of the objectives of the Kowie Museum.

To record selected events relevant to the area, which may, in the future, become of historical interest within the Kowie Museum.

About Us

Kowie Museum20
The Kowie Museum is situated in the old Port Alfred Railway Station

The Kowie Museum opened on December 15, 1982, as a result of work by dedicated volunteers.

The Kowie Museum moved to the Old Railway Station in October 2012, after the building in which it was housed for nearly 30 years was sold.

Dedicated volunteers and a curator, overseen by the Board of Trustees, run the Kowie Museum.

Curator of the Kowie Museum, Yvonne Surtees, took up the position on June 1, 2013, after the previous curator, Dick Schuurman, moved to Cape Town.

The Kowie Museum is a full member of the South African Museums Association (SAMA).

The opening hours of the Kowie Museum are 09.30 – 12.30 (closed Sunday/Monday/Public Holidays) for most of the year; extended operating hours apply in the season.

Origins of the Kowie Museum

The creation of a Kowie Museum at Port Alfred was first envisaged by Ted Morse Jones who included this objective as one of the aims of the Lower Albany Historical Society, when it was constituted in July 1958.

From then on members of the Society set out to collect material for a Museum and in the late 1970s, the Society formed the Kowie Museum sub-committee under the chairmanship of Iris Holloway.

In October 1980 the sub-committee set up a limited exhibition for a few days in the foyer of the Town Hall and in March 1981 followed this with a display at the Bathurst Agricultural Show.

In July 1980 Glen Harvey, Chairman of the Society, negotiated with officials of the Posts and Telecommunications Department to make the existing Manual Telephone Exchange room at the Post Office available to the Society when the new Automatic Exchange was built.

This happened in April 1982 and the Kowie Museum moved in and, on December 15, 1982, was able to open its first display.

During the next six months, negotiations between the sub-committee and the Society’s committee led to the drawing up of a constitution for the Kowie Museum, which came into independent existence in July 1983.

It must be mentioned that the Kowie Museum might not have happened were it not for the boundless energy of Don Monro, the first curator.

Sadly, Ted Morse Jones did not see the fruits of his initiative: he died in 1969.

Contact details: +27 (0) 71 288 8228  (a.m. only Tues – Sat) or email curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za


This page is under construction and will take a while before fully operational

We would appreciate the Coat of Arms from all Settler Families posted here – please forward to admin(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za

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Merchant Ingram
Home Cork
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Husbandman Southey
Home Somersetshire
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Joiner/Husbandman Bowker
Home Wiltshire
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Mason Pigot
Home Berkshire
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Visit the Kowie Museum and give us your feedback too!

Board of Trustees

Port Alfred

Kowie Museum values your input

This brings history alive!

J & R Perry


History alive

An interesting collection for a small town museum 

J Mather

Doncaster, England

Interesting collection

Interesting display and informative guide!

Y Mason



A real asset to Port Alfred

G Eagle

Cape Town

Real asset

Great history, lovely heritage

A Mda


Lovely heritage

Good, varied collection of region

S Dingemans

Dublin, Ireland

Varied collection

The best small museum in South Africa!

L Howard


Best in South Africa

What a lovely experience!

Heather Turnbull


Lovely experience

Baie leersaam!

J J Jacobs




Rob Crothall – Chair

Rob Crothall – Chair

Chairman, Rob Crothall – a man of considerable vision with a wide knowledge of information technology and modern business methods.

His wise leadership is laying down structures and methods for the future; this, with Rob’s long and tireless work on getting our finances into order in a computerised accounting programme, means that the Museum is making very real steps towards modernisation, and we value his contribution highly.

Mitch Ramsay – Vice Chair

Mitch Ramsay – Vice Chair

Mitch Ramsay is our legal counsel, and he helps us to be clear about what we need in documents such as our Constitution.

He is also very good with people and can be trusted to negotiate well for us.

Heather Howard – Secretary

Heather Howard – Secretary

Heather Howard has had the role of Secretary of the Board for some time  and has kept Trustees informed of meetings, has distributed the minutes, kept track of everyone’s “things to do”, maintained the master copy of documents like the Constitution, and kept impeccable records.

She gives very sage advice and has been an asset to the committee and chairpersons over the years.

She has served as Chairman for seven years in the 1990s.

Lesley Futter – Treasurer

Lesley Futter – Treasurer

Lesley Futter, Treasurer of the Kowie Museum, was born …

Yvonne Surtees – Curator

Yvonne Surtees – Curator

Curator Yvonne Surtees spends many hours at the Museum dealing with new exhibits, members of the public, the desk helpers’ schedules, and being the General Manager.

She combines historical knowledge, good ideas and practicality and is excellent with people.

We are very lucky to have her on the team.

Hennie Marais

Hennie Marais

Hennie Marais keeps his ear to the ground, is the first to know about things of interest for the Trustees, and has functioned as the liaison with the Municipality.

He has guided us through politically sensitive areas and is the primary webmaster of the Museum website.

He is aware of the history of the museum and its relationship with other bodies in and around the Kowie.

His help has been very valuable to the Museum. He is also a past chairman. 

Joy Billing

Joy Billing

Joy Billing has vast historical knowledge and supports Yvonne with the Museum collection.

She is currently working on a “Sports” exhibit, but always keeps an eye out for things that we can change and improve.

Mike Coleman

Mike Coleman

Mike Coleman is our “go-to guy” for Information Technology in the Museum.

He has set up our Local Area Network (LAN) which enables the various computers in the Museum to share data, printers, and Internet access.

He has also loaded the book catalogue to a shared Access database and maintains a database of names and contact details which are used for sending out the periodic newsletters.

Mike has done a lot with a very limited budget and we owe him a lot.

Sue Gordon

Sue Gordon

Sue Gordon has a lot of knowledge about public relations and organising functions.

She is an inexhaustible source of ideas that benefit the Museum and manages to fit all the work she does for the Museum into her very busy schedule.

Sue also owns and manages her own museum, the Richmond House Museum in Port Alfred, dedicated to William Cock and his family.

Erika Freeme

Erika Freeme

Erika is new to the Board and comes from a long career in junior school teaching in the Cape, Natal and what was the Transvaal (Gauteng).

From 2004 – 2014 she was Principal of the Kenton-on-Sea Primary School and a Grade 3 teacher.

Her ideas and experience will be of great value in the Museum’s educational outreach.


Join Us

You can become a friend of the Kowie Museum through your donation or by joining the Kowie Museum as an annual or life member.

Simply complete the online donation and/or membership form, then send it to us and we will invoice you for the required amount.

Click here for the Join/Donate Form.

During completion, you will be asked whether you want to join as an Annual Member, Life Member or whether you are making a Donation.

Donors/Members can rest assured that all funds are spent on running the Kowie Museum under the guidance of a Board of Trustees, who are all volunteers.

Other methods of donating:
Donation/membership cheques can be mailed to:
Kowie Museum, PO Box 291, Port Alfred, 6170 (Payee on cheque: Kowie History Museum)

Remember us in your Will – Click here for more information

Direct donation/membership deposits can be made at:

FNB – Port Alfred, Branch code: 210917, Account number: 625 1354 4454, Type of Account: Business Essential Account, Account holder: Kowie History Museum, and Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

We reluctantly included our bank details, because we prefer a one on one contact where we can thank our donors personally.

If you choose to deposit/EFT money, please use your telephone number or email address as a unique reference so that we are able to acknowledge receipt and thank you for your kindness.

Often we have numerous untraceable deposits and it saddens us that we are not able to thank the donor personally.

For more information contact Yvonne Surtees on curator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)kowiemuseum.co.za


Contact Us

Comments and Questions are welcomed