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.
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
Wife GRACE, 29. Children, HENRY 6, JOHN 5, JOCELYN 3, CATHERINE 1 8-5-1820 – In Simon’s Bay 7-1820 – Had landed at Saldhana Bay at Head of party. 7-1820 – Had reached Kleine Valley. 1820 – His party landed at Port Elizabeth. He remained at Jan Dissel’s Valley. 17-7-1820 – J. INGRAM at Partridge Valley. 10-1820 – They had reached Albany in East Indian. 2-1823 – He had disposed of his holding and returned to Cork. 2-1823 – Entered agreement with EARL BATHURST to bring out 184 men, 59 women and 105 children – Total 348. 12-12-1823 – Barrosa at Cape Town. 20-9-1823 – Sailed in Barrosa from Cork. 12-1823 – THOMAS HARRIS was his Clerk. 12-1823 – He had brought back 348 Settlers to Cape Town in Barrosa. 5-10-1827 – 18 Cecil Street, Stand. 1830 – 3 Burg Street, Cape Town. 4-1833 – An Agent at Cape Town 17-4-1833 – Visiting Grahamstown. 14-4-1834 – A Constable at Grahamstown. (“John Ingram”)
30-4-1820 – He landed at Fort Frederick. 14-7-1831 – He had bought allotment No. 1, 265 morgen in Southey’s location, from GEORGE SOUTHEY. 3-12-1832 – He was married at Grahamstown by Rev. WILLIAM CARLISLE to ELIZABETH SKINNER. THOMAS and ANN STYLE attended. 12-1834 – He had sold No. 5, 68 morgen to SAMUEL BENNETT. 6-3-1845 – Adjustment was made to his title to allotments No. 2 & 4 in Southey’s location, bought from MARY, widow of JAMES THOMAS. 31-12-1845 – He had subscribed �1 to help THOMAS SHONE. 4-1846 – He was at Grahamstown. 22-5-1846 – He died aged 58 at Grahamstown and was buried there.
1796? – He was born. 7-1-1820 – He sailed from England. 1-5-1820 – He had landed at Fort Frederick. 2-3-1826 – He was married in Grahamstown by Rev. THOMAS IRELAND to ANN, daughter of JAMES WHEELER, who was present. 23-3-1826 – Son, WILLIAM, born. 21-4-1828 – Son, JAMES, born. 13-7-1830 – Son, NATHANIEL, born. 10-1830 – He was working and living on WILLSON’S location. 3-10-1830 – Sons JAMES and NATHANIEL baptised at Bathurst by Rev GEORGE PORTER. 6- 3-1848 – He died of assegai wounds received when he disturbed raiding Xhosas while rebuilding WILLIAM MOUNTFORT’s house. His brother killed one of them. 6-3-1848 – His son WILLIAM was killed. 29-4-1858 – His son NATHANIEL died. 5-4-1867 – His wife ANN died, aged 59 years 7 months at Grahamstown.
23-3-1826 – He was born to ANN, wife of WILLIAM INGRAM. 3-10-1830 – He was baptised at Bathurst by Rev. GEORGE PORTER. 1-1848 – He was married. 3-1848 – Living on Pigot’s Park with his brother NATHANIEL 3-1848 – They were rebuilding WILLIAM MOUNTFORT’S house in Liversage’s location. His wife was present. 6-3-1848 – He was attacked by Xhosas and died of assegai wounds, aged 22 years. 8-3-1848 – He was buried at Grahamstown and was buried by Rev. J. HEAVYSIDE.
24-12-1819 – Off Deal 26-3-1820 – In Simon’s Bay. 2-5-1820 – He landed at Fort Frederick. 12-5-1820 – He left Algoa Bay. 28-5-1820 – He reached Blaauw Krantz River. 12-1834 – He took, JOHN, son of the late JAMES KENT, as an apprentice. 1834 – He was a mason at Grahamstown.
Visit the Kowie Museum and give us your feedback too!
Board of Trustees
Kowie Museum values your input
This brings history alive!
J & R Perry
An interesting collection for a small town museum
Interesting display and informative guide!
A real asset to Port Alfred
Great history, lovely heritage
Good, varied collection of region
The best small museum in South Africa!
Best in South Africa
What a lovely experience!
J J Jacobs
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 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 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.
Gwynn Crothall – Treasurer
Gwynn, Treasurer of the Kowie Museum, was born in Kimberley and educated at Rhodes University. She qualified as a Librarian and worked in the corporate libraries of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited in Kimberley, Anglo American and BHP Billiton in Johannesburg for a total of 35 years.
For the last five years before retiring, she was Project Manager for the new Carnegie Corporation/Sabinet funded African Journal Archive in Centurion.
She retired to Port Alfred with her husband Rob in 2014, and is also the Vice Chair of the Lower Albany Historical Society, and Wordworks (an early literacy project at Dambuza Primary School). Gwynn is also taking drawing lessons with Sally Scott in Grahamstown.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.