Church Organ


The Organs history

by Kotie v.d. Berg

The first organ of the church was used from 1871 to 1907.  In 1907 the organ was sold to the Elliot congregation.  With the enlargement of the church building a new organ was installed and is still being used.

It was built by the firm V.G. Vowles from Bristol, England.  There were six similar organs from Vowles in South Africa.  Only two are still working in their original way of which one is in Murraysburg and the other in St. John’s Anglican Church in Athlone (Cape Town).  The other four were rebuilt with electronic action.

The organ has 1712 pipes, of which 53 can be seen as a visual display.  There are 32 registers which can be combined to bring forth different sound effects.

Little is known about the organ for the time from 1907 to 1944 when Cooper, Gill & Tomkins took over the maintenance.  The organ was originally pumped by hand.  Only in 1945 an electric pump was supplied and was the organ thoroughly overhauled. This repair maintenance to the organ should preferably be done every 12 to 15 years.

According to experts the organ still is a relatively young organ, even though it is already 100 years old!  Except for normal wear, and tearit is still in a very good condition. The fact that it can still use the original mechanical actions makes it an exceptional organ.  In Europe there actually are organs of 300 years and older which are still being used.  Unlikeelectronic organs, the value of pipe organs is escalating so much that our organ is almost as valuable as the church building.


DR congregation – Murraysburg

by Lina v.d. Berg

The congregation of Graaff-Reinet was established in 1792 and it was already abig congregation by the time Andrew Murray arrived in 1822.  He was the fifth minister of this congregation.  The DR congregations of Beaufort-West and Cradock date from around 1818.

Both Murraysburg and Aberdeen seceded from Graaff-Reinet in 1855. Murraysburg was named after rev. Andrew Murray and Aberdeen was named after his hometown in Scotland.  The first vestry meeting in Murraysburg was held on 5 December 1855, and the first church building was inaugurated on 24 July 1858.  The church as it is now with its unique organ was inaugurated on 14 December 1907.

One of the original tasks of the church was to help with the establishment of schools and so they did in Murraysburg.  While dr. Kydd was in charge of the education Murraysburg was known country wide for its quality education..  People like B.B. Keet and dr Wynand Malan came to Murraysburg to prepare for their university studies.

Like most things in our country the DR Congregation of Murraysburg changed over the years.  The big congregation of about 750 people declined to as little as 130 (2008).  In spite ofall this, church activities are going strong and the beautiful old church building is put to good use.