The history of Murraysburg

The Town

The Town

The history of any city or town is always closely linked to by what is happening in the country and the world in general.

Because a refreshment station was started at the Cape, the region came under, at first, the control of the Dutch Indian Company.  Later, control was taken over by the Dutch Government and then subsequently by the British.

Initially the Cape was governed by a Political Council with the highest authority the Council of 17 in Amsterdam.  With the development of the Cape into a colony, government was adapted to suit the new situation.  As the stock farmers moved further into the interior, new districts were formed.  The Political Council appointed a magistrate (landdros) in each district.  He was assisted by heemraden, chosen from the white community.

During the latter part of the 18t century roaming stock farmers settled in the region of the Sneeubergen.  Water and grazing were plentiful, ideal for stock farming.  This region was outside any of the then existing districts. Loan farms were allocated to farmers.  These farms could be used for grazing for a stipulated period.  The region was very unsettled with stock theft, murders and reprisal expeditions against the San.  In 1778 governor van Plettenberg met the Sneeuberg farmers at the site of the present Graaff-Reinet.  They requested that a magistrate (landdros) be appointed and that they should get a church and school.  In October 1786 landdros Maritz Woeke was appointed. The new town was named Graaff-Reinet after the then governor Cornelis Jacobus Van de Graaff and his wife, Reinette.  Murraysburg was part of this new district.  (Before this development, people in this area had to go to Tulbagh or Stellenbosch for registration of births and deaths)

When the congregation of Richmond was formed in 1843 a large portion of Murraysburg district formed part of this new congregation and town.  Because of the distance from Richmond to Graaff-Reinet, people felt that a new town should be founded.  Initially the farm Toverfontein was considered, but negotiations fell through.

Eventually the farm Eenzaamhied was bought from Mr Kootjie Burger.  This farm became the town Murraysburg. It was a “church town”, meaning that the DRC exercised full control over the town and its inhabitants.  The new town was named after the Rev. Andrew Murray, minister of the DRC in Graaff-Reinet. The “burg” part comes from the Dutch meaning “place of safety”.

Two names are closely connected to the founding of Murraysburg.

BJJ Burger
Andrew Murray
Anglo Boer War
San and Khoi



Murraysburg 150 years (Privately Published in 2011)
Izak Malherbe
Charl Conradie
Alida Pienaar