During the Second Anglo-Boer War, the Great Karoo town of Murraysburg was beset by Boer forces who regularly looted it for guns, food and the healing hands of a local doctor.
The little sheep-farming town could not raise a Town Guard of 25 and so Boer commandos hiding out in the Camdeboo had a free run of its services and streets. In a short space of six months, Murraysburg was hit 17 times. By now, its burghers must have been convinced there were better places to earn a living. The rebels were turning their settlement into a takeaway town – without leaving payment.
But most stayed on, and during the early part of the 20th Century, Murraysburg became a flourishing agricultural spot. It had been established on a farm called Eenzaamheid (Loneliness) and named after the legendary Scot who was the Number One Dutch Reformed Minister in the Karoo – the Rev Andrew Murray Senior. His son – of the same name – also made a prominent name for himself in the Karoo.
A Graaff-Reinet watchmaker bringing the clock for the church had a wagon accident en route, damaging the timepiece. It has been a little “off-centre” ever since, people say.
Local historians record the arrival of the Governor of the Cape, Sir George Grey, in 1858. He wouldn’t be anyone’s guest, however, preferring to endure a cold Karoo night in his own tent, erected in the middle of town.
These days, outdoor tourism has brought Murraysburg back to life.
Find our new e-Book, 101 Karoo Towns, HERE.