The Eastern Cape town of Port Alfred is affectionately known as the "Kowie",
named after the wide tidal river mouth of the Kowie River, which flows through
the town to the sea. It is said that the name is of Khoi origin, and means
The Kowie History Museum focuses largely on the social history of the historic Albany District. while highlighting the activities of the early settlers between the period of 1820 and 1889. Displays at the Kowie History Museum include an old card index recording all of the names of the 4,000 British settlers and immediate descendants, who landed in the area in the early 1800's.
Another interesting exhibit featured at the museum is a display about the Briseis, which ran aground on a reef in 1859 while returning from India. The ship was reported to have been carrying gold and silver on board, which was never found. Another story tells of how the people of Port Alfred awoke one day, to find the ship resting on the reef, abandoned by its crew. The remains of the vessel can still be found today, scattered over about 150m. Tons of chain, her four anchors and large amounts of other debris can be seen submerged in about 12m of water. The wreck site has become a popular diving site at Port Alfred.
The Kowie History museum also houses an impressive collection of sea shells from the Port Alfred area. Port Alfred is well known for its interesting and varied shells which can be found along the shore. Much like Jeffrey's Bay further south, a massive variety of more than 1800 different species including perlemoen, phasignella, nautilus and turbonilla, are often found, as well as a number of rarities.
The small Kowie History Museum is situated in the Port Alfred suburb of East
Bank, on the East bank of the Kowie River. The museum is housed in Port Alfred's
old post office, which was once the premises of the Port Alfred High School
Pascoe Crescent, East Bank.
Tel: (046) 624-4713.
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