From an old notebook …

While on the subject of Dutch Reformed churches, it was during a military history tour of the Adelaide area in the Eastern Cape a few years ago that we were told an interesting story by our guide of an event that took place a year into the start of the Anglo-Boer War. In response to the Boer commandos invading towns along the  border of the Cape Colony, the British forces defending Adelaide at the time commandeered the well-built Dutch Reformed church for their headquarters and used it as barracks. Naturally the congregants of the church were angry at this rough-shod invasion of their church and the resultant damage to the interior. According to our guide, the rectory of the church was, for a time, used as a stable!

Once the war was over and the British troops had left, the Dutch Reformed community set about trying to restore the damage done to the interior of their church. There was little money available and their donation drive did not yield enough for the refurbishment of the pews and pulpit.

Three months later, however, they were astounded when two wagons entered the town of Adelaide laden with finely cut oak timber – apparently some sources say the consignment included a beautifully carved pulpit and matching chair. The townsfolk assumed that the British had sent this by way of compensation and as an apology for the damage the troops had caused. Within a few months the church and rectory was fully restored – all was well.

Except … two years later the mayor of the town received a letter from the mayor of Adelaide in Australia wondering whether the consignment of oak they had ordered from England for their new church had possibly been delivered to the wrong address …

Well, of course it had! What to do about it? Photographs were taken of the refurbished interior of the church and sent along with an explanation of what had happened.

33 thoughts on “WRONG DESTINATION

    • I must dig up the one about stained glass windows in one of our local churches too … in one of those notebooks still to be found 🙂


  1. I have a book. Oppad in Suid Afrika. Every town appears in the book with the history and more interesting facts about the town. Most of the towns were founded by the Dutch Reformed church. It is so interesting to see how the towns started. We have one in the practice and sometimes the patients that wait do not want to put the book down.

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    • Dis waar, woordnoot. Ek bly in Middelburg OosKaap, en Middelburg het sy ontstaan met die stigting van die NG Kerk. Ons is die jaar 170 jaar oud. En vir elke erf wat verkoop word, moet die NG Kerk ‘n persentasie kry.

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      • Daar is ‘n klein nedersetting in die Noord Kaap, Plooysburg. Die kerk het ‘n ongelooflike rol in die onstaan daarvan gespeel. Vir jare al het hulle elke laaste naweek in Mei hulle groot vleisbasaar. Mense kom van regoor SA om vleis te koop. Interessante plek.

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    • The Dutch Reformed churches are prominent buildings in these towns and are a fine example of the need for the farmers of the time, who were widespread, to gather in a known place for worship and fellowship.

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