The Owl Club

Sheila Walker (nee Young), Somerset West

I read with interest the article by Francois Verster about the Owl Club (“Om jou vlerke te sprei: die Owl Club”, Bolander history, February 24).

It seems strange to know that somebody in Somerset West should know about such an “English” association – actually consisting mostly of South African dignitaries.

The Owl Club was started in 1894. I have the book The Owl Club, written by WE Raney, covering the period of 1894 to 1950.

The book was printed in South Africa by the Rustica Press Limited, Wynberg Cape in 1952.

My interest in the Owl Club was initiated by the fact that Alexander Murray was the father of my late mother, Mary Young (nee Murray), and Donald was his brother.

They were both founder members of the Owl Club.

Some interesting snippets from the book are:

* The signatures appear on the original constitution, together with 28 other distinguished members (the names of which are all in alphabetical order);

* The constitution reads as follows: “Then lets flock together like birds of a feather.”;

* The constitution of the Owl Club was written in full round hand, bound in pink tape and endorsed in red ink, with the words “Original Draft”, signed by first and foundation members – October 1, 1894; it survives in reasonably good condition and bears the following signatures (too many to record here – but there were 30 signatures altogether).

Old Sporting Clubs tell us – of a bevy of Quails , a covey of Partridges, a brood of Pheasants, a gaggle of Geese, congregation of Plovers and many other picturesque assembles. But Cape Town has the distinction of adding a “ Club of Owls” to the list!

Foreward: By the Right Hon. The Earl of Athlone, KG, an honorary Life Member.

I feel sure that its readers will enjoy this book and that in due course of time it will become a valuable document of “Africana”.

Signed: Athlone Kensington Palace, September 1952.

I wonder if there are any other readers who have any connections with the Owl Club?