Dr Andrew Murray, then pastor of the Dutch Reformed Church in Wellington, travelled through the Karoo. On his travels he noticed how many girls living on farms were without any work or even education. This situation bothered him so much that he established the Industrial School in Wellington where these girls could learn skills like house keeping, food preparation sewing, as well as learning to read and write. The first building in Murray Street was completed in 1898 and the first 36 girls from the Union and mission stations in Rhodesia and Nyasaland were sent there for training.
The Wellington Dutch Reformed Church was responsible for providing food and clothing to these young girls and each ward had a turn to prepare the meals on a weekly basis. It was also expected that the Chairman of the Governing Board would always be a pastor, but this was discontinued at a later stage.
The Department of Health and Welfare took over the care of the children and the Andrew Murray Children’s Home became a semi-state children’s home for orphans and those sent by the department. The first state subsidy was received at that time.
The Good Hope Housing Committee (Western Cape) bought the farm Klipvlei, where Andrew Murray Children’s Home is currently situated. The new children’s home made provision for 72 children. Boys were now accepted, giving preference to siblings of the girls already attending.
Babies were taken in for the first time after recommendation by the SKDB (Western Cape) and toddlers were separated from the siblings and other older children.
The second section of the children’s home was built. The children’s home now provided housing and care for 120 children. Children were separated into age groups but this later led to subgroup forming.
It was decided to divide them into groups of 14 children raging from ages 6 months to 18 years and placing them in a “house unit” to try for from closer family bonding.
Andrew Murray Children’s Home was also one of the first state subsidised children’s home to take in children’s homes to take in children of different races and cultures. In the eighties, the state ordered the erection of an infirmary. Today this facility is used as a classroom for the children before grade R. The children’s home, with the financial help of the local Wellington Community, built the large swimming pool on the premises which could accommodate 150 children simultaneously.
Andrew Murray’s Children’s Home provided a home for 150 children.
The SKDB changed their name to BADISA and the Andrew Murray Children’s Home became a programme of BADISA. BADISA is a Church-based non-governmental welfare organisation. BADISA provides professional assistance as well as a policy and guideline for HAM, ensuring that the Home meets the ever-changing needs of the children in need of care and safety. HAM’s Children’s Home is also registered with the Department of Social Development and is therefore subject to governmental policies and principles.
House Andrew Murray celebrates its 120th birthday.