Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Taste of colonial Sandakan

IF you find yourself in Sandakan, Sabah, and don’t feel quite up to venturing out of town to take in the sights, there’s a spot you should go to.

Actually, it’s more of a place you shouldn’t miss. The small hill in Jalan Istana is only a 20-minute walk away from the town centre but it holds two much talked about city attractions in nature-rich Sandakan.

With sprawling lawns and colonial-style wooden architecture, the Agnes Keith House and English Teahouse are two of the most interesting stops on the Sandakan Heritage Trail. You also get a great view of Sandakan Bay at the front and the Sulu Sea at the back.

Agnes Keith House

Now operated by Sabah Museums, the Agnes Keith House has been fully restored to the original design of a double-storey colonial wooden bungalow. It opened to visitors in 2004.

American writer Agnes Keith and her family lived here from 1934 to 1952, excluding wartime when they were held prisoners of war. Keith wrote two of her seven books here, including the famous Land Below The Wind, in 1939.

The small garden and grounds are well maintained, giving the perception of an occupied home. Visitors half expect the lady of the house herself to come out and offer them a cup of tea.

Visitors have to remove their shoes to enter the house. The air-conditioned interior is a welcome respite from the hot afternoon sun.

The interior is beautiful and awe-inspiring, containing reproductions and antiques belonging to the colonial period. The dining and living rooms on the ground floor contain memorabilia, photographs, a dining table set and refrigerator among other interesting items.

There’s plenty to see, yet the place is not cluttered with items and furniture, making it easy to walk around the house. An elegant wooden staircase leads to the upper level which houses the large, but simply decorated master bedroom and study. Also on display here are family photographs and glass cases containing some of the books written by Keith and toys she made for her children.

There is also a little screening area where visitors can watch a short film about Keith and her family, pieced together from footage shot of the Keiths by a family friend.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Taste of colonial Sandakan

No comments: