Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Brooke Heritage Trust sign agreement on transfer of historical documents, artefacts

KUCHING: Sarawak State Library and the Brooke Heritage Trust has entered an agreement to begin the transfer of historical documents and artefacts from the White Rajah era to the state.

At the library yesterday, Jason Brooke, grandson of Rajah Muda Anthony Brooke, handed over a hard disk drive containing 36,514 digital documents.

“The first of the documents are family letters from 1823 while the last documents are formal discussions on Sarawak becoming part of Malaysia from 1963,” said Jason, who is the honorary secretary of the trust.

The digitised records include never before made public photographs from the private collection of the Brooke descendants.

The photos and written documents, including handwritten letters, memos, official government business, reveal both private family moments as well as key turning points in Sarawak’s history.

Most of these important records are now available for the first time in Sarawak.

In September, the trust is expected to deliver another 15,000 digitised files of other documents, including 3D computerised captures of scanned objects like ink bottles used during the signing of Sarawak’s secession to the British.

The originals, for now, will remain at the Rhodes House Library in Oxford. However, the Trust has indicated that it would hand them over once proper archiving facilities were in place in Sarawak. Towards that end, the State Library is now working with Oxford University to set up better equipped repositories.

“The transfer of records will make it ever more possible to look at history directly in the face and learn what it offers to teach us,” said Jason, paraphrasing his grandfather’s words.

“His words echo from another age in Sarawak’s history, yet they are appropriate.”

Documents of the Brooke era, he added, would allow historians, sociologists, and even movie makers to interpret for themselves the state’s heritage.