Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ex-Aussie soldier donates historical items to Keningau Museum

KENINGAU: A former lieutenant colonel of the Royal Australian Engineers, Tomasz Ciseniewski, or better known as Tom, and his Sabahan wife, Connie Lupang, visited the Keningau Heritage Museum on Monday afternoon.

What used to be a rest house 50 years ago has been turned into a local museum that houses numerous historical collections dating back to the colonial days ranging from artefacts and old photographs.

The couple’s visit to the museum was to donate old photographs and an Australia Army Slouch hat that would become part of the exhibition here.

Flash back to late 1965, Tomasz was a young second lieutenant of the transport troops, and a member of the 21st Construction Squadron of the Royal Australia Engineers that was building a road network between Keningau and Sapulut during the Indonesian Confrontation.

He was put in charge at the Keningau Base Camp to make sure supplies and equipment were running smoothly between the railhead from Tenom to Pandewan, a forward base camp set up just a few miles off Sapulut.

After Malaysia was formed on September 16, 1963 through the union of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah (then North Borneo), Indonesia then under the leadership of Sukarno, launched an armed insurgency to destabilise the newly formed federation.

In response to the threat, the Australian government sent the Royal Australian Engineers to Sabah as part of its military aid to protect the sovereignty of the State against the aggressors.