Should be posting this yesterday but didn’t have much information about it until today. What’s the big deal with that? If you are gonna ask me. Well… To many people… It’s not a big deal because all these while people are preceiving it as a private club that only the rich and famous could step in there until it’s burnt down then they realised that part of Sarawak’s histories are gone forever with the fire.
This club has 130 years of history and it’s a private club. It holds some important artefacts and history documents in there. The building can be rebuild but the history pieces are gone! I’m sure many people didn’t know this and now that they know this and they all feel sad about it. Frankly, I’m kinda ignorant too, I didn’t know that there are those history stuffs in there and it was no big deal to me until reading about it in forums and newspapers. I only went there once for a swim with my church’s pastor and family hmmm… 10 years+ ago? Too long to recall.
I only knew about the news yesterday afternoon when meeting my client who is one of the committee member there and he had to rush off for the meeting because he said Sarawak Club had burnt down that morning, 3.30am, 27.07.2006 . I thought it might be some small fire damaging some parts of the building but it turned out… OMG!!! It’s destroyed everything except the swimming pool, the outer wall of the building, the guardhouse, carpark and tennis courts.
Here’s a photo of it that I took last year from the top of Civic Center:
I was hunting for the ariel view of the club after the fire but to no avail and worst!!! No history about it in the Internet even its own offical website!!! So I took some photos from catscity.com.my.
Found these new photos in cari.com.my
Here… the ariel view from Borneo Post.
Here’s the news excerpted from the newspapers – Fire Erases A Piece Of History Borneo Post, Friday July 2006 ), by Doreena Naeg and Abang Salfian Nawawi:
KUCHING : A piece of history was erased yesterday whe a pre-dawn fire destroyed the country’s oldest membership-club, the Sarawak Club.
The club was to celebrate its 130th annniversay in September. Many important documents and artefacts were destroyed, and with that, a small part of Sarawak history disappeared and lost forever. The banquet hall, restaurant, karaoke lounge, conference and meeting rooms and all the furniture and items inside the historical building were also destroyed by the 3.30am blaze.
Other buildings nearby were partially damaged. Losses were estimated to have run into millions. The only part left intect is the swimming pool.
“this is a historical building which has been gazetted by the government as a historical site, and since it is in my constituency, I will aid the management of the club in its restoration,” said Housing Mninister Dato Sri Abang Johari Tun Open after inspecting the site yesterday.
He said the building was an administrative centre during the Brooke reign and the Colonial government until Sarawak gained independence through Malaysia.
“the building has housed many historical events of the State. It is part of Sarawak history,” he said. Kuching Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) Senior Superintendent Morni Mamat said they received an emergency call at about 3.30 am
“We arrived at the club eight minutes after receiving the call, the main building was already engulfed by fire, and the banquet hall was almost gone.
“We believed the fire had started from the kitchen before spreading elsewhere.” Morni said 42 firemen in three fire engines from four stations – Batu Lintang, Padungan, Tabuan Jaya and Petra Jaya rushed to the scene upon receiving distress call.
“It took us almost an hour to bring the fire under control. We heard several explosions coming from the kitchen.”
The cause of the fire and the extent of losses are being investigated.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Club secretary Chan Poh Hui said the club’s management committee would hold a meeting later today to decide on the next course of action.
“Today is a sad day for us. We will restore the building to its normal state,” he told reporters at the scene. The club has 2,900 members, with about 12,000 guest patronising the club to use the facilities.
Abang Johari, expressing sadness recalled that Sarawak Club was “the place” to go during colonial times, and he had many memorable moments at the club. Chan, who together with the Club management secretart Annie Sim, who accompanied the minister, confirmed that many important documents and artefact were destroyed in the fire.
The 2nd Rajah Charles Brooke, established the club in 1876.
Here’s the brief history I got from the newspapers:
1876 – Establishment of the club by second Rajah Chralse Brooke as public club and accomodation house for government officers and expatriates. The club is originated in the defunct “The Rajah Arms” hotel, which was situated on the site of present Tourist Information Office.
After 14 years of being both a club and a lodging house, it was deemed that the club was running at a loss, so the “hotel” part was done away with.
1893 – A complete renovation with an addition of a bowling alley.
1911 – After moving to what is now the Police Officer Mess, the men used the Club for recreation after a hard day’s work, and a place of retreat for those who needed to escape from the domesticity of the home.
22 June 1911 – “New” Sarawak Club was opened by Brooke.
Hmm… what caused the fire? Heard that it’s from the kitchen. Hmmm…. another theory of mine is that it’s purposely done because there are many members there that kept there personal stuffs there in the club lockers/safes. There might be some bad apples that wanted to destroy their criminal evidents or something and set the fire and burnt down the whole building. Or they wanted to get the insurance money for new building? Just my speculation… it’s not proven, just that I watched too much movie or my imagination had ran wild.
There you go… Ah well… The Sarawak Club will sure be back on its feet soon, just that all the important history elements are gone forever. It will never be the same anymore and it’s just another club. *SIGH* Well… that’s just my own perception, it doesn’t mean that it’s correct and if you don’t like these statements that I’ve made, GET LOST!