I attended the walking tour of Brooke Gallery organised by the Sarawak Heritage Society and is part of the What About Kuching 2018.
I have been to the Brooke Gallery before on my own, but having a guided tour was an even better opportunity to understand the Unique History of Sarawak under the rule of the White Rajahs.
The walking tour was conducted by by Paul Gerarts, experienced volunteer heritage tour guide and Sarawak Heritage Society member.
Paul gives a quick rundown on the format of the tour.
So the tour began with a quick introduction of the building that housed the Brooke Gallery.
Records indicated that building Fort Margherita started in 1877 and was completed in 1879. Why the Fort carries the year 1880 is unknown.
A copy of James Brooke portrait greets visitors at the entrance of the gallery.
Paul then continues to explain that James Brooke was asked to send some gifts to the then governor of Sarawak, Pengiran Muda Hashim by the East India Company as a token of thanks for salvaging one of it’s ships that wrecked near Santubong.
Cession letter of Sarawak by Pengiran Muda Hashim to James Brooke
As James Brooke help Pengiran Muda Hashim settle disputes by certain quarters Pengiran Muda Hashim then ceded Sarawak to James Brooke.
Sarawak in 1841
The tour around the gallery then explains in brief the expansion of Sarawak to it’s current boundaries of today.
Territories that were ceded progressively by Brunei to Brooke
The gallery also gives a good insight on the progress of Sarawak rule of government from the setting up of written laws to the development of currencies, the coat of arms, flags and it’s national anthem.
The Flag of Sarawak
It’s interesting how simple laws were made in those days. Brooke made nine regulations and it is the basis of the present Sarawak Constitution.
The first written laws of Sarawak.
One good thing about this tour is that I finally knew why James Brooke used the Badger as his ‘mascot’.
The badger in old English is “brock” and hence alluding to the dynastic surname
On a concluding note this was a lovely guided tour of the Brooke Gallery.
It gave me a clearer understanding of the unique History of Sarawak under the reign of the Brooke family. It is what makes Sarawak different from the rest of Malaysia.
Peninsular Malaysia has it’s sultans, Sarawak we have our Rajahs.
So if you have some few hours to spare, do visit the Brooke Gallery at the iconic Fort Margherita. It is worth it.