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Bungoh Range viewed at sunset to SW from between Segubang and Sogo
| Tegora Tegora is a hill on a spur descending from the Bungo Range towards the Krokong area. It is approached from the north via the Staat 2 river, or footpaths near it. Prior to 1867 the area was covered by primary forest and would have been entered only by hunting parties, but this changed when the manager of the Borneo Company, who seems also to have been its resident geologist and explorer, discovered cinnabar3. Within three years there were tramways, works for processing both antimony and mercury, and office building, and bungalows for the works manager, … There were at least 3 resident Europeans, a workforce of hundreds of Chinese and Dyaks, not to mention a shop, hospital, and police. The river seems to have teamed with boats, and there was a pony access route with forty eight bridges from Busau. It seems surprising today that this scarcely visited area was, for 30 years, a hive of industry, major source of revenue, and resort for artists and nature tourists. Evidence of the nineteenth century activity is sparse or non-existent on the ground or in the memory of people living nearby, but there is a good selection of contemporary European accounts, and some paintings and photographs. The discoverer himself4, L.V.Helms5 wrote:
“I shall now say a few words touching the quicksilver mines, situated ... at the base of the Bongo Mountains, a sandstone range near the boundary of the Dutch territory, and the watershed of the great rivers which intersect the south-west coast of Borneo. This part of Sarawak was uninhabited up till the year 1867; the undisturbed primaeval jungle extended from the confines of the antimony and gold-mining settlements to the base of the Bongo mountain. Here, among the limestone hills and rocks, I used at intervals to explore and search for the minerals of which traces had been found, and it was after many a vain search that, in September 1867, when struggling up mountain torrent with a party of natives, leaping from boulder to boulder, I came upon a huge mass of rock lying across the stream, which showed red lines of the mineral of which I was in search. This was the first sight of what is now known as the quicksilver mines of "Tegora," the only mines of the kind in that part of the world. This boulder had fallen from the hill-top, 900 feet above. The discovery led very shortly to labours which made the jungle resound with the miner's blast and the engine's puff. Here, as elsewhere, it was much due to the admirable pioneering qualities of the Chinese, that the great difficulties attending the opening of such works were rapidly overcome. Roads were made, huts built, machinery carried, and ere long the mountain was made to yield its stream of liquid silver. If I had to complain of the Chinaman here, it was of his recklessness, whether at the mines or at the smelting works. A prospect of gain overcomes all his sense of danger; here is an instance: I was sitting with a friend on the slope of the "Tegora" mountain; busy groups of men were at work round about us, and above us towered the peak. Suddenly, a dull, grating noise was heard just behind us. It was caused by a huge mass of rock weighing
hundreds of tons, which was sliding down crushing in its descent two Chinamen and badly wounding a third. These men had been hewing out ore from a piece of rock which supported this great mass. They had been warned of the danger and ordered away, but had stealthily returned and, unobserved, recommenced the work, which speedily caused their destruction. Again, at the mercury furnaces, all sorts of precautions were taken to protect the men from salivation, but in vain; they would work their own way, the consequences often being disastrous. I remember visiting the mines one day, when the manager informed me that a Chinaman wished to see me. “What does he want?' I said. "Oh, he's got all his teeth in a bit of paper," was the answer; and so it was. I was much shocked, but he did not seem to mind it much, and a few dollars made him quite happy. ”6
His own illustrations, probably drawn not long before he left Sarawak in 1872 are distributed through this article. Photos of the opening of the mine and its later working also survive in the UK 7. Helms also prepared only the second map of the district of Sarawak, and this map, published by the Royal Geographical Society in 18818, is based on the black and white map from his book.
Tegora was soon a popular place to visit. Maria Longworth (Theresa Yelverton, Lady Avonmore)9 was the first to write a description (1871):
“In the very heart of the Bougon mountains, which are one of the great chains that intersect Borneo, three hundred miles from anywhere in any direction, if we except the city of Kuching (with which there is no connection, and to which there is no road), are situated the antimony and cinnabar mines of the famous Borneo Company. They lie in a little nook, surrounded by a labyrinth of ravines formed by a riotous little torrent, that
seems not to know its own mind for twenty yards together, but rushes hither and thither, making a way for itself by overthowing and quarrelling generally with boulders and trees. Thus situated, the works are shut in by hills of flowering creepers and ferns, and by verdure-clad mountains which rise pile upon pile for more than three thousand feet, until the faint leaves of their clinging vines are trellised against the cerulean sky. On all sides rise vast adamantine walls of limestone, crowned by millions and millions of evergreen timber trees. There is the bilian, or ironwood, which water can neither float nor destroy, defying alike the assaults of insects and of decay. .... The Borneo Company has constructed its tram-roads of this ironwood, and it answers the purpose well. Large quantities of it are also exported. Then there is the silver-stemmed tapang-tree, whose delicate leaves fall around it like a cloud of green lace, and shelter millions of hives, rich in golden honey, and annually yielding a vast supply of wax. The kapur, or camphor-tree, stands here among its tropical fellows, exuding its fragrant gum, to be transported all over the world as a purifying and preserving agent The limestone walls are also crowned by the palaman 10, from whose triangular roots a "social board” is cut in one solid slab, around which twenty to forty guests could be seated; by the gutta-percha tree, which yields its heart's blood (for it has to be cut down) to preserve our marvellous Atlantic cables: by the india-rubber tree, whose uses are so infinite in number and SO well known as not to need mention; by the creeper, whose slender stem overtops the tallest giants of the forest, and whose fibre makes the toughest cables known to mariners. Here, also, are the homes of the treefern and the orchids — those picturesque parasites, whose waxy flowers are only equalled in eccentric beauty by the wild nepenthe, which here yields its cooling draught to the agile Dyak, whose foot on his native mountains is as light and as Bure as that of his neighbour, the myas, or ourang-outang, who divides with him the proprietorship of the soil, attains the height of four feet eight inches, and is possessed of twice the strength of a man; and who, sharing the feeling of the wildest tribes of man, refuses to be utilized into slavery. From this seeming wisdom, no doubt, has arisen the fable that monkeys were able to speak at one time, but refused to do so, lest man should make them his slaves. Certain it is that could the myas be made to work, his labour would be most valuable to man. His tremendous strength and wonderful agility would clear the jungle, construct roads and bridges, and even cultivate the soil. Other animals have been turned to various uses suitable to their capacities, but one with such gigantic strength, power of manipulation, and keen faculty of imitation, might easily be taught to supply the place of negroes upon plantations, or of Dyaks in the forests. However, the cunning brutes refuse to take the initiatory step, and thus frustrate every plan for turning their dexterity to account. There can be no doubt that the monkey has the best of the arrangement The ourang-outang rarely attacks a man unless he gives the first offence, or approaches their young — which, unlike those of all other animals except man, are helpless, and require the mother's care for six months. The baby monkey lies on its back, and kicks and cries just like a human infant, and is equally difficult to rear away from its mother. Perhaps, however, the experimentors never tried the modem bottle and “baby jumper” (I afterwards learned that a gentleman did try, and succeeded well) Into this wilderness of monstrosities and magical beauties — containing, alike, the materials to supply our daily wants, and to satisfy our scientific requirements — have penetrated the agents of the energetic Borneo Company, ascending to the cloud-capped peak, and burrowing in the bowels of the earth, acquiring timber, sago, antimony, cinnabar, gold, and diamonds. Through their kindness, I was able to enter into their wondrous workshop in the bosom of Nature. … A few miles farther up the country from Busan, is Jambusan, which is reached by a tramway. It is situated in a basin, surrounded by an amphitheatre of wooded hills, with the shadowy peaks of the great mountains, twenty or thirty miles distant, looming grandly in the blue ether. Here the principal blasting operations are carried on, and here are also smelting-furnaces, and a brickyard for the construction of the necessary buildings. Jambusan, which is entirely sustained by the company's works, contains about three hundred inhabitants, most of whom are either directly or indirectly dependent upon the company. Another day's journey upon a mettlesome pony, which had various little dodges for throwing me out of the saddle, took me through one of the most glorious forests it has ever been my fortune to behold. A bridle path, or horse trail, had, with much engineering skill, been contrived at the foot of the mountain, following the lead of the stream; which, as I before remarked, never knew its own mind, but wriggled about like a tadpole in clear water, sometimes diving right under the mountain, and bubbling up on the other side by some hydraulic process known only to itself. Its freaks, however, had made necessary no less than forty-eight bridges in the fifteen miles to Tegora, my destination. Here the manager kindly placed his bungalow at my service, with a Chinese cook without a chin, the materials for which had evidently gone to make extra large cheek bones; a Malay to wait upon me; a very small Dyak, with a very big sword, to defend me; and a splendid kangaroo-dog, named Tam — something between a
greyhound and a staghound — in whom I placed all confidence; all reinforced by my own special Annamite follower. Nam. These composed my establishment. I was also offered the services of a young boa-constrictor, to keep the rats away; but this I declined with thanks. "While he is young, he will not injure you," said the manager, " but only destroy the rats." "Under those circumstances," I said, "I should require to see his baptismal register, to ascertain his exact age, as he might have some sinister motive in representing himself younger than he was.
The Manager's Bungalow at the Mines (Helms, ~1871)
Here, perched among the tree-tops, in a nook like a crow's-nest (for the bungalow or villa was situated upon a sugar-loaf of its own, about five hundred feet high), I could look down upon the works below, and view the useful and the practical; or, gazing upward, could behold all that was romantic and grand. ...the only accident which could happen here would be to be blown from the top of my Olympian eminence into the Plutonic region below, where Dyak Vulcans were tending furnaces which belched forth molten lava of antimony, smelted from the tenacious rock, and dazzling quicksilver, forced by the roaring flames from the ruddy cinnabar, which had been sent flying down from the topmost peaks by the force of gunpowder. When an explosion takes place, the outrage is groaned, and moaned, and sighed over by every peak, far and near, for full sixteen seconds, as though they were incredulous of the fact that puny man could come with a small fusee, and absolutely shatter their adamantine gates, and steal their pent-up treasures. … Quicksilver is, as I have said, found in abundance. We all know the important part it plays in informing us of the temperature, and of the future state of the weather. Here, in its native earth, it must have plenty of running up and down to do, for there is a storm of rain, wind, thunder, and lightning, as I am told, on three hundred and fifty days out of the three hundred and sixty five, thus leaving only fifteen days for it to repose. Rain, more or less, there seems to be every day; but, generally speaking, it is soon over; and the atmosphere afterwards is singularly clear and brilliant. Quicksilver is found in the red cinnabar stone, in the mountain steeps and water courses. These stones are the most valuable, as they contain frequently seventy-five per cent, of pure mercury, whereas the solid rock yields little more than five or six per cent. The process of obtaining the metal from the latter is not unlike gold quartz-mining. The rock is first blasted a little below the surface of the topmost peaks, which are fast being levelled with the ravines. Should cinnabar be found in all of them, the features of the Bougon range will exhibit a marked change in twenty or thirty years hence. The Borneo Company will then find that it has been enacting the rather unexpected ro1e of missionary, by fulfilling the scriptural prophecy concerning "exalting the valleys, and laying the hills low." No one would guess that to be the mission of the company's people, to look at them. The debris from the blasting is brought
down from the mountains, by a tram-road, to the stamps, which pound the broken rock into pudding, or dark, chocolate-coloured dough. This is next spread over tables, or slabs, where, under the constant washing of water, each ingredient of the original rock finds its level according to its specific gravity. Now separated from its friends and adherents (especially the iron pyrites), it passes through a retort, and comes dripping out, as that marvellous globular fluid known as quicksilver. It is secured in iron bottles, and valued at about six dollars per pound; is shipped principally to China, where it is used for making vermillion, with which colour that country is bedizened, from temples to teapots, from their celestial emperors to their portraits of imps. So few, indeed, are the articles made in China without the use of vermilion, that it would be quite as difficult to discover them as to enumerate those that are. No representation, of deity or devil, is complete without it; there is no fair damsel who does not seek to improve her beauty by laying it thickly upon her face. The disgraced mandarin swallows it as poison, while the potent official denotes his rank by it. All dragons seem to hold a mine of it in their throats; and all inscriptions are written either upon or with it; so that to receive a scarlet letter has less of portentous meaning than such a ruddy document would have in Ireland. What shall I say of the inestimable mirror, wherein individuals look at individual selves — which shows up wrinkles and gray hairs, gives the lie to flattering tongues, and does its best to be the "giftie," sighed for by Burns, and enables us "to see ourselves as others see us." Mercury as a medicine, however, has nearly had its day. At the retorts salivation is very rare; I heard of only one case. A poor fellow appeared before the manager with all his teeth wrapped up in a paper parcel, asking what he was to do. "Have them set in gold, and put them in again," replied the chief, deliberately. No doubt that was the only thing to be done. . … The Borneo Company has about one thousand Chinese in its service, while as many Dyaks are employed for less careful and more arduous work; the head work is of course done by Europeans. The Chinese are most prized by the company, on account of their greater industry, ingenuity, and patience; in fact, all over the Eastern Archipelago coolie labour is in great demand, and its importation is gradually working out the progress of the world. Not only as regards labour is this the case, but in many instances the Chinese manage important commercial interests, especially in Saigon and Singapore, in which places they figure among the most influential and wealthy merchants.
Payday at the Quicksilver Mines (Helms, ~1871)
The Mongolian mind, when once freed from the peculiar Chinese trammel, becomes extremely active and keenly perceptive. The Chinese are wonderful at working out details, whereas the Malay has more of the Italian or Portuguese insouciance; and there appears to be no logical sequence in his character, and no mathematical precision in his brain. The Dyaks, though they work bravely and intelligently for a time, cannot
be made to understand the necessity for constant labour; they believe in six months' labour and six months' play; and, when they have saved enough to eke out a scanty subsistence for a time, they are off to their mountain fastnesses — the Dyak villages, perched up among the clouds. Here they plant a little paddi or rice, and live upon their earnings, until starvation again drives them down to the plains to labour. … Peering out from my tower on high I could also perceive, midway between zone and zenith, one of those curious habitations, like a great human nest perched on the tree-tops, containing from three to four hundred people, living like birds of the air or beasts of the forest. I could look down the winding path cut through the jungle to the antimony and cinnabar works, with their numerous engine-houses, washing-houses, offices, tramroads and shops, and upon the engineers', clerks', and superintendents' pretty bungalows, dotted over the sides of the mountain like Swiss cottages, with their wide-spreading palm-leaf roofs and exterior stairways. To that little world below I may have seemed like the Lady of Shalott, — substituting writing for weaving, but there was no Sir Launcelot, unless I could so regard a Dyak youth, who used to steal up generally with the shadows of the moon, and discourse sweet music from a species of pumpkin and half-a dozen bamboo reeds 11. The melody was like the "Cors des Alpes" in the overture of "Guillaume Tell," and very soft and plaintive he could make it. When I made my page Nam hold the lanthorn to his face, I was rejoiced to find that his large, wild eyes — like a dog's or a gazelle's — spoke only of tender rapture, without a symptom of desire to possess my head as a trophy. I gave him a dollar for his instrument, and commenced learning the Dyak cor a pumpkin. Thus the Dyak reapers, climbing the trees for orchids for some enterprizing botanist, might have heard the wail of my pipes, and mistaken me for the fairy Lady of Shalott, or Antou, — a sort of Dyak banshee, but certainly it would not be in the morning early. I am quite content to let the birds have both the early music and the early worm. … It is interesting to look down over the picturesque scene, and trace the change which, in less than two years, has been effected by the indomitable energy of the white race. First comes the pioneer, with his probing-rod or magic wand; then the buildings begin to rise, like habitable mushrooms. How the engine and machinery got here, struck me as being as great a miracle as the transport of the Holy Stable of Bethlehem to Loretto. But the Borneo Company does not seem to be composed of the sort of people who have miracles performed in their favour. Nevertheless, there they are — furnaces, and iron jars and cisterns in which to keep the mercury until it is sent off. It is a curious sensation to dip one's fingers into this iron vat, and feel the quicksilver collapse as we try to grasp it, yet sustaining a five-pound weight of iron upon its glittering bosom. Tegora is yet in its infancy; but, should the cinnabar continue to be found in large quantities, it promises to be not only the most beautiful but the richest place in Borneo. Several hundreds of persons are at work, and improvements are going on. Valuable timber is abundant and Dyaks are not scarce; they are constantly coming in for employment. These mountain Dyaks have not the magnificent physique of the sea Dyaks ; but though they are small, their limbs are beautifully moulded and of perfect symmetry, the muscles fully developed. Their skin is so fine and smooth, yet so hard, that it resembles bronze rather than anything else. They also retain the special charms of eyelashes and eyebrows, which the sea Dyaks do not ; and their eyes are soft, wild, passionate, and lustrous. The nose, although broad, is straight on the bridge, and the nostrils fine and dilated, like those of a thoroughbred horse. The mouth, when not disfigured by the disgusting habit of sirik-chewing, though somewhat full and heavy, is yet handsome. Their undress — that is to say, when out of their war accoutrements — is precisely what the word signifies; and yet, strange as this may appear, it fails to strike the European eye as indecorous. The missionaries have done little to clothe or Christianize them, although they are the most intelligent of savages — having no fixed religion of their own, no priesthood, and no religious worship. Omens and the signs in the heavens are their spiritual guides; and it is curious that, after thirty years of British rule (as we may call that of Sir James Brooke), and accommodated as they have been with a bishop or two supported by some of the Exeter Hall Societies, these natives should, with the exception of a few children, have adhered to their own ideas and practices. I spent several weeks among them, going from mountain to mountain, and village to village, and met with more kindness and true politeness than I have often encountered in more civilized places. Excepting that uncomfortable national institution of "head hunting," I think the Dyaks a very pleasant and interesting people.”12
In May, 1872, the Sarawak Gazette reported on the works as :
“...a scene of industry such as one seldom expects to find in the depths of the Bornean jungle... The works lie in a steep, narrow valley amid irregular mountain masses and a rapid stream descends the gorge, which supplies water power at the works. The houses of the Borneo Company's employees stand on rising ground on
either side; stout wooden bungalows, not unpicturesque and doubtless extremely comfortable. A handsome new house belonging to the manager is built on a hill farther back. There are also the necessary offices for conducting the business of the works and a roomy hospital in charge of a dispenser. The doctor from Sarawak (now called Kuching) visits the station periodically. The work-sheds, under which the whole process of crushing, sifting, and washing the ore is carried out with the aid of steam machinery, are built parallel to the course of the stream. At the lower ends are the mixing rooms, where the charges are prepared for the retorts, and the furnaces for melting. Above the work-sheds, a tramway leads to the steep mountain out of which the ore is chiefly quarried, and is contained on a series of bridges and levelled inclines cut in the hillside for the greater part of the ascent. The gradient is tremendous; and the waggons are worked on the inclines by means of drums at their summit, the full ones in their descent drawing up the empty. Two such tramways are laid down, a steep bluff dividing them, down which the ore will probably be conveyed by shoot like that which is used higher up the mountain. At the head of the upper incline a gallery is being run into the hill to reach the ore, which has apparently been pushed from below through its centre, and from a platform some 100 feet above, a shaft is being sunk to meet this gallery. A long wooden shoot now carries the ore which is quarried at the top of the hill down to the level of the tramway, where the waggons can receive it and convey it to the works below.”
In 1874, Robert Henderson II13, visited with a Professor Robertson, who was to give a professional view on the mineral resources of Sarawak. They walked to Tegora from Busau and found the BCL bungalow to be good, but thought that it was absurdly placed on the top of a hill. They found an Austrian expert, Dr.Gröger14, already there fretting over the unsuitability of the engines and stampers which had been installed, and trying to adapt them. They climbed up to the mines, using notched tree trunk ladders at times, and enjoyed a gin-and-water on the summit as the hillside below was subjected to a big dynamite blast. A telegraph was in operation to the office at this time.15 Marianne North16 visited in 1876, and has left several paintings of the vegetation and scenery around Tegora, together with books. She wrote:
“I started in the small steam-launch up the river, with Mr. B. 17, the good-natured Scotch manager of the Borneo Company's mines in Sarawak, and a young Devonshire giant, rejoicing in the title of "His Highness the Rajah's Honourable Treasurer." The banks of the river were a continual wonder all the way up, with creeping palms or rattans binding all the rest of the greenery together with their long wiry arms and fish-hook spines. I traced this plant far up into the high trees. No growing thing is more graceful or more spiteful. We slept at some antimony-mines near the river. ... We continued our journey next morning on a springless tram-cart, with our feet hanging down behind, and considered that a rest for three hours; after which an excellent little pony carried me, while the men walked, through a marvellous forest for fifteen miles, except when we came to the broken bridges and I had to balance myself on cranky poles while the pony scrambled through below. Some of the way was under limestone cliffs. The rock ferneries round the springs, caves, and masses of standing stalactites were exquisite, and the character of the vegetation was different from any other in the country. ... Some of those roots were full of fresh water. The Dyaks used to cut them in two and drink from them when no other good water was near. That forest was a perfect world of wonders. The lycopodiums were in great beauty there, particularly those tinted with metallic blue or copper colour; and there were great metallic arums with leaves two feet long, graceful trees over the streams with scarlet bark all hanging in tatters, and such huge black apes ! 18 One of these watched and followed us a long while, seeming to be as curious about us as we were about him. When we stopped he stopped, staring with all his might at us from behind some branch or tree-trunk ; but I had the best of that game, for I possessed an opera-glass and he didn't, so could not probably realise the whole of our white ugliness. At last we reached a deep stream with a broken bridge, too bad even for the pony to scramble over or under, and he was sent back. Four Dyaks were waiting with a chair, but I was too anxious to examine the plants to get in, and walked on till near the end of the journey, when, in order not to disappoint them, I got in, and they started at a run and carried me up the steep little hill, and then up the steps of the verandah with a grunt of satisfaction and triumph. It was an enchanting place that bungalow at Tegoro, entirely surrounded by virgin forest and grand mountains. Just opposite rose a small isolated mountain, full of quicksilver, with a deep ravine between us and it, and huge trees standing upon its edge, festooned with leaves, their branches adorned with wild pines and
orchids — for foreground. I was taken to the top of the mountain the next morning, where I saw all the process of collecting and purifying the quicksilver. On that hill one might hear Scotch, Malay, two kinds of Dyak, and seven kinds of Chinese spoken. The Chinese were the only really efficient workmen. They were clever and handy, but not lovable. Nobody liked the "heathen Chinee." The poor, simple, lazy Dyak used to bury his wages in the earth The Chinamen dug them up again, and gambled them away. The Dyak has a sweet expression and much nobleness of figure, which he does not hide with superfluous clothing. His voice is gentle, and if asked a direct question he will give a truthful answer, and is almost the only savage who does. Every one told me the same story about them. At five o'clock a gong used to sound. We heard a great thud and shout, and the Dyak threw down his load, wherever he might happen to be, and ran home rejoicing — work was over. Sometimes they would come up at that time, sit on the steps of our verandah, and gossip with Mr. B., who joked with them, treated them like good children, and then sent them off with a present — an empty bottle, or a bit of toast off the tea-table; and they went away quite happy. They just stayed long enough to make sufficient money to buy a gun or a blanket, then returned to their homes. I felt quite sorry to think that fine old mountain was steadily being blown to pieces with gunpowder. Every bit of it was said to be impregnated with quicksilver or cinnabar, and one could pick up lumps of pure vermilion as one walked over it. It was a cruel process too, sweeping out the flues; and though eleven out of the twelve men employed twice a year on it lost their health or died, fresh hands were always to be found for the work, being tempted by the high rate of pay. I plunged my arm into an iron bath of the pure metal up to the elbow, and found it very hard work to get it in. Much more is said to be in other hills around. I never saw anything finer than the afterglow at Tegoro. The great trees used to stand out like flaming corallines against the crimson hills. It was lovely in the full moon, too, with the clouds wreathing themselves in and out of the same giant trees around us. We had our morning tea at half-past six on the verandah, and a plumpudding in a tin case from Fortnum and Mason was always brought out for the benefit of our young Cornishman, who was always ready for it.
The Quicksilver Mountain of Tegora, Sarawak, by moonlight (North, 1876)
This striking picture shows the extent of removal of vegetation and surface washing (mentioned by Everett). A careful look reveals (below the left hand peak) the chimney at the top of the flue (mentioned by Hornaday), smoking .
Mr. B. walked him off after it, and I had all the day in perfect quiet to work in the wild forest or the verandah on different curious plants. One creeper with pink waxy berries like bunches of grapes was particularly lovely; and the scarlet velvet sterculia seed-case, with its grape-like berries, most magnificent in colour. Mr. B. soon started for some other mines, and I was left to the care of his assistant, Mr. E 19, who had been sent out originally as a naturalist by Sir Charles Lyall, in search of the "missing link," or men with tails; and after searching the caves in vain, kept himself alive by "collecting" for different people at home. Mr. B. found him out and sent him to Tegoro. He was full of wit and information about the country. I found him a most delightful companion, as good as a book to talk to, and he was delighted to find one who was interested in his hobbies. One day he came up with a native carrying a Toucan 20 on a stick over his shoulder. The creature was tame, but bit and poked with the sharp end of his long bill. I wanted to see his wonderful tongue, and we opened his mouth, but could see none; he had curled it all back on his wonderful spring head. He had beautiful black eyelashes standing straight out, and his full-face view was very funny, the two eyes looking so separately at one, on each side of the big red nose. I gave the Toucan a large berry from the bush I was painting, and he swallowed it whole. I saw it roll slowly down his long throat and rest in the curved part. He had that berry up again several times during the time I was sketching him, playing with it at the end of his long beak, then letting it roll down again. When I offered him bread he gave his head a jerk of disdain. "White people's rubbish," he croaked out with indignation. They were most odd birds, with their huge beaks and crests, having the queer habit of plastering their wives up in a hollow tree when they began to lay, with a hole left for ventilation just large enough for her beak to go through, to receive the food the cock brought her. This he continued to bring till the young birds were fledged and able to fly away and feed themselves. Mr. B. told me he used to pass one of these nests constantly, and see the beak of the old hen sticking out of its prison, and could not resist giving it a flip with a liane hanging in front of it, when the beak disappeared with a croak of disgust. The hollow crest is thought to be a sounding-board or drum, which helps them to make their odd trumpet-like call. Mr. E. was a cousin of Millais, and his sketches and illustrations of his different adventures in pen and ink were most excellent I tried hard to make him publish them. Once he was bitten by a lemur he had caught and given to a friend. Walking back over the mountains, he felt as if his shirt was throttling him, but found his fingers so swollen he could not unbutton it, and soon fell down in a swoon, remaining there till the morning, when some Dyaks found him all puffed up and unable to move or speak. He said he did not suffer, but was utterly powerless. They poured half a bottle of gin down his throat, and carried him home, and he got well in time. It was all the effect of that small cat's poisonous bite. One day Mr. E. took me into the great forest by a regular Dyak path, which means a number of round poles laid one in front of the other over the bogs and mud. It requires some practice to keep one's balance and not occasionally to step on one side of the pole, in which case one probably sinks over the tops of one's boots in the wet sop, lucky if one goes no deeper ! We crossed the river several times on the round trunks of fallen trees, which, when rendered slippery by recent rains, are not altogether a pleasant mode of proceeding, particularly when there is a noisy rushing deep river a few feet below. Now and then there was a bamboo rail ; but as they were generally insecurely fastened and rotten, one was as well without them. We passed one or two large guttapercha trees, which had escaped the usual reckless felling, and had the scars of present bleeding ; and I was taken inside the trunk of a splendid parasitic tree, a gigantic chimney of lace-work, the victim tree having entirely rotted away and disappeared — I could look straight up and see the blue sky at the top through its head of spreading green. The lace-like shell was not two inches thick, and it must have been over 100 feet high We went back another way along the banks of the stream, under rocks more in than out of the water — such clear cool water with grand ferns and rattans dipping into it from the banks above. Mr. E found me a Green Stick insect, which curled its long tail over its head like a scorpion and looked most vicious, but was perfectly harmless. It had gorgeous scarlet wings to fly with, but on the ground was invisible as a blade of grass. At last I had to leave Tegoro. Mr. E walked down two miles with me; then we got into a canoe and shot the rapids for many more miles, with the great trees arching over the small river we followed, and wonderful parasites, including the scarlet seschynanthus, hanging from the branches in all the impossible places to stop. We sat on the floor of the canoe, held on tightly, and went at a terrible pace, the men cleverly guiding us with their paddles and sticks. Sometimes we stuck, then they went into the water, pushed, lifted, and started us again. We met other canoes returning, and being dragged up by the men. Some were going down like us with three stone jars of quicksilver in each, very small things, but as much as two men could lift. At last we got out and walked again through the wonderful limestone forest and out to the common or clearing round Jambusam, where there was a long-forsaken antimony-mine. Mr. B. had kindly arranged for me to stay there, and had sent food and furniture to meet me.”21
Boats carrying quicksilver on the Staat River (Helms, ~1871)
Everett tells us more about the occurrence and working methods:
“The ore is found in the slate, rarely in the sandstone, and, as in the case of all known deposits of Cinnabar, is distributed with great irregularity in the matrix. Hence the yield has proved extremely variable, and at times the ore has seemed to be lost altogether. No such thing as a lode can be said to exist, though short strings are met with. One of these attained a face of six inches, and was traced down to a depth of many fathoms. The most considerable quantity of ore has been gained, not by vein-mining, but by washing in the felspathic clays flanking the western aspect of the hill. These clays afforded pure stream Cinnabar in great abundance, as well as hundreds of rich boulders of ore-bearing rock that had been denuded from the upper parts of the hill.”22
Hornaway23 visited in 1878:
“About 8 P.M. we reached Busau, twenty-six miles from Kuching, and landed. Here we were at the terminus of the Borneo Company's tram-way system, from which the antimony mined in the vicinity and the quicksilver from Tegora is shipped down the river. … Mr. St. John24 and I set out to walk to Tegora, eleven miles from Paku. There is a good bridle-road and good bridges all the way, and with good company it is a delightful walk. The road is merely a narrow lane through beautiful virgin forest of stately trees and trailing lianas, mossy rocks and acres of pretty ferns. Presently we came to the Staat River, a small, shady stream, along the south bank of which the road winds for several miles. Far below us, over its bed of clean white pebbles, flowed the river, clear and cool; at last, when we came to where the road crosses the stream on a high bridge, a deep shady pool in the bend below looked so inviting to our perspiring bodies that I begged St. John to take a swim with me. Boy-like, we "raced" in undressing to see who should take the water first, and in less than five minutes we plunged into the cool, sweet water, where not a ray of the hot sun could reach us, where the water was deep, and, thank heaven! free from crocodiles. How delicious it was, and how loth we were to leave that bath "fit for the gods." ... The last four miles of the road led over a succession of low hills, and the forest scenery grew even more picturesque and charming. At last we reached the village of Pankalan 25 about a mile from Tegora, at which there is a police station and courtroom, and also a shop kept by a wealthy Chinaman. We halted at the shop and emptied a quart bottle of champagne, a drink by no means to be despised in the jungle. After we had disposed of a "scratch" breakfast evolved for us by the Chinese shopkeeper's domestics, St John tarried to hold court,
over which he presided as magistrate. Had I but understood the Malay language I would gladly have stayed to watch the proceedings, but having no special interpreter, my presence would have been only a hindrance to the court, so I left, and walked on to Tegora. On the way to Tegora, where we had been invited to dine and put up for the night, I met Mr. Harvey, a handsome, manly-looking young Englishman, one of the officers in charge of the mines, who introduced himself directly and greeted me very cordially. We met again in the evening at the dinner-table, and he proved to be a very jolly and hospitable host. On reaching the mines, I found Mr. H, H. Everett, brother of our Paku naturalist 26, at the furnaces, weighing out bags of cinnabar dust, and close beside him on the ground stood about sixty flasks of mercury ready for shipment to London. A "flask " is a malleable iron bottle with a screw top, which holds seventy-five pounds of mercury. The cinnabar ore comes out of a very steep, double-peaked hill composed of semi-metamorphic rock, rising to an elevation of about one thousand feet above the sea, and six hundred and fifty feet above the level of the adjacent swamp. Mr. Everett, with the most cheerful resignation and truly guide-like patience, took me into each of the four "levels" that have been mined into the hill, one above another, and gave me all the facts in the case as we proceeded. The lowest level was a new one, and the tunnel had not yet reached the ore. The other three had penetrated quite to the heart of the hill, and on reaching the paying ore it had been mined in every direction, forming a great cavern at the end of each tunnel. The miners are all Chinamen who work out the ore and sell it to the Company according to the assay. The ore was then very poor, and although the rock contained only four per cent, of mercury it was worked as a matter of necessity and at a loss, while all concerned hoped constantly for something better. In one of the levels Mr. Everett showed me a very rich pocket, which had yielded ore almost as heavy as mercury, being ninety per cent, pure metal. The Tegora mines were opened in 1868. The first ore taken out was stamped, by which process about onefourth of the metal was lost in the washing. Now it is smelted, and the vapor containing the metal is passed through a flue or shaft about one thousand feet long, which leads off up the steep side of the hill. The mercury is gradually condensed upon the sides of the flue, which after a time is cleaned out by men sent into it. The cleaners often get badly salivated, so much so that they are sometimes utterly helpless from the sores which break out upon different parts of their bodies. "We saw two poor fellows who were helpless from salivation; and Mr. Everett himself was also badly off from an overdose of mercury. The officers of the Borneo Company are very comfortably housed close to the mines, and in the evening at dinner we were most hospitably entertained by four of them, Messrs, Everett, Harvey, Gray and, Beecher. Every one was in good spirits, and we had a very merry time until a late hour. An Englishman may be rather rigid and formal on his native isle, but take him in the East Indies, especially in the jungles, and he is certainly the jolliest and best of companions.”27
Marianne North visited Sarawak again in 1880:
“Mr.B. again took me up the river in his steam-launch to Busen, and on with the tram and a pony to Tegora, through that wonderful forest with its dangerous bridges. One broke in two just as my pony scrambled over, the strut under it having been washed away by a late swollen stream. I was on foot, so came to no harm. There were no flowers, but the coloured leaf-chains and rattans clinging to the trees were most lovely. I spent a day in a canoe, painting the red-stemmed Palawen trees, which grew only on that river. The trunks were quite flamecoloured in the sun; the bark hung in tatters from them, and from the branches, as on the eucalyptus. The leaves were like those of the laurel, with brown young shoots, but I could get neither seeds nor flowers. There was a white-stemmed variety also, and the wild pines hung suspended from its branches, like gigantic spiders or wasps overhead, by threads as fine in proportion as their webs. The old quicksilver mine of Tegoro was at rest, as they had missed the lode for some time, and were anxiously probing in all directions, hoping to come to it again. The chairs in the bungalow had also dwindled down to three decrepit specimens; but I used to sit on the steps and watch the sunset, as I did before, gossiping with the two tired men there. Mr. E. had a young orang-utan, only half-a-year old and very human in its way. It had a bit of cloth which it wrapped round its body, and if strangers came in it dragged it half over its face, pretending to be shy, as the women of the country did. In front of the bungalow at Tegora was a group of tall trees, left standing alone from the original forest, which was gone. They were incredibly white, and without a knot or a branch for full one hundred feet, bleached by the sun, which they had never seen before their companions were taken from them. One had to go far off to see both bottom and top at once of these gigantic poles, which were straight as ships' masts, with rope-like lianes tying them together, as ropes tie the masts of ships. The two under-officers of the
mines asked leave to come and see me and my paintings again. They always called me Mr. B.'s sister (he said), and had often asked him when he was going to bring her up-country again. Such strong sensible Scotchmen both of them, it was no slight sensation shaking hands with them. I began my return journey badly, for my pony displaced a plank in one of those horrid bridges, took fright, ran away, and tumbled me off, the Rani's new saddle having no off pommel, and I lost my spectacles in a bank of fern. My friends were too frightened to let me risk the other slippery bridges, and got a canoe with a mat and pillow, and two Dyaks to paddle and push; so I gained once more the pleasure of shooting the rapids, lying on my back and looking at the tangled branches overhead, with their wonderful parasites; sometimes shooting swiftly down through deep-green water and white foam, while the men clutched at the rocks and tree-stumps; sometimes being almost carried by them over a few feet of water. Once we stopped to cut through a tree which had fallen across the river only a few hours before; and they hacked away with strange knives half swords, half hatchets. These men were gentle creatures, with soft voices, and skins as muddy as the banks. I knew not which was more lovely to look at the tangled banks, or the lacework overhead with natural bridges of lianes and fallen trees. At last we reached the place where Mr. B. was throwing in big stones to make a dry landing-place for me; after which came a pleasant ten miles of forest-ride and no accidents, and I was left to stay three days with the young manager of the antimony mines at Busen, where I spent my mornings up the river in a canoe, sketching strange trees and a bamboo bridge. One large cane alone serves as the foothold, supported on either side by a cobweb of others bound with rattans. These form a lacelike fence upwards from the footway, spreading like the letter V, which gives a feeling of security to the person passing over, even though the bridge swings in the air with his weight or the wind. I saw people constantly passing over the fragile thing with heavy loads on their heads and backs; women too were carrying children, all apparently without nervousness. We saw some grand specimens of the Tappan trees, with their smooth white stems, on which bees delight to build their nests. No beasts or reptiles can climb these trees, only the Dyaks beat the bees by building clever ladders with bits of bamboo. They drive in pegs above their heads, tying the other end of the peg to long slender bamboos, placed one over the other and lashed together with pieces of bark, till they reach the honey and wax. The latter being one of the great exports of the country, these trees are protected by the Government. I also saw several great trees hanging over the stream with their trunks and branches flattened like knives, the edges always towards the water. My head sailor was an albino, a very sharp fellow, fair as a European, and much admired by other Dyaks. They all thought it great fun dragging the white woman over the shallow rapids, and were quite as much in the water as out, pushing like devils, then jumping in with a grunt, splashing the boat half full of water, and paddling most furiously afterwards, ladling out the water with a cocoa-nut shell, or a bit of its leaf-sheath stitched into a kind of bucket. When they had tied my canoe to some stumps and saw me fairly at work, they waded on shore and lit a fire on the sand, cooked their rice, and had a smoke; but when I asked them to rub the sticks to get fire, they laughed at my old-fashioned notions and produced lucifer matches from the folds of their turbans. If I asked for a flower from a tree they all climbed up and chopped down a whole branch.”28
Archibald Allison29 was manager from 1882-189330.An archive of his papers31 contains photographs, and perhaps more. John MacGregor32 visited in the early 1890's
“...we arrived at Busau, and had afterwards to travel nearly twenty miles through a forest country, and over a very difficult and slippery pathway, on which I had my first experience of the battang roads of of Borneo... Before nightfall we reached the Tegora mountains in which the mercurial mines are placed, and put up with the young engineer in charge of the mines....The metal exists here both in the pure or virgin state, in the form of minute silvery globules, which may be seen oozing here and there through the rock, or making its presence known in red patches of cinnabar on the broken rock surface. The place where the metal abounds is very steep, and is so honey-combed by the mines, that it is by no means an easy task to inspect them thoroughly, as we did the next morning. The principal quarry pierces through the mountain from one side to the other, in a very irregular and breakneck fashion. After inspecting the mines and watching the Chinamen blasting the rocks with dynamite33, we returned to Busau, where the antimony mines are situated.”34
The ore was all but worked out by 1898 and the mine abandoned. The Borneo Company had been paying £1000 for the annual rights to mine the mercury, and the flasks of liquid metal had been sent to Hong Kong. The production figures35 were:
Volume (Flasks Hg) 120000 100000 80000
Value (Saraw ak $) 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
60000 40000 20000 0
The forest may have been used rather more for hunting, timber and rattan collection as villages moved down from their mountain locations and farms encroached. Sarawak's first commercial estates: gambier at the Poak Concession, and then rubber at Dahan 36, also extended southwards. The tracks and buildings must have decayed away but some mine tunnels and the central cavern remain, a home to bats. The mine near the top of Tegora
Entrance to adit
Skylight into central cavern
In 1942, the Japanese, hungry for resources, decided to reopen the mines. Bridges were built, tramways reinstated, machinery brought in, and works erected. The local population were pressed to help in large numbers, and 500 prisoners are said to have been engaged in roadmaking between Dahan and Tegora37 It is only this incarnation of the mines which is remembered at all by local people, and presumably most, if not all, that remains – brick walls, metal wheels, engines, pipes dates from this time, followed by a second abandonment
Remains in the valley on approach to Tegora
Part of engine lettered in Japanese
Wood-planked section of track
In the early 1950's, the newly-formed Geological Survey division summarised what documentation they could find on the geology, production, and workings and G.E.Wilford surveyed the underground workings and mapped the evidence of alluvial and eluvial workings on the surface.38 The mercury is considered to be the lowest temperature component of the gold-antimonymercury mineralization found related to heat from the dacite and microgranite intrusions of the Bau area.39
Today, the river has no evidence of boats and the tramway, though still visible in aerial photos, is somewhat overgrown on the ground. Deep cuttings are preserved in several places, as are cobbling and, in one place, transverse wooden planking, and often ditches on both sides. Near the works and mines themselves there are remains in metal, concrete, and brick, including an impressive chimney, now overtopped by trees. There are occasional visitors, and a few people in the villages of Seropak and Krokong Poak who will guide them for a fee. As for the future, perhaps the proposed Bungoh National Park will revive nature tourism, with an overlay of industrial archaeology, and perhaps the river will again be navigated, but for leisure rather than industry.
Aerial photo of forest N and W of Tegora40.
1 Compiled and annotated by Martin Laverty, Dec.2011. 2 Staat is the name given to the river (and prominent limestone hill) from the earliest map (Hiram Williams, 1846) to the present day. In 1842, James Brooke called it Stabad These must be the English-speakers' renderings of the name used by his Malay boatmen and is either distinct or a broad mishearing of the local name in the Bidayuh dialect, which is (Si?) Tubis. 3 Cinnabar is mercury (II) sulphide, HgS 4 T.C.Martine, a Borneo Company employee from 1921, wrote that “London correspondence towards the end of 1867, however, shows that Mr.Russell was responsible, Mr Helms being out of the country at the time of the discovery” (Ooi,K.G., 1997, Of Free Trade and Native Interests, quoting from T.C.Martine, The Borneo Company Limited in Sarawak, a typescript held in the Sarawak Museum Archives comprising “Notes written by me when in Singapore Changi Gaol, 1943-4”). However, Longhurst subsequently consulted both Martine and relations of Helms and made no mention of this. Similarly, A.H.Everett (Distribution of Minerals in Sarawak pp.13-30 in J.Str.Br.Roy.As.Soc. No.1, 1878) says that “[Cinnabar] was discovered in situ about seven years ago, by the indefatigable exertions of Messrs. Helms and Walters of the Borneo Company Limited who prospected over the whole of Sarawak Proper, and ultimately succeeded in tracking the small fragments of cinnabar that are scattered over the district, to a hill on the right bank of the Staat river, and between it and the Sibugoh mountains.” 5 Ludvig Verner Helms (1825-1918) was a Dane who went out to the Far East in 1848 He worked in Sarawak from 1852-1858, when he returned to England, married, and went back east in 1860, leaving Sarawak for good in 1872 … (gen.ref) 6 Helms, L.V. (1882) Pioneering in the Far East pp.243-245 7 Anon. (ca.1868) 7 images of “Cinnabar and antimony mining in Sarawak” in Cambridge University Library (Royal Commonwealth Society Library): ref: GBR/0115/Y3035B 8 Crocker, W.M. (1881) Notes on Sarawak and Northern Borneo in Proc.R.G.S.Vol.3.,pp.193-208 9 Maria Theresa Longworth (1833-1881) was born in Manchester, a Roman Catholic. She began 1857 as a nurse in Turkey but married (as she thought) the Protestant Major Yelverton, 4th Viscount Avonmore, in Ireland later that year. He, however, used the discriminatory Irish laws on intermarriage to regard her as a mistress and married again in 1858. Court cases ensued in 1861, which declared the marriage legal, and, on appeal, in 1864, when it was declared null, leaving Maria adrift and the law to be revised to correct the injustice that many saw. She started writing novels and books about her travels to support herself. 10 Palawan is a tree with prominent, peeling bark, also noted and drawn by Marianne North (Kew painting 565)(Kew painting 579). Now renamed Tristanopsis whiteana 11 The instrument sounds like the keluri played by the Orang Ulu of northern Sarawak, a variant of the Thai and Lao kheng or Chinese sheng 12 Yelverton, Therese (1873) Borneo Cinnabar Mines in Overland monthly and Out West magazine, Vol 10, Iss.5, May, pp.428-434, also in: Yelverton, M.T. (1874) Teresina Peregrina – Fifty Thousand Miles of Travel Vol.2.pp.99-118 13 This Robert Henderson was the son of his namesake, one of the first directors. He left a journal of his travels, presumably now in the Borneo Company (misc) Archives held at London Metropolitan Archives 14 F.Gröger wrote a note in on Occurrence of Mercury Ore in Verhandlungen der k. k. geologischen Reichsanstalt (1876) which translates something like: “A discovery in the last decade is the occurrence of mercury ore in parts of Sarawak Borneo. I want to here emphasize the first discovered source, Tegora, which was also where processing was also developed. The environment consists of rocks of slate, with sandstone deposits; this rock system is overlaid by a thick series of sandstones. The ore deposit belongs to the former rocks, which form the approximately 600 foot high Tegora mountain, with its 500 feet long and 200 feet wide projecting mountain peak, which consists essentially of the same rocks which host the ore. This mass, however, is completely separated from the other rocks, and changed a lot. This is the carrier of vermilion, but not in its whole extent, but only certain portions of them are impregnated, contained in the cinnabar their concentration or mass as irregularly shaped as approach to rock detachments. Besides the cinnabar occurs more frequently in the Thonsteinmasse heavy spar,and the whole mass of the rock, which the Top of the mountain and is of course reflected in the depth is rich impregnated with iron pyrites. Cinnabar is not only in Tegora, but also in other places, and especially in the earth dam and the river beds in found greater proliferation.” 15 Longhurst, H. (1956) The Borneo Story pp.56-58 16 Marianne North (1830-1890) is celebrated as an artist concentration on botanical subjects. A whole gallery is devoted to her work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 17 Mr.B. was probably W.G.Brodie, Helms' successor 18 Probably a Banded Langur, Presbytis melalophos chrysomelas, 19 Mr E. was Alfred Hart Everett (1848-1898) 20 The Toucan is a South American bird: this would have been a hornbill. The red bill suggests the Helmetted Hornbill, Buceros vigil , although only the Wreathed Hornbill, Rhyticeros undulatus was recorded in the Bau Limestone Biodiversity survey (Sarawak Museum Journal, Special Issue 6, 2004). 21 North, M (1892) Recollections of a Happy Life Vol 1 pp.245-251 22 A.Hart Everett (1878) Notes on the Distribution of the Useful Minerals in Sarawak, in J.S.B.R.A.S. No 1, pp.13-30 23 William Temple Hornaway (1854-1937) was an American zoologist
24 Oliver Cromwell St.John (1845-1898) was nephew of Spenser St.John He worked in Sarawak from 1861-1884.as first clerk to the Treasurer, first Postmaster (1864), and then various other posts, including Resident of Upper Sarawak, based at Paku. 25 Pangkalan is, probably significantly, Malay for landing place. 26 The 'Paku naturalist' was A.H.Everett 27 Hornaway, W.T.(1904) Two years in the jungle : the experiences of a hunter and naturalist in India, Ceylon, the Malay Peninsula and Borneo p.477; 481-483 28 North, M (1892) Recollections of a Happy Life Vol 2 pp.95-97 29 Archibald Allison (1855-1926) was born in Scotland, leaving to join the Borneo Company as a mining engineer in 1882. He moved to manage a coal mine in Labuan in 1893 but fell out with the owners, and by 1898 he was living in Singapore and started publishing pamphlets. How the Church Mission People are Treated in the East (36p., 1898), The Real Pirates of Borneo (268p., 1898), Singapore Law and Lawyers (16p., 1899) A New year Memorial (1900) The war of Creeds (8p., 1900) Fable Teachings and Revelations (26p., 1900) Freedom Struggle with Oppression (109p.,Penang, 1900). The first pamphlet was critical of the Roman Catholic mission, while “The Real Pirates of Borneo” alleged corruption in the Sarawak administration, in Labuan, and by the Central Borneo Company, set up by A.H., E.E., and H.H.Everett and others in 1887 He was sued for deformation of the Rajah of Sarawak in two cases, both of which he lost, and he was declared bankrupt (and, incidentally, mad). He set out the course of proceedings in “Singapore Law and Lawyers”. . Bob Reece discusses Allison in “Some Sarawak curiosities in the British Library” (Borneo Research Bulletin, 2006) Allison went to America in the early 1900's, becoming a citizen in 1909 An archive of his papers, complementing Reece's information, is held by Denver Public Library, Colorado, USA, summarised at http://eadsrv.denverlibrary.org/sdx/pl/doc-tdm.xsp?id=WH739_d0e35&fmt=text&base=fa John MacGregor (1848-19?) was a Scottish Surgeon in the Indian Medical Service and honorary bard of the Clan MacGregor, for which he wrote several volumes of Gaelic poetry besides other travel books in both prose (Toil and Travel - 1892) and verse (The Girdle of the Globe - 1890). He is one of the subjects of Macleod, M.C., 1908, Modern Gaelic Bards, also Macbean, L, 1921 , The Celtic who's who; names and addresses of workers who contribute to Celtic literature, music, or other cultural activities, along with other information Dynamite was patented in 1867, so was could have been in use from early in the mines' existence; the specification of gunpowder in some of these accounts may be erroneous. MacGregor, J. (1896) Through the Buffer State, p.9 From Wilford (1955), which in turn come largely from Posewitz, T. (1892) Borneo its Geology and Mineral Resources Ooi, K.G. (1997) Of Free Trade and Native Interests.refers to the BCL acquiring the 20000 acre Poak strip (from Tegora to Dahan) first for gambier production, with the first growing of Para rubber at Dahan in 1902. Lim, J.S.H. (2005 Pussy's in the well: Japanese occupation of Sarawak 1941-1945, pp.230-231,261 Wilford,G.E. (1955) The Geology and Mineral Resources of the Kuching-Lundu Area, West Sarawak including the Bau Mining District: Geol.Surv.Dept., British Territories in Borneo, Mem.3. pp.167-174 Hutchinson, C.S. (2005) The Geology of North-West Borneo p.156 Image from Google via Wikimapia
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