Wednesday, October 26, 2005

FORT MARGHERITA


Completed in 1879, Fort Margherita commands a breathtaking and strategic position along the Sarawak River, with a location chosen to overlook the long stretch of river approaching Kuching. It has the most advantagous point from which to defend the town from possible attack. Named after the second Rajah's wife, the Ranee Margaret, it was built in the style of a late English renaissance castle.

Fort Margherita has been converted into the Sarawak Police Museum and many of its old cannons, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords and other vestiges of its military are still on display. The armory still exists, as does the condemned prisoners cell. The Police Museum has a display of old police weapons, reconstructed opium dens and scenes of hanging and other forms of criminal punishment.

The Police Museum

Fort Margherita, the enduring monument and potent symbol of the security and stability of the Brooke Raj, is now the Sarawak Police Museum. Three floors of the venerable fort became, in 1971, three exhibition galleries that now stand sentinel over rare and significant artifacts from the history of the Sarawak Police Force. The museum's collection includes a replica opium den, an old police lock-up, various forms of punishment dating back to the Brookes, uniforms and police paraphernalia, and weapons confiscated during Confrontation and the Communist insurgency.

Fort Margherita is accessible by road. It is a 15-minute drive along Petra Jaya, or a short river cruise from Pangkalan Batu, in front of Main Bazaar on Kuching Waterfront.

BY OVIA