Monday, January 31, 2011

Bintulu in 1955

Wooden shophouses facing the Main Bazaar Road in 1955 ( B&W photo)
(Photo credit : Ho Ah Choon, Sarawak in Pictures - 1940's - 1970's , Sarawak Press Bhd, Kuching)
The Bintulu town centre in 1955 was located close to the river bank. The shophouses were of wooden structure and were wholly owned by the Chinese. The shop owners have individual jetties and small wharves to enable boats and motor launches park close to the town. Typical of the shophouses in the 50's, the posts and joists of the buildings were constructed with 'belian' wood ( Sarawak's hardest timber species). The roofing material were also of 'belian' shingles. The walls were built using sawn planks of lighter tropical hardwood species and only the ground floor was made of concrete. The estimated town population in 1955 was about 2,000 people.

A modern look to Bintulu town image
Date taken : 19 Nov'2010 ( Digital - Sony Cyber-shot)

Today, all the wooden shophouses are gone. They are replaced with permanent reinforced concrete four- storey buildings having concrete floors and walls of bricks. The roofing materials are generally of ceramic tiles or metal roofing sheets. The river bank is pushed further outwards due to reclamation works and the regained spaces allocated for urban amenities like car parks, esplanade and other waterfront development projects. The entire Bintulu population today is estimated at 200,000 people of various ethnic groups with the majority comprising of the Ibans.