Friday, September 27, 2013

Keppel Road and Food market in the 1960's

Keppel Road with turfing in the centre, in the 1960's.  The food market is the building at left.
The road is still largely sandy dirt road with some stoning done.
All shophouses are wooden type with concrete ground floor and roofing made of Belian wood shingles.
Note the river bank across the town....there are no buildings built across river.

 Over the years the food market that was located in the center of the town was fondly referred to as the 'Old Market'.  In the 1960's the old market was a meeting place for almost everybody in town to buy wet food like fish, meat and vegetables,  and to eat and drink provided by many Chinese and Malay stalls inside the building.  The Keppel Road that lined it on the inland side was a sandy dirt road and only towards the early 70's were the roads around the shophouses began to be stoned.  There were a handful of cars about town in the 1960's and bicycles were a highly regarded possession.  I could remember well how I had to fork out 20 cents to learn how to ride a bicycle within one hour of rental time, bearing in mind that in the sixties 20 cents was a lot of money.
Keppel Road taken on 27 September, 2013.
The former space of the 'old market' is turned into a mini- town park.
The Keppel Road is made into a one way four-lane single carriageway and tar-sealed.
All shophouses are re-built as concrete structures.
Note the view across river...What was previously an empty riverbank is now occupied with many buildings  belonging to the Customs and Marine Department.
Today the Keppel Road and the old market area is totally transformed.  The old market area has been developed into a mini-town park with maximum tree planting for much needed urban greenery and meeting place.  It is remarkable to see the physical changes happening to this part of the Bintulu town over a period of slightly more than three decades as shown by the two before and after pictures above.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Keppel Road in 1979

Keppel Road in 1979

Keppel Road in 2013
Date taken : 23 September 2013
In the early late 60's and throughout the 1970's,  Keppel Road was very well-known for the site of the only bank in town called 'Standard Chartered'.  It was also popular as the site of the old food market.  In the top picture, the low-rise building at left (only roof shown) is the old food market.  Today the site is turned into a small town park.  The old wooden shophouses have been demolished and replaced by three-storey concrete shophouses. In 1979 the centre of the road was turned into car parking area and traffic was two-way.  Today the road is a four-lane single carriageway with parking lots located on the left side as we enter the town proper.  1979 is significant for Bintulu because it marked the start of the first economic boom.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Old Bintulu Library

Bintulu's only town library 1971 - 1988 ...before 1979, the library was owned by
the Bintulu District Council ( thus the name BDC library) The BDC building is seen at left in the background.
The pic above is taken in early 1980's when the library was run by the Bintulu Development Authoruty (BDA) staff and funds.

The former site of the library is turned into a car parking area.
Note the BDC buildng at left is still there in 2013 (partly hidden by the trees)
Pic taken on 19 September, 2013.

In the 1960's when Bintulu was a very small town, it had one public library located at the Bintulu Recreation Centre (BRC).  The library occupied a small space at the back of the BRC building.  In 1971 the local authority of Bintulu called the Bintulu District Council had sufficient funds to building a separate building as a public library.  The very top picture shows the BDC public library.  In Bintulu town there was another small building run by  the Council called the 'Reading Room' at Kampung Sinong to cater for the reading needs of the predominantly Melanau villagers of Kampung Dagang to Kampung Sebiew. 
In 1978 the Bintulu Development Authority (BDA) was formed.  The BDA took over the library when the BDC was absorbed into BDA because the BDA's functions included municipal or local authority functions besides a planning and development agency for the Bintulu region or division.  The library was subsequently re-named BDA Public Library or "Perpustakaan Awam BDA" in Malay.  Soon after BDA's taking over of the library, the library was provided with air-conditoning amenities. In 1988 the library was demolished to make way for a public car parking area as in the bottom picture above. In 1988 the library was run by 8 staff and had about 20,000 book titles in various languages.  Upon demolishing the library was moved to the first floor of the former BDC building.  It remained at the BDC old building till 2001.  However, in  2002 the library was moved out of the old building to a new permanent, bigger and more modern public library situated near to the 'Dewan Suarah' about 2 kilometers away from the town.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bintulu Golf Course - 2nd nine (Hole 17)

View of Hole 17, taken on 22 February 1987

View of Hole 17, taken on 16 September 2013.
One of my adventures in life is in my involvement in the planing, construction, planting and maintenance of the Bintulu Golf Course.  The top picture was taken in 1987 when the earthworks for Hole 17 was still in progress.  Today I took another look at the location where I stood before to see how the place look at present.  The fairway of Axonopus compressus grass looks nicely cut and well grown with lots of greenery especially at the backdrop of the green.  The right slope is well landscaped with large and medium-sized trees.  Note the pencil-like trees on the left which are the Mast tree or 'Mempisang' (Polyalthia longifolia).  For more stories about the early beginnings of the course, check it out in my blog here ...>>>

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pioneer camp - 1984

Pioneer Camp - 1984 (center of picture)
The camp was taken over by BDA from Kellogg company and used temporarily as quarters and for its staff while waiting the completion of its own permanent staff housing at Tg. Kidurong new township.
Note: The pyramid -shape white building is the " Dewan Suarah" - still under construction  and the Plants Sales Centre is seen at bottom right of the picture.


The former Pioneer camp site is now occupied by BDA's Local Authority section, and the BDA Maintenance Workshop.
Date taken : 30th August'13

When the first economic boom spearheaded Bintulu's growth into an industrial town starting in 1979 onwards, many facilities and amenities were greatly lacking.  The BDA (Bintulu Development Authority) was tasked to provide the social and physical infrastructural facilities for a growing town.  In the early years of administering the Bintulu growth region the BDA initial staff have to make do with many temporary arrangements like temporary office and housing accomodation.  One such facility was the Pioneer camp which acted as temporary accomodation for the BDA staff and a Maintenance Workshop.  Today the former site of the Pioneer Camp is occupied by BDA's Local Authority Division and Maintenance Division.