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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Kota Margherita

Fort Margherita is situated across the Sarawak river near Astana, the official residence of the yang DiPertua Negeri Sarawak.

Fort Margherita named after Ranee Margaret Brooke; wife of Charles Brooke was built in 1878 and completed 2 years later just in time to defend Kuching against the pirate attacks.

The fort was built by Charles Brooke according to the style of an English Tudor castle and commanded a breathtaking and strategic position along the Sarawak river.

Fort Margherita was very suitable as a place for defence against the enemies. The two rooms in the front portion of the fort was used as a control room.

Constant vigilance of the fort was carried every hour throughout the day. The height of the stonewall around the fort which was about 5 meters high prevented the enemies from attacking the fort.

Therefore by the late 19th century, Kuching was a peaceful and prosperous town. Nevertheless the Brookes maintained a constant vigilance of the fort. The first army battalion to occupy the fort after the it was completed was the Sarawak Ranger.

However, during the Second World War, the fort was occupied by the Japanese and it was nearly destroyed. After the war the fort became a training center for police telephone operators.

Later this fort became the Mess for the Sarawak Police Officers In 1971 the fort was renovated and became the Police Museum. The artifacts kept in the Museum included weapons, bullets, cloths, cooking utensils, furniture and other equipments used by the police while they were carrying out their duties in the fort.

Reference: Malaysia National Library

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