A Trip Through North Borneo 1907


A Trip Through North Borneo, 1907

This is a very old black and white film of various scenes throughout North Borneo, filmed in 1907 by Charles Urban Trading Ltd, and sponsored by the British North Borneo Company. The original film has no audio (silent throughout) and I didn't bother to put any music on it. So here's the clip in its originality.

The clips starts with a train journey and views from the train as it passes through a village and crosses a bridge. Note that the locomotive train is the one depicted in the first North Borneo pictorial stamps as opposed to the one we still have in Sabah today. Next, the film shows rapids, most likely to be in Padas river. It also films locals on a raft and members of the expedition fording the stream. This is then followed by scenes of the local industries. Locals quarry for manganese ore, gather rubber from a tree (watched by Europeans) and pick and sort tobacco leaves from the fields.

Further scenes reveal locals at a trading post and performing for the camera. Next, Chinese convicts collect their food, before a sequence showing a European supervising two locals as they chop a sago palm tree. Once felled, the trunk is sawed off and buffaloes (ridden by locals) haul the logs off screen. Local boys take part in a swimming race - diving off a gangway, watched by a European figure rowing alongside - before the film concludes with further shots of the buffaloes, driven into, and crossing, the water.

I think that it is a very informative film, showing how North Borneo looked like about 100 years ago. This is the time which, if given some supernatural power, we would go back and collect all the North Borneo stamps, revenue documents, the coins and banknotes etc and would travel to remote areas such as Silam, Mempakul, Gayah etc to post our letters franked with the rare North Borneo stamps as we know today...:)


Anonymous said...

Hi Marcel,

Please count me in if your manage to get the supernatural power to go back but please make sure there is a return ticket....


Marcel said...

Yes the return ticket is more important! Hahaha.. :)


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