I never know about Agnes Keith (her real name: Agnes Jones Goodwillie Newton) until I was brought to her house in Sandakan. Agnes Keith was an American author best known for her book entitled Three Came Home which tells of her time in Japanese Prisoner-of-war camp and civilian internee camps in North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak before, during and after Second World War. (source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnes_Newton_Keith)
Agnes Keith House is part of Sandakan Heritage Trail. You should not miss this place if you visit Sandakan town. It opens everyday from 9am to 5pm.
There is no barrier or gate at the entrance but a hut. I'm not sure what is the use of the hut or if it built at that time.
The 2 storey house was named as Newlands by the Keiths when they rebuilt it in 1946-1947 which destroyed after the war. After nearly 50 years of gradual deterioration, first under tenants and then as an empty shell, the house was restored by Sabah Museum in collaboration with the Federal Department of Museums and Antiquities in 2001. The house is a rare survival of post-war colonial wooden architecture. (source：https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnes_Newton_Keith）
The floor and most of the furniture were made with woods. I guess the Keiths like wooden furniture when they lived here.
I did some search on Agnes Keith and found she was an interesting person lived in those time. I definitely would not miss out her famous book written "Three Came Home" if I found it in book store.
Three Came Home was published in April 1947. The frontispiece and title page were designed by Agnes. It was on the New York Times non-fiction bestsellers list for 15 weeks, six straight weeks at no. 4. (source: http://oakbaychronicles.ca/?page_id=1628)
Excerption from the book:
She described how she met Harry and get married.
The hard time she had during Japanese occupation in Borneo was also mentioned in the book.
|In 2010, Jean Alison Knapper (daughter of Agnes Keith, 90 years old now born on August 30, 1927 in Sandakan) was seen to grace the anniversary event of Agnes Keith House. (source: http://sandakantours.blogspot.my/2010/07/agnes-keith.html)|
This is what recorded when the last time Keith family moved from the house:
In January 1952 Agnes and Harry left Sandakan, where they had lived for more than twenty years in all — Harry 1924-34 and the two 1934-41 and 1946-51. Harry retired from colonial service and took a job with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Manila, Philippines.* A similar posting took them to Tripoli, Libya, where they lived for ten years (1955-65). (source: http://oakbaychronicles.ca/?page_id=1628)
The bedroom of the Keiths is just so simple. Contrary to Chinese style which always put the bed on the wall, the Keiths put it in the middle of the room.
Agnes Keith House is opened to public for visit since 2004. There is a gallery on first floor tells the story of this remarkable woman, her books and family. A Keith time-line starts in 1873 and ends in 2004 tracing the past to the present Keith generation. I highly recommend all my readers to pay a visit if you would like to know more about this brilliant woman in the past :) Till here my brief sharing, will update more about Sandakan again next post. Have a wonderful day!
Malaysian Guests - RM2.00
Non-Malaysian Guests RM15.00
Students in uniform - Free
Disabled Guests - Free
Senior Guests - Free
Taxi Drivers - Free
Agnes Keith House