Sandakan Heritage Trail: St. Michael and the Parish of All Angels’ church

Today I just wanna share some travel photos dated back to last October. Before we embarked the flight back to KL, we were given some time to visit Sandakan heritage building or they called it Sandakan Heritage Trail. I will share one by one in the coming post.

Located on Elton Hill in the heart of Sandakan town, St. Michael and the Parish of All Angels’ church is the oldest stone building in Sabah. The construction of the building was initiated by Rev. W.H. Elton in 1888 and took him almost 13 years to complete. It was designed by New Zealander Mr. B.W. Mountfort who designed the church based on Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand, which was badly damaged in the 2011 earthquake. The building was first constructed with belian (ironwood) timber, followed by brick and finally stone, which is said to have from the nearby Buli Sim Sim, while the white stones that adorn the windows and doors are from Hong Kong. The stones were delivered from Buli Sim Sim by prison labour at RM1.25 per cubic yard. A cubic foot of stone weighs approximately 140 lbs and each stone was painstakingly laid atop each other. 

A severe shock of earthquake shook Sandakan on 21st Sept 1897 but no damage to the stone walls of the church. The construction work continued with significant progress each year and finally it was completed in 1906. In 30th Sept. 1906, the church of St. Michael was dedicated. Rev. Elton continued as the Rector until 1914 where he went back to England and passed away on 17th Dec 1914.(source:

St. Michael and the Parish of All Angels’ church is located behind St. Michael school.

Knowing more about the past teach us to be grateful of what we have. The board at the school there clearly shows the changes of the school building over the year since it founded by Rev. W.H. Elton.


My adopted dad said: " Look at there (monument), take photos of it!" after showing me the board at the school. This monument was constructed in memory of Rev. Thomas Cecil Alexander for the founding of Scout Movement of North Borneo (Sabah) in 1913.

It is so beautiful from every view :) It will be nice taking wedding photos here :)


The entrance fee for visitors as a donation for the church maintenance use.

It is 128 years old by now.

The beautiful stained glass windows in the church were donated by Australians to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. - See more at:

The beautiful stained glass window were donated by Australians to commemorate the 60th of the end of World War II. It is known as The Window of Remembrance. The design for this window, a memorial to Australian and British prisoners of war, and a thanksgiving to the courageous people of Sabah who helped them. The various shades of blue in the outer represent the oceans which link the three nations. The upper or memorial section, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 12, is crowned with a shining Angel of God, backed by ruby colour, spiraling feathery shapes, suggesting movement, and enclosed by a rainbow-hued circle a symbol of peace and hope for the future.

In the prison cell sits the Apostle, Simon Peter, under sentence of death. He is amazed at the awesome sight and incredulous at the miraculous loosening of his chains. The Roman guards are disconcerted and unable to prevent the deliverance of their prisoner. The scene is a reminder of God's power to free the spirit of mankind from evil and oppression. (source: leaflet from the church written by Philip Handel, 24 April 2008)

At another corner, there is a glass window named The South Friendship Window. The story depicted in the window is told to us in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 27. It concerns an incident which occurs late in St Paul's ministry while on his way to Rome to be tried before Caesar, his right as Rome citizen, and thus avoiding the injustice of a trial by Jews. The ship on which he sails as a manacled prisoner is caught in a raging storm, which lasts for 14 days and nights. The crewmen have done everything possible to lighten the ship and are trying to launch a lifeboat, in the belief that the vessel if foundering. Paul is suddenly confronted by the vision of an angel, who tells him to persuade every soul on board to remain on the boat. If they do, all will be saved, even though the ship will be wrecked. The scene depicted on these windows shows the angel speaking to Paul and the crew in distress. At the base of each window are the symbolic hands of friendship, flowers of Australia, Great Britain and Sabah and once again, the spectrum border, symbolizing peace - a recurring theme in the windows in the church. The text "Love one another" in a Malay, and "A friend loves all times" in English, reinforce this message of friendship and peace towards our fellow men. (source: leaflet from the church written by Philip Handel, 24 April 2008)

The bench with 100 years of history. One of the precious antique in the church.


Front part of the church.

Back of the church
Imagining a bride walks down the aisle gracefully with her dad and the groom waiting excitedly at the front for his bride to exchange vow witnessed by God and friends.....huhuhu sounds like in drama right? Well, I'm searching someone who waiting for me at the front there! xoxo

 I guess that is the administrative block of the church.

3 languages -Malay, Chinese and English sign board available at the entrance. Traveling broadens our minds and increase our general knowledge. I don't like to study the history text book in school but I like to know more about a place with its past when I travel to there. Stay tune, I will share more about Sandakan heritage in next post. Hope you enjoy the post :) Happy Mother's Day to all mothers!


  1. On point! This is so nice!

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  2. Beautiful photos of the church. Hmm. Indeed a lovely place for wedding photos and to hold church wedding ceremony there.

  3. Such a beautiful church

  4. What a beautiful church. I enjoyed this post very much. There is so much to see in our own country.. :)

  5. such a beautiful church.You look awesome

  6. Amazing place!!

  7. The beautiful stained glass windows! Beautiful place!


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