Sarawak Steamship Building
Built in 1930, this was previously the office and warehouse
of the Sarawak Steamship Company. Extensively restored, its now houses a restaurant, a
fast food outlet and a convenience store.
Built in 1879 as a detention camp for prisoners, the Square
Tower was later converted into a fortress and then a dance hall. Today it is a multimedia
information centre and video theatre providing information on Sarawak's tourist
General Post Office
This 1931 building stands out majestically with its
imposing neo-classical style and impressive Corinthian columns. In contrast to its ornate
facade with semi-circular arches, ornamental columns capitals and friezes, the back of the
building is plain and unadorned. Deep parapet walls of plain design hide the pitched root.
A colonnaded portico serves as a corridor in front of the building. This will soon be
converted into the Sarawak Art Museum.
Constructed in 1886, the reason for the building of the
Round Tower remains a mystery. Because of its structure, it is claimed the building was
meant to serve as a fort in an emergency. Instead it became the Dispensary and was then
used by the Labour Department until 1980. It now houses a section of the Judicary
department. In earlier days, the Round Tower was strategically located to provide an
excellent view of the town.
Next to the Round Tower is The Pavilion, which was built in
1909. Regarded as something of an architectural enigma, its design is reminiscent of
buildings in the southern states of America - a mixture of late English renaissancce and
colonial architecture. It served as a General Hospital until 1947. It is currently
undergoing renovation to be turned into a textile museum.
The Court House
The Court House was built in 1874 to bring together all
government offices and be the venue for all state ceremonies. State council meetings were
held here from the fifth council meeting in 1878 until 1973. Befitting its status, this is
an impressive building with belian (iron wood) roof and is decorated with beautiful
engravings reflecting local art form. It now houses the High Court, the Magistrate's Court
and several government departments. Back in 1847, this was originally the site of a
missionary which was turned into a judicial administration office. It was demolised in
1858 and two more buildings were put up in its place before the Court House came into
The Brooke Memorial is located at the front of the Court
House. The 6 metre high granite obelisk was commissioned in 1924 to honour the 2nd Rajah,
Charles Brooke. At the corner of the obelisk is a bronze panel of four figures
representing the Sarawakian community: Chinese, Dayak, Kayan and Malay. The colonial
baroque Clock Tower behind the memorial was added in 1883.
The Astana which lies in regal splendour accross the river,
is a majestic building with romantic history. The second Rajah, Charles Brooke, built this
palace in 1870 as a bridal gift for his wife, the Ranee Margaret. Then known as the
Government House, it is actually three separate buildings fused into one, with each
connected to the other by short and narrow passageways. First occupied by Charles Brooke
in 1870, it was the private residence of the second Rajah. It has undergone substantial
alterations and renovations and is today the official residence of the Yang di-Pertua
Negeri, the Governor of Sarawak.
Completed in 1879, Fort Margherita commands a breathtaking
and strategic position along the Sarawak River, with a location chosen to overlook the
long stretch of river approaching Kuching. Named after the second Rajah, Charles Brooke's
wife, the Ranee Margaret, it was built in the defensive edifice/castle style of the late
English renaissance. Fort Margherita has been converted into a Police Museum and many of
its old cannons, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords and other vestiges of its artillery
can still be seen. The armoury still exists as does the condemned prisoner's cell. The
Police Museum has a display of old police weapons, reconstructed opium dens and scenes of
hanging and other forms of criminal punishment.