By Wilfred Pilo
KUCHING, Nov 21: In front of the old Courthouse along Jalan Gambier here stands a six-metre tall granite pillar called the Charles Brooke Memorial or Brooke Memorial.
Thousands of people pass by this historic site every day, but very few people are aware that this city landmark is also the Kilometre or Mile Zero stone marker for all roads in Sarawak to and from Kuching.
The picturesque granite obelisk Brooke Memorial was commissioned in 1924 to honour the Second White Rajah of Sarawak, Charles Brooke.
During this long school holiday, DayakDaily suggests that parents bring their children to this spot to take a picture or two. There is much to know about what had happened in Sarawak in the past here. In addition, one will not only get to brush up on a bit of history but will also know how far you are to and from Kuching from this historical landmark.
It is also a matter of interest to note that the corner of the obelisk or the tapering stone pillar features bronze panels of four figures representing the main races in Sarawak, namely the Chinese, Dayak, Kayan and Malay.
For those who want to know more about the state’s colonial past, there is also the famous Clock Tower a few metres away. It was built in 1883. It also pays to tour the old Courthouse complex, where there is an exhibition gallery ‘The Ranee: Margaret of Sarawak’. Margaret was Charles’ wife, and she played a very important part in the history of Sarawak.
According to historical sources, Charles, who is the nephew of the first White Rajah, James Brooke, was an excellent administrator and politician. During his era as the Rajah, he formed a formidable system of administration in Sarawak, and remnants of it can be found in the present administration.
Among his many legacies was the building of the Astana, Fort Margherita, the Courthouse and the Sarawak Museum.
Charles died in 1917 and was succeeded by his son, Charles Vyner Brooke. — DayakDaily