St Joseph’s Mill Hill Block restored to former glory, CM to launch next month

Dr Sim (seated centre) in discussion with OJA’s exco members on the launch of the restoration project.

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KUCHING, Sept 29: The historical Mill Hill Block of St Joseph Secondary School has been fully restored and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is expected to officiate its launch next month.

The restoration project, which cost RM5.5 million, has been materialised with the contribution of RM4 million from the Sarawak government and RM1.5 million raised by fellow Josephians, ex-Josephians, corporate entities, elected representatives and the public through various activities.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, who is also Old Josephians Association (OJA) president, has urged all former students to go back to their Alma Mater to attend reunions or other activities.

“After 139 years (since its founding in 1882), St Joseph has provided opportunity to all Sarawakians, irrespective of race or religion, rich or poor, urban or rural, with a solid foundation in education, with so many great Josephians and Josephines going on to contribute to all aspects of nation building of Sarawak as well as the world over.

“Please do come back to the school and make use of the facilities for a class reunion or other activities. Visit while you are still able to climb the narrow staircase to the 4th floor, as it has been restored as per its original design.

“Let’s continue the spirit of education for our future generations,” he said in a social media post last night.

Meanwhile, in a simple ceremony yesterday, Sarawak Energy Berhad’s (Sarawak Energy) chief financial officer Alexander Chin handed over a mock cheque amounting to RM19,250 contributed by ex-Josephians working with Sarawak Energy to Acting Chairman of Mill Hill Restoration Project, Christopher Chua, in the presence of Sarawak Energy Resources chief operating officer, Alvin Lim, Senior Vice President(Legal and Enterprise Risk), James Paul and Dr Sim.

Chin (third right) presents a mock cheque to Chua, witnessed by Dr Sim (fourth right) during a handover ceremony yesterday.

Also in attendance were patron Archbishop Simon Poh, St Joseph’s Secondary School’s Principal Henry Chai, OJA exco members, Louis Ng and Jason Yeo.

On behalf of the school, Dr Sim thanked all generous alumni and friends for contributing to the restoration project.

The Mill Hill Block restoration project was started two years ago to raise funds to restore and preserve the 127-year building with a significant history.

The school’s OJA had carried out various activities including the Save Mill Hill Run 2019 and virtual Ora Et Labora Run 2020 to raise sufficient funds for the project’s restoration.
The Mill Hill Block, built in 1894, was the brick building of St Joseph School, which was declared opened by Rajah Charles Brooke.

The 19-century building had withstood the test of time and was a symbol of the proud history of the school.

In 2019, inspections carried out by the Public Works Department (JKR) Sarawak found that the block, which housed 12 classrooms, was unsafe for occupation due to structural damage.

As part of the restoration project, nine classrooms were restored, the school office and staff rooms for staff and teachers received upgrades and a new exhibition hall and lecture room to hold events were added. — DayakDaily