Govt takes over birds nest collection at Gomantong
Published on: Saturday, August 08, 2020
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The Gomantong cave in Sandakan.
British North Borneo Herald

May 1, 1883 


ON the 26th March, Allim, a native of Sugut, was put upon his trial at Kudat for murder, before the Governor and the Assistant Resident in charge, with a jury of twelve composed of Europeans, Chinese, and Malays, with Mr. D. D. Daly as foreman. The prisoner made a good defence and the jury brought in a verdict of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder.” The prisoner was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of five years. 

The name of the victim was Patah, a Sulu trader. A woman and a disputed debt appear to have been at the bottom of the tragedy. 

Patah would seem to have been the aggressor in the first instance, having drawn his kris on Idan, Allim’s friend. 

H.M’s. S. Magpie, surveying vessel the China Station, may be expected on the coast by the middle of June, when she will probably survey on the East Coast, and re-examine the Malawallie Passage. 

We learn from Sandakan that two auction sales of Government bird’s nests have recently been held. The prices realised were considered good. The first sale brought in $1,242 to the Treasury and the second $1,696. 

There is still a large amount more to come from Gomantong, sufficient to employ at least thirty coolies in the transport. This is the first time the Government has taken into its own hands the collection of the nests from the four Government caves in the Gomantong Hill. 

The collection was somewhat hurriedly undertaken to save the season, difficulties were naturally encountered in employing collectors for the first time, and at an important stage of the proceedings Mr. Bampfylde who was superintending matters was compelled to leave for Hongkong on sick leave.

His place was taken by Datu Hadji Anserudin who rendered good service to the Government. There are four collecting seasons per annum. 

By the S.S. Fokien, we hear that an influential syndicate has been formed at Hongkong for the purpose of acquiring and reclaiming town lots at Elopura and Kudat for building purposes. 



Mr W. Danby, the well known Engineer who has had much practical experience in reclamation in China is expected to visit the territory in a few weeks’ time in the interests of this syndicate. 

The S.S. Fokien, Capt Abbott, arrived at Kudat from Hongkong on the 4th April. The saloon passengers were Mr J Morrison, who comes from Shanghai as the manager of the China Sabah Land-farming Company at Sandakan, Mr. G. T. Tickell, surveyor, and Mr. Griffiths, photographer from Hongkong. There were three hundred and eighty-seven Chinese immigrants, ninety-five of whom are Hakka Christians and who have settled at Kudat, the remainder having elected to settle at Sandakan. 


Mr. R. Gordon Wickham, brother of Mr Wickham of Elopura, and Mr. Streeter, son of the famous London Goldsmith, recently passed through Kudat on board the Banca. Mr. Wickham is making a tour of the world with a Brazilian Count, whom he left at Singapore. 

Mr. Streeter, was bound for Sulu where he is anxious to come to terms with the Sultan relative to the valuable pearl shell fisheries of the Archipelago. 

His partner, Mr. Haynes, has been several weeks in Sulu negotiating with His Highness. 

We learn with sincere regret that the health of Mrs Treacher has for some weeks past been far from strong, and that a change to Europe will be necessary. It is the hearty wish of all who have visited. Government House that Mrs. Treacher may soon return to Borneo with renewed health an strength. 

We have been favored by the courtesy of Mr Hugh Low,, C. M. G., II, B.M’s Resident, with a copy of the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure of the State of Perak for the current year. 

The Revenue is estimated at $1,236,120 and the Expenditure at $1,231,900. In 1878 the Actual Revenue received was $328,608, and the Expenditure $291,473 - showing a very rapid growth in six years. 

This increase is mainly due to the increase in the Chinese population which is now returned at 40,000, the Malay population numbering 50,000. 

The increase in the Chinese population is consequent on the discovery of new tin fields, as the jungle wealth of the country was well-nigh exhausted years ago. In North Borneo minerals are known to exist but have not yet been developed. 

In the meantime agriculture, and the riches of the bird’s nest caves and of the jungle, are attracting already Chinese immigration on a large scale and the Company may confidently look forward to a rapidly increasing revenue from this source.

We would call the attention of Masters of vessels, shippers and consignees to Proclamation No. ID. of 1883 published in another page and which relates to Customs and Harbour Regulations. 

More than one case of smuggling has recently been detected and punished at Elopura. 

The Master of the Hong Ann lately appeared in Court charged with discharging arms and ammunition from his vessel in the harbour. 

The arms, consisting of Snider rifles, with hail cartridge, and several kegs of powder, were discovered by Inspector Wait on hoard a native pram and were seized and confiscated somewhat to the displeasure of the owner, who was further subjected to a fine. 

With the sanction of His Excellency Sir F.A. Weld, Governor of the Straits Settlements, the community of Kudat have become outstation members of Singapore Raffes Library. 

Our Lingkabo correspondent, writing under date 11th April, reports “more and more seed pearls are being found and there is little doubt there will be a large crop this time.”





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