History

 
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Lambir Canopy Walkway

The Lambir Canopy Walkway project was jointly coordinated by Abang Abdul Hamid, an Entomologist with the Forest Department of Sarawak together with the late Professor Tamiji Inoue of the Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University. ProfessorTamiji Inoue was killed in a plane crash in Lambir Hills National Park.

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Oil Well no.1 - Also known as the 'Grand Old Lady'

Miri's very first oil well, affectionately known as the 'Grand Old Lady' is a historic monument on top of Canada Hill.

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'Earth Oil' - The Discovery

The story begins with a Mr. C.C. (Claude Champion) de Crespigny, then the Resident of Baram, who was the first to record the presence of oil in Sarawak. The entry in his diary, dated 31st July 1882, refers to oil discovered in some 18 wells dug by hand by the local inhabitants.

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Early Days

To picture Miri when the township came to know oil, we have to project ourselves into a very different past. When the original Shell men arrived, it consisted of 20 scattered houses and a few shops. These included a bazaar, a gambling farm, a pawn shop and an Arab shop. The trade of Miri consisted chiefly of jelutong, brassware, belachan and budu.

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A Little Excitement

And so things slowly improved. By 1921 or thereabouts, there were about 40 shophouses in Miri.

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Decline & War

In the 1920s, these were the years when the Miri field began to decline. Exploration was carried out further and further afield. In 1926 an exploratory team had gone as far as Padang Barawa between the Sungai Seria and Sungai Barawa. Not much attention was paid to their findings then, but now with the Miri field declining the old maps and charts were taken out and studied again.

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Rehabilitation

On June 10, 1945, troops of the Australian 9th Division occupied Labuan Island. Within 11 days, they had landed on the mainland and liberated Miri and Seria. They were met by a scene of devastation-blazing wells, demolished buildings and wrecked installations.

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Royal Occasions

The other momentous event in 1957 was the decision made by the oil company to relinquish some 75% of the land concession in the hinterland of Sarawak after explorationary surveys had shown no indications of oil.

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Coming of Age

On August 1st, 1960, the Miri General Hospital, which had for long been operated by the oil company with financial assistance from the government, was handed over to the government; with it went the Miri Ferry that connects between the peninsular and town - and the hospital -, all the concession land on the Miri Peninsula south of the Miri Golf Course, and all the houses, roads and utility services within that area.

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'The Oil Town'

The successful discovery of offshore oil in the 1970s triggered a fresh development boom in Miri; luxury hotels were built, more houses constructed and new shopping centers and industrial estates established. Miri ranked as the second most important commercial town in Sarawak after Sibu town.

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