Cyber Museum of North Borneo History 北婆羅洲雲端博物館

Richard Ker: Early Illustration & Old Historical Photos of Mount Kinabalu in North Borneo

For hundreds of years, Mount Kinabalu in North Borneo, Sabah has been fascinating locals and visitors from around the world. It became the iconic symbol of North Borneo and has appeared in countless publications, journals, documentaries and photos.

Now here’s a brief history about this sacred mountain. British colonial administrator Sir Hugh Low made the first recorded ascent of Mount Kinabalu’s summit plateau in March 1851. He did not reach the highest peak, but in April and July 1858, Low was accompanied on two further expeditions by Spenser St. John who was the British Consul in Brunei.

The highest point of Mount Kinabalu, now called Low’s Peak was finally reached in 1888 by zoologist John Whitehead. The official height is 4095.2 metres above the sea level.

British botanist Lilian Gibbs became the first woman and the first botanist to summit Mount Kinabalu in February 1910. Botanist E. J. H. Corner led two important expeditions of the Royal Society of Great Britain to the mountain in 1961 and 1964.

Kinabalu National Park was established in 1964 and was designated a natural World Heritage Site in 2000.

One of the earliest illustrations of Mount Kinabalu was probably this one which was drawn in lithograph by Thomas Picken. “Kina Balu from Pinokok Valley” was the caption of this image published in 1862.

Here’s another illustration of the Sacred Mountain from the Tempasuk Plain in 1893. Courtest National Archives, UK.

The mountain on a clear day taken from a vessel that was approaching the coastal area of Jesselton in 1947.

This is definitely many people’s favourites, taken in 1950′s somewhere in Kota Belud. Courtesy National Archives , UK.

While most photos of Mount Kinabalu were taken from the ground, this one was taken from the air by Mr P. Popper while on the flight from Jesselton to Sandakan in October 1952. Courtesy USC.

During the Indonesian Confrontation in 1963-66, an army camp called ‘Camp Paradise’ was erected in Kota Belud which includes an air field. Seen here is RAF Blackburn Beverley transporting military personnel and equipment around Borneo. Courtesy A Chow.

Here’s another stunning photo of Mount Kinabalu in 1960′s. Courtesy of M Wah and V Wah.

The mountain was also featured on printed bank note right until present day. This one dollar note was issued in 1936 by the Treasury in Sandakan, which was once the capital of British North Borneo.

This one here is a fairly recent photo of the mountain taken from the summit of Gunung Tambuyukon. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Mount Kinabalu will continue to awe people with its serene beauty and mystery. If you have your own collection of old photos of North Borneo please do share them on

(Originally Published @, via Wikipedia, National Archives UK)

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Comment by 馬來西亞微電影實驗室 Micro Movie Lab on June 9, 2015 at 11:37am

Sabah June 5, 2015 Earthquake: Because of Sabahans,Proud to be a Malaysian

People all over the world shed their tears when they read the news on how SABAHAN MOUNTAIN GUIDES have helped save the climbers amidst natural disaster, some even sacrificed their own lives.

Malaysia has been infected with all sorts of negative elements all these years. We never expect that, it is the ordinnary people who has make us proud to be a Malaysian. And the positive energy is coming from Sabah. paid our tribute/condolence last night to the 18 victims who have lost their lives in the magnitude 5.9 Ranau/Kundasang earthquake on 5.6.2015 @ 7.15 am

RIP, our heroes and deceased mountain climbers. 

(Mourning Session @ Kota Kinabalu Graffiti Corner, End Of Jalan Gaya, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah)

Comment by 家就在这里 on August 6, 2013 at 4:48pm

Malay Belle Openning Coconut,Sandakan. 山打根馬來姑娘開椰子。

愛墾網 是文化創意人的窩;自2009年7月以來,一直在挺文化創意人和他們的創作、珍藏。As home to the cultural creative community, supports creators since July, 2009.


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