Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Taiping Museum(太平博物馆)

The Taiping Museum is actually The Perak Museum. It was found by British Resident Sir Hugh Low in 1883 who mooted the first museum in Malaysia. The building was an ancient British architectural concept of Art Dico type. It was completed only in 1886. The building was developed in stages from 1886-1903. It was located at Jalan Taming Sari(formerly Main Road), just opposite the Taiping Prison.

There are 4 main galleries, namely The Nature Gallery, The Cultural Gallery, The Clay & The Indigenous People Gallery.

The first curator was Leonard Wray, who built up the admired natural history and ethnological section,including the aboriginal people. Assembled on the ground today are a stone marking the site of Maharaja Lela's fort, the statue of Colonel Walker, the locomotive head and coach of the first railway of Malaysia from Taiping to Port Weld, and a war plane.

The view of Maxwell Hill(background) and Taiping prison(right),from the Perak Museum.

Bicycles once used for National Day parade

The side view

The side view of the frontage of the museum building

The museum is a beautiful colonial building

The exibition

The left wing of the building

First Railway(1885), Port Weld & Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld

The rail locomotive used for railway track between Taiping and Port Weld, about 13 km long, which was the first railway line in Malaysia. Its construction began from the ground of the present King Edward VII School(the railway station later shifted to present railway station in 1900). The railway track construction was completed in 1-6- 1885. Port Weld is also the first railway station in Malaysia. The railway track had been closed from the late 1950s.

Port Weld was opened in 1877, named after Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, GCMG (1823 – 1891), was a New Zealand politician and a governor of various British colonies. He was the sixth person to serve as Premier of New Zealand(1864-1865), and later served as Governor of Western Australia(1869-1875), Governor of Tasmania(1875-1880), and Governor of the Straits Settlements(1880-1887).

In 1880, Sir Frederick Weld arrived in the Straits Settlements. He began to take personal interest in the development of the Malay States. In the middle of 1881, Weld visited the town of Taiping, in Perak. He found "the revenue increasing and everything going on excellent well..." but "labour for public works and roads and to develop other industries and sources of revenue besides tin-mining," he lamented, "is the great want". he also reported that:

"Water supply for Taiping from the hill (Maxwell Hill), the roads to Krian, which will connect Taiping town centre with Province Wellesley, and a rail and tramway from Taiping to the port (Port Weld, which was named after him) are amongst the next most necessary works to be undertaken. the town of Taiping has been much improved since the fire, which took place rather more than a year ago; new streets have been laid out to considerable width, and a better class of houses has been built"

The construction of the Taiping - Port Weld railway was the beginning of a major transformation altering radically the landscape of the Malay Peninsula. It also brought the first influx of Indians (mainly Tamils) and Ceylonese to Perak. Sir Frederick Weld was in Taiping again in 1883 where he "inspected everything". He spent time going down the Port Weld railway line, then in the course of construction, "on a truck behind the Engine". He also put into effect plans to build a telegraph line along the road linking Taiping with Province Wellesley. It was nearing completion after which a railway along the same route would be constructed.

(extract from wikipedia)

Port Weld was the busy port for export of processed tin ore from Taiping and nearby areas. Port Weld was opened in 1877 as coastal port for cargo ship. Port Weld is now known as Kuala Sepetang, no longer a main port, but port only for fishing boats.

The first train coach of Malayan railway

The side view of the train coach

The side view of the building

war plane

The bronze statue of Colonel Robert Sandilands Frowd Walker(1850-1917). He has contributed much to Perak, especially Taiping, in his capacity as police chief in public service , and his contribution to sport and local community. He is the founder of Lake Garden, Perak Club(Old Club),New Club(past President), the Esplanade, Perak Turf Club, Perak Cricket Club, the first football team etc. But sad to say, the road named after him in Taiping, was renamed Jalan Temenggong, and only Jalan Walker in Pokok Assam remained named after him.This did not give credit to a historical figure who has given his best to Taiping and well liked by local people. He died in office during the great war(WW1) in 1917, as the commandant of Alexander Palace POW Camp in London.

Another view of the museum building from the left

The side entrance

The right wing of the building

The main entrance

The right wing

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1 comment:

  1. So the Taiping Museum actually houses a Railway Museum? If yes, then one day I will ask hubby to drive us up to Taiping to see the Railway Museum. My toddler son is obsessed with choo-choo trains. ;-d