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Sabah : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
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Sarawak : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
 
 
 
 
LABUAN - EAST MALAYSIA / BORNEO MALAYSIA

PLACES OF INTEREST : Historical Sites

 
 

WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL

 

 

The World War II Memorial is the largest in the country and is one of the most visited places in Labuan. Along Jalan Tanjung Batu, where locals would pass by indifferently on their tooting motorcycles and zooming cars, lie 3,908 soldiers in perfectly squared platoons, much like how they would stand in salutation when they were alive. These soldiers were from all over: Australia, Great Britain, India, New Zealand and even Malaysia. The POWs of Sandakan, the perished war heroes of the Australian 7th and 9th Divisions, as well as those of the Punjab Signal Corp and a few locals were all buried here today at the WWII Memorial in Labuan, which was officiated by the Australian government in June 1953.

 

The bodies were shipped in from Sabah, some with their military tags still glimmering around their necks. Of the 3,908 of them, 2,156 were unidentified. The identified burials number 1,752 of which 1,523 are soldiers, 220 airmen, 5 sailors and 4 civilians (consist of 814 British, 858 Australians, 1 New Zealander, 43 Indian and 36 Malayan). Another 34 Indian soldiers, whose remains were cremated, are commemorated on a memorial in the India Army. They were all given a white headstone each with their names, military positions and death ages engraved on it. Poignant messages from their family members still resonate today with heavy heartaches that would dwell tears in the eyes. The 2,156 war heroes were also given a similar engrave of ?Known unto God? ? while their bravery may not be known on earth, but they never be forgotten in the eyes of God. The Cross of Sacrifice stood in the middle of the memorial ground. You can get here by taxi as it is just a 10 minutes? drive from town.

 

Admission fee : Free

Tel : 087-414 611.

 
 

PEACE PARK

 

The Peace Park was built as a memorial and renunciation of the horrors of war. It is dominated by the memorial mound which is surrounded by landscaped gardens and pavilions.

 

On September 9, 1945, the Japanese officially surrendered Labuan to the Australian. The commander of the Japanese 37th Army, Lieutenant General Masao Baba was flown to the shores of Layang-Layangan Beach in the Tachikawa K154C (HICKORY). And in a small wooden shack under the shelter of the coconut trees some 50 meters South-west of the Surrender Point, the handover signing ceremony took place. He surrendered his sword formally to Major General George Wootten, commanding officer of the Australian 9th Division, under the witness of Group Captain C.W Pearce and Squadron Leader J.S St Heaps of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Sydney, Australia.

 

Nearby, camps were set up for trials on the officers and servicemen of the Japanese unit for atrocities at the POW camps in Sabah and Sarawak. The war trials in Layang-Layangan were the first in Southeast Asia, led by Lieutenant L.J Morshead of the Commanding First Australian Corps. Subsequently, Labuan reclaimed her initial name from Maida Island, and was placed under the British Military Administration. To show that they are genuinely sorry for the trouble their forefathers have caused, the Japanese decided to build the Peace Park next to the Surrender Point.

 

The Peace Park pays tribute to the ones who have sacrificed their lives in Borneo during WWII. It is also a memento of friendship between Malaysia and Japan, and a promise of peace and harmony for all mankind that such war-like cruelty will not happen again in the future. The Peace Park was heavily funded by the Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation, chaired by Ryoishi Sasagawa, as well as by families of the dead and comrades in arm from some industrial firms. On April 14, 1984, Mitsunori Ueki of the South Pacific Memorial Association Incorporation in Japan handed over the Peace Park ceremonially to the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh. Till this day, funding still comes in abundantly from Japan to keep the Peace Park in good shape.

 

With serene waters under arched bridges and around shaded gazebos that embrace the large raised mound with two outstanding curved walls that is the centre of attention in the Peace Park. At the entrance of the Park stood a distinguishable stone slab, and on it carved clearly to echo till the end of time ? ?Peace is the best?. Set in Kampung Layang Layangan, the park is approximately a 20 minutes? drive from town.

 

Admission fee : Free

Tel : 087?480 770

 
 

CHIMNEY HISTORICAL COMPLEX

 

An artifact from Labuan's coal mining era (1847-1912). During that period, Labuan was used as a coaling station for ships sailing in the Far East area. Coal was transported by

single rail track to Victoria Port.

 

Built in the 1800s and constructed from red bricks imported from England, the famous Chimney towers at a height of 106ft in Tanjung Kubong. Although it was believed to be a ventilation shaft and thus linked to coal mining, recent findings have surprisingly revealed that there was no evidence of smoke or burning, and there are at least 12 layers of bricks beneath the surface. The Chimney is part of the Chimney Historical Complex that also includes the Chimney Information Centre. At the centre, you can read about the history of coal mining as well as the construction of railways and tunnels in Labuan.

 

Opening hours : 9am - 5pm, Daily.

Admission fee : Free

Tel : 087-463 603

 
 

TANJUNG KUBONG TUNNEL

 

The coal mining industry in Labuan began in 1847 and ended in 1911 after a series of mining accidents. It was operated by various British companies that built an expansive network of underground tunnels, deep wells as well as a railway track to facilitate the transportation of coal.

 

Not far from the tunnel is a well measuring 10 feet wide and 100 feet deep. Its bottom is believed to be connected to various tunnels. It is located in Tanjung Kubong, the northern tip of Labuan.

 

Admission fee : Free

Tel : 087-463 603

 
 

HISTORY SQUARE

 

Visit this cosy square for a bit of history and relaxation. Among the attractions here are the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperma) trees planted by the local community in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a granite slab commemorating the 1846 handover of Labuan to the British as well as stone plaques recording the island?s main historical events. The Labuan Museum is also located here. This square is a great place to while away the afternoon, taking pictures and enjoying the tranquil ambience.

 

Admission fee : Free

Tel : 087?414 135

 
 

LABUAN MUSEUM

 

The Museum is set up in a two-storey pre-war colonial building, with the ground floor dedicated to exhibiting the history of Labuan. Establish in 2004 by the Department of Museum and Antiquity of Labuan, the Labuan Museum is a one-stop centre with information on anything and everything related to Labuan and Malaysia.

 

The Museum is set up in a two-storey pre-war colonial building, with the ground floor dedicated to exhibiting the history of Labuan: from the pre-historical era, to the Brunei Sultanate ruling, to the British colonisation, to the Japan occupation, to the Malaya independence, and to the Labuan today.

 

On the top floor features graphic panels, replicas and models regarding the six main communities residing in Labuan, namely the Brunei-Malays, Kadayans, Chinese, Kadazan-dusuns, Indians and Sikhs. Outside the Labuan Museum is the History Square, where the four Flame of the Forest trees stand on all four corners of the square, which were planted by the Chinese, Malay, Indian and European communities in 1953 to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

 

There are also various plaques in the History Square to commemorate Labuan?s most important events throughout history, such as the 1846 handover of Labuan from the Brunei Sultanate to the British; the change of name for Labuan to Maidashima during the Japanese ruling in 1943; the memorial for General Maida, who perished in an air crash in 1943; and the landing of the Australian 9th Division in Labuan in June 1945, marking the start of the Borneo island liberation.

 

Opening hours : 9am - 5pm, Daily.

Admission fee : Free

Tel : 087?414 135

 
 
 
PLACES OF INTEREST : Historical Sites
LABUAN - EAST MALAYSIA / BORNEO MALAYSIA