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Scots in Brunei


Our thanks to Richie Doyle and Roger McInroy for helping with this article.

Ritchie first contacted me with a wee account...

My name is Ritchie Doyle the 17th Chieftain and Chairman of KBSC (kuala Belait Scottish Community). I understand KBSC is the longest running Scottish Community in Brunei and has been in existence since the 50's. We have a small committee who run social events throughout the year with two major events in the Annual Calendar, the Panaga Highland Games (The 17th Games was in June this year and hosted approx 3000 people) and the St Andrew's Grand Ball which has been running for approx 7 years now and hosts some 140 people from many parts of the world.

Our committee come from many walks of live however are mostly Scottish, and expats or Garrison Personnel currently working or stationed here in Brunei. We cater for a small but diverse community and have strong links with other communities the Garrison, local businesses and vendors and the Rotary Club in KB who raise money via the Highland Games.

There is a second Scottish community in Brunei which is based in the Capital Bandar.

Through Ritchie we heard from Roger about a few Scots...

William Cowie:
Set up the first (and only) coal mine in Brunei. The Muara coalmine was first mined commercially in 1883, when William Cowie was given the concession rights to mine the coal in exchange for $1,200 per year. These rights eventually passed to Rajah Brooke, who renamed the mine Brooketon. Broketon Colliery continued in operation till 1924.

Robert Burns:
BURNS, ROBERT, d. Aug/Sep 1851; grandson of poet Robert Burns; trader in Bintulu and Labuan, 1847-1849 (Bintulu then part of Brunei); killed by pirates. He gained permission to work coal and antimony from the Sultan in the Bintulu area.
Details 1: Full story here http://heritage.scotsman.com/robertburns/A-chip-off-the-ode.2496996.jp

Details 2: The Sarawak Museum Journal. HARRISSON, Tom, Robert Burns: the first ethnologist and explorer of interior Sarawak, vol 5 no. 3 (new series)/no 18 (old series) (Nov 1951) pp 463-494

Hugh Low:
First documented ascent of Mt Kinabalu. Born in Clapton to Scottish father. He was colonial secretary to the Brooke administraion in Labuan and so must hav had contacts with Brunei. He climbed Mt. Kinabalu with Spenser St. John, the consul General of Brunei, in 1858

See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Low


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