Friday, 23 January 2015


There was a legend told by the elderly, once there was a Brunei royal princess who was denied to choose her own lover by her family members. Feeling dejected, she chose a town and cursed it. Kimanis, will always be forgotten and travelers will never notice its existent. If this legend is true, I don't know why she picked this place. Come to think of it, I can't help but believing this curse because Kimanis is indeed such a sleepy and forgotten town.

But what is more interesting is that Kimanis was actually once leased by American Consul to Brunei, Charles Lee Moses from the Sultan of Brunei, and sold them to William Torrey and Thomas B. Harris in 1865 who renamed the place as Ellena. They brought in settlers hoping to make it a successful town, but eventually, most of them succumbed to the dreaded tropical diseases, and died here. Finally the remaining settlers gave up and left Ellena. Had the town prospered, probably the history of North Borneo (Sabah) could take a different part. Probably North Borneo itself would be call Ellena. And probably, Ellena could end up being the 51st States of the United States. The Americans gave up and sold their right to Baron Gustav Von Overbeck, and he himself sold them to the British in 1880. From that day onward, the history of North Borneo was shaped by the Empire of Great Britain.

Looking at the above pictures which I took myself, I am not sure whether the American settlers had built this wooden building or introduced a settlement at this location, but definitely it is more than 50 years old. There are modifications and repairs going on since then but the architectural design do look colonial.

I am very worried that one day this old heritage building would be pulled down unless there a serious effort made by our government to preserve them. If the authority take the trouble to repair and upgrade the wooden structure with massive soft landscaping works integrated with it, I am sure this place will look wonderful and many people will come here. Then, who knows, perhaps, the curse of the princess might be broken forever.

If the Ellena pioneers had succeeded, Kimanis might become like the wild west in USA 

The lonely train station at Kimanis

The first romance-thriller from Borneo 
Search also THE EURASIANS by Don Peter ebook 


  1. Very nice n informative story RP...keep it up!

  2. helo.. this story sounds fascinating indeed, but i believe u got the place wrong. it does not look like Kimanis from the pictures u've posted. its Kinarut, actually.

    1. Hi!There Cerise. It is in Kimanis. Near the oil and gas terminal. Thanks