Friday, June 15, 2007

Scenes - Sarikei Wharf Terminal One 1960s

Sarikei Rejang River Wharf circa 1963.
Check out the muddy banks during low tide.
Direction to Binatang and Sibu in the background.

he Rejang River holds not just salty water and silt but also memories for just about everyone in Sarikei. Once upon a time, it has been used by the natives and then the migrants. In the 1960s, there were only wooden boats and sampans. The warehouses and customs department were not up in background yet. Instead mangrove swamps ruled the day. Neither was the Rejang Wharf Esplanade up yet. No cargo wharf or Terminal 2 yet. And no public toilet yet. Please head for the nearest shop or bush.

Sarikei Rejang River Wharf 1982
Ivan Ignatius' farewell (departing for USA)
Find the blue-white shades and old roof of the vege mart.Source: Ivan Ignatius

The same wharf shown above served Sarikei well. It's made up of four simple parts: a straight bridge with criss cross barriers and wooden planks from Bank Road to a cement dock (see boy sitting in the picture) piled into the swamp. From the cement dock, a movable bridge with wooden planks was linked to a floating cement wharf. The new Terminal 1 building actually covered the first 2 portions so it's true that the bridge is now shorter (not because you have grown up and things appeared smaller). Hawkers braved the hot weather and sea sickness by displaying their pineapples on this cement wharf till they were banned from doing so (in 1990s?)

Sarikei Rejang River Wharf 1982
Ivan Ignatius' farewell
Find the pineapples. Find the board for boarding express boats.
If anyone knows how to contact Lucas Hsu or his sister, pls email me.
Source: Ivan Ignatius
Rejang Wharf Terminal 1 is the defacto arrival and departure point for most people till the late 1990s. If you have a plane to catch at Sibu airport, you would take an express boat to Bintangor (formerly Binatang) and then Sibu. Why? Simply because the roads to Sibu were not good then and Lanang and Durin bridges were not up yet.

For those living and working overseas now, did you cry a river at this wharf when you knew that you would be calling another place "home"?


Daniel Yiek said...

Updated the blog:
a) 1st picture => dated circa 1963 based on the assumption that Mr Ignatius came after Mr Titus in 1962.

b) The new Terminal 1 building actually covered the first 2 portions of the bridge so it's true that the bridge is now shorter (not because you have grown up and things appeared smaller).

fred said...

hm.. the second picture, the chinese guy.. he looks so familiar.. anyone know his name?

Daniel Yiek said...

That gent from St Anthony's School was a great athlete and table tennis player.

Sim Y said...


You forgot to mention video game master and one wheel gang.

Lidasar said...

Oh! the one wheel gang? You mean "Mat Rampet"? I didn't know you have them in Sarikei, I never seen them in Sarikei then. I know this is going to be deep rooted culture of West Malaysia but cetrainly discouraged anywhere else.

ront said...

you mean the one wheel game.....the basikal sub-division is it?

Daniel Yiek said...

Ivan and his best friend in the pic at high school used to ride their basikal on 1 wheel and is nicknamed "One wheel gang". :)

This gent was also the champion in Australia pac man competition when he studied there.

Ikan Semilang said...

I remember seeing somewhere a very old photo of the Rejang River fronting the Sarikei town. The photo was taken by Hedda Morrison, who was a German and a professional photographer. She lived in Sarikei in 1947/1948 when her husband was the assistant District Officer of Sarikei. Remember the old Po Lay Shu (Glass house) at the junction of Jalan Neylong and Jalan Getah. It was actually the Sarikei District Office before it moved to Repok Road. If I can locate the old photo, I’ll make a copy and send it to Daniel for him to put on his blog.
Jepun kamah and mudskippers are a familiar sight on the muddy river bank of the Rejang. But how many of us know that the Rejang is also the natural habitat for a certain species of river oysters? The Hedda’s photo will show you where you can find river oysters in Sarikei!

Lidasar said...

I recall catching ikan semilang at the river bank but never came across oysters. I remember catching a lot of miniature jelly fish by the side of the wharf and also fishing for puffer fish standing behind the express boat. We call them Tua-Pa-toh fish or big tammy fish.

Daniel Yiek said...

Wow! Didn't know that this great photographer lived in Sarikei!

I found this page of Hedda Morrison on Sarawak and there's a book too. Cut and paste the URL to read the website:

and her bio from another website which I lost the URL:

Hedda Morrison was born Hedda Hammer in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1908. As a young child she contracted polio, which caused her to walk with a limp. In 1929 she completed her secondary education at the Queen Katherine Convent (Königen-Katherina-Stift Gymnasium für Mädchen) in Stuttgart, and was sent to the University of Innsbruck in Austria to study medicine. After a few months she persuaded her parents to allow her to enroll in the State Institute for Photography in Munich (Bäyerische Staatslehranstalt für Lichtbildwesen in München).
After completing her studies, Hedda found paid work difficult to find as a result of the Depression. She decided to travel to China in 1933 in response to an advertisement in a photography journal. Between 1933 and 1938 she managed Hartung's, a German-owned commercial photographic studio in Peking. After her contract there expired in 1938, she continued to work as a freelance photographer. Hedda's photographs of Peking were well known, and she sold many prints and albums to wealthy overseas visitors as souvenirs.
In 1940 Hedda met Alastair Morrison and they married in Peking in 1946. Due to the increasing instability of the political situation in China, they left Peking soon after. The Morrison's spent six months in Hong Kong before relocating to Sarawak, in the north-west of the island of Borneo, where Alastair was appointed to the British Colonial Service and later became a district officer. Throughout her 20-year residence in Sarawak, Hedda accompanied Alastair on all his official journeys and made numerous independent photographic tours. From 1960-66 Hedda was employed by the Sarawak government to work part-time in the photographic section of the Information Office is Kuching. Her duties included taking photographs, establishing a photographic library and training government photographers. Hedda wrote two major books on Sarawak, Sarawak (1957) and Life in a Longhouse (1962).
In 1967 the Morrisons settled in Canberra, Australia. Hedda died in Canberra in 1991, at the age of 82.

edulink said...

This is interesting.... can anyone help..need to contact IVAN IGNATIUS my guitar buddy and fellow church choir member (tenor)


ATHONIAN 1979-1983

Daniel Yiek said...

He's on too

edulink said...

Thanks mate....

edulink said...

Thanks mate....

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