Calling all Wharf Road denizens. Can you can help to pin down the year of this rare undated picture? This is after 1953-54+ (when the Shell petrol station was built). Esso had not started yet. The 1950s police station at the end of the road had been completed. Another clue is the See Hua Daily News 詩華日報 agency signboard (year?) at No.1 Wharf Road. Thong Aik 通益 at No. 1 Wharf Road was undergoing a fresh coat of paint and the Chinese characters 通益 were painted over at the top of No.1 Wharf Road. Check out the precarious ladder that was used for painting. Wharf Road was also tarred then.
Thong Aik was where a few of the 2nd generation Foochow towkay began their career. Mr. Wong Ing Tuan and wife were employees of Thong Aik and were in charge of See Hua Daily News distribution. You can probably recall Wong Ing Tuan collecting the newspapers from the Sibu express boats early in the morning and hand carrying a stack of newspapers around the shops for distribution in the 1970s. Later when Thong Aik gave up the agency, Wong Ing Tuan (the bookstore) started at the far end of the block where Hong Leong Bank is located. Wong Ing Tuan later started Anthonian Bookstore in the late 1970s which his son operated.
In the early 20th century, the shop of Mr. Lim Su Kiew 林思九 was the authorised dealer appointed by The Borneo Company Limited of Sarawak , the authorised agent of Shell products. Lim Su Kiew 林思九 was one of the founders of Kwang Chien School and was the father of Ah Bee (Lim Wu Chong 林武聰). In the 1930s, his business collapsed.
Wong Koh Chiong (黄可川) of No.1 Wharf Road was then appointed as the authorised Shell dealer. The sales of kerosene, petrol, diesel and other oil products were conducted in a shophouse near Wharf Road. Due to the hazards of the products, the business was later moved to a small store situated very near Nyelong River wharf. It moved again later to the small standalone store (still standing) next to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at Market Road. The Shell petrol station was built in 1953-54 by the contractor, Tiong Hung Ming (his first ever project). In the 1950s, all oil products came from Singapore as there was no oil refinery in Borneo then.
So is it be kerosene, diesel or petrol for you?