This very old book, On the Equator, narrated a Londoner's trip to Sarawak in 1880. It's a good read and has a rare quote on how Sarikei looked like in 1880.
"Sarawak is divided into 6 districts or Residencies, each of which is under the supervision and control by a European Government Officer... These districts are (1) Sarawak proper (comprising Kuching); (2) Rejang; (3) Batang Lupar; (4) Muka (sic); (5) Bintulu; (6) Lundu." (Page 58)
"We arrived off the mouth after a pleasant run of 7 hours along the coast and entered the river Rejang which is 4 miles broad. On the right bank, stands the little village of Rejang (note: this is the current Rejang village, not Sarikei), and lying off it was a large Portuguese sailing vessel, loading bilian or iron wood. ...A great quantity of this timber is exported yearly to China direct from Rejang...the cost is merely nominal charge of a dollar per ton to the government and fetches a considerable price in the Chinese market." (Page 63)
"We anchored at sundown at Sarikei, a lonely looking place, 20 miles from the mouth, consisting of 4 or 5 tumble-down Malay houses on a mud bank." (Page 64).
Sarikei, are you lonely now?