KELLIE’S CASTLE Malaysia is multi-ethnic country which has passed through a long history of colonisation by Europeans. Apart from its majestic beauty seen in the sprawling landscape, historical sightseeing also forms a main part of Malaysian tourism. One of the important historical sites in Malaysia was Kellie’s Castle. (Fairul Halim) Kellie’s Castle is the most important attraction in Batu Gajah, Perak. Located approximately 30 kilometers from Ipoh is the historical legacy of a great story behind its construction. The landlord, William Kellie Smith was born on 1 Mac 1870 at the Moray Firth, Dallas, Scotland.
In the first Mac 1890 at the age 20, he arrived to Tanah Melayu . (Fazlina & Khatijah) Late William Kellie Smith ( 1870 – 1926) – Photo courtesy of Lamography. com He bounced around several business opportunities finding some success but it wasn’t until he meets Alma Baker that he struck gold. Baker obtained several government projects to build roads in South Perak. Their partnership in these projects led to quite a bit of profits. Enough to purchase a 900 acre piece of land for his rubber tree plantation and homely estate named Kinta Kellas. (Fazlina)
Kellie’s Castle is a symbol of love like the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. In 1903, he returned to Scotland to marry his sweetheart Agnes. He brought her back to his home in Tanah Melayu and later that year the couple was blessed with a daughter named Helen. William Smith desperately wanted a son and heir to take over his empire. In 1915 their second child, a boy named Anthony, was born and this may have been the impetus to start construction of a major extension to their stately home. (Hafizuddin & Khairi) Plans were drawn up and craftsmen imported from India to begin construction.
Built with materials such as stone marble was imported from India, while ceramic tile imported from Italy. Bricks were used kind of apricot made in Tanah Melayu itself. The wall of the castle was built with a very unique method, using a mixture of white duck egg, sand, brown sugar and honey. It was to take 10 years to build Kellie’s Castle. (Fairul Halim) However, it ran in to one major set back. Many of the workers contracted the Spanish Flu and died in the early 1920s. Killing many of the workers in the Kellas Estate . Another workers constructing Smith’s dream castle also became victims of the flu.
World War I slowed the process even more. He had already spent a fortune on his house, lost a lot of money because of this. (Khairi) In 1926 William Kellie Smith and his daughter, visited Britain to see his wife and son and then proceeded to Lisbon, Portugal from where he was ordering a lift to install in the Castle, which would have been the first elevator in Tanah Melayu. Unfortunately while in Portugal, William was attacked pneumococcal disease are chronic, he eventually died in Lisbon on 11 December 1926 at the age of 56 years.
He was buried there. (Khadijah) After the death of her husband, Agnes later packed up and left Tanah Melayu with her children back to Scotland. She sold the castle to a British company called Harrisons and Crossfield. In the end, Kellie’s Castle was never completed. Fortunately the Malaysian Government, realising its tourism potential and heritage value, have since cleared the creepers and trees growing on the site and have opened it as a tourist attraction. (Hafizuddin) -548 words-
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