Explore the history behind the courthouses in Kuching

KUCHING: A public talk on ‘Courthouses in Kuching’ will be held at the Old Courthouse here on Nov 15.

Jointly organised by Friends of Sarawak Museum (FoSM) and Sarawak Heritage Society, the talk will discuss how the development of governance under all three Rajahs can be viewed through the development of their Courthouses from 1841 to 1942, said FoSM in a statement today.

University of Canberra assistant professor of architecture Dr John Ting will be conducting the talk. He is currently also the consulting architectural historian on the Old Sarawak Museum Conservation project.

“When James Brooke became Rajah, he appropriated indigenous and vernacular architecture and settlement patterns for his capital, Kuching, as well as new territories. The location of his original court in Kuching followed Malay tradition by being located in his Malay nobleman’s house, built for him by Sarawak’s Bruneian governor in 1841.

“He began to develop the court as an institution when he established his first courthouse across the river to the commercial side of Kuching in 1847. This location has had three different courthouses constructed on it.

“The third courthouse was then extended four times before World War Two, during the reigns of Charles and Vyner Brooke, resulting in the building we know of today,” said FoSM.

The talk to commence from 7.30pm will explore how the government adopted and began to change indigenous spatial practices as part of their diverse approaches to governing.

“It argues that the development of their governance can be read through how they developed their Courthouses,” it added.

Ting has taught tropical design and Southeast Asian architectural history at other Australian architectural programs. In addition to his PhD in Architectural History from the University of Melbourne, he has a professional degree in architecture from RMIT University and is a Registered Architect in Australia.


Registration is not required and admission is free. Members of the public are welcome to attend the public talk to be conducted in English.

For further enquiries, call 082-244202.

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