Agnes Keith House

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Agnes Keith was an American journalist who came to live in Sandakan in the 1930’s with her English husband who worked for the Forestry Commission. She did not much care for the stay-at-home life of an expat wife, so decided to accompany her husband on his field trips into the depths of Sabah. Agnes Keith wrote an excellent booked entitled 'The Land below the Winds’ which describes her adventures on these trips. Of particular interest are her observations of the different local tribes and their observations of her. She was taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, and she wrote about these experiences too. Her original house was destroyed, so this is a reconstruction on the exact site of the original home.

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The rooms were quite spacious, with tall ceilings to help keep it cool. Apparently it was usual to put your bed in the middle of the room to avoid having wildlife crawl down the walls and onto you while sleeping.

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I could not resist a photo of this telephone. Digital mobile phones just don’t have such style!

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The Agnes Keith House is perched on a hill overlooking Sandakan, and next door is the English Tea House and Restaurant. We had an early lunch here before our flight to Kota Kinabalu and the food and setting were perfect; very English. It was very busy here, so I think that booking ahead is essential.

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© Helen Gray 2021