Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just for a break......Its batu gajah my friends.

A Castle long in the making....

It was intended to be the hub of social life for the area's wealthy colonial planters and administrators. A grand mansion with a six-storey tower, wine cellar, stately columns. Moorish arches and walls embellished with Greco-Roman designs. There was to be a rooftop courtyard for parties and even an elevator, the first of its kind in the country. But the building was never to be completed. Work halted in December 1926 with the sudden demise of its owner, William Kellie-Smith. The estate on which it was situated was sold and the unfinished mansion soon surrendered itself once to the jungle.

Today, the rediscovered mansion, popularly known as Kellie's Castle, still stands, having survived the ravages of time. It reflects the pioneering spirit of the early colonialists and the romanticism of a bygone era. Who was Smith and what prompted him to construct this palatial building?

Born in Dallas, North-Eastern Scotland to a farmer and his wife on March 1, 1870, William Kellie-Smith travelled to Malaysia, then Malaya, at the tender age of 20 to seek his fortune. Kellie was his mother's maiden name. Smith was engaged by an estate owner named Alma Baker to help in the construction of public roads in South Perak. With this share of the profits from the venture, he bought 1,000 acres of jungle land in the Kinta District, and cleared it to plant rubber.

He later named the estate Kinta Kellas, after his home farm, Easter Kellas.

In 1909, Smith built his first mansion, Kellas House - a symbol of his prospering rubber estate venture. Five years later, with a birth of a son and heir, Smith laid the foundation stone to the second mansion that proved to be his ultimate folly.

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