Nothing So Strange

Nothing So Strange – a voyage to North Borneo

North Borneo 1950s
ISBN 1-84683-124-5
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by Eileen Elizabeth Gidney
Memories of British North Borneo (now Sabah, Malaysia) in the early 1950s.

Illustrated with the author's colourful drawings and paintings this evocative travelogue is an eyewitness account of the world as it was in the 1950s and contains a wealth of information that could be valuable to historians, researchers, journalists and students wanting to know more about world travel during the period and in particular those interested in the Crown Protectorate of British North Borneo, as it then was, or in the origins of Kent College in Jesselton.

In October 1951 the author and her husband set off on a 8,000-mile sea voyage that would take them to British North Borneo (now Sabah, Malaysia), then still a Crown Protectorate, where they were both to be involved in the setting up of Kent College, the first teacher training facility in the region, at which her husband was to be the first Principal.

Their outward journey took them to many interesting places en route – Ceuta, Suez, Aden, Bombay, Colombo, Penang, Singapore – and, in the manner of the best travel writers, the author describes them with an artist’s eye for detail and colourful rendering, conveying the essence of what is now a bygone era.

Similarly, her observations and comments on day-to-day life in Jesselton, the coastal town in North Borneo where they lived, which has changed greatly in the intervening years, are now of considerable historical interest and her knowledgeable commentary on the history, geography and flora & fauna of the region is equally illuminating.

Her recollections will be of particular interest to anyone who remembers British North Borneo, or indeed any of Britain’s far-flung colonial outposts, in the postwar years but they may also be enjoyed by ‘armchair travellers’ of all ages.

details: softback | 170 x 250 mm | 180 pages | mono & colour illustrations & photos
genre: autobiography / travel
themes: Borneo in the early 1950s