Sarawak Stamps Used in Brunei

Look at the stamp on the left. What do you see?

For the uninitiated, you will see a Sarawak stamp. But not realising that this Sarawak stamp was postmarked in Brunei. Brooketon was the former name for today's Muara. Unfortunately the year is not very clear, it was 96 (1896). In those days, Rajah Brooke was the concessionary holder for the coal in Muara (what do you mean you did not there was coal in Muara?). Anyway Rajah Brooke bought the rights to the coal mine in Muara from someone named Cowie. Cowie obtained the earlier concession from the Sultan. Rajah Brooke named the mine as Brooketon and Muara became known as Brooketon.

Even though Rajah Brooke was only in Muara as a concessionary holder, he brought the entire administrative machinery from his government in Sarawak. Muara became in effect a territory within Brunei with its own government even though Rajah Brooke had no right to do so. So he had his own police as well as his own postal service. This Sarawak stamp was postmarked Brooketon as it was posted there.

From records, the mine never made money. Rajah Brooke wanted it as it was a slow stranglehold over Muara. During those years, he managed to acquire Kota Batu as well as Buang Tawar thus slowly going for the jugular Kampong Ayer. But when he died, the next Rajah Brooke decided to abandon Muara and the British Resident brought Muara back under Brunei government administration. Hence Muara is considered as a separate district and today is part of the Brunei-Muara District.


Gembo said…
Now I know why we call it Daerah Brunei dan Muara. Thanks for sharing.

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