1950s Gravel Quarry at Butir

Gravel Quarry of Old Brunei
written by Haji Mohd Daud Haji Abd Rahman
THE industrial mining of gravel has been carried out in Brunei for a long time. Gravel is needed for all sorts of activities especially construction. Now not many recall the name of Kampong Butir.
An hour away from Kianggeh, Kampong Butir used to be the main place in Brunei where gravel was quarried from the earth.

The village residents of Kampong Butir comprised the Kedayan community, one of the seven ethnic Malay tribes of Brunei. Most of the villagers were subsistence farmers and fishermen, who earned a living by cultivating the soil and harvesting the river.

Kampong Butir rose to prominence when people started mining for gravel and it was found in abundance there. Workers would dig the soil to extract the gravel. From Kampong Butir, the gravel was transported to gravel processing sites using wooden barges known as ‘tongkang’ and ‘kumpit’.

Back then, the gravel processing sites were located on the banks of Sungai Kianggeh and Sungai Tungkadeh. Here, men would process the gravel by removing it off the barges, drying it and then loading it into the crushing machine. Most of the process was painstakingly done by using only manual labour.

Today, Kampong Butir no longer exists. The spot is forested and long-forgotten. Quarries are now mainly located in the Temburong District and gravel is transported to the Brunei-Muara District using steel barge ships. Modern equipment are also used to move and process the gravel.

-- Courtesy of The Borneo Bulletin --


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