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Labuan Island

 Single Item
MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 358

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Documents relating to the lease of coal mines and 'petroleum springs' in Labuan Island, North Borneo, consisting of
  1. Two copies of 1889 lease to the Central Borneo Co. Ltd.
  2. Correspondence concerning royalties on petroleum raised from Labuan, 1895
  3. Assignment of lease from the Labuan Coalfields Co. Ltd. to the Labuan Exploration Co. Ltd., 1918
  4. Lease of properties in Victoria, Labuan Island to the Labuan Coalfields Co. Ltd., 1919


  • 1889-1919


42 ff.

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 358].
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MSS. Ind. Ocn. s. 358

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 2821

Biographical / Historical

Labuan, in northern Borneo, was ceded to Great Britain by the Sultan of Brunei in 1846. The British used the island initially as a naval base from which to counteract the activities of pirates from Brunei, and as a strategic refuelling station for steamships. However, as its lack of economic and strategic importance became evident, it passed through a number of different administrations. Initially ceded to James Brooke, British Rajah of Sarawak, it was handed over to the British North Borneo Chartered Co. in 1890, the Government of the Straits Settlements in 1907, and became part of the Colony of North Borneo after World War One. The Japanese occupied it from 1942 to 1945, re-naming it Maida Island after the Chief Commander of their forces in Borneo (General Maida was later killed in an air crash while travelling to Labuan from Bintulu). It was liberated from 10th June 1945 by Australian forces under General McArthur, returned to British rule, and became part of independent Malaysia in 1963.

Although rich in deposits of oil and petroleum, Labuan's only industry for much of the 19th century was coal mining. From 1847 to 1911 a number of British companies extracted coal from Tanjong Kubong at the north tip of the island. One of the later companies, New Central Borneo, constructed a railway line to transport the coal to Victoria Port. However, the mines were eventually closed after a series of accidents.

Other Finding Aids

The library holds a card index of all manuscript collections in its reading room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited in the library by the Foreign Office in 1996.
Labuan Island
Paul Davidson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom