STORY

The Marian Story

When the late Ong Ewe Hai (whose father migrated from Fukien province, China to Singapore in the first half of the 19th century) decided to plant his roots in Kuching, he made sure the house he was going to build for his family would have a clear frontage overlooking the river. So he selected one of the highest spots on the compound of the present Bishop’s House for this purpose.

Ewe Hai’s priority for choosing a suitable site was understandable because, by profession, he was a trader with vast business interests in Sarawak and Singapore. As all Chinese businessmen are geomantically inclined, so was Ewe Hai. When the house was finally completed in 1885, it not only overlooked the street where Ewe Hai’s shophouses were built on both sides of it, but also the Sarawak River some distance ahead. The street was later named after Ewe Hai.

Before it was sold to the Anglican Mission for a few thousand dollars and turned into a boarding house in 1933, the house, solidly built from belian and sun-baked bricks, had been the home of three generations of ONGS all under the same roof – Ewe Hai’s son, Ong Tiang Swee, his families and their families. Former Malaysian Federal Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui was also born in this house with his brothers, uncles, aunties, cousins and nieces.

 

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St. Mary’s Boarding House (1933)

The original Boarding House stood (and still stands) on the side of a hill overlooking the main bazaar. On the roof, above the porch, a six-foot cross was constructed. It can still be seen from the bazaar and the river. Directly in front of the house was a courtyard, which was surrounded by a low wall inset with jade green openwork tiles. The entrance to the courtyard was a typical Chinese horned archway.

Former boarders would reminisce, with fondness, about how they knew their former headmistress or matrons were coming just by the sound of the footsteps on the wooden belian floors of the Boarding House. Miss Chong Kim Joon, Matron of the Boarding House from 1914 to 1967, could recognise each and every boarder from their footsteps, voices, screams and giggles!

The old Boarding House saw its last year in 1967 . The Diocesan took over in 1968 and the building was used as a Diocesan guesthouse right up until the day renovations started for the conversion of the property to the Marian Lodging House in 2013.

 

 

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The Marian Boutique Lodging House

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The Marian Boutique Lodging House
25 & 27 Wayang Street,
93000 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Tel    :   +6082 252 777
Fax    :   +6082 254 777
Email    :   admin@themarian.com.my

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