Family Footage of Former General Manager of North Borneo Railway [1939]

Expatriates have been living in North Borneo for more than a century so we’re always excited to see footages like this.

The family of James Beatty, the former General Manager for North Borneo Railway

This footage is owned by Corby Green, who is the grandson of James Beatty, the former General Manager of North Borneo Railway before the war broke out.

There’s no actual scenes of Jesselton as it’s only a family footage taken within the family’s residential compound which could be around the Signal Hill area.

Green described the footage:

This amazing piece of footage was found in 2008 in an old bag stored in the roof of my mothers house. Originally in a canister called “Kodak Safety Film” I had the film transferred to digital and it revealed my mother Rosemary Beatty at 2 year old with her parents James and Lila Beatty at their home in Jesselton. My Grandfather James managed the railways.

During the Japanese occupation they were imprisoned in the civilian camps. How this film survived their internment and the next 70 odd years is beyond me but I am so happy to have this treasure.

For those lovers of the history of Jesselton and the Borneo war years, my mother and her parents are mentioned many times in the Agnes Keith book “Three came Home” and also appear in some of the Australian War Memorial footage I have uploaded as well.

In the archives of National Library of Singapore, the newspaper article below shows a group photo with Mrs James Beatty taken in Jesselton in 1936.

A view of Jesselton town shophouses in 1936

We hope we get to see more of this kind of footage just like an old footage of Jesselton by Keith Wookey during his tenure in North Borneo.

If you’re a foreigner in any way related to North Borneo, we’d like to hear from you!

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Richard Ker

I love the history of North Borneo (Sabah) and strive to digitally archive any related information on this website. Follow me on Twitter @richardker.

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