Wednesday, 16th May 2012 Kota Kinabalu - The Sabah State Museum has begun a major renovation and repair work of the Atkinson Clock Tower respondingto a public request to fix the clock tower’s faulty light and time keeping accuracy.
Director of Sabah State Museum Joanna Kitingan commented in social network Facebook, “We all agreed that it's time to give the ACT a new face lift, repairs and new coat of paint and change some of the gears that's slowing down the clock timing”.
Datuk Haji Masidi Manjun, Sabah Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment along with the Director of Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK) also echoed the need for this old clock tower to be maintained and repaired.
Heritage advocate Richard Nelson Sokial welcomed the museum’s decision to initiate the clock tower’s repairs and said “It's astonishing how very few people know that the Atkinson Clock Tower still works even after 107 years. It's a living heritage of Kota Kinabalu, the oldest city landmark since 1905. It deserves respect and protection.”
He also hoped that the repair works would keep with the current façade of the clock tower. The Atkinson Clock Tower has been renovated several times over the last 107 years to improve its appearance and upkeep.
The preliminary repair works on the illumination of the clock’s double faces has been completed, while subsequent repairs on the structure wall and the clock mechanism will be progressing within the upcoming few weeks.
Appointed contractors stated that they in the process of evaluating the condition of the clock tower’s timber structure to decide if it needs an overhaul. The clock mechanism is currently supervised by Mr. Tommy from Yick Ming Watch Dealer – a task taken over from his father since 1946, which involves winding up the clock’s antiquated cogs and dials.
The Atkinson Clock Tower remains as the oldest and most popular landmark of Kota Kinabalu with a history that goes back to the establishment of early Kota Kinabalu (then known as Jesselton) in 1899. Surviving the allied bombing of Jesselton during WWII, the clock tower was built as remembrance for the late Francis George Atkinson, Jesselton’s first district officer who died of Malaria or ‘Borneo Fever’ at the age of 28 on December 1902.