Brief history on Batu Arang
Coal was first found in Batu Arang in the early 1900s and a study in 1910 revealed that mining was commercially viable.
|Batu Arang, is in Gombak District|
In the 1930s, only the Batu Arang mine was still operational and offered jobs to residents.
Because of the high demand of coal, the mining activities were operating round the clock employing 5,000 miners in three shifts.
|Batu Arang Town (older parts)|
|Other part of Batu Arang|
The mining operations ended in 1960.
|Hundreds of mining tunnel's underneath of Batu Arang area|
In the 1930’s, the monthly wage of a miner was RM0.35. They could buy a house in the area for RM4.
The developing town even had an airstrip, a railway line, gurkha’s police base, police station and a brick factory.
|The historical of air well in Batu Arang|
|Another air wells|
However, the air wells of the mines could be still seen covered in undergrowth.
|One of the famous air well in Batu Arang|
The air well was dug to a depth of 330m and there are hundreds of tunnels underground stretching the entire town of Batu Arang.
And this is why there are no five-storey buildings in the town or development that requires piling work.
|Puan Jamilah Awang, Batu Arang CBR Supervisor|
(CBR-Community-Based Rehabilitation) rehabilitation, training and
learning center for disabled kids and young adults
The red-brick shoplots and wooden houses are still standing steadily.
|Richard Thang See Ong one Batu Arang's resident|
Even the school building of Chap Kuan Chinese School, built in 1949 is still standing though its paint is cracked and dried.
One can reminisce the colonial era by visiting the famous “White House” built in the 1930s. It was used as the British Army officers’s mess.
Even the Batu Arang Police station, which was once the Malayan Colliers Limited management office, still remains.
Batu Arang, as history reminds us, was once a bustling town known for its coal mining activities.
It exported coal worldwide rivalling Newcastle in Australia, which is currently the largets exporter of coal in the world. Even to this very day, coal is still found in Batu Arang but there are no mining activities taking place.
Apart from coal, Batu Arang was also known for brick manufacturing. Today, it no longer supplies coal and holds no significant role.
|Goat farm in Batu Arang|
Although the mines stopped operations in 1960, the remnants of old historical buildings can be seen throughout the town.
Even more astonishing is the businesses and people who are here going about doing their daily chores.
Today, the old ventilation tunnels offer a glimpse of the old abandoned mines, but few are brave enough to venture into the darkness.
|Batu Arang Town from afar.|
Bicycle shops, coffeeshops, fruit stalls, market, food stalls and grocery shops are still the main features of the town.
The customers in the Chinese coffeeshops are mainly senior citizens opting to have coffee, toast or Chinese tea — spending long hours chatting about the past and present.
The close relationship of the people in Batu Arang is also very pleasing. Most people living there seems to know each other.
The people even raise their hands — a sign to acknowledge friendship — as they cross path on bicycles, motorbikes or cars.
Some of the coal miners who used to work at the coal mine have passed on, leaving the second and third generation to carry on businesses and other activities taking place there.
There are some who work on their land doing farming activities while others continue the business tradition passed on from their ancestors.
With a mixed population comprising mainly Chinese, Indians and Malays living together in harmony, Batu Arang can easily pass off as a good example of the 1Malaysia concept.
The slow pace of things here shows that the people, culture and history of this town should be appreciated and passed on to generations to come.