by Sir George Maxwell, KBE, CMG.
When Sir George first travelled from Taiping to Batu Gajah by gharry, sampan and pony in 1891 most of the Kinta Valley was under primeval forest. Sir George who retired as Chief Secretary to the FMS Government in 1926, celebrated his eightieth birthday in 1952, but like all men great or not so great, it was eventually time for him to pass on – but not before he left us this memory:
“…the general transport system of Kinta at that time. Everything brought into the district travelled from Teluk Anson in large houseboats poled up the river by Chinese or foreign Malays, and all the tin ore and other produce went down river. Kota Bahru was the lowest landing station..The first metalled road in the district ran from Kota Bahru to Gopeng, which was then by far the most important mining centre. Batu Gajah was the next landing station. Then came Pengkalan Pegu, which served Lahat and Menglembu. Finally there was Ipoh, where all navigation ended.
Above it, there was a shallow stream of pure mountain water ………
Much of the tin ore from the mines and the provisions for the miners was carried by elephants: and every day half a dozen or more of them were standing outside the shop houses in Ipoh, Sungei Raia and Gopeng.”