During the Second World War, from 1941 to 1945, the whole of North Borneo was under the occupation of the Japanese Imperial Army. Toward the end of the War, while the Allied Forces was fighting hard for the liberation of North Borneo, Jesselton was heavily bombarded by the Allied air force for days. Jesselton is the former name of Kota Kinabalu, before the independent in 1963 from the British Empire. Jesselton was so badly hit, that almost every buildings in the town was destroyed.
I am glad that Atkinson Clock Tower survived this, for it stands proudly as the oldest building in the vicinity of Kota Kinabalu City. Believe me, it is not easy to find buildings in Kota Kinabalu that has a 100 years old history.
atkinson clock tower
The Atkinson Clock Tower was gazetted as a heritage building in 1983. In it’s hay day, Atkinson Clock Tower was an important land mark, other than being an important time keeper, the light on the tower was used by local ships as navigation aids to come into the port at night. Atkinson Clock Tower can be easily located beside the old police station at the side of Signal Hill, it is also not far away from Gaya Street.
Mary Edith Atkinson of England built the Atkinson Clock Tower on Bukit Brace (Signal Hill) in 1905, in memory of her son, Francis George Atkitson, who was the first district officer of Jesselton, and he died of malaria at the age of 28.