The History of Fraser Hill, Malaysia: Unveiling a Charming Colonial Retreat

About Fraser Hill Malaysia Sejarah Bukit Fraser

Get Information for Get history about Fraser Hill. Who is Scottish adventurer, Louis James Fraser? Who set up a tin ore trading station in the forested mountains? It’s all here from various resources

History of Fraser Hill Malaysia Summary

  • Attraction: History of Fraser Hill Malaysia
  • Location: Pahang Malaysia
  • Attraction Type: Destination in Malaysia

History of Fraser Hill Malaysia

Fraser’s Hill | Bukit Fraser Pahang Malaysia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fraser’s Hill is a hill resort located on the Titiwangsa Ridge in Raub District, Pahang, Malaysia. It is about 100 km (62 mi) from Kuala Lumpur. In 1890, Louis James Fraser established the area as a tin mining community known as Pamah Lebar when he discovered rich tin deposits and opened a tin mining facility. Mining activity there was short lived as the tin ore was depleted in 1913. This led many miners and farmers to abandon the area.

Fraser reportedly disappeared in 1910, but research in 2019 concluded that he retired from his position and returned to Great Britain in 1910. He died in 1916 while travelling in Austria-Hungary.

An attempt by J. Ferguson-Davie to locate Fraser in the area failed. While he searched for Fraser, Ferguson-Davis recognised the area’s potential as a suitable location to set up a hill station. Its cool climate made Pamah Lebar an ideal retreat to escape from the usually hot climate in Malaysia. Construction began in October 1919 to convert the mine area into a resort. The site was renamed Fraser’s Hill and opened to visitors in 1922. Subsequent development occurred in the 1970s in response to increased tourism activity.

While this provided room for more visitors, it had an impact on the environment including deforestation and water pollution prompting a halt to further developments in April 2010. Fraser’s Hill is known for its vast biodiversity which attracts scientists and researchers. In recent years, Fraser’s Hill has seen an increase in tourist activities. These include hiking, cycling and golfing with other sports such as archery, paddle boat, horseback riding, tennis, swimming and squash are available.

The population of Fraser’s Hill was 1,000 in 2013.

How Fraser Hill Got Its Names?

Fraser’s Hill is named after Louis James Fraser (1841–1916), a Scottish trader and accountant. After a failed gold mining venture in Australia, he migrated to the Federated Malay States in 1890 looking for a new venture in tin mining, He set up a tin-ore trading post in Tras. As mining activity flourished at the foot of Fraser’s Hill, Fraser became a tin merchant and bought crude tin ore from Malay and Chinese miners in Tras and Sempam and used mules to transport the ores to Kuala Kubu.

He later recruited guides and coolies and formed an expedition to search the upper ridges for valuable minerals such as gold. The expedition found an ancient forest of moss-draped trees and ferns that resembled prehistoric forests. A cloud layer kept the vegetation constantly moist. At the same time, Fraser found rich tin deposits on the hill and recruited Chinese miners to open a mine known as Pamah Lebar which would later become the current location of Fraser’s Hill golf course.

A track was then constructed for mules to carry tin ore to The Gap and Kuala Kubu. Fraser then moved his tin ore trading base from Tras to Fraser’s Hill. The first mining lease was officially issued to Abu Suradi in November 1899; the last one was issued in 1906 to Robert Lewis and the Sempam Mining Company Limited. However, as the tin ore was depleted quickly by 1913,mining activity declined, and many Chinese miners and farmers moved away from the town.

Initially, Fraser was reported as having disappeared in 1910, however, the latest research by R. Hale in 2019 uncovered that he retired from his position and returned to Great Britain in 1910 and died while vacationing in Austria-Hungary in 1916. When C. J. Ferguson-Davie, the bishop of Singapore, attempted to find Fraser in 1917, he was unable to find him. Instead, he discovered the place was suitable for building a hill station as a retreat from the valley’s hot climate.

He wrote a report to the high commissioner and chief secretary of the Federated Malay States to suggest that a hill station be built at this location. A preliminary topographical survey was drawn up in August 1919, which confirmed the area was a suitable location for a hill station.

Later, R.C.M. Kindersly, an unofficial member of the Federal Council, told the committee that it aimed to make the Fraser’s Hill area a holiday resort. Construction of Fraser’s Hill began in October 1919 when F.W. Mager, Pahang state engineer, surveyed the site for building construction, and cleared the land around Fraser’s former bungalow to build a road from The Gap to provide access to the hill station. The place was renamed Fraser’s Hill and opened to visitors in 1922.

On 7 October 1951, during the Malayan Emergency, the British high commissioner in Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney, was assassinated near Fraser’s Hill by Communist guerillas. According to Chin Peng, the guerillas, led by Siew Ma, did not plan the assassination. They were unaware that Gurney was a member of the convoy they had ambushed at The Gap. The guerillas were also unaware that the person they had assassinated was Gurney until Radio Malaya announced the news the following day.

The 1970s saw another surge in building development because of optimism over tourism with more investments being made by both the public and private sectors. As a result, 59 new rooms were built for visitors in 1974, with an additional 178 rooms built later. The average annual growth rate for visitors visiting hill stations in Malaysia between 1977 and 1984, including Fraser’s Hill, Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands was eight per cent, which was higher than the national average of five per cent.

However, the expansion of tourist development has negatively impacted the environment with deforestation, more species facing extinction and water pollution affecting the lives of the Orang Asli (first people) and residents in other villages. These issues led to the Pahang state government ruling out further development in the virgin forest at Fraser’s Hill on 13 April 2010.

It was not until May 2015 when The Star reported that some resorts had fallen into disrepair because of a lack of maintenance coupled with infrequent collection of rubbish and some abandoned bungalows had been taken over by squatters.

In response, the government of the state of Pahang proposed renovation in the hill resorts for a 10-year period at a cost of between RM 100 million to RM 200 million. The renovation of the hill resort had to be meticulous so as not to turn Fraser’s Hill into a tourist-focused hill stations, notably Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands, but instead focused on improving existing facilities and preserving the colonial legacy of the hill station.

On 28 April 2019, Fraser’s Hill celebrated its 100th year anniversary as a hill station resort. Since further development was halted in 2010, only 10 per cent of Fraser’s Hill overall land has been developed. Overdevelopment of the area would result in further destruction of the environment.

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Contact Fraser Hill - Bukit Fraser Malaysia

Fraser’s Hill Development Corporation
(Perbadanan Kemajuan Bukit Fraser)
49000 Fraser Hill
Phone: 09-517 1623