Saturday, June 14, 2003
Kellie’s Castle secret tunnel unearthedBY CHAN LI LEEN
BATU GAJAH: An underground passage believed to be a secret tunnel built from the 94-year-old Kellie’s Castle to a Hindu temple here has been discovered.
Road construction workers carrying out widening works at the 6th kilometre of Jalan Gopeng–Batu Gajah stumbled upon the 1.5m-high by 1m-wide passage when they were digging about 1.5km away from the castle.
Site engineer Kirk Gerald Lebona said the underground passage was discovered when an excavator broke through its timber structure last Friday evening.
“We did not inform anyone at the time as we thought it was of no historical value or importance. We did, however, inform the Public Works Department the following day,” he said at the site here yesterday.
MYSTERY TUNNEL: (From left) Ng, Kinta Deputy OCPD Supt Jaafar Mohd Yusof and Zainal Abidin taking a closer look at the wooden tunnel discovered at Km6 of Jalan Gopeng-Batu Gajah last week.
Perak Tengah Muzium and Antiquities Department director Zainal Abidin said research and tests would have to be carried out together with the Land and Mines Department to find out the soil content there to make sure what the tunnel was used for.
“Presently, we have no confirmed answers of what it was used for, where it leads from and where it leads to or whether it is actually directly linked to the castle.
“It could be a passageway from the castle or it could just be a tunnel used by British miners searching for valuable minerals here in the past.
“Whether it is linked to the castle or not, it is still an exciting find for us as it provides a new version of the local history here,” he said.
He said the widening works, which commenced in June last year and expected to be completed by the end of the year, would be halted until Monday while his department makes a decision on how to proceed.
Another individual who was equally excited at the discovery was Kellie’s Castle director Steven Ng who claimed that the tunnel could be a third one leading from the castle which had been “lost” some time back.
He said that earlier, two tunnels had been found under the castle.
A concrete slab, which looked like a tunnel tube normally found at entry points to tunnels, was also found at the site.