Fort Margherita is across the Kuching river further up from the Astana, I got a boat today across the river to have a look.
It was built in 1879 by Rajah Charles Brooke and named after his wife, it was the 2nd fort built in Kuching; the first was burnt down by rebel Chinese gold miners in 1857, I’m glad this one has stood the test of time as it is a nice glance back in time and a charming looking place that is worth the short river trip and walk to get there.
Fort Margherita was built to protect Kuching against pirates and other river bound enemies as it gives a very good sweeping view of the area despite not being too high, Kuching is a fairly flat place to be so it’s quite easy to see over things here (before all the tall hotels came along anyway). There is a rusty fixed binoculars on the extremity of one of the gates but unfortunately the glass lens has been broken so it is not useable anymore. The swivel and tilt still functions well though.
The Fort never really fulfilled its purpose and did not come under attack until World War 2 (where it was occupied by the Japanese along with the rest of the city).
For now though there seems to be plans to turn it into a police museum, but I don’t think the proposal is really being taken seriously and its just left open for people to wonder around and sign the guestbook at the moment.
At least the cats of Kuching can rest easy knowing Fort Margherita is still standing there looking over them.