St Joseph’s Secondary School Kuching Mill Hill Block Restoration Project

The Mill Hill Block at St Joseph's Secondary School. (Photo: StJoseph's School Board of Management)

KUCHING — The Mill Hill Block is iconic not only to St Joseph’s School but also to the history of Sarawak. It is made up of three buildings—the main building in the centre and its two wings. The main building was opened in 1894 by Rajah Charles Brooke, the Second White Rajah of Sarawak. Standing at three storeys high, the January 1895 issue of the Sarawak Gazette described “the new St Joseph’s building” as “the largest private work carried out in 1894 and indeed the largest building in Kuching”. 

In 2010, the Sarawak Government gazetted the main building (which housed the De La Salle Brothers) as a Heritage Building under the Sarawak Cultural Heritage Ordinance 1993. The main building has stood the test of time; still standing strong and is a durable symbol of the proud history of St Joseph’s School. However, it is in need of repair. 

In 1927, two wings, each also three storeys high, were added to the main building. Both wings have suffered significant deterioration and have been certified by Jabatan Kerja Raya (Public Works Department) as unsafe for occupation.

Some of the building defects. (Photo: St Joseph’s School Board of Management)

The closure of the two wings had resulted in 12 classrooms becoming unavailable for use by the School resulting in a shortage of classrooms.

In 2019, a committee, comprising members of the School’s Board of Management and Old Josephians’ Association (OJA), was set up to look into the repairs to be done to the Mill Hill Block. As the main building is a heritage building and due to its historic significance to the State of Sarawak, the committee has decided to restore all three blocks. Based on recommendations from the committee, the Board of Management has appointed various consultants (mostly alumni of the School) to assist the Board in this restoration project.

The overall cost for the project is RM5.5 million. The School’s Board of Management together with OJA have, to-date, raised about RM2,500,000. This amount includes a RM1,500,000 grant from the Sarawak Government. There is a need to raise another RM3,000,000 in order to meet the Board of Management’s commitment towards the Project.

The site was handed over to the appointed Contractor on 1st August 2020, and the project, which is scheduled for completion in March 2021, is well under way at the time of writing.

Site of the construction taken place. (Photo: St Joseph’s School Board of Management)

Upon the completion of the restoration project, key facilities available to the School will be as follows:

LevelLeft Wing (nearest to
tennis court)
Main BuildingRight Wing
(nearest to William
Tan Auditorium)
Ground Floor2 Discussion Rooms
Staff Room
School Admin Office
Staff Room
Server Room
2 Students Counselling Room
School’s History & Achievement Gallery
Staff Room
1st Floor3 ClassroomsExhibition Hall
Living Quarters for Visiting La Salle Brothers
2 Multipurpose Rooms
Multipurpose Verandah
Mill Hill / La Salle History Gallery
3 Classrooms
2nd FloorLecture Room1 Chapel
1 Common Area
4 Multipurpose Rooms
3 Classroom

The Board of Management together with OJA is making an appeal to all ex-Josephians and well-wishers to help contribute towards the RM3,000,000 shortfall. Every contribution, regardless of the amount, is much appreciated. Your generosity will be very much appreciated by the students of the School.

All contributions / donations can be made to the following project-designated account maintained at Maybank:

Acct Name: SJS Mill Hill Block Restoration

Acct No: 511113526004

We would appreciate it if you could kindly email your banking deposit slip to after your bank deposit for our record purposes. Please do not hesitate to contact the School (Tel:+6082-240885) should there be any clarification(s) that you may need.

With your help, St Joseph’s School will be able to continue providing premier education to the youths of Kuching.

St Joseph’s School Board of Management


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