Kellies Castle

Posted by: Sunny T in Historical, Travel Add comments

Kellie’s Castle is located near Batu Gajah, Gopeng Road and is about 20 minutes drive from Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. The unfinished, ruined mansion, was built by a Scottish planter named William Kellie Smith.

William Kellie Smith was from a village in Scotland known as Kellas on March 1, 1870. In 1890, at the age of 20, he arrived in undeveloped Malaya (now is Malaysia) to seek his fortune. Smith was engaged by an estate owner named Alma Baker to help in the construction of public roads in South Perak. With this share of the profits from the venture, he bought 1,000 acres of jungle land in the Kinta District, and cleared it to plant rubber.

Smith started planting rubber trees and dabbled in the tin mining industry. He later named the estate Kinta Kellas, after his home farm, Easter Kellas. He returned home to marry his Scottish sweetheart, Agnes, and brought her over to Malaysia in 1903. The following year, the couple was blessed with a daughter whom they named Helen.

In 1909, Smith built his first mansion, Kellas House – a symbol of his prospering rubber estate venture. Five years later, with a birth of a son, Anthony and heir, Smith laid the foundation stone to the second mansion that proved to be his ultimate folly.

Kellie’s Castle was to surpass his estate bungalow. Seventy tough workers, mostly from Madras, were employed and bricks and marble were imported from India. But during the construction, tragedy struck. A mysterious illness broke out, killing many of Smith’s workers. The superstitious Smith was told that a temple must be built to appease the gods. He immediately transferred his workers to build a Hindu temple nearby.

Work resumed after the temple was completed but the castle was never to be realised. Tragedy struck again. On a visit to Lisbon, at the age of 56, Smith died of pneumonia. His wife, Agnes, sold the estate and with the passing of time, and the end of colonial rule, the castle soon faded into memory.

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