Agnes Keith House
Rumah Agnes Keith
Sandakan Sabah AgnesKeithHouse-16.jpg
Former name
Established26 April 2004 (2004-04-26)
LocationSandakan, Sabah
Coordinates5°50′33.77″N 118°06′58.82″E / 5.8427139°N 118.1163389°E / 5.8427139; 118.1163389Coordinates: 5°50′33.77″N 118°06′58.82″E / 5.8427139°N 118.1163389°E / 5.8427139; 118.1163389
TypeHistoric house
OwnerSabah Museum

Agnes Keith House (formerly known as the Newlands) (Malay: Rumah Agnes Keith) is a historic house museum in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. The museum is named after Agnes Newton Keith, an American author known for her three autobiographical accounts of life in British North Borneo.


A house is already constructed on a hill in the current site of the house as a British colonial government quarters.[1] In 1934, Agnes married Harry Keith, a British official assigned for forest conservation in Sandakan. Harry has provide a house for them and living there together for years but since it has been destroyed through war both choose not to rebuild their house in the former location. After the World War II, the new house was rebuilt between 1946 until 1947 on the hill of a destroyed house and became the first government permanent timber dwelling.[2][3] The newly rebuilt and more comfortable house on the hill is located on the site of a destroyed house formerly owned by M M Clark where they renaming the new house as Newlands.[1][4][5] Agnes lived in the house for several years before the house being owned by another few owners. After being left with no further occupants, the Sabah Museum Department together with Federal Department of Museum and Antiquities began to collaborate in 2001 to restore the house and on 26 April 2004, it was finally opened to public as a museum.[3]

Haunted reputation

Through her years of living in the house, based on her own writings, Agnes is reportedly happy with the home, although there were some mysterious incidents of note that had happened throughout her stay in the house when Agnes everyday saw a tall unrecognisable female figure apparition.[4][5] At one event she saw the apparition with family; saying goodbye to husband and taking her own baby before returning to the road in front of the house with body keep moving forward while her head managed to keep straight looking over behind (towards Agnes position).[4][5]

The same horror experienced earlier by Agnes also felt by the next house owner following Agnes return to the United States; a new female owner named Rosemary (living in the house from 1955 to 1967), the wife of G L Carson while sleeping alone in the house awaken by the sounds of a room door located at the end of the house being closed several times in early dawn and hearing footsteps that getting louder moving towards her room before shockingly saw an unrecognisable female apparition suddenly appeared at the end of her bed with eyes staring at her when she began to open her own eyes that causing her to be quickly fainted.[4] Another incident involving a housemaid who working in the house from 1967 to 1968 saw a similar female apparition standing in the house stairs.[4][5]


The house has been restored and turned into a heritage house since the restoration works in 2004. The house provides insights to life during the administration of British North Borneo and is furnished with a reproduction of colonial furniture and antiques.[2] A gallery on the first floor tells the story of Agnes, her books and her family.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Agnes Keith House". Sabah Tourism. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Agnes Keith". English Tea House and Restaurant. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Agnes Keith House, Sandakan". Sabah Museum. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Rodly Fadly (26 May 2017). "Kisah misteri penuh sejarah" [A mystery story full of history] (in Malay). Harian Metro. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d Suhelmi A Majik (9 May 2019). "Misteri Kisah Seram Rumah Agam Agnes Keith" [Mysteries of the Horror Stories on Agnes Keith House] (in Malay). The Patriots. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.