Screams from a newborn baby echoed through the corridors of a small farmhouse, one spring day in the year 1870. A healthy baby boy was born into the Easter Kellas estate to the Smith family and was christened William Smith. The golden years of the Victorian Era was at its peak. The British empire was secured spanning from the New World to India and into South East Asia.
William Smith grew up in a little farm close to Dallas on the Moray Firth in Scotland. As the Victoria era blossomed for a new class of elite, spearheaded by innovative technology and inventions - the working class were pushed harder into poverty and frustrations. Perhaps it was the drive to escape from the droll of intense poverty that sent William Smith to far off lands looking for opportunities.
Young William Smith who later called himself William Kellie Smith, (Kellie being his mother's maiden name) left his homefarm in Dallas in search of the rich life he dreamt. It is not known when Smith arrived in Malaya nor do we know why he chose to explore opportunites in Malaya. However, the young, amicable man of 6ft 3ins in height was accepted into the community with ease.
|An old bridge suspended over the Kinta River where William Kellie Smith would have driven his many imported automobiles through into the driveway, and up to the house
|The moorish styled building still stands not a bit scratched from the day it was left abandoned in 1926
In 1909/1910 he built a Moorish styled manor for himself, his wife Agnes Smith and their first child, Helen Agnes. The manor sat on a little knoll just by the bend of Sungai Kinta or the Kinta River, commanding a clear, unobstructed view of the Kinta Valley. Its grounds were groomed into pockets of lush gardens, open spaces, lawns and a lake - added to complete the estate ambience. In Britain during the Victorian era, many young, rich, enterprising men took to buying old manor houses, castles and estates to accentuate their stature in the social circles and for a long period, such activities were well accepted.
This new wing was to take 10years to build. Smith had employed an Indian taskforce to work on the construction. However, in the early 1920's, an epidemic of 'Spanish Flu' broke out and many of his estate workers including those working on the construction died after a short period of illness. The heads of his workforce requested that they build a temple for the deity Mariamman to ask forgiveness and protection for the people living on the estate. Smith agreed and had all his people feverishly working on the temple which was completed in a short time. The temple was built some 1500m from Smith's home. Today, the local community still pays homage to their gods at the temple. A little statuette of Kellie Smith stands alongside the deities on the roof of the temple probably watching over his little estate and the descendants of those that have worked and looked after him in the years when he was Sahib of the Kinta Estate.
|The open courtyard and the remains of the pasageways indicates the foundations of the old wing. The Museum of Antiquities took on the project to refurbish parts of the Castle especially the old wing by replastering the walls and laying floor tiles.
Anthony Kellie Smith was killed in World War II and Helen never returned.
Kellie's Castle Today
The mysteries and folklore that shroud Kellie's Castle and its creators still remains. The beautiful part of an epic lovestory such as this, is that there isn't an answer to everything. It leaves a part for us to fantasise, a dream that never ends and an ending that is undefined....
Article written: 14th November 2003
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