ABOUT THE SARAWAK ASSOCATION
The Annual Report for 1924-25 recorded ‘Enquiries circulated amongst the old Sarawak men by the late Mr H F Deshon elicited the fact that there was a strong consensus of opinion in favour of the formation of a Sarawak Association, whereupon Mr Deshon in conjunction with the Honorary Secretary, Mr Charles Hope Willes Johnson, a legal adviser to the Rajah in London, took the necessary steps and made arrangements for a dinner to be held in London on 15th April 1924 when the question was considered.
His Highness the Tuan Muda was in the chair and those present at the dinner numbered twenty one. The proposal to constitute an Association having been carried with acclamation, a Provisional Committee of five was appointed and the Honorary Secretary was asked to draw up Rules and to obtain applications for original Membership. The response being very satisfactory it was decided to form the Association and to call a meeting of the original Members to approve the Rules and to appoint Officers.'
So was founded The Sarawak Association by government servants working for Rajah Vyner Brooke. The first Annual dinner took place at the Trocadero Restaurant on 9th July 1924 with 36 members present, with His Highness the Tuan Muda presiding, a position he held until 1947. The dinner was voted a great success and was the means of bringing many man together who had not met for years.
Its main purpose in the early days was to enable members of the state administration to maintain contact with each other, and it remains one of the objectives of the Association today. A large number of members today worked for the Sarawak Government service in the post World War II era and commercial organisations such as the Shell Oil Company, the Borneo Company and international banks. Others served in the security forces, especially at the time of ‘konfrontasi’ during the 1960s. Increasingly members are drawn from the media, academia and the education sector, travel and tourism sector with a strong interest in Sarawak. A growing number of members are coming from a younger generation with family connections in Sarawak.