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St. Michael's Secondary School, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia

History and Post-War Developments
St. Michael's Secondary School is a dual-session English secondary school in Sandakan, on the east coast of Sabah, East Malaysia. It is situated on a 20-acre piece of land on Elton Hill. The school, founded by Rev. William Henry Elton in 1888, is one of the oldest schools in Sandakan.

St. Michael's Secondary School started with only two students when it opened on October 5, 1888. In the first two months, Rev. William Henry Elton taught these two students English while learning Malay and Chinese languages from them. From the third month, the number of students gradually increased. From 1901 to 1913, Mr. Alan H. Elton, the son of Rev. William Henry Elton, was the Headmaster of St. Michael's School. By 1910, there were two Chinese teachers, Mr. Leong Fah Kyam and Mr. Fong Chung Fui.

By 1920, there were 80 students, 36 of whom were boarders, under the charge of Principal Currey and two teachers - Chong En Siong and Lim Siong Teck. In the same year, the first boy scout troop was formed by Rev. T. Cecil. In 1927, there were three teachers, and they were Mr. Koo Pui Shin, Mr. Simon Chong Yew and Mr. Chin Vu Sang.

In 1928, there were over 100 students, 52 boarders and four teachers. Between 1928 and 1945, the Principals included Mr. W.T. Keble, Rev. S.M. Collier, Mr. B. J. Sole, Rev. J. Paisley, Rev. H. Cutler, Rev. Henthorne, Rev. P. Howes, and Dr. Dennis Brown.

By 1934, there were 131 students and 42 boarders. In December that year, nine boys sat for the Cambridge Preliminary Examination, and six of them were successful. in December 1936, one boy sat for the Cambridge Junior Examination and was successful.

After the Second World War, St. Michaelís School was rebuilt and opened in 1946 as a primary-secondary school, housed in a simple structure, dubbed the Cattle Shed. Mr. Fu Yun Fatt was the Principal. Upon the arrival of Mr. Kenneth D. Franklin as Principal of the school in 1951, the school began to grow rapidly both in size and space. He endured to extend the school from Form 2 through the Cambridge Overseas Junior School Certificate to the Cambridge Overseas Senior School Certificate level by 1953, when the school produced the first three Cambridge Overseas Senior School Certificate recipients, namely Thien Thau Khiong, Hiew Vui Khiong, and Fu Yin Henn. The Cattle Shed was replaced with a two-storey building in 1953. A tuck-shop and the Principalís residence were built nearby, with the boarding house below the hill.

Developments continued with the arrival of Mr. John Brummell as Principal in 1956. With the establishment of St. Gabrielís Primary School, St. Michaelís School became a full-fledged English secondary school, and it was renamed St. Michael's Secondary School, with about 1,300 students in classes ranging from Bridge Class to Form V.

Today, there are two multi-storey buildings in the St. Michaelís Secondary School compound. One of the buildings is a 2-storey wooden structure consisting of classrooms, a school hall, a cafeteria, and a utility room. The other is a 5-storey concrete building that houses four laboratories, the staffroom, the principal's office, a library, an auditorium, two workshops, a kitchen, an art centre, a dental clinic, a bookstore, and a sports store.
School Buildings Since 1928

St. Michael's School, Sandakan 1928

St. Michael's School, Sandakan 1929

The Official Opening of the two-storey building performed by Governor Sir Ralph Hone on 31 May, 1953

The two-storey building that replaced the Cattle Shed in 1953

St. Michael's School & Church compound, 1966

Satellite Image of Elton Hill, Sandakan, 2007

Group photo of students and staff of St. Michael's School, taken in 1946 in front of the post-war building, dubbed the Cattle Shed.
The Cattle Shed was later replaced by the present 2-storey ibn 1953.

Students of the highest class of the school taken on the occasion of the departure of Rev. Jack Sparrow, on 12 October, 1948.
Left to Right - Front Row:Chen Ken Phin, Rev. Jack Sparrow, Fu Yun Fatt (Principal), Lai Fook Kim
2nd Row: Lee Shin Tet, Liew Chi Kiong, Fong Chen Vui, Chong Onn Min
3rd Row: Chu En Khon, Thomas Sung, Pang Yin Ngok, Yapp Foh Yu

Post-war students taken in October 2010 at a reunion in Australia.
These were some of the students who started their classses in the Cattle Shed in 1946.

The Primary 6 Class in the Cattle Shed in 1952
Photo by Mr. Ho Yu Lin

Headmasters/Principals of St. Michael's School

Rev. Henry William Elton

Rev. Thomas C. Alexander

Rev. Dennis Brown

Fu Yun Fatt

Rev. Jack Sparrow

Fong Chung Fui

Ho Yu Lin

Kenneth D. Franklin

John Brummell

Thien Thau Khiong

Vun Fon Foh

Tung Yow Choi

Khoo Kay Cheang

Dr Edward Miku Tionsu

Henley Liew Yun Ye

Lee Poh Chin

Koh Kim Whatt

Leong Kwok Cheong

Henry Liew
Headmasters/Principals of St. Michaelís Secondary School in details:
1.   Rev. William Henry Elton - 1888-1892
2.   Mr. H. J. Edney - 1893-1894
3.   George Mathew - 1895
4.   Rev. William Henry Elton - 1895-1901
5.   Mr. Alan H. Elton - 1901 - 1913
6.   Rev. T.C. Alexander - 1913
7.   Rev. Charles N. Beamish - 1913 - 1914
8.   Rev. R. J. Hitchock - 1915 - 1918
9.   (A Chinese Headmaster) - 1918 -1919
10. Mr. L. E. Currey - 1920 -1921
11. Mr. A. N. Ellis - 1921 -1924
12. Mr. D.S. Harrison - 1924 - 1925
13. Mr. W. T. Keble - 1925 - 1928
14. Rev. S. M. Collier - 1928 - 1929
15. Mr. B. J. Sole - 1929 - 1933
16. Rev. J. Palsley - 1933 - 1934
17. Rev. H. Cutler - 1934 - 1937
18. Rev. Henthorne - 1938 - 1939
19. Rev. P. Howse - 1939 (Feb.-August)
20. Rev. Dr. Dennis Brown - 1939 - 1945
21. Mr. Fu Yun Fatt - 1946 - 1947
22. Rev. Jack Sparrow - 1947 - 1948
23. Rev. Norman Cecil Brown - 1948 - 1949
24. Mr. Fong Chung Fui (Acting) - 1950
25. Mr. Ho Yu Lin - 1950 - 1951
26. Mr. Kenneth Douglas Franklin - 1951 - 1955
27. Mr. John Brummell - 1956 - 1965
28. Mr. Thien Thau Khiong - 1966 - 1970
29. Mr. Vun Foh Foh - 1970 - 1987
30. Mr. Tung Yow Choi - 1988 - 1994
31. Mr. Ronnie Khoo Kay Cheang - 1994 - 1995
32. Dr. Edward Miku Tionsu - 1995 - 1998
33. Mr. Henley Liew Yun Ye - 1998 - 2000
34. Mr. Henley Liew Yun Ye - 2001 - 2003
35. Mr. Lee Poh Chin - 2003 - 2005
36. Mr. Koh Kim Whatt - 2005 - 2009
37. Mr. Leong Kwok Cheong - 2009- 2017
38. Mr. Henry Liew - 2017 -
School Song & Motto of St. Michael's School

Fong Chung Fui
Composer of School Song

School Song
Composed by Mr. Fong Chung Fui

Upon the crest of Elton Hill,
The old St. Michael's School remains;
Here youth are trained with zeal and will,
That all may drill their youthful brains.

* Oh, hail! St. Michael's School,
* The seat of light and truth;
* Around thy wisdom pool,
* Sing we the song of youth.

Thy fame spreads far beyond the seas,
Of Borneo, the isle of bliss;
Advance thy work and never cease
To server mankind with naught amiss.

Ye sons and maids of Sandakan,
Uphold thy alma mater dear;
Spread wide the truth and join the van,
To fight all evils without fear.

School Motto
on the School Badge:

Meliora Sequimur (in Latin)

Contohilah Teladan Yang Baik (in Bahasa Malaysia)

To Strive After Better Things (in English)

School Badge:

Links to Websites About St. Michael's School and St. Michael's & All Angels Church
ball1.gif (1653 bytes)Photo Album: Former teachers and students of St. Michael's Secondary School
ball1.gif (1653 bytes)History and Post-war Developments of St. Michael's Secondary School
ball1.gif (1653 bytes)History of St. Michael's Church & Good Shepherd Church, Sandakan
Copyright © 2000 Siakhenn
Last modified on
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