The compelling story about Sylvia Jeanes’ contribution to human development and nostalgia for the Kinabatangan River is truly an inspiration. Sylvia was born in Brisbane, Australia on 2nd May, 1941. Coming from a poor and uneducated family, she got a job as a telephonist before joining the Church Missionary Society. After night-school, Teachers' College, and experience in a semi-rural primary school, she proceeded to Sydney where she obtained a Licentiate in Theology. Later studies in Singapore gave her the opportunity to write her research paper for her Master of Ministry outlined the History of the Sabah Anglican Interior Mission. In 1992, she returned to Sydney where she obtained a MA in Theology and then lectured in the Sabah Theological Seminary in Kota Kinabalu.
The Anglican Church in Sabah had nine English-medium primary schools, one of which was in the remote area of the upper Kinabatangan, at Tongud, four days from Sandakan, and two days boat-ride above Sukau. Sylvia's first journey to the upper Kinabatangan in September, 1967 was an unforgettable one. Departing Sandakan on the Resident's launch alone, her first night in Sukau sleeping on the launch, was to venture into a land of the fearfully unknown.
From 1967 – 1979, Sylvia did many long trips up and down the Kinabatangan in times of drought, in rapids, in floods, breakdowns, sleeping at pengkalons, shops, timber-camps, villagers' houses, bitten by bed-bugs and scorpions. Once swamped by a launch and left swimming where later a crocodile was sighted. Each trip has its own story to tell. The trips came to an end in 1979 when a logging road reached Tongud.
In recognition of her enormous contribution to the Orang Sungai in Kinabatangan, Sukau Rainforest Lodge is proud to name Room No. 14 after Sylvia Jeanes.
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