James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants


In 1919 the four members of the Day family left Singapore aboard the 'Ambulance Transport', Egypt, of the P & O S N Co. Ltd., arriving in London on 1 October, with the stated intention of settling in Ireland. The many other passengers were mainly British families with a few Irish, a few Chinese and one Dutch family. Perhaps they realised that rubber supply was beginning to outstrip demand as none were intending to return to the peninsula; the slump came in in 1920-21 and thereafter recovery was slow.

It would appear that John, with or without the rest of his family, subsequently spent some time in Borneo. A report in The Straits Times, 19 Sept. 1926 headed ‘Borneo Planters' begins:

Mr. J. FitzGerald Day, the local Chairman of the Incorporated Society of Planters (Borneo Branch), took the opportunity offered by a visit from Mr. G.L. O'Hara Hickson, to give an At Home on Kinarut Estate, Borneo, at which Mr. Hickson very kindly consented to give an address on I.S.P. matters.
The report went on to describe the meeting which mainly concerned the benefits of membership of the I.S.P.

The Kinarut estate, about 20 minutes south of Kota Kinabalu, contains abundant plants and has a splendid, scenic view over the sea and nearby islands. The estate was part of the pioneering era of large-scale commercial crop cultivation in early North Borneo and a magnificent example of an age when Sabah's economy was boosted by investment from foreign, private companies but its magnificent mansion had been demolished in 1923. Somewhat off the beaten track, for many years the small community of Kinarut has managed to remain in a time-warp. It is basically two rows of wooden shop houses facing the railway tracks with a Chinese school and a small Chinese temple. Sadly but inevitably the twenty-first century has now touched it and in recent years the estate has been reacquired by the government and developed to provide community housing.

Further, a report in the (The Straits Times, 27 Aug. 1928) of the annual London dinner of the ISP attended by 130 planters and guests states: "Mr O'Hara Hickson" replied to this toast [by Sir Lawrence Guillemond, former Governor of the Straits and High Commissioner of the F.M.S.]. Mr. J. FitzGerald Day gave the health of the guests".