Last Updated On : Saturday, March 12, 2022 10:08:49 AM


The Grand Old Lady on Canadian Hill


MIRI WELL No. 1 - The Grand Old Lady - is situated on the top of the Canada Hill, the Grand Old Lady is the first oil well in Malaysia. It represents the petroleum history of Miri, which is almost a century old. This oil well is no longer in production and the Sarawak Government has declared it a protected historical site. There is an observatory platform where visitors can have an excellent view of Miri,  to enjoy the scenery or jog on the well-designed path.

Grand Old Lady oil well had contributed tremendously to the Sarawak economic success, particularly to Miri.

One of Sarawak’s most important historical monuments.

One of Sarawak’s most important historical monuments. MIRI WELL No. 1 - The Grand Old Lady - struck oil on 22 December 1910.

In 1800s, Miri was an unknown fishing village of a few families trading occasionally with passing ships. Miri as the first oil town in Malaysia, this discovery has put Miri on the road to progress.

The discovery of oil in 1910 on Canada Hill has a significant place in the history of modern Miri. Canada Hill is where the oil industry in the Sarawak started, with the successful drilling of well Miri-1 in December 1910. The growth of the oil industry has helped to transform Miri from a small fishing village at the turn of the 20th century into a modern and prosperous town in the 21st Century. The first derrick constructed was affectionately called 'The Grand Old Lady' and produced oil for 62 years.

Since 1910, this Grand Old Lady located 150 meters above sea level, had witnessed various historic and physical development which had taken place in this oil-rich town of Miri, which now is not only known for the "black gold" but also its attractive tourism industry.

It is believed that this well, now a monument, produced the first oil found in the country on Dec 22, 1910 and continued pumping out the precious commodity for the next 62 years producing 658,650 barrels of oil before it was closed on Oct 31, 1972. At the time it ceased operations, the "Grand Old Lady" was producing a mere seven barrels of oil a day.

Due to its sentimental value to the residents of Miri, the Sarawak state government on July 10, 1985, restored the Grand Old Lady and accorded her status as one of the state's important historical monuments.

The history of the Grand Old Lady dates back to the late 1800s when the then Baram Resident, Claude Champion de Crespigny found that there was oil in the Baram region.

Centuries before he noted this, the indigenous people living in and around Baram region had been using the oil as fuel, calling it "minyak tanah".

In 1888, Charles Hose who took over as the subsequent Baram Resident continued Crespigny's work and before retiring, Hose did another intensive study about the presence of oil there.

Soon after retiring, Hose requested permission from the then Sarawak White Rajah, Sir James Brooke to present his studies to the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company, an oil exploration company based in London.

In 1909, Hose returned to Miri, this time bringing along geologist, Dr Josef Erb, and after several series of studies the expert was convinced that the Baram region including areas surrounding Miri was rich in oil.

Erb then decided to build an oil well on top of the hill and a Canadian, by the name of McAlpine, was assigned to erect the well. The hill was named Canada Hill, honoring his contribution.

On Aug 10, 1910, McAlpine successfully completed a 87-metre high wooden tower -- now known as the Grand Old Lady -- and soon after drilling work started using the cable tool method, the only available drilling technique known at that time.

After several months of drawing blanks, they struck oil from the grounds of the hill on Dec 22, 1910 at a depth of 150 meters.

The Grand Old Lady on Canadian Hill - Malaysia’s first inland oil drilling platform and one of Sarawak’s most important historical monuments. This landmark is about 30 meters high, next to a museum-cum-information centre joint ventured between Sarawak, Shell Malaysia and Petronas.

Grand Old Lady stands majestically perched on top of Bukit Telaga Minyak, (Canada Hill) overlooking the town of Miri

She witness rapid development which had taken place over the last 100 years.

Grand Old Lady is not a frail figure of an old woman but Miri's Number 1 oil well, the first cable-tool oil well in the country, a 'mother' who milked a poor country to a prosperous nation .

The Grand Old Lady, Malaysia’s first inland oil drilling platform and one of Sarawak’s most important historical monuments.

This landmark is about 30 meters high, Located on top of Canada Hill overlooking Miri, it attracts locals to enjoy the scenery or jog on the well-designed path.

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|  Grand Old Lady on Canadian Hill
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The Petroleum Museum, in Bukit Telaga Minyak, exhibits photographs and information on the petroleum industry. Opened in 2005, the project was undertaken by the Sarawak Museums Department with Petronas and Sarawak Shell Berhad., which contributed RM5 million each.

MUZIUM PETROLEUM  Petroleum Museum

Petroleum Museum is just beside the Grand Old Lady. This museum was opened only in 2005


Opening hours:

Tuesday - Sunday : 9 am to 5 pm (Last entry 4.30 pm)

Friday                 : 9 am to 12 noon (12 pm-2pm -closed)                   

                           2 pm to 5 pm (Last entry 4.30 pm)

Monday          : CLOSED

Petroleum Museum was built next to the Grand Old Lady of Miri and the name Canada Hill was changed to Bukit Telaga Minyak in 2005. This is a museum-cum-information centre, a joint venture between Sarawak, Shell Malaysia and Petronas.

The museum was opened on May 20, 2005 by Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, and the opening coincided with Miri being accorded city status. Plans to construct the Petroleum Museum were made in 1992 and the ground breaking ceremony in 2003.

Petroleum Museum give opportunity to the young generation to understand and appreciate the history of oil and gas exploration activity that has become the foundation of development for Miri City.

The Petroleum Museum was built through cooperation between the Miri City Council, the National oil company Petronas, Sarawak Shell Berhad and Sarawak Museum Department.

Miri City Council

National oil company Petronas,

PETROSAINS - Science Discovery Centre in KL  |  Petronas Twin Towers in KL  |

Sarawak Shell Berhad (Lutong Refinery)

Locked Bag No 1, 98009 Miri, Sarawak

Phone:  +6085-454545    Fax: +6085-453872/945

Chief Executive Officer :  Mr Lim Haw Kuang Managing Director

Product: Domestic Kerosene, Gasoil, Light Fuel Oil, Miri Naphtna/Tops, Sarawak Waxy Residue, Unfinished Kerosene

Current Export Markets: China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam

Sarawak Museum Department