The Sultanate of Brunei ruled Labuan Island in the 15th century. In 1840, Labuan ceded along with its islets to Britain making it the empire’s smallest colony.
The island was administered under the British Military Administration together with the rest of the Malay Settlements. On 15th July 1946, Labuan joined the North Borneo Crown Colony, which in turn became a part of the state of Sabah and Malaysia in 1963.
Its territory includes Labuan Island and six smaller islands off the coast of the state of Sabah in East Malaysia. Labuan’s capital is Victoria and is best known as an offshore financial centre since 1990 and as well as being an offshore support hub for deep water oil and gas activities in the region. It also played an important role in ending World War 2 in Borneo and became an important destination for war memorial tourism.
In 1945 Borneo was freed from the Japanese by Australian forces. The Commander of the 9th Division, Australian Imperial Force, received the unconditional surrender of the 32nd Japanese Southern Army in North Borneo and Sarawak on a spot in the north of Labuan Island which is now marked by a plaque recording the fact at the entrance of Peace Park of the Surrender Point Memorial. This became the famous historical site in Labuan Island as this is where the Japanese officially surrendered their ruling on Labuan to the Australian in charge. About 50 meters away from the surrender point (present day Peace Park), the ceremony of signing and the handover took place. Lieutenant General Masao Baba officially handed his sword as a sign of handover to Major General George Wootten during the ceremony. The ceremony marks the end of World War 2 in Borneo.
Another interesting and historical fact towards this Surrender Point is that this is the place where the trails of the first war crime were conducted in the whole of South East Asia.
3908 graves of soldiers who either died in battles or in captivity lie here. Most of the soldiers were Australians and British with some from the Punjab Signal Corp, New Zealanders a well as few locals.
The Labuan War Cemetery and Memorial is visited very regularly by war veteran groups, especially from Australia who have included Labuan as an important destination on their battle-field tour circuit. It is constructed and maintained by Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The lawns are beautifully kept and visitors will appreciate the peace and tranquility of the place as they seek to understand the senselessness of the deaths of so many brave young men.
Depending on season, we source for the best available 4-star city hotel at the quoted price.