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Agnes Newton Keith

Portrait of Agnes Newton Keith Agnes Jones Goodwillie Newton Keith (July 4, 1901 March 30, 1982) was an American author best known for her three autobiographical accounts of life in North Borneo (now Sabah) before, during, and after the Second World War. The second of these, Three Came Home, tells of her time in Japanese POW and civilian internee camps in North Borneo and Sarawak, and was made into a film of the same name in 1950. She published seven books in all.

On arriving in Sandakan in 1934, Agnes moved in to Harry's bachelor bungalow, but the couple soon relocated to a government building on a hilltop. They lived there until they were interned in 1942. After the war the Keiths returned to Sandakan to find the house destroyed. They built a new house in 1946-47 on the original footprint and in a similar style to the original. They named this house Newlands and lived there until they left Sabah in 1952. After nearly fifty years of gradual deterioration, first under tenants and then as an empty shell, the house was restored by Sabah Museum in collaboration with the Federal Department of Museums and Antiquities in 2001. The house is a rare survival of post-war colonial wooden architecture. It was opened to the public in 2004 and is a popular tourist attraction. It contains displays on Agnes and Harry Keith as well as information about colonial life in Sandakan in the first half of the twentieth century, and is commonly referred to as the Agnes Keith House