Research material on Ro Bewsher and John Beville Archer

Scope and Content

Research material on Ro Bewsher (1919-1998) that was published as 'Bapak Guru Orang Bisaya' and John Beville Archer (1893-1946)

Administrative / Biographical History

Roland (Ro) Bewsher, O.B.E. was born in Tasmania, Australia in 1910 Roland Bewsher joined the Borneo Evangelical Mission in 1932 and was sent to Limpasong to live and work amongst the Bisaya people. When the Japanese invaded he fled with his wife and adopted children but was captured and sent to Batu Lintang camp. He subsequently resigned from his missionary work and pursued a career in the Sarawak civil service.

After the war he was appointed Agricultural Education Officer and travelled across Sarawak to identify changes that could be made including the establishment of the Improvement School in Kanowit, although the school only lasted for nine years it did demonstrate the impact that education could have. In 1955 he was appointed Secretary of the Community Development Committee and broadcast, in English and Iban, on Radio Sarawak.

In 1962 Bewsher was awarded the OBE by the British Government and he also decided to retire to Australia. In 1990 aged 80 and following the deathof his wife after a long illness he tried to return to Sarawak to record the history of the Bisaya people but was denied permission by the Sarawak government.

Bapak Guru Orang Bisaya translates to 'Father-Teacher of the Bisaya People'

John Beville Archer (1893-1948) was recruited from the Channel Islands to work in the Sarawak Administrative Service by Sir Charles Brooke rising to the post of Chief Secretary prior to the cession of the state to Britain in 1946.

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Donated by Vernon L. Porritt in September 1999

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Material relating to Bewsher is held by the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House, Oxford [Ref Mss.Pac.s.59-60]