The Chimney which is located in Tanjung Krubong, Labuan is also known as "Punil" by the locals and is an important landmark for Labuan. The 106' 6" (32.5 m) tall tower was built in the early 1900s when Labuan was still under the administration of the British North Borneo Chartered Company. During that period, the surrounding area of Tanjung Krubong was part of an important coal mining area in Labuan. The purpose and function of this tower has remained a mystery to this day as historians seem unable to agree on its purpose and functions. Although various ideas and stories was given as to its functions such as a ventilation shaft for the coal mine beneath it or as a light house or a bell tower, none of this hypothesis can be supported with concrete proof and evidence.
The Chimney was constructed in the early 1900s with thousands of red bricks brought in from England with the outer wall alone using more than 23,000 pieces of red bricks. It was built to resemble a square shaped tower with an inner hollow structure based on typical British architecture during that period. This tower was built on a large foundation of limestone rock, giving its a strong and stable base which has endure to this day although the outer appearances have been ravishes by the weather. In 1997, restoration works was carried out on The Chimney to stabilize and restores its original structure by the Labuan's Department of Museum and Antiquities.
Beside this mysterious tower, tourist visiting this area during their Sabah vacation should also take the opportunity to visit a small museum located beside the tower which is also known as 'The Chimney Information Center'. This information center gives visitors a detail history of the coal mining activities around the Tanjung Krubong area during its coal mining era from the year 1847 to 1912. Beside these, the history of Labuan's railways, mining tunnels and The Chimney are also on display here.
The Chimney & the information center beside it
Getting There: The Chimney is located on the northern part of Labuan Island in Tanjung Krubong along Jalan Lubok Temiang. It is about 10 miles (16km) from Labuan Town and the trip by car or taxi from the town or airport will takes about 20 minutes. You can also take mini buses from the town center to this place. Admission to the information center is free and it opens daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.