I recently stumbled upon this cover from North Borneo to USA, sent by a prominent Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. A. Antonissen. The cover dated 11 NO 46, was sent from the Prefecture Apostolic Penampang, North Borneo. Penampang was one of the important centres for early missionary works in North Borneo and became the headquarter of the Catholic missionary activities in 1927.
Rev. Fr. A. Antonissen
Rev. Fr. A. Antonissen was appointed as the Rector of Penampang Catholic Mission from 1947 to 1962. He was one of the early missionaries from the St. Joseph’s Foreign Mission Society of Mill Hill.
He was responsible for the erection of one of the oldest stone churches in North Borneo – St. Michael’s Church, Penampang – and vigorously raised fund of about 40,000 Ringgit for the completion of the project after WWII.
First Kadazan-English Dictionary
Rev. Fr. A. Antonissen also compiled the first Kadazan-English dictionary, still in use today. He was sent to North Borneo in 1932 and lived among the native Kadazan people for 25 years.
Antonissen began compiling the dictionary in 1932 and completed the work in 1956. It was first printed in 1958 by the Australian Government under the Colombo plan.
The dictionary also outlines a grammar section – the author’s concept of what a Kadazan grammar should be. Kadazan was a spoken language, not a written one, therefore his compilation was the first of its kind on the subject of Kadazan language.