Who Are The Hubback Brothers

Brigadier General Arthur Benison Hubback C.M.G., D.S.O., is usually credited as the master architect who designed The Kuala Lumpur Train Station (now commonly called The Kuala Lumpur KTM Komuter Station) and The Railway Administrative Building in Kuala Lumpur during The Massive Buildings Period. Amongst his other notable works on buildings includes;

  • The Railway Station, Ipoh, Perak
  • The Old City Hall, Kuala Lumpur (Now Panggung Bandaraya)
  • Ipoh Town Hall Building, Perak
  • The White House of Klang (Now Galeri Diraja Sultan Abdul Aziz, under the auspices of the Sultan of Selangor)
  • Jamek Mosque, Kuala Lumpur (Masjid Jamek)
  • Ubudiah Mosque, Kuala Kangsar, (Masjid Ubaidah, under the auspices of the Sultan of Perak).
  • State Secretariat Building, Seremban (Now State Library)
  • Numerous smaller buildings in Medan Pasar, Kuala Lumpur
  • Post Office, Kuala Lumpur
  • Kowloon Canton Terminus, Tsim Sha Shui, Hong Kong

Known then as A. B. Hubback when he arrived in Malaya, Arthur would later return to the United Kingdom to begin his military career. It is often said that he was the first British Architect to achieve the honour of achieving the rank of Brigadier General. Of importance, the family name 'Hubback' is always misspelled in books, publications, magazines, websites; even on plaques displayed at the buildings he designed as 'Hubbock'. The same can be said about his initials. We hope that by writing this archive, we can help spread awareness and to correct such mistakes.

Theodore Rathbone Hubback came to Malaya initially to work with his brother, Arthur and started out as an engineer on the Malayan Railways tracks. An avid cricket player, he, together with his older brother, also represented Malaya in a test match in Hong Kong organized by the British Colony. T. R. Hubback, in his later years, quit his job as an engineer to become a plantation owner with land in the state of Pahang. Due to the nature of his career, he got involved in game hunting and was a reputable game hunter in the region, organizing numerous trips with his fraternity. Debonaire, dashing and suave he would ooze with charm and always found a way to obtain what he had wanted.

Fortunately, T. R. Hubback was never contented with his life. He later traded in his guns to become known as one of the earliest 'progressive thinking' practitioners of wildlife conservation. He began to study wildlife using his hunter instincts and would go on to publish numerous journals and books on wildlife in Alaska, Africa and Malaya at his own expense. Much of his publications are now categorized under "rare" books. He also discovered the Malaysian Species of Seladang or Malayan Gaur, scientifically called "Bos Gaurus Hubbacki", in tribute to T. R. Hubback.

Theodore's major contribution to Malaya was the formation of The King George V National Park, where he lobbied for land area with the Sultans of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan to set aside as a forest conservation. T. R. Hubback was also appointed as the Chief Warden and guarded it, without suprise, at his own costs. This forest conservation is now known as Taman Negara, Malaysia. Much of T. R. Hubback's work on wildlife is still in use today, predominantly on Rhinoceros by organizations such as WWF Malaysia.   

The youngest of the 3 siblings, Bishop Goerge Clay Hubback, was the last foreign missionary in Assam, India. It is with regret that I was looking at contributions to Malaya, I may have to chronicle Bishop Hubback at a later stage.

This online tribute would not have been possible if not for meeting Mrs. Yvonne Barbor (nee Hubback), the daughter of the late Brigadier General Arthur Benison Hubback C.M.G., D.S.O., of which this online tribute is dedicated to. I would like to thank Mrs. Yvonne Barbor, Mr. Peter Barbor and the entire family for opening their hearts which captivated me with their family history. I do hope that this online tribute could open your eyes as well, our reader, whilst serving as a reference for the future generations.
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