The story begins with a Mr. C.C. (Claude Champion) de Crespigny, then the Resident of Baram, who was the first to record the presence of oil in Sarawak. The entry in his diary, dated 31st July 1882, refers to oil discovered in some 18 wells dug by hand by the local inhabitants.
The Great Cave of Niah is enormous by any measure. The floor area of the cave has been calculated at almost 10 hectares and in places the cave roof rises a majestic 75 meters above the rubble-strewn floor. It has been the site of around 40,000 years of human occupation.