Canadian Rajah

ALMOST READY!

It has been a long time coming, but Canadian Rajah is almost ready for production. The play's development was helped recently by a staged reading featuring Chick Reid and Richard Lee, at the Wesleyville Church Arts Centre. A full house - including many of Esca's descendents - lapped it up, despite blistering - tropical - heat...

It is one of the more bizarre stories in Canadian history. It shouldn't have had a happy ending, but it did. Esca Brooke-Daykin was the mixed race eldest son of Charles Brooke, the legendary second Rajah of Sarawak. Esca was born in 1867, the same year the Canada came into being. Esca should have been a third chapter in the tumultuous history of the White Rajahs of Sarawak. However, Brooke's second wife had her own ideas about this young claimant, and sent him away so that her own son might one day become Rajah...

Fast forward to Canada, and there is Esca, arriving with his adoptive parents in the backwoods of Ontario, where he would live, adapt, thrive, become best friends (and eventually the right hand man) of one of the richest men in Canada - and eventually live out his life in harmony in Lawrence Park, Toronto, surrounded by a loving family.

If only he could get the white Rajahs of Sarawak to recognize him...

Canadian Rajah is the incredible true story of Esca Brooke-Daykin. Until fairly recently it was also an unknown true story. But in 1996 Australian historian, author (and story sleuth!) Cassandra Pybus published her immensely readable history of the Brooke family, and their connection to Canada - The White Rajahs of Sarawak, published in Canada by Douglas and McIntyre. Reading this book was a revelation, and kickstarted my journey into the life of Esca.

Completion date: WINTER 2017

Esca Brooke-Daykin. Photo courtesy of Sandra Huynh