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Digging into the past







Visitors finding out more about the famous people buried at the Protestant Cemetery.

Visitors finding out more about the famous people buried at the Protestant Cemetery.

THE 229-year-old Protestant Cemetery in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah is the final resting place for many prominent personalities who contributed to the early development of George Town.

One of them was Philip Dundas who was appointed Penang’s first governor by the East India Company in 1805.

His governance lasted only two years, as he succumbed to malaria at the age of 44.

Local historian Clement Liang, who led a tour of the cemetery, said the cemetery was also home to other governors who served after him.

“They are Charles Andrew Bruce, William Petrie, John Alexander Bannerman and many other influential leaders of Penang whose tombs can still be found there today.

Visitors listening to stories about the illustrious personalities buried at the Protestant Cemetery in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town. — Photos: GARY CHEN/The Star
Visitors listening to stories about the illustrious personalities buried at the Protestant Cemetery in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, George Town. — Photos: GARY CHEN/The Star 

“Other notable personalities include Captain Francis Light, who acquired the island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and founded Penang as ‘Prince of Wales Island’ and George Town.

“The tombs of Penang Free School founder Reverend R.S. Hutchings and lawyer-cum-civil rights champion James Richardson Logan can also be found in the cemetery.

“There are currently 459 graves in the cemetery, and the actual number is higher as some graves were destroyed during the World War II bombing by the Japanese.

“Based on the inscriptions on the headstones, there are various ethnicity of people buried here.

“There are Americans, Armenians, Australians, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Germans, Irish and Scots,” he said during the tour.

While the cemetery has been gazetted as a heritage site and protected from future developments, Liang urged the state to look into protecting other historic cemeteries in the state such as the Jewish cemetery in Jalan Zainal Abidin and the Japanese cemetery in Jalan P. Ramlee.

The Protestant Cemetery was founded in 1789 by the East India Company.

Among the notable ones is Captain Francis Light, who was buried here in 1794.
Among the notable ones is Captain Francis Light, who was buried here in 1794.  

Thomas Leonowens was also buried at the cemetery. He was the husband of Anna Leonowens who was made famous in the novel Anna and the King of Siam and its movie adaptations.

About 20 people turned up for the tour.

Northern Region

   

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