Statue of Light back at original spot


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 17 Aug 2003

PENANG: After standing in the front of the Penang Museum for 38 years, the bronze statue of Sir Francis Light made its way back to its original site at Fort Cornwallis in the Esplanade. 

Although the “homecoming” of the historical statue occurred without much festivity yesterday, it signified a journey that has come full circle. 

About 10 workers were seen lifting the statue with the help of a crane onto a lorry at the museum in the morning before it was transported to the fort. 

Museum curator Khoo Boo Chia said the initial plan was to make a replica of the statue for the fort but the museum’s board decided to return the statue to its original place. 

MOVING DAY: Workers lifting the bronze statue of Sir Francis Light onto a lorry at the Penang Museum Saturday. The statue was relocated to its original site at Fort Cornwallis.

“The spot where the statue stood in the museum may be left as it is because the colonial building is already a landmark – with or without the statue,” he said in an interview.  

On the one-metric ton statue, he said as there was no known record of how Light looked like, it was cast in the likeness of his eldest son Colonel William, who founded Adelaide in Australia. 

The statue was first unveiled in the middle of the fort in 1936 to commemorate the 150-year anniversary of Light’s establishment of the first British settlement in Penang, Khoo said. 

Before World War II, it was shifted to the Penang High Court Building in Light Street before it was moved again to the museum at Farquhar Street in 1965, he said. 

“If one compares the statue now to what it was in its original glory, one will notice a missing sword. During the Japanese Occupation, the Japanese had melted down the sword to make armoury,” he said. 

The statue’s return to the fort is also significant as it was built on the site of Light’s historic landing in 1786.  

Originally a wooden stockade, the fort was replaced by a concrete structure built with convict labour in 1804. 

Today, as the country’s biggest and the most intact fort, it houses an open-air amphitheatre, a history gallery and a handicraft and souvenir centre. 

The fort also features the famous 16th century Dutch cannon called Seri Rambai.  

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