Church of the Immaculate Conception (23 January, 2005)
The Church of Immaculate Conception (GPS: 5.4332, 100.30932) is a Roman Catholic church along Burmah Road in Pulau Tikus, George Town, Penang. It was founded by Portuguese Eurasians who came to settle in Penang to escape persecution in Phuket. They were the "latecomers" - an earlier batch of Catholic Eurasian immigrants had arrived in Penang when the island was first established by Francis Light had founded the Church of the Assumption in town. The Catholic community in Phuket, although dwindling in numbers, stayed put in Phuket until the Phya Tak Massacre of 1810, which compelled them to leave.
According to Dr Anthony E. Siebert of the Penang Eurasian community, the boatload of Eurasians arrived on the northern shore of Penang Island, next to a rocky outcrop. It was low tide when they landed, and the mudflats connected to the outcrop resembled the profile of a giant rodent. The island was already known as "Pulo Kechil", but the Eurasians called it Pulau Tikus.
From the Tanjung Bungah coastline, the group of Eurasians trekked down the coast until they reach a coastal site before Kuala Awal (corrupted later to Kelawei), the first estuary to George Town. There they settled, and named their settlement after the island where they landed, Pulau Tikus. Their village became known to the locals as Kampung Serani.
The Eurasians, or Serani as they were locally called, adopted local elements such as speaking Malay, and live in kampong houses, similar to the Portuguese settlement in Malacca. There was a sizable Eurasian community in the Pulau Tikus area of Kelawai Road, so much so that there once was a Kampong Serani, and road names such as Leandro's Lane bear their imprint.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception is on the map of Pulau Tikus
The Eurasian-founded Church of the Immaculate Conception in Pulau Tikus (23 January, 2005)
Interior of the Church of the Immaculate Conception (19 September, 2010)
Dr Anthony E. Siebert explaining how Pulau Tikus come about (19 September, 2010)
Museum of the Church of the Immaculate Conception (19 September, 2010)
The present building of the Church of Immaculate Conception was erected in 1899, and was last renovated in the 1970s. The characteristic of the church has gradually turned from Eurasians to Chinese, as the Eurasian community of Pulau Tikus was gradually erased and taken over by the Chinese population of Penang. Within the Church of the Immaculate Conception is a small museum. It holds memorabilia, costumes, antiques and other keepsakes documenting the chutch history.
Stained-glass window at the Church of the Immaculate Conception (19 September, 2010)
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