Timothy Tye's Travel Encyclopedia
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Pulau Tikus

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Church of the Immaculate ConceptionChurch 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. SiebertDr 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)

An old photograph of the Church of the Immaculate Conception from 1930An old photograph of the Church of the Immaculate Conception from 1930
Author: © Church of the Immaculate Conception

St Chastan Monument


Further Reading

Learn about the early history of the Eurasians and the Roman Catholics in Penang through the following pages in Penang Travel Tips:

  1. St Chastan Monument: Monument to one of the two teachers at College General who was martyred in Korea, beatified in 1925 and canonised in 1984.
  2. St Joseph's Novitiate: The St Joseph Training College that was once next to College General, now the site of Gurney Paragon.
  3. Church of the Assumption: Church built by the first wave of Eurasians that came over with Father Arnaud-Antoine Garnault at the invitation of Captain Francis Light.
  4. Penang Eurasian Association: Association of the small community of Eurasians in Penang, based at their former settlement in Pulau Tikus.
  5. Pulau Tikus: District that was formerly comprised a Eurasian and a Burmese/Thai village, today an upscale suburb of George Town.

Nearby Sights

  1. Penang Adventist Hospital

Nearby Shopping Centres

  1. Midlands One Stop
  2. Gurney Plaza

List of Churches in Penang and Churches in Malaysia

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Thank you for visiting my website, Penang Travel Tips. Since starting it in 2003, it has become my own online encyclopedia. My name is , you can call me Tim. I am a full-time website author writing only my own website, to describe things and places I am curious about. To know more about me, go to www.timothytye.com I have been living at home writing my websites full time since 2007. I describe my alternative lifestyle in my Happy Jobless Guy website.

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