After about a year of undergoing restoration work, I hear that the Church of St George the Martyr at the junction of Farquhar Street and Pitt Street will reopen very soon for its first service, possibly by 23 Feb 2011 at the earliest.
I notice that there is a new clock in the spire. There hasn't been one since December 1941 when Japanese aircraft bombed Penang. The church building was almost destroyed: the roof was blown off and the old clock was totally wrecked. Although the sturdy walls withstood the carnage, the Japanese soldiers came later to bring down one of the walls. But worse than the destruction, the place was looted until nothing was left. For the present work, the church decided to replace the clock. I hear that there is also a new priest, Padri Charles, who arrived here December last year. The church had been without one for about two years.
But there is one regret. Although the whole church building and the Francis Light Memorial in the background have been restored to a pristine condition, the perimeter wall wasn't included in the project and it remains in a bad condition. Plus, I hear that the church authorities are unable to prevent backpackers and vagrants from climbing the walls into the compound to camp during the night. Obviously, security must be beefed up after the church reopens.