The International Steam Pages

Penang Hills and Trails - Pulau Jerejak Part 4
An Unheralded Part of Penang's History

This is one of a series of pages on walking the hills of Penang, click here for the index. This part is a simple Grade 2 walk. There is a sketch map at the bottom showing the route followed, I am grateful to Mike Gibby for passing me this scan.

There are three parts to this report of my March 2017 visit. Click below for those, the last part dates from 2020.

Pulau Jerejak Part 1 - the South East corner of the island

Pulau Jerejak Part 2 - a hike along the main ridge of the island

Pulau Jerejak Part 3 - the North West corner of the island

Pulau Jerejak Part 5 - A misguided tour

This part covers a revisit to the south-east of the island, please read Part 1 first if you have not done so already.

This visit was planned as a walk along the east coast of the island to investigate reports of a newly cut path with Rexy Prakash Chako and peter van der Lans, but as Yuehong and Nazlina (Peter's partner) were less familiar with the island we revisited some of the places I had seen with Mike Gibby on my only previous visit. So we got our money's worth with the boat charter, even more so as it was sponsored as part of Rexy's research.

We were dropped off close to the memorial to two sailors of the Russian Cruiser 'Zhemchug' which was sunk by the German battle cruiser 'Emden' in Penang harbour on 28th October 1914. Their bodies were washed up on the shore of the island and buried here. The main memorial is in the Western Road Cemetery.

I caught the group in reverential mode and then we set off on a tour of inspection. This was an old water tank.

Next we saw the reservoir, the prison and the Eurasian camp which I had seen with Mike. We were following the same wide trail as I had before, it was well maintained, the 'grass' having been cut within the last few days and the trees, which must have come down in one of the storms ,neatly cut through. Just where it turned sharp left to go up the hill, we carried on roughly following the water pipes. First there was a small scramble.

This indirect route was necessary to skirt the boatyard which occupies the shore area where Camp 1 had been sited, it doesn't seem to be very busy these days albeit we were here on a Saturday. It wasn't difficult territory at all but sadly Naz missed her step and took a tumble. Her ankle was damaged but not broken and we left Peter and her to hobble on round at their own snail's pace.

The trail is wide and clear although it does undulate, not nice if you have a bad ankle. Eventually we reached this modern Indian temple, maybe the dockyard workers were mainly Malaysians of Indian origin at some stage.

This area is full of graves, they are scattered on both sides and no doubt there are more in the undergrowth. The traditional Chinese graves have minimal information.  Yuehong can read the characters but to the Hokkiens buried here, the names will sound very different.

There were Christian graves with a little information and some Muslim graves with apparently none.

The most interesting survivor here is the (apparently Catholic) church. Rexy said that its roof had still been intact until maybe ten years ago and that there were people alive who had worshipped here.

Now nature is taking over and there are trees growing from it.

By now Peter and Naz had reached the Indian temple and we went back to join them. We had lost too much time; being a Saturday, our boatman had only the slot which Rexy had reserved and there was no chance we could reach the next feasible pick up point. So we apologised to the dockyard security and took the boat back across to the 'mainland' from there. It had been an interesting day, Yuehong had enjoyed it greatly but it had not been the challenge which we had anticipated.

Pulau Jerejak
(ca 1960)


 ____ = Path

 ____ = Easy 'Off piste'

 ____ = Seriously 'Off piste'

(Only the paths used are shown, there will be many more.)

Click here for information on the maps.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson