14 beautiful colonial buildings in Malaysia that look straight out of a postcard

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1. Kellie’s Castle, Perak

Kellie’s Castle was meant to be a home away from home for Scottish Planter, William Kellie Smith in the 20th century. Construction of this unique castle began in 1915. However, it came to an abrupt halt with Kellie’s sudden death in 1926. The solitary castle, looks almost surreal in these wild plantations of Perak, it projects a strong personality and an aura of mystery.

2. The City Hall, Penang

The Penang Island City Hall was constructed in 1903, and opened in 1906, a few decades after the Town Hall, and was originally called the Municipal Offices building. It holds the distinction as being one of the first buildings in George Town, Penang, to be completely fitted with electric lights and fans. Today it is one of the buildings housing the Municipal Council of Penang Island or Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang (MPPP) and the whitewashed building forms an elegant backdrop to the Esplanade.

3. St. Michael’s and All Angles Church, Sandakan

Designed by New Zealander Mr. B.W. Mountfort, the building was first constructed with belian (ironwood) timber, followed by brick and finally stone, which is said to have from the nearby Buli Sim Sim, while the white stones that adorn the windows and doors are from Hong Kong.

The Church avoided major damage during World War II in the 1940s and remains one of the very few stone buildings in the whole of Sabah. The beautiful stained glass windows in the church were donated by Australians to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

4. Kuala Lumpur Railway Station

The station was completed in 1910 and designed by that most prolific and talented of British colonial architects, Arthur Benison Hubback. The KL Railway Station was built with Mughal features such as the elegant chhatris (dome-capped pavilions of Indian origin) along its roof line. The old station is still used for KTM Komuter services. Some of its platforms were too low for KTM Komuter trains and a more modern extension with a separate entrance was built in the 1980’s.

5. Carcosa Seri Negara, Kuala Lumpur

An exclusive heritage hotel set in a historic mansion, the Carcosa Seri Negara boast a spectacular hilltop setting offering boutique accommodation surrounded by 16 hectares of lush gardens and immaculate lawns in central Kuala Lumpur. Built in the late 1800’s, it was the residence of the British High Commissioner for Malaysia till 1987. Its regal architecture, plush interiors, elegant high tea and five exclusive grand suites take you back to a bygone era of colonial luxury in Kuala Lumpur.

6. St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kuala Lumpur

The Cathedral of St. Mary is one of the oldest Anglican churches in Malaysia and is a KL landmark. Built in 1894 by the British colonial administration, it is located towards the far north side of Dataran Merdeka and looks every inch the typical, picturesque English country church.

A fine example of early English Gothic architecture, it started off as a simple timber building in the 19th-century but quickly transformed into a beautiful whitewashed structure with stained glass windows, tasseled tile paving and buttresses.

7. St. John’s Institution

This school was founded by De La Salle Christian Brothers Order on 18 January 1904. It was named after St John Baptist de La Salle, better known as the Patron Saint of Teachers.

8. Church of the Holy Rosary, Kuala Lumpur

The Holy Rosary Church with its very pretty Gothic architecture was constructed by Father Francis Emile Terrien, a French missionary. The church was completed in November 1904 and it was blessed on Dec 18 by Bishop Barillon. The church building was different from the present building as the roof of the church was flat and the wings were not added till 1950.

9. Atkinson Clock Tower, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

One of the most enduring landmarks in Kota Kinabalu, it stands prominently on a bluff along Signal Hill Road adjacent to the old Police Station. Built in 1905, this all-wood, no-nails structure was built in memory of Francis George Atkinson- the popular first District Officer of Jesselton during the British North Borneo Chartered Company Administration.

This Clock Tower has the distinction of being the oldest standing structure in the whole of Sabah that survived the destruction of Jesselton town during World War II. Till today, it still serves to keep the city’s time.

10. St. George’s Church, Penang

With the help of The East India Company, the church was built in 1816 using convict labor during Colonel J. A. Bannerman’s term as British Governor of Penang. The inspiration behind the formation of St George church, however, was credited to Rev. Robert Sparke Hutchings, a well known educationist and Robert Smith, an engineer and landscape artist.

11. Ipoh Railway Station

The Ipoh railway station was initially meant to be a hospital and used before the 20th century as such before being turned into a station. The original completion year of 1917 was delayed for three years due to lack of construction materials as well as high costs during World War I. Designed by Arthur Benison Hubback, it was first constructed and opened in 1935, making it the second concrete station to be constructed in the town

12. St. Andrew’s Church, Kuala Lumpur

St. Andrew’s Church in Kuala Lumpur has existed as a congregation since 1902, having built the present structure in 1918.

13. Christ Church Melaka

Christ Church is the oldest functioning Protestant church in Malaysia. Construction began in 1741 on the centennial of the Dutch occupation, and it was completed in 1753. Before this date the Dutch used the old Portuguese church atop St. Paul’s hill for their religious services.
Christ Church bears all the hallmarks of 18th-century Dutch architecture: a rectangular plan, massive walls, red granite plinths, and Dutch roof tiles.

14. Suffolk House

Suffolk House is also called Penang’s first ‘Great House’. Similar to the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, it is one of Penang’s most important colonial heritage landmarks. An Anglo-Indian garden house, it is over 200 years old and is located beside the Malaysian-German Society on Jalan Ayer Itam.

Built on an estate owned by Francis Light (founder of the British settlement in Penang), it was in a terrible state of disrepair before fundraising efforts by the State Government, HSBC and the Penang Heritage Trust resulted in its painstaking restoration to its former glory in 2007. The winner of the 2008 Award of Distinction in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation, it looks like a stately old Georgian mansion. –THE MALAYA POST

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