Archaeologists working at the Sia Boey site have discovered the remnants of an old police barracks or station near the old entrance to the Prangin Canal from the sea.
The station is believed to have been in existence in the 1880s.
The foundation of the building made of red bricks was unearthed at one of two sites at Sia Boey that a team of USM archaeologists were focusing on.
They have also found hundreds of Chinese and European ceramic sherds, olds coins resembling those used by the British North Borneo Company, earthenware, animal remains and a wooden bollard.
The site is proving to be a rich archaeological and historical site. The discovery of the police station comes on the heels of an unexpected discovery of an old canal built by the British colonial administrators of George Town during a Prangin Canal improvement project undertaken by PDC.
This is what the area looked like in the old days:
Don’t forget the pillars from that old bridge are still there:
Check out this row of derelict yet somehow regal-looking shophouses that stand with dignity despite bearing the scars of time:
Unfortunately, the state government wants to put a massive transport hub in this area. I hear Unesco has been alerted about this development and they are not amused by this plan, and now the National Heritage Department (Jabatan Warisan Negara) is stepping in to assess the situation.
It was only last year that the state government had earmarked the area for a heritage and arts district and entrusted the project to the Penang Development Corporation to undertake. With these discoveries, Sia Boey has become all the more significant from a historical perspective and should be preserved as earlier planned.
A transport hub at Sia Boey would not be necessary under the Better, Cheaper, Faster framework put forward by Penang Forum. For instance, the cast iron structure of the old Sia Boey market could be used as a tram station.
And one of the old buildings, with a tree growing atop the building, its air roots, dangling inside the building, could be used as a unique and enchanting museum.
Save Sia Boey! More photos can be found here.