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British Colony of Penang 1949-1957 (Penang, Malaysia)

Former Settlement of Prince of Wales Island and Province Wellesley

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by zachary harden
Keywords: penang | palm tree |
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State Ensign State Flag
[British Colony of Penang] 1:2      [British Colony of Penang] 1:2     
image probably by Mario Fabretto image by Clay Moss, modified by António Martins

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Penang and Wellesley used first time (1865-67) a local badge with seal (inscription around: Penang and province Wellesley) in blue ensign. After 1867 the flag of the Straits Settlements was used and was in use until 1946. The new flag of Penang (blue ensign with shield directly in the blue) was approved 1949 and were in use until 1961. After, was adopted the current one.
Jaume Ollé
, 31 August 1997

I wonder if the Blue Ensign defaced with the Penang arms on a white disc in the fly actually existed. Before the Straits Settlements were formed Penang was governed by the East India Company as part of its Indian possessions, and I do not know whether there was ever such a flag. I have however seen several flags in the State museum which are simply 2:1 standards of the Penang arms which I recall dated from that period.
Andrew Yong
, 3 June 1998

This flag was introduced in 1949 and depending which source you care to believe was discontinued in 1957, 1961 or 1963. I suspect that it was not used to any great extent, and I doubt that it had the white disc around the shield.
David Prothero
, 6 June 1998

I doubt a flag with a Union Flag in the canton could have survived Independence in 1957. I had thought that the palm tree tricolour was introduced around 1948 with Malayan Federation, but if the defaced Blue Ensign flew then it must only have been introduced in 1957.
Andrew Yong
, 6 June 1998

The tricolour was adopted in 1949 as State flag for the British colony when it joined the Federation. From 1948 until 1957 the state of Penang remained a British dependence, although included in the Malay Federation, and the governmental ships flew the blue ensign with the badge, introduced in 1949. Previously the flags of the Straits Settlements were used.
Mario Fabretto
, 10 June 1998

The arms were granted 11th September 1949, and the badge was the shield of the arms, so probably instituted just after that date. According to Nick Weekes' notes on Colonial Badges, the shield was on a white disc on the Blue Ensign, and on the Union Jack within a garland. Both probably discontinued when the Federation of Malaya became independent 31st August 1957.
David Prothero, 1 March 2005

Union Flag

[Penang union flag] image by Clay Moss, 3 June 2005

Former Badge of Penang Municipal Council

[Former badge of Penang Municipal Council] photograph provided by Clay Moss, 12 January 2006

This is old badge of the Penang Municipal Council. I think the Penang Municipal Council is worth explaining. When "Penang" is discussed as a subject, the usual reference is to the Malaysian state of Penang, which includes the island and mainland. At other times, it may only be the island, or Pinang. Pinang is set up in such a way that it is sort of considered as one entity from a municipal government standpoint. Even though the "city" of Georgetown exists, there is no mayor per se. We have a municipal council that governs the whole island. I live in Hillside which has a different postal code than Georgetown, but we have essentially the same police force, fire service, etc., municipal council. On the front of the fire station is the badge that represented the entire island at one time. I doubt they ever defaced a blue ensign. The current Penang Municipal Council flag is golden yellow with the new badge in the center. It's a bit more embellished, but the shield now has a pinang tree defacing it instead of the feathers, and the lion no longer exists.
Clay Moss, 12 January 2006

The coat of arms is not of the Municipal Council of Penang Island, but of the City Council of George Town, one of its two predecessors (the other is the Penang Rural District Council). The badge is on the fire station at the northern boundary of the city.
Andrew Yong, 17 December 2006

Yellow-red unidentified flag

[Unidentified flag in Penang] image by Clay Moss, 21 May 2005

I have run into an interesting ensign. In several different drawings and paintings, the attached horizontal bi-colour is prominently displayed in Penang waters. The best illustration I have found is that of the East India Company ship Lord Lowther. The illustration dates from 1828. In the picture, the Lord Lowther is flying this flag from the top of its mainmast, and the St. Georges cross immediately below. The British red ensign can be seen fluttering from the stern. Two other larger ships in the picture are also flying the bi-colour from the mainmast while a smaller rowing type launch boat flies the flag as an ensign from a stern mast. The ensign also appears on other small boats and ships in other pictures.
Clay Moss, 21 May 2005