Mount Erskine: Penang’s Forgotten Flagstaff Hill – Part 2: The Pulo Tecoose Boat Establishment

By Eugene Quah

August 2022 FEATURE
main image
Thomas Prinsep’s 1824 painting of Mount Erskine is possibly depicting a laskar guarding the Pulo Tecoose boarding boat that was reported damaged that same year. The EIC had been known to employ vessels “according to the Malay build” with an overhanging “poop deck” for official port use.[a] The one in the painting appears to be a Bugis-style padewakang vessel.[b] Photo by: Penang State Museum.
THE MOUNT ERSKINE signal station was built for “the purpose of obtaining earlier communication with vessels entering the harbour”. Previously, incoming ships could only be boarded and inspected when they had already sailed into the Penang harbour. With the signal station now fully operational, Governor William Petrie ordered a significant change to the handling of ships entering the port to take effect on 31 July 1815.[1]For “greater efficiency”, the government would station a boarding boat, a “fast pulling Malacca boat”,...

Subscribe to our e-archive to read our older articles.

Eugene Quah

is an independent researcher and writer who is working on a book tentatively called “Illustrated Guide to the North Coast of Penang”. He rediscovered the joys of writing after moving back to Penang from abroad.