James Dollery Fettes of Penang Waterworks: A Life of Civil Engineering and Service (Part Two)

By Eugene Quah

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A rare photo of the Guillemard Service Reservoir during its construction, c.1926-1927. It is built into a low ridge that connects Mount Olivia to Mount Erskine (Seen in the background beyond the reservoir). Mount Erskine is colloquially called Pearl Hill. Source: Ganesh Kolandaveloo.
Read Part 1: James Dollery Fettes and Penang Waterworks: A Legacy of Public Service (Part 1)DURING A MEETING on 30 April 1909, the President of the Penang Municipal Commission, James Wilson Hallifax, asked Leonard Moore Bell how long “the new engineer” had been working and what he was working on. The Municipal Engineer replied, “About three months,” and that James Fettes “was at present engaged in getting information generally as to the impounding reservoir” at Batu Ferringhi “and a proposed...

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  • 1. City Council of George Town (1966), “Penang Past and Present 1786-1963”.
  • 2. James Dollery Fettes (1923), “Notes on the Penang Water Supply”, Published in the September 1923 Edition of the Far Eastern Review, pg. 591-595.
  • 3. James Dollery Fettes (Major) Royal Engineers. WO 339 - Officers: Long Service Papers, UK National Archives Ref: WO 339/73891.
  • 4. James Dollery Fettes (1928), “Descriptive Notes – New Water Scheme”, Prepared and given to the members of the Engineering Association of Malaya attending their Annual Conference on 29 February 1928.
  • 5. Malaya Tribune, “Penang’s New Water Works”, Published 28 July 1928, pg. 2.
  • 6. Margaret Adams (1952), “Penang Illustrated Guided”, Published by the Municipal Council of George Town.
  • 7. Penang Municipal Commission (1909), Minutes of Ordinary Meeting, 29 April 1909, “The New Engineer”, Leonard Moore Bell replying to J.W. Halifax.
  • 8. Pinang Gazette and Straits Chronicle (1931), “Death of Mr. JD. Fettes in England - Penang Water Engineer”, Published 20 February 1931, pg. 7.
  • 9. Pinang Gazette and Straits Chronicle (1931), “The Late Mr. Fettes’s Services Recognised”, Published 28 October 1931, pg. 6.
  • 10. Pinang Gazette and Straits Chronicle, “Social and Personal”, Published 14 August 1919, pg. 2.
  • 11. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society (1932), “Mr. J.D. Fettes”, Volume 58, Issue 247 (October 1932) pg. 485-487.
  • 12. Straits Echo (Mail Edition) (1923), “Hill Development and Penang Water Supply”, Published 11 September 1923, pg. 1032.
  • 13. Straits Echo (Mail Edition) (1924), “Penang Water Supply, Mr. Fettes’ Scheme Approved by Colonial Engineer”, Published 10 November 1924, pg. 1176.
  • 14. Straits Echo (Mail Edition) (1929), “Sir Hugh Clifford Opens Penang Waterworks”, 24 July 1929, pg. 728.
  • 15. Straits Echo (Mail Edition), “M.A.P.” Published 13 January 1916, pg. 32.
  • 16. The International Who's Who 1954, Entry for “Naylor, Arthur Holden”, pg. 696.
  • 17. The London Gazette (1919), “James Dollery Fettes”, pg. 1659.
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.