Penang Story: Commemorating 130 Years of the Penang Botanical Gardens

Penang Story: Commemorating 130 Years of the Penang Botanical Gardens

Date: Saturday, 11 October 2014, 1.30pm to 4:00pm
Venue: The Star Pitt Street

The upcoming Penang Story Lecture; Commemorating the 130th Year of the Penang Botanical Gardens (PBG) will be on Saturday, 11 October 2014 at the Star Pitt St building. The speaker will be Stewart Henchie with Dato’ Dr Leung Yueh Kwong as the moderator

The talk includes a small exhibition on the flora and fauna heritage of PBG with high tea
for all participants.

A small donation of RM15 for non-members and RM10 for PHT members will be charged.

All proceeds will go towards Penang Heritage Trust

Seats are limited, please book your seats now!

Ring us on 04-264 2631 or email –

Commemorating 130 Years of the Penang Botanical Gardens

Penang Botanic Garden is 130 years old, making it the oldest public botanic garden in Malaysia. The present garden is the third in Penang’s botanical heritage, and was laid out by Charles Curtis. His previous employer, Harry Veitch, nurserymen of London, was as a professional plant collector having previously collected in the Celebes, Borneo and Madagascar. He developed the Waterfall Garden as it was known into public garden, but was also responsible for the natural forest areas of the State of Penang. The garden, in conjunction with it’s parent Botanic Garden Singapore, trialled and researched many tropical plants for their economic use. Curtis also focused on the identification of native plants of northern peninsula Malaysia. Through his contacts with his previous employer and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and other tropical botanic gardens he was able to introduce many non- native exotic plants to Penang and Singapore. Over the years the garden has developed but also suffered, especially during the Second World War. During the past 30 years, the Garden has declined due to poor management and governance. In December 2012, Stewart Henchie, a retired Assistant Curator, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was appointed as a consultant to update the Gardens and get it back to being a botanic garden. Today, he will present an illustrated talk that highlights the improvements and changes that have taken place over the past 23 months, in comparison with the history of the Garden.

The Special Area Plan of Penang Botanic Garden will also be mentioned.


Stewart J. HenchieStewart Henchie

Stewart Henchie has been a consultant at Penang Botanic Garden since December 2012.

He has been directly employed by the State of Penang to get the existing and enlarged garden under the Special Area Plan back into shape .It will then be able to return to functioning botanic garden for all visitors as opposed to a purely recreational park for the locals.

Stewart brings a wealth of experience in managing Botanic Garden plant collections of all types. He retired from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK in October 2012 after forty years experience, three of those years being a Student Gardener when he gained the Kew Diploma.

While at Kew he was Assistant Curator /Manager of the Services, Temperate and Hardy Display Sections. He has wide experience in the efficient use of horticultural machinery and equipment in the care of outdoor and large public display glasshouses such as the Palm and Temperate houses at Kew living collections.

Stewart was one of the founder members representing RBG Kew on the board of PlantNetwork of UK and Ireland and a member of the Advisory committee of the Hillier Arboretum and Garden.

He was involved in training and capacity building in Mauritius, Rodrigues and Montserrat in the Caribbean to enable those places to set up nurseries and propagate plants endangered in the wild.

He has collected Herbarium and living plant material in the Yemen and Chile.

He continues to be an active member of the Institute of Horticulture particularly as a mentor for young horticulturists. He has remained as an individual member of PlantNetwork of UK and Ireland.