The Francis Light Statue was erected in 1936 in honour of Captain Francis Light, the founder of George Town. It now stands inside Fort Cornwallis, the spot on Penang Island where he first set foot on 17 July 1786.
Contrary to popular belief, the statue was actually modelled after Light's son, William Light, as there was no picture of the senior Light. William Light was the founder of the Australian city of Adelaide.
The bronze statue also came with a sword, which has been missing since World War 2. It is believed that the Japanese, who removed the statue during their Occupation of Penang, took away the sword.
The bronze statue of Captain Francis Light was sculpted by F.J. Wilcoxson and cast at Burton's Foundry in Thames Ditton, England. It was erected in 1936 to commemorate the 150th. anniversary of the founding of George Town by Light.
Wilcoxson had to sculpt the statue after Light's son, William Light, as there was no picture of the senior Light. William Light was the illegitimate second son of Light and his unrecognised Eurasian wife, Martina Rozells. William spent his early years on Penang Island and went on to found the city of Adelaide in Australia.
The statue was transported from Britain to George Town and mounted on a high granite plinth inside Fort Cornwallis, which was the spot on Penang Island where Light first set foot. During its installation, the statue was accidentally dropped on its head, causing a slight indentation at the base of the skull. Nonetheless, the statue was put up in the hope that no one would notice, as it was too late to send it back to Britain.
The statue was unveiled in 1939 by Sir Shenton Thomas, the then Governor of the Straits Settlements.
During the Second World War, the occupying Imperial Japanese Army removed the statue and reportedly threw it onto a rubbish heap, where it remained throughout the war. When it was recovered after the war, its sword was missing, possibly taken by the Japanese.
- Hockton, K., Howard Tan, 2012. Penang : An Inside Guide to Its Historic Homes, Buildings, Monuments and Parks. MPH Group, Kuala Lumpur.
- Langdon, M. A Guide to George Town's Historic Commercial and Civic Precints. Penang : George Town World Heritage Incorporated.