St. George's Girls' School, at Macalister Road, George Town, is one of the best missionary schools on Penang Island. Founded by a British Anglican missionary in 1885, it educated daughters from wealthy and influential families in the past, and to this day, still produces distinguished personalities who serve in Malaysia and abroad.
Today, like other missionary schools on Penang Island, St. George's Girls' School follows the standardised Malaysian education system.
St. George's Girls' School was started by Mrs. Katherine Biggs, wife of Reverend L.C. Biggs. Both were British Anglican missionaries who lived at Farquhar Street; their residence was named The Manse.
Mrs. Biggs conducted informal classes at The Manse for a year before establishing St. George's Girls' School in 1885. The school was named after St. George, the patron saint of England; schools and churches established by the Anglicans throughout the British Empire were often named after St. George, such as the St. George's Church at Farquhar Street. In addition, St. George's Church provided much of the school's funding.
In its initial years, most of the pupils of the school were daughters from well-to-do families. The girls were usually ferried to the school on trishaws, shielded from public view by a curtain. At the time, it was considered improper for unmarried ladies from well-to-do families to be seen in public.
In 1888, classes were shifted into a newly-completed bungalow beside The Manse and the Eastern & Oriental Hotel.
The Straits Settlement government took over the management of the school in 1909 and renamed it the Government Girls' School. The authorities also tried to turn the school into a co-educational school in 1916, but the idea was short-lived.
The Straits Settlement government returned the school to St. George's Church in 1920, at which point the school reverted to its original name.
To cope with increasing enrollment, St. George's Girls' School was moved twice in the 20th. century, first to Northam Road, and later to its present grounds at Macalister Road in 1954.
Today, the school not only retains its strong reputation, but is also one of the best academically-performing schools on Penang Island. In 2010, the Malaysian Education Ministry listed St. George's Girls' School as one of the High Performance Schools throughout the country, in recognition of the school's strong academic achievement and internationally-acclaimed alumni.
Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam (Latin)
If there is a will, there is always a way.
St. George's Girls' School is a girls' school that offers secondary education up to STPM (Malaysian Higher School Certificate) level, equivalent to Form 6.
Among the more famous personalities in Malaysia and abroad who were once educated in St. George's Girls' School are as follows.
- Khoo Salma Nasution, a well-known Penangite historian
- Faridah Merican, Malaysian playwright
- Oon Beng Hong, Malaysia's first female lawyer
- Ooi Chean See, Malaysia's first female orchestra conductor
- Judy Cheng-Hopkins, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for Peacebuilding Support
- Teng Yeohlee, American fashion designer
- Eva Kwok, prominent Canadian businesswoman
- Tuanku Bainun, former Queen of the Sultanate of Perak
- Harbans K. Virik, Malaysia's first paeditrician
- Sun Jin-yuan and Sun Jin-wan, daughters of Sun Yat-sen
- Cheah J. S., 2013. Penang 500 Early Postcards. Editions Didier Millet.