Butterworth comprises of a small area in the district of North of Seberang Perai, the largest city in Seberang Perai in terms of population. Seberang Perai is part of the mainland area of Penang Island. Inside the town are many neighborhoods like Bagan Dalam, Bagan Luar, and Teluk Air Tawar. Butterworth began as a transportation hub, where people passed by to get to George Town, Penang’s capital city. Goods and other products were also transported to the main city through Butterworth. It also used to be an agricultural area, but industrialization and urbanization in the town began in the 20th century.
1. Origin of the name “Butterworth” The town of Butterworth was named after William John Butterworth. He was a governor of the Straits Settlements from the year 1843 up to 1855. His legacy lives on in the name of the town as he played a significant role in its history. He was one of the people who made huge efforts to establish the Singapore Volunteer Corps. This was one of the earliest volunteer units in the British Empire and served significantly during the war. Because of this, William John Butterworth was promoted to a higher position of Governor General. By virtue of the indispensable role he played in history, his name lives on as a town in Penang.
2. History of Butterworth Before it was Butterworth, the town was a fishing village that was known under the name Bagan. In the middle of the 19th century, the town of Butterworth was founded as a counterpart of George Town, the capital city of Penang. Later, Butterworth became a transportation hub, owing to its close proximity to George Town. The construction of a cross-strait ferry service and other establishments caused wonders for Butterworth. It allowed tin to be shipped in the town, which made it possible to efficiently export them to George Town. Butterworth experienced a decline in economy at one point, but now, many development efforts are being undertaken to revive the fortunes of the town.
3. Multi-ethnic Town Many towns and cities in Malaysia are multi-ethnic. Owing to significant historical events, many people from other countries, most especially in South East Asia, flocked to Malaysia and made it their home. Although often, the Malaysian race still comprises the dominant number of the population, it’s not the case for Butterworth. Here, more than half of the population are of the Chinese race. The Malaysians only form the minority of the total number of residents in the area. Other races, like Indians, also comprise the total population and have found their home in Butterworth. Despite the diversity, there is most certainly unity in the town as all races live in harmony with each other.
Butterworth Tourist Spots
1. Butterworth Art Walk An old alley located in the midst of Butterworth was transformed into a canvas with beautiful paintings. This is what the Butterworth Art Walk is all about. It’s an area for local artists to express themselves through art, creating their own murals in the walls of the alley. The Butterworth Art Walk extends to a total of four blocks, with more than 20 murals to see and appreciate. The artworks depict different stories, either of the history of Butterworth, or of different people. The art walk is a part of many festivals and ceremonies in the town, and is definitely appreciated and put into significance by the people. It’s a wonderful idea to take part in art expression just by taking a walk through the alley, admiring the murals, and even taking your photos with them.
2. Rumah Berhala Tow Boo Kong Temple The Rumah Berhala Tow Boo Kong Temple in Butterworth is also known as the Temple of Nine Emperors. It is one of the largest temples in Butterworth, constructed in 1971 for those of Taoist faith. The land where the temple now stands used to be merely an unknown shed. Now, there stands a huge majestic temple that occupies 2 parcels of land with a total area of 40,000 square meters. It took so much time to complete the establishment of the temple. Construction began in 1974 and ended in the year 2000. That’s a total of 26 years of building, which was successfully accomplished thanks to local and governmental support. This 26 long years of construction shows that the temple had indeed a humble beginning, and is a symbolism of resilience and unity of the people.
3. Penang Bird Park The Penang Bird Park is a place to see and learn about different bird species in Malaysia. It showcases a vibrant collection of birds which guests can experience up close. It is the first and largest bird park of its kind in the entire Malaysia, priding itself with 300 species of birds. More than 150 of the species are Malaysian, meaning these birds are those prominent in the country. The bird park is a garden built to imitate the natural habitat of these air born species. It was designed to be a haven and paradise for the birds. There are also different species that are exhibited in the park. Among these are mouse deers, which are considered the smallest deers in the world. There are also fish, pythons, crocodiles, tortoises, and other wildlife species. There’s definitely a lot to see and learn in Penang Bird Park.