(Young Women's Christian Association)

Penang had the distinction of being the first town in the then States and Straits Settlement of Peninsula Malaya, to be chosen for a YWCA.  In 1909, Miss Fairburn, a British missionary, threw open the doors of her home in Dato Keramat Road to the needs of young women.  She acted as President, Secretary and Treasurer.  They started as a weekly Bible reading and prayer group, which grew and expanded its activities.

When Miss Fairburn left, the missionary Ladies carried on until Mrs Dewar, a Major’s wife took over.  During the 1914 war, the members knitted for the soldiers.  Miss Rutherford, the World’s secretary, came to the Penang Centre on her visit to Malaya

Subsequently on the 19th January 1924, a Rest Room was opened opposite the Victoria Pier, which was under the care of Mrs Khoo Gek Tuan.  The room was very popular, as all the working girls were very regular.  Monthly Tiffins were held and they used to be “full house”.  This building was pulled down later (former Chinese Chamber of Commerce).

In July 1927, a Hostel called “The Tower” was opened for working girls in Anson Road with Miss Anderson as the Hostel Warden.  The Hostel was successful for some time but as the rent was very high and the house was in a poor condition, another house was acquired in Logan Road.

However, due to lack of Finance Miss Ewart who was in charge had to close down the Hostel in 1938.

In 1938, The “Y” also ran a Creche at Patani Road for the children of Municipal Labourers.  These activities and special efforts connected with the Second World War continued until December 1941.  

From 1941 until 1946, all the Y records and minute books were lost, due to the war.   Information about the YWCA history from 1909-1941 were gathered from the old members of the Y in 1946 by Miss Ivy Sabapathy and read out to the members at the YWCA meeting held at 5.00pm 13th September 1952. 

Picture taken in 1960, Penang