GEORGE TOWN, September 13 – George Town World Heritage Incorporated has completed the conservation and restoration work for two pillboxes at Kampung Nelayan and Kampung Hutan Nibung by September 2022. Earlier in February 2022, the Penang government announced that the conservation and preservation of historic military pillboxes will be executed by George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI). A total of 14 pillboxes (13 on the island and one on the mainland) were identified.
Named as Pillbox BD01 at Kampung Nelayan and Pillbox BD03 at Kampung Hutan Nibung, the pilot cases are located by the roadside and easily visible. These pillboxes were built before World War II as part of the anti-invasion preparation. Generally, the pillboxes were operated as elements of in-depth defence from enemy attacks and protection for the arm weapons.
These two pillboxes were selected as the pilot case for the project to ensure the conservation methods are appropriate and sufficient and to explore the issues and challenges of pillbox restoration. Their structures are made of concrete with a mixture of sand, aggregate and cement and with rebar for tensile strength. Their detailed information are as follows:
The restoration has given these pillboxes a new lease of life. Wire mesh netting and grating works are introduced to ensure structural safety and material performance. The exterior door with the outward opening is set to increase the visitors’ safety and building content and has cleared the vegetation for sustainable maintenance. Through the help from the contractors, we also introduced terrestrial flora such as
Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius), Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus), Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) and Moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) as new landscape. The repairing procedure for these pillboxes significantly focused on concrete’s quality; for instance, wall painting to increase the erosion resistance, protect the pillbox’s surface from the damage and improve the service life of pillboxes. The accumulated expenses for this project are about RM75,000 as of 31 August 2022.