Just back from working in Penang, Malaysia. This mahogany (Khaya senegalensis) tree is the sole remaining survivor of those planted in the church grounds in1885.

The church, St George The Martyr, is the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia. It was built by convicts brought in from India in 1819. A critical component of the church’s construction was mahogany beams that travelled from India to Penang on the same ship as the convicts.

The church was damaged by Japanese bombing in 1941 and repaired in 1948. It was given national heritage status by the Malaysian Government in 2007, together with a grant for its most recent restoration. Some replacement mahogany trees were planted in the church grounds in 2015.

Mahogany is now widely used as a plantation tree, including in the Northern Territory of Australia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and beyond.