It all began with the establishment of Xiu Qi School in 1913, with Mr. Tan Fang Pu as headmaster. In 1921, Mr. Loh Chen Ching started Chen Hua Night School headed by Mr. Tan Hooi Nong. The third school Li Qun was set up in 1926 with Mr. Xu Jue Fei as its headmaster.
In 1932, the organizers of these three schools formed the Taiping Chinese Schools Joint Committe, using the Hokkien Association as its office. In 1937, the three schools were merged and named Hua Lian Public School, with Mr. Chin Tien Fang as its first headmaster and Mr. Toh Eng Hoe as the chairman of the Board of Governors. The design of the school badge was based on the plum blossom. In 1938 Mr. Gooi Chang Fong became the headmaster. In 1941 when the Japanese invaded the country, the school was closed. After the Japanese Occupation, on 12 November, 1945 the school was revived at a Rehabilitation Ceremony with Mr. Gooi Chang Fong as its headmaster. Mr. Huang Chi Wu took over the headmastership in 1947 and the school was renamed Hua Lian High School. After Mr. Huang, the headmaster was Mr. Yap Shen San (1950), then followed by Mr. Yau Wen Xun in 1951. In 1953, Mr. Yau Wen Xun with Mr. Loh Thow Yoong, Chairman of the Board, completed the new school buildings at Temple Road. Among the Board members, Mr. Loh Thow Yoong was the longest-serving Chairman of the Board, serving Hua Lian for 6 terms, a total of 12 years. In 1954, Mr. Peh Giong Hong, Chairman of the Board, applied to the government for a piece of land at Thompson Road to build a new school. In 1958, Hua Lian was split into Secondary and Primary schools, with Mr. Yau Wen Xun as headmaster of the Secondary School and Mr. Loo Wen Liu as headmaster of the Primary School. When the buildings in Thompson Road were completed in 1960, the secondary school was shifted there and the primary school took over the premises at Temple Road.
SMJK Hua Lian, Thompson Road, began as a fully-government-aided school in 1962, with 36 classes, made up of 8 Remove, 10 Form 1, 4 Form 2, 6 Form 3, 1 Form 4 and 4 Form 5 with a total enrolment of 1,324 pupils. The first headmistress was Madam Woo Shao Ming. Mr. Liew Kok Teng took over as acting headmaster when Madam Woo passed away in 1962. Mr. Lean Teng Meng was appointed by the Board in 1963 to head the school but left in October in the same year. Mr. Liew Kok Teng was reappointed as acting headmaster until September 1965 when Mr. Ding Huang Doh was appointed by the Ministry. Mr. Ding left to join the Federal Inspectorate after a year and for the third time, Mr. Liew served as acting headmaster.
The school shifted to the present site in Jalan Lumba Kuda, in the Lake Garden in January 1967, with Mr. Chan Sek Hoy as its Principal. During Mr. Chan’s tenure, a piece of land beside the school buildings was reclaimed and turfed. Donations from teachers and pupils were used to instal more than 40 fans in the classrooms. He also organised fun fairs to settle the school’s outstanding debts of RM17,000. When Mr. Chan fell ill and Mr. Leong Wai Min took over as acting headmaster. Mr. Chin Tee Loong took over the acting post when Mr. Leong was transferred Chung Hua Secondary School in Kota Bahru, Kelantan. In 1969, Mr. Chan resigned for health reasons and Mr. Chin Tee Loong was appointed the new Principal. He improved school discipline and added on to existing facilities. Mr. Chin left a year later to study for his Master’s degree at the University of Malaya.
The Ministry sent its Principal Registrar of Schools, Mr. U Yong Leong to head the school in 1970. Form 6 classes were started on 1 May 1970. Mr. U obtained a five-and-the-half-acre piece of land beside the school to build a field and a bicycle shed. He improved the drainage system of the field and carried out repairs on the school buildings. He was instrumental in getting Mr. Lau Po Yee appointed the Senior Assistant. Mr. Lau Po Yee was appointed to the post of acting headmaster when Mr. U retired on 6 July 1978. With government grant and public donations, Mr. Lau built a 2-storey block to house the library, a Science Lab and a Domestic Science Room. With the help of Datuk Mah Kheng Yew, the Board Chairman, the Certificate of Occupation was obtained with effect from January 1980.
Mr. Chong Kah See was appointed the new Principal on 1 January 1980. With the help of the then Minister of Primary Industires, Datuk Paul Leong, he built a half-million ringgit hall in 1982. Two badminton courts were constructed beside the hall in 1985 and two science laboratories were built in 1986. When Mr. Chong took optional retirement in 1986, Mr. Lau Po Yee was reappointed acting headmaster until February 1988 when Mr. Ong Teow Leng was appointed Principal. Mr. Ong further improved discipline in the school. The school gate was constructed in 1989. Two new classrooms and a pavillion were completed in 1991.
In 1992 when the school celebrated its 30th Anniversary, the 7th batch of graduating students donated RM20,000 to the school. With the cooperation of the Board and its Chairman Dr. Ng Cheng Kooi, the PTA under Mr. Teoh Kok Tong, and the Hua Lian Old Boys’Association under Mr. Yew Bung Ching, a walkathon was held in 1993 which raised RM1 million to build a 4-storey-new-block. It was completed in March 1994 and declared open on 7 May 1994 by Datin Wong Chew Mooi, wife of Datuk Mah Kheng Yew. With the support of the Principal, the Board and the PTA, Mr. Quah Chin Eng, the then Afternoon Supervisor, initiated the Computer Class of Hua Lian in June 1994.
Mr. Ling Tiong Soon took over as acting Principal when Mr. Ong retired in September 1994. Mr. Ling, a computer enthusiast, gave full support to the development of IT education in the school. Mr. Leong Soong Tuen was transferred from SMJK Yuk Kwan, Batu Gajah to head the school from February 1995. Mr. Quah was appointed the Senior Assistant of the school in June 1995 after the retirement of Mr. Ling.
Mr. Leong resurfaced the teachers’ car park and built an alternative route for students’ motor-cycles at the back of the school compound. He also planted many trees to beautify the school surroundings. Under Mr. Leong, computer education in Hua Lian continued to grow, encouraging more students and teachers of the school to acquire knowledge and skills in IT, while the school administration was computerised stage by stage.
When Mr. Leong retired in 19 August 1997, Mr. Quah Chin Eng, who had served in the school as Afternoon Supervisor and Senior Assistant for a total of 9 years, took over as acting Principal. With effect from 16 January 1998, Mr. Quah was officially appointed the Principal of the school. In December 1998, a new fence in front of the school and a stage for school assembly in the school field, were built by the Board. In September 1999, the PTA built a Guard House beside the Main Gate and employed security guards to strengthen the security of the school.
5 June 2004 Mr Quah retired after holding office for 6 1/2 year. He was succeeded by Pn Lam Lai Phing who took office officially on 16 June that very year. Under Pn Lam, the school went through many physical changes. with the help of funds from the Board of Governors, the Old Boy’s room was painted and air conditioners were fixed to school office and senior assistants rooms. Iron bars and door grills were fitted to the computer room.The ceiling of the old school section was replced, bad leaks were repaired. Cement walls were erected to replace the flimsy wooden partitions in the form 4 block. 25 Octorber 2005, Pn Lam Retired.
16 December 2005, Mr Chee Peng Soo, a Hua Lian Old Boy took office as the new principal. Under his leadership, a 2-storey computer laboratory was built and put to use when school reopened for the year 2010. In September 2009, he launched the project of building the 3-storey new classroom building after that followed by a few series of fund raising activities , these include the Pesta Ria, Walkathon and Karaoke Competition. At the time of writing, the 3-storey classroom building has already been completed and will be used as soon as the CF is obtained. The next project is the grandstand which is still at its beginning construction stage, expected to be completed by the end of 2010