Labrador & Alexandra heritage tour visits key military installations constructed by the British to defend the naval outpost in Singapore and recounts the series of battles in Labrador and Alexandra prior to the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942.
With its deep natural harbour and strategic location astride busy shipping lanes, Singapore was the quintessential site for a British port. The offer of free trade and the opportunity to avoid expensive Dutch ports further contributed to Singapore’s success as a trading port. Alongside concepts of free trade, Raffles and his comrades introduced an efficient system of governance that engendered her growth and expansion. On one hand, Farquhar and his compatriots embarked on public works programmes and developed banking and legal systems to facilitate commerce and trade.
Established in 2012, the 5.61 hectare Berlayer Creek is one of the two remaining mangroves in the south of mainland Singapore. Named after a historic rock formation, Batu Berlayer (Malay: Sail Rock), Berlayer Creek comprises three kinds of natural habitats including mangroves, rocky shore and mudflats and is home to a myriad of flora fauna.
Keppel Harbour is the stretch of waterway between the Singapore mainland and Sentosa island. The water passage was used by ships and boats sailing from the Straits of Malacca to the South China Sea since the 13th century.
Towards the southeast and accessible by steep flight of steps down the cliff slope or by a metalled road along the perimeter of the park is the 2.4 hectare Tanjong Berlayer Park which was completed in 1978 on land reclaimed from the sea.
Built in 1930, Berlayer Beacon is a prominent light beacon at Tanjung Berlayer. Situated on an outcrop at the southernmost end of Labrador Park, Berlayer Beacon and the neighbouring Tanjung Rimau on Sentosa Island serve as a navigational guide for ships and boats approaching Keppel Harbour.
Long Ya Men, (Chinese: 龙牙门) or Dragon’s Teeth Gate, refers to a series of granite outcrop in Keppel Harbour. Known locally by the Malays as Batu Berlayer (Malay: Sail Rock), the historic rock formation, comprising two rocky outcrop near the present site of Labrador Park and its opposite shore of Tanjong Rimau on Sentosa Island, served as a gateway to the western entrance to Keppel Harbour.
Fort Pasir Panjang is a former defence battery located within the Labrador Park Nature Reserve, constructed to defend the western entrance to Keppel Harbour. It was one of the eleven coastal artillery forts built by the British in the 19th century to defend Singapore’s waters.
Former Pasir Panjang Power Station was the second power station in Singapore, after St James Power Station. Built at a cost of $38m, the power station was officially opened on 3 July 1953 by then-governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll.
Established in 1899, Alexandra Brickworks was the first brickyard in Singapore to produce bricks using modern machinery on a large scale. Owned by the Borneo Company Ltd, the bricks were made by the best-known methods at the time, where machinery and steam power were used for treating the clay and moulding them into form.
394 Alexandra Road is believed to be a family home for a high-ranking official, possibly the railway superintendent, of the former Malayan Railway.
HortPark is the first integrated gardening lifestyle hub in Asia. Built at a cost of $13.1m, the landscaped garden was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 10 May 2008 as a one-stop gardening resource centre. The garden features 20 thematic gardens including a Herbs and Spices Garden with medicinal and culinary herbs, and a Silver Garden featuring silvery, grey and white plants.
Former Alexandra Barracks was constructed in the early 1900s to defend the naval outpost in Singapore and protect British Far East interests. Named after Princess Alexandra, wife of then Prince Wales and later King Edward VII, the barracks complex included military facilities on the east of Alexandra Road and officers’ accommodation to the west at Alexandra Park.
Established in 1938, Alexandra Hospital (former British Military Hospital) served as the principal hospital for Britain’s Far East Command during World War II. Built at a cost of $265,900, the hospital was the most advanced and best equipped medical institution in Singapore and Malaya.
The Normanton Barracks was established in 1906 as an extension to the Alexandra Barracks. The original barracks comprised of two barrack buildings and a rifle range. Thirty-five oil tanks were later erected at Normanton in 1924 to serve British’s Eastern fleet.
Queensway Shopping Centre is one of Singapore’s first multi-purpose shopping complexes alongside Golden Mile and Katong. Built at a cost of $15 million, the shopping complex was opened in 1974 to provide shopping and recreational options for residents in Queenstown. It comprised of a four-storey shopping centre, a basement car park, offices, and a 13-storey apartment
The Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) is Singapore’s first neighbourhood police centre. Based similarly on the concepts of community policing and modelled after the koban system in Japan, the original Police Centre at Commonwealth Avenue was officially opened on 20 December 1997 by then Minister for Home Affairs, Wong Kan Seng, to replace the Singapore Police Force’s Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) system. The centre had 150 police officers.
Alexandra Fire Station is Singapore’s third fire station. Built at a cost of $1,500,000, the Fire Station was officially opened on 25 February 1954 by then Governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll, to serve a rapidly expanding industrial area in Alexandra and train future firemen for the Singapore Fire Brigade. The station replaced the colonial Auxiliary Fire Brigade which had 15 officers and 60 firemen stationed at the nearby Archipelago Brewery Company.
Constructed between 1930 and 1959, Alexandra Industrial Estate was one of the first two industrial estates planned by the British to generate employment and reduce Singapore’s reliance on entrepot trade.
The former Buller Camp along Alexandra Road was constructed by the colonial Works Department in 1938 as a training institution for the Singapore Army Service Corps (SASC). The military camp comprised an underground petrol storage tank, military transport sheds and accommodation for the SASC.
忠义庙 Tiong Ghee Temple is Queenstown’s oldest Taoist temple. The current temple at Stirling Road was built in 1973 to replace the old village temple at Boh Beh Kang village (Hokkien: 无尾港; No tail river) which was demolished in 1968 for the development of Mei Ling estate.
Blocks 160 & 161 Mei Ling Street are the First Point Blocks constructed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Built at a cost of $2,500,000, the sale of the 20-storey Point Blocks were presided by then Parliamentary Secretary for National Development, Ho Cheng Choon, on 8 April 1970.
Block 168A Queensway is one of the first curved-shape blocks constructed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). The sale of the 20-storey Curved Block was inaugurated by then Member-of-Parliament for Alexandra Constituency, Dr Wong Lin Ken, on 18 October 1973.