By : Nicholas Yau
30 June 2016
A perspective of Queenstown, Singapore’s first satellite town
Did you know that this estate where many roads and estates were specially named after British royalty, was the first self-sustaining town developed in Singapore.
Boasting many firsts, many facilities were debuted in Queenstown – including Singapore’s first sports complex, first branch library, first flatted factory, and even a polyclinic. Today, this mature estate is being rejuvenated with new housing concepts and redevelopment, breathing new life into this historic town.
You can visit the ‘VIP’ Block too!
The block for special guests
Given its early standing as a public housing crown jewel, Queenstown enjoyed royalty status. Many VIPs beat a path to its front door and Block 81 at Commonwealth Close was where they came to see the ‘Queen’.
As one of the tallest blocks of flats during the 1960s, distinguished guests from abroad were brought to Block 81 to enjoy breathtaking views of Queenstown, which showcased Singapore’s achievement in public housing. The guest list sparkled with royal names and eminent statespersons: the then Crown Prince of Japan, Akihito; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; and the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi. You can pay a visit to Block 81 and admire the view too!
View from ‘The VIP Block’
Today, that view has changed with the infusion of new-generation public housing. Transforming Queenstown’s skyline are the award-winning SkyVille@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson projects. As part of a larger ‘housing- in-a-park’ concept, these towering developments are also designed with green spaces that exude warmth and intimacy.
SkyVille@Dawson, one of HDB’s new-generation public housing projects
Despite the inevitable winds of change sweeping through this beloved town, Queenstown still holds a special place in the national memory of Singapore. The history, sights and sounds of its past are preserved alive in heritage trails. Be sure to experience one and relive the memories!
Saving precious memories
The memories of Queenstown are also alive in the hearts of its older residents. Mrs Lim Siew Yong, a resident of Commonwealth Close from 1965 to 1974, has carefully documented her memories of living there in scrapbooks. She was amongst the first in Singapore to own a home, with the introduction of the Home Ownership Scheme back in 1964.
Scrapbooks filled with memories
Back then, the town was not built according to the precinct concept. Hence, its residents gave nicknames to their homes, which became useful direction markers around the neighbourhood. An example is ‘Chap Lak Lau’ (or ‘16 stories’ in Hokkien). The residents named the area after what was immediately apparent – the commanding height of the blocks – which was novel at that time.
Mrs Lim Siew Yong reminiscing about her home in Commonwealth Close
You can read more about Mrs Lim’s stories and her ‘Little Heaven on Earth’ over at the Dwellings website.
Do you have any fond stories or childhood memories of your home? Share them with us at our Facebook page or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.