Queenstown: History

11 December 2006

Bo Beh Kang
The upper reach of Singapore River was known as 'Bo Beh Kang' (Hokkien for 'No Tail River'). This is because the villagers of Bo Beh Kang cannot find the source of the stream that flows southeast and eventually becomes Singapore River.

Before the war in 1942, Bo Beh Kang was an agricultural area with hundreds of people living in attap huts. The villagers cultivates vegetables, grow fruits and rear pigs and chickens.

Queenstown New Town
Queenstown is the first satellite town of Singapore. The development was initiated by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) in 1953; with the clearing of the British Buller Military Camp and built Princess Estate (Neighbourhood 1) there.

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) took over the role of public housing authority from its predecessor SIT in 1960 and continue building the town. HDB retained the basic pattern of the major road system previously planned by SIT but substantially revised the internal arrangement of part of Neighbourhood 2 and the whole of Neighbourhoods 3, 4 and 5 to cater for higher density housing and increased industrial demand.

Because of the popularity of the town, Queenstown was extended by the addition of 2 neighbourhoods to the 5 originally planned and completed. The 2 neighbourhoods are developed on cemetery sites acquired off Stirling Road and Buona Vista Road in 1965. The industrial estate at Tanglin Halt was also extended in 1967 due to its high demand. Registration for sale of flats had to be closed in 1968 as demand for it has far exceeded the supply owing to the forward booking of flats.

In 1970, more recreational facilities, including a Japanese Garden with several shops highlighted by a big scenic pool decorated with lights and fountains, and a Sports Complex comprising 5 swimming pools and a stadium were provided. Both proved to be extremely popular and very well attended by residents.

The town was virtually fully developed in 1974.

Ayer Rajah Estate
Named after Queen Alexandra, consort of King Emperor Edward VII, British Military Area (BMA) Alexandra was the most important BMA with its ammunition dumps, stores and workshops. The area encompasses Alexandra Hospital, Depot Road, Normanton Park, Portsdown, Rochester Park, Medway Park and Sussex Estate.

Majority of BMA Alexandra was zoned for the development of Singapore’s 6th New Town, Ayer Rajah New Town in 1973. Ayer Rajah New Town was initially designed for a projected population of approximately 130,000 in 5 self-contained neighbourhoods, each with 3,000 to 6,000 housing units and a town centre.

However, due to difficulty of obtaining building sites, most of the construction activities were confined to Neighbourhood 1 (Ghim Moh) and Neighbourhood 2 (Dover). As such, the status of Ayer Rajah was reduced to an estate in 1975. Under the "Estate-Conglomerates Plan" of 1979, Ayer Rajah Estate was amalgamated into Queenstown.

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