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My Queenstown Heritage Trail, Dawson and Alexandra Tour

my queenstown heritage trail dawson alexandra neighbourhood tour
Do you know that Queenstown was named in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953? Are you aware that before Queenstown was conferred with the title as Singapore’s first satellite estate in 1953, there were military camps, rubber plantations and villages?

queenstown heritage trail residents sharing stories
My Queenstown Heritage Trail brings participants to colonial landmarks, military installations and residential buildings within Dawson and Alexandra Neighbourhoods. There will also sharing sessions with long-time residents chipping in their stories and memories on Queenstown.

my queenstown heritage trail with luxury haven
So there we were, armed with a camera and a good walking pair of shoes, complete with a cap, sunscreen and bottle of mineral water, we were geared for #MyQueenstown adventure – a tourist in our own country!

heritage trail forest discover hidden bunkers
Join us, as we uncover the many stories behind the 2 hours+ Dawson and Alexandra Heritage Trail, plus an exciting adventure into a forested area to search for abandoned bunkers built during the World War II!

singapore queenstown mrt station
singapore my queenstown heritage trail free guided tour
queenstown heritage trail singapore second driving test centre
Our meeting point was at the Queenstown MRT Station at 8.30am sharp. From there, we hit our first stop just outside the station – the Queenstown Driving Test Centre ( 前女皇镇驾驶训练中心 ). The Singapore’s 2nd Driving Test Centre is now vacant. Well, I briefly remember taking my Highway Code and driving test there when I turned 18. Guess what? I passed at 1st attempt! It came as a surprise as it is really tough in Singapore getting a driving licence; many passed the test only after few tries. In case you are wondering……… no, I wasn’t wearing a mini skirt. Lol!

my queenstown heritage trail volunteer guide
my queenstown heritage trail dawson alexandra tour
my queenstown heritage trail former forfar house
Our guide, Lip Sin, then introduced us to the Former 14-storey Forfar House ( 懿荟大厦 ). Once Singapore’s tallest public residential building, the block comprised 106 apartments and 4 shops, which were served by two lifts stopping at intermediate floors. Designed in the Modern style, Chap Si Lau ( Hokkien: 十四楼 14-storey ) had a distinct zigzag appearance which played an important structural role in resisting wind pressure.

singapore heritage trail queenstown forfar heights flats
Forfar House was subsequently demolished to make way for the 30 to 40-storey Forfar Heights cluster. Today, Forfar Heights, a 40-storey HDB development occupies the site of the former Forfar House. At night, its roof features transform into an elegant ‘crown’, with blue lights that sparkle like jewels in the sky.

singapore heritage trail forfar heights garden
my queenstown heritage trail forfar heights residents
A beautiful garden designed along the theme of a formal English garden was spotted over at Forfar Heights. Join residents here, as they share their stories like their first taste of high-rise living, and afraid of going into the elevators for fear of getting trap inside.

queenstown heritage trail dawson alexandra tour princess house
queenstown heritage trail princess house former hdb
Princess House ( 公主大厦 ) is a seven-storey building along Alexandra Road which is the first dedicated headquarters for the Housing and Development Board ( HDB ). Princess House was gazetted for conservation in 2007 after the Ministry of Environment vacated the premise in 1989. As the surrounding blocks of flats around Princess House are redeveloped, the conservation of Princess House serves as a lasting reminder of Queenstown’s history.

queenstown heritage trail kay siang black white bungalows
Kay Siang Road is one of the three locations in Queenstown with Black and White Bungalows. These were constructed by the British from 1920s onwards to house British personnel working in the nearby military installations at Alexandra and Tanglin Barracks / Camps.

singapore heritage trail forest discover hidden bunkers
kay siang road forest abandoned bunkers
Most interesting part of the tour for me was discovering the bunkers along Kay Siang Road, where we had to trek through the “ forest “.

singapore queenstown heritage trail kay siang storage bunkers
singapore lifestyle blogger reviews queenstown heritage
Haphazardly constructed, the Buller Camp was built in 1945 to house Japanese POWs after World War II. The abandoned soundproof bunkers features double doors to reinforce them against bombings. Trespassing is illegal, so the only way to visit these “ forbidden “ bunkers is to join the My Queenstown Heritage Tour.

singapore queenstown heritage trail tiong ghee temple
Tiong Ghee Temple ( 忠义庙 ) is Queenstown’s oldest Taoist temple. Those days, the Boh Beh Kang ( 无尾港 ) villages would sought the spiritual support at the Tiong Ghee Temple, praying for better health and luck. The current temple at Stirling Road was built in 1973 to replace the old village temple at Boh Beh Kang village; which was demolished in 1968 for the development of Mei Ling estate.

singapore tiong ghee temple queenstown oldest taoist
Today, the Temple remains a gathering point for former Boh Beh Kang villagers and serves as a lasting reminder of Queenstown’s past. The name Boh Beh Kang ( No Tail River ) is probably 100 years old, arose from the simple fact that locals were unable to identify the stream’s source and assumed there were none.

queenstown heritage trail butterfly hdb flats
queenstown heritage trail hdb shape like butterfly wings
queenstown heritage trail butterfly hdb block
butterfly block 168a queensway first curved shape hdb
Built in 1973, the 20-storey block 168A Queensway is the first curved-shape block constructed by the Housing and Development Board ( HDB ). The curved-shape façade earns the Block an interesting colloquial name from the residents, “ The Butterfly Block ” for its striking resemblance to the holometabolous insect.

queenstown heritage trail butterfly block surroundings
my queenstown heritage trail resident paul fernandez stories
Resident Paul G Fernandez Resident moved from a wooden hut at Bukit Timah Road 40 years ago. He recalled the quality of workmanship was not good then as jobs were done in a hurry because HDB was in a haste to relocate the residents as a result of providing public accommodation during that time. That was his only complaint as he is a proud and happy resident of the estate. He fondly remembered how the colloquial name for his block came about, “The design for Block 168A is extremely unique because it is shaped like the wings of a butterfly." Hence, residents started calling it the ‘Butterfly Block’ and the colloquial name became known locally.”

my queenstown heritage trail queensway shopping centre
Queensway Shopping Centre ( 女皇镇购物中心 ) is one of Singapore’s first multi-purpose shopping complexes opened in 1974 to provide shopping and recreational options for residents in Queenstown. This was certainly one of my favourite hunts for sporting goods during my days as a student. Are you still shopping in Queensway Shopping Centre?

singapore tourist queenstown heritage trail alexandra hospital
my queenstown heritage trail alexandra hospital
my queenstown heritage trail alexandra hospital flora fauna
Next stop takes us to the Alexandra Hospital ( 亚历山大医院 ). Opened in 1940, the Alexandra Hospital (former British Military Hospital) served as the principal hospital for Britain’s Far East Command during World War II. The hospital was the most-advanced and best-equipped medical institution in Singapore and Malaya. The 32-acre site was chosen for its close proximity to the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway tracks so that the wounded could be transported to the hospital quickly.

Do you know there is a dark tragic history behind Alexandra Hospital? On 14 February 1942, a day before the surrender of Singapore, Alexandra Hospital was violated by “ the largest and most awful massacre of British troops in World War II ”. Within a short 30-minute span, three platoons from a Japanese battalion rained bullets at the hospital and captured more than 200 hospital personnel and patients.

queenstown heritage trail alexandra hospital mysterious tunnels
singapore alexandra hospital world war ii secret tunnels
Are you aware that there is a network of mysterious tunnels beneath Alexandra Hospital? History suggested that these tunnels were built way back in the late 1930s and used during World Word II as escape routes from the hospital to Labrador Park or Sentosa Island. Alexandra Hospital was later converted into a civilian hospital, Blocks 1, 2 and 6 of Alexandra Hospital were gazetted for conservation in 2014.

Participants for My Queenstown Heritage Trail ( Dawson and Alexandra Tour ) can also learn about the history of:
  • Alexandra Fire Station ( 亚历山大消防局与女皇镇邻里警局 ) - Singapore’s third fire station, officially opened on 25 February 1954 by then Governor of Singapore, Sir John Nicoll.
  • Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) - Singapore’s first neighbourhood police centre.
  • Former Archipelago Brewery Company Factory - Singapore’s second brewery opened on 3 November 1933.
  • Hock Lee Bus Riots - Started at a bus depot located at the junction of Dawson Road and Alexandra Road, and was one of the major riots in Singapore during the 1950s.
  • Queenstown Baptist Church, Church of the Good Shepherd and the True Way Presbyterian Church.
Spotted in the Public Housing Estates:

singapore heritage trail forfar heights children playground
Children's Playground in Forfar Heights

singapore heritage trail forfar heights pap kindergarten
PAP Community Foundation Education Centre - Kindergarten

queenstown heritage trail dawson alexandra tour strathmore green
Strathmore Green Public Housing

queenstown heritage trail singapore public housing
singapore garden city

queenstown heritage trail alexandra canal linear park
Alexandra Canal Linear Park Connector

queenstown heritage trail alexandra canal linear park connector

colourful singapore housing development board public flats
Stirling Road HDB Flats
Well, My Queenstown Heritage Trail is definitely a nostalgia tour for me, a trip to reminisce the good-old-days since I have spent some of my childhood days in the estate. It is a nice feeling being a tourist in my own country, slowing down our steps to look at the beautiful flora and fauna around us.

Can you see why Singapore has earned the name of the “ Garden City ”? Over the decades, beautiful flowering species have been introduced to build a more effervescent and soulful city, making living in Singapore a more pleasant one. Don’t you think our flats are so colouful?

If you have been to Singapore, you may wonder why both our public and private housing look so spanking new compared to many other countries. That is because in Singapore, there is a regulation that building owners are required to paint the external walls of their buildings at intervals of not more than five years. Don’t you think that’s a great idea?

Is Queenstown Estate part of your life too? Which part of the tour interests you most?

queenstown heritage trail dawson alexandra neighbourhood free tour
The Dawson and Alexandra Heritage Tour is part of the My Queenstown Heritage Trail series and the trail is opened to the public. Interested participants can register for the FREE Guided Tour, which takes place on the last Saturday of every month, through, or call Queenstown Community Centre at +65 64741681.


  1. Hi darling,
    really lovely pictures!! thanks for sharing:)
    Coco et La vie en rose - Valeria Arizzi

  2. Beautiful and scenic place. I would love to visit here when I visit Singapore. Hopefully next year.

  3. Awesome activity. Fun and knowledge being with all the people and your loved one.

  4. Wow what a cool place to take a tour and see the beauty of it.

  5. I love doing things like this! Such a beautiful place x


  6. oh this is so interesting - a lovely multitasking initiative.
    i wish we had more in Italy.

  7. such a lovely post! I think being a tourist in your own town is always a great idea. I didn't know anything about Alexandra hospital before and it was interesting to read all those historical facts (also so sad to read about that massacre but in war such tragedies always happen, there is one more recent such tragedy that always makes me cry).

    Anyhow, the photos you took are fantastic...such a lovely place it is. I passed my driving test at second attempt which isn't bad because sometimes people have to take the driving test so many the instructors are really strict.

    I think it is a good idea to have a law that requires people to paint their walls every few years...I'm sure it makes the place look more beautiful...we need one such law ourselves!

    thank you so much for your visit and comment!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us here, Ivana! It's always nice to learn about other cities as well. xoxo

  8. Nice place!!!now i follow you on gfc,pinterest and instagram ,i hope you follow me back!!!kiss

    1. Thanks for following, Carolina! Following you too. xoxo

  9. This is such an interesting post showing us those special buildings like the curved block. I wonder now that the Princess House is under conservation, is anyone still using the building? Is it a museum or something else now?

    1. It's left vacant for now, Mun. Do register for the trail the next time you're in SG if such tours interest you :D

  10. The photos are amazing! And the tour looks really interesting :3
    Take care*

  11. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure Shirley! This looks like a fun tour!

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  12. Shirley, what a fascinating, informative and thoroughly enjoyable post. Your photos are gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing this lovely tour.

  13. What fun! This seems like such an adventure and I love how you said that you were armed with caps, sunscreen and bottled water - it brings back so many lovely travelling memories for me :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice


  14. Wonderful post:)

    i'm following you via gfc, hope you can follow me back

    1. Thanks for visiting, De! Following you now :D

  15. Beautiful place and great pics!!!
    You are so pretty Shirley!!!
    Kisses, Paola.


    My Facebook

  16. its an interesting post and atleast now i know of this place
    have a great weekend

  17. I don t know this place but it looks so interesting to visit..


  18. Beautiful pictures! Looks like you guys had a great time. Have a great weekend xo

  19. This is awesome! I so love little adventures like these! ^.^

  20. Thanks for leaving such a darling comment on my blog!
    What an interesting tour you took us with - thanks for sharing!

    Have the best week ever,

  21. very interesting dear!

  22. You are always on the go! Thanks for sharing the heritage trail with us all---so much to see and do! xo

  23. Didn't know that there's such a heritage tour till you showed it here. Really very interesting! As I read, it really reminds me of my childhood days. My grand mother used to stay in that estate and I've spent many of my childhood weekends there. I was wondering why I didn't know of the bunkers till I read that it's a restricted area. And those olden days name like "14 storey", "Boh Bey Kang" reminds me of how my parents used to refer them to..... but I was too young back them to understand which is which.... Thanks for sharing!

    1. Love reading about your stories too, Doris! Glad to know Queenstown holds many wonderful memories for you too :D

  24. Great post and I love your pictures! I always love reading about your adventures! x

    Beyond The Velvet | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

  25. wow, i would love to join the tour! i'll definitely check if its available for my next trip to Sg :)

  26. A detailed post about an awesome outdoor activity !
    Enjoyed it a lot, the pictures are simply beautiful :)
    Singapore is a beautiful country with strict rules and regulations in place, no wonder this place has become one of the best to live in the world ! Safety and security are really important to have a peaceful life and Singapore can very well boast about these with confidence.
    A beautiful post; thanks for sharing this with us. Already shared on Google plus and tweeted too !

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely thoughts & gesture, Rajiv! I'm so glad you're enjoying this post too :D

  27. This is such an amazing and beautiful place, Shirley. Thx for taking us on this heritage tour. I didn't know anything about it, shame on me. Gorgeous pics. Wishing you a relaxing weekend, luv.

    1. Certainly hope you can visit S'pore some day, dear! xoxo

  28. Great post...beautiful photos...

  29. Very nice pics, must have been an amazing trip!

    The Cutielicious

  30. You always go on such fun trips! The photos all look lovely.

  31. this looks like it was so much fun! x

  32. For a moment there I thought you were in NZ!

  33. Sounds like a lovely and educational tour! must have been nice learning more about the history of where you used to live :)

    Away From The Blue

  34. Hi Shirley, thank you for this informative post, so interesting. I like discovering new facts about the cities I viist and my own city. Have a wonderful week!

    Jasmine x

  35. When I read this at FB thought you are in NZ but NO...I like the part 'you are not wearing mini skirt to pass the I kind of enjoy reading your journey and would love to try this.

    1. Hahaha! Quite a few were asking me if I was in NZ too. Thanks, dear!

  36. Heritage trial looks interesting. Did you try the newly launched river safari ?

    1. I've been wanting to visit River Safari but just haven't gotten the chance. What about you, Subha? I would love to see the Pandas! xoxo

  37. Good way to promote Queenstown, Shirley! Never knew that Queenstown has such an interesting history. I thought that the name, Queenstown is just a mere name of that place. thanks for sharing

  38. Very interesting and great post. Thanks for sharing with us Shirley.


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