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Heritage trail explores history of Queenstown

My Queenstown Heritage Trail will also chart the evolution of public housing in Singapore through personal stories of older residents and visits to iconic landmarks.

SINGAPORE: The public can now learn more about the rich history of Singapore's first satellite estate - Queenstown - through the My Queenstown Heritage Trail.

The trail will also chart the evolution of public housing in Singapore through personal stories of older residents and visits to iconic landmarks which have been around for the past 60 years.

The two-hour trail stretching from Tanglin Road to Portsdown Road is broken down into five smaller trails based on location clusters. They include the Commonwealth, Tanglin Halt and Wessex, Mei Ling and Alexandra, Princess, and Duchess trails.

Also adding charm to the estate are the HDB apartments along Stirling Road. These apartments were the brainchild of the Singapore Improvement Trust's New Towns Working Party, which stipulated an optimal residential density of 200 persons per acre. This recommended density was achieved by building high rise apartments housing 400 persons per acre and low rise terrace units housing 150 persons per acre.

Members of the public are also in for a treat as older residents share colourful stories.

"We had a Red Indian circus here last time. There was an elephant here where everybody can touch or feel. It was open space in that corner,” recalled Mahmood Tamam, a resident at Stirling Road.

“When we were kids, we liked to play a fool with the elephant, threw stones at it and gave the elephant rubbish to eat. So I think the elephant was angry. And there was an animal keeper but he did nothing. So I think the elephant got angry, shook its head, grabbed the keeper and bounced him and the keeper died!"

The trail includes stops at Queenstown's first Catholic church, the Church of the Blessed Sacrement, as well as the Sri Muneeswaran Temple, believed to be Southeast Asia's largest Hindu shrine for the Sri Muneeswaran deity.

And at the end of the trail, the public can tuck into scrumptious hawker fare at the Tanglin Halt Neighbourhood Centre, where several pioneer businesses can be found. The centre was opened in 1962 and comprises shop units arranged at a quadrangle and stalls in the wet market. However, the centre will not be here for too long as it makes way for new developments.

The heritage trail is open to the public and interested participants can register for the free guided tour, which takes place on the last Sunday of every month, through EventBrite, or call Queenstown Community Centre at 64741681. 

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