Mouth of the Singapore River
Comments on article: InfopediaTalk
Mouth of the Singapore River, river/estate, located within the Central Region. The early inhabitants around the river mouth were the Orang Laut or "Sea Gypsies", and Malays. In the early 1800s, Temenggong Abdul Rahman, had his settlement near the river mouth; after 1825 the area was a temporary shelter and gaol for Indian convict labour. The founding ceremony of Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles, took place very near this river entrance. The clearing and widening of this gateway in June 1819, resulted in the discovery of a huge rock with 'ancient inscriptions', which was blasted in 1843 to further clear the entrance to the river. A preserved part, later became known as the Singapore Stone.
In ancient history according to Chinese reports and the Malay Annals (Sejarah Melayu), Singapore was known as Temasek, with Kuala Temasek as its thriving city and capital, at the mouth of the Singapore River. In June 1819, after Sir Stamford Raffles' founding of Singapore, labourers clearing the over growth of trees and many rocks, on a spot called 'Rocky Point' at the mouth of the river, discovered a huge boulder-rock, engraved with undecipherable writings.
The entrance to the river was originally about where the back of Fullerton Building now stands. In 1827, on Bengal Engineer Captain Edward Lake's advice on fortifications, a defence battery was erected at the river-mouth to guard the economic activity of this new river-port. The spot was known as Artillery Point. Up to the 1840s all shipping congregated around the estuary, and along the adjoining section of the river at Boat Quay, and the nearby Commercial Square (today's Raffles Place).
In 1843, the clearing of 'Rocky Point' at the river-mouth to build Fort Fullerton, resulted in the destruction and removal of the huge rock. A remnant slab, now on exhibit at the Singapore History Museum, formerly the National Museum, became known as the Singapore Stone. In 1849, the Grand Jury of the Court, requested speedy and urgent attention be given to the river mouth's cluttered and obstructed state, a problem also highlighted by previous Grand Juries, as it caused much detriment to the trade of the port.
Land reclamation in the late 1850s, to build a seawall from south-west of the river-mouth to Teluk Ayer, brought the mouth of the river a little further outwards towards the sea. Here was where the Master Attendants Office stood, opposite the side of today's Fullerton Building. In early photgraphs of the Singapore River mouth, the Cavenagh Bridge (1867) can be seen close to the river entrance.
In 1972, an eight metre high Merlion Statue was erected, as the tourism symbol of Singapore, and it stands guard at the original river-mouth. Further land reclamation on both sides of the river-mouth has brought the estuary even further out towards the sea, and today the river with a new 1999 Esplanade Bridge at the entrance, flows out into the Marina Basin.
Abdullah Abdul Kadir, Munshi (1969). The Hikayat Abdullah: The autobiography of Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, 1797-1854 / an annotated translation by A.H.
Hill (pp. 13, 165-166). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSEA 959.51032 ABD)
Begbie, P. J. (1834). The Malayan Peninsula, embracing its history, manners and customs of the inhabitants, politics, natural history from its earliest records (p. 355) [Microfilm: NL 5827). [Madras]: Vepery Mission Press.
Buckley, C. B. (1984). An anecdotal history of old times in Singapore: 1819-1867 (pp. 29, 30, 89-90, 93, 94, 145, 427, 504). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 BUC)
Hon, J. . Tidal fortunes: A story of change: The Singapore River and Kallang Basin (pp. 3-7, 9-12). Singapore: Landmark Books. (Call no.: SING q959.57 HON-[HIS])
Miksic, J. N. (1984). Archaeological research on the "Forbidden Hill" of Singapore: Excavations at Fort Canning (p. xi, 13, 40-43). Singapore: National Museum.
(Call no.: R SING q959.57 MIK)
Turnbull, C. M. (1989). History of Singapore: 1819-1988 (pp. 45, 58). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 TUR)
Tan, M. S. (Ed.). (1982). Singapore 150 years (pp. 32-40, 98, 118-123, 146). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: SING 959.57 SIN)
On a bum-boat trip in Singapore (1978). Goodwood Journal, 3rd Qtr., 11, 13.
(Call no.: RSING 052 GHCHJ)
Singapore symbol: 26ft-high Merlion [Microfilm: NL 7135]. (1972, September 16). The Straits Times, p. 30.
$165,000 Merlion symbol at mouth of the river [Microfilm: NL 7152]. (1972, September 16). New Nation, p. 3.
The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
Commerce and Industry>>Transportation
Singapore River (Singapore)--History
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings