February 28, 2024


For splendid leisure

IN FOCUS: From military base to leisure island – tracing 50 years of Sentosa and beyond

2 min read

In 1947, the island became the base for a regiment of the Royal Artillery – comprising regional enlistees – and also hosted basic armed service instruction for other enlisted adult men. The regiment was disbanded a ten years later before Gurkha infantry models moved to the island.

In 1963, the British War Division handed about Pulau Blakang Mati to Singapore as part of the development of the Federation of Malaysia. From 1967, with the near-comprehensive withdrawal of the Gurkha units, the island came under the jurisdiction of independent Singapore.

Through the latter period, a variety of governing administration ministries and organizations sought the island for various proposed utilizes, together with as a port and industrial complicated, a tourist vacation resort with a casino, as nicely as for army installations.

This was when it emerged the Authorities experienced achieved that arrangement with Esso. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Not quite a few people know this nowadays, but if history had taken a diverse turn, Sentosa could properly be celebrating our anniversary as an oil refinery,” Sentosa Enhancement Corporation (SDC) chief executive Thien Kwee Eng informed CNA.


In September 1970, an American company that was approached to do a feasibility research on Sentosa’s transformation released conclusions that confirmed the undertaking was practical and would improve vacationer arrivals.

The Dillingham learn prepare, named after the business, was drawn up to remodel the island into an global-conventional vacation advanced, with proposed sights together with a golfing training course, open air theatre, gun museum, coralarium, aquarium and a “pirates cove”.

The S$124 million funds, comprising point out expense and private sector contribution, would be made use of to establish the island with all those attractions in intellect.

In September 1972, the SDC was recognized as a statutory board, and Mr Choe joined its board of administrators.

He right away recognised the enormous activity in advance, highlighting that whilst numerous landmarks on the mainland handed around by the British could be conveniently turned into sights, Sentosa was a “various animal”.

“It truly is usually been a military services island. When we took above, there was no cash, no causeway. So, we began by adapting a ton of the previous structures utilised by the British for army garrisons,” he claimed.

Mr Choe suggested repurposing some of these empty structures into points of interest, noting that they were nonetheless clean with suitable sewage and greenery. Some have been finally applied for the coralarium and a wax museum near the ferry terminal. Other folks were preserved for their historic price.

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