- Fort Canning Hill is one of Singapore’s most historic landmarks.
- It was here that Sir Stamford Raffles built his bungalow.
- The hill also became an important communication center, housing important communication devices such as the flagstaff, time ball, lighthouse and a telegraph office.
9-Pound Cannon and South Battery
This cannon dates back to the 19th century and had become obsolete before the fortification at Fort Canning was constructed.
Most probably it was used at Scandal Point, an earlier fortification at the east end of the Padang. You can see a similar cannon standing 200m ahead, which is the area in which the main battery of guns was erected in the 19th century.
The guns were mounted on carriages that could be pivoted to enable the guns to cover a wide arc of fire.
Next to the cannon is South Battery, the site at which the main battery of guns was mounted to defend Singapore in the 19th century.
Reflection: How often do you see a cannon in Singapore? If your answer is rarely. You should head down to Fort Canning park to see their cannons. The cannon itself dates back to the 19th century. I think it is pretty cool that they just display the cannon there for visitors to observe. The last picture you can see me (the one in the red t-shirt) and my friends taking a picture with the cannon.
The lighthouse you see here is a small replica of the original that used to stand on Fort Canning Hill.
The lighthouse at Fort Canning was one of Singapore’s most prominent landmarks for ships
Reflection: You get to see the small replica of the original lighthouse. Other than that, you can find information about the construction of the supreme court, the dependable lighthouse, the closing of fort canning lighthouse and many more. It is really worth a trip to visit the place.
The Sally Port
The Sally Port (a small door leading in and out of the fort) you see here was one of three at Fort Canning. The other two were supposed to be located on the south side near Hill Street. These two other Sally Ports have, however, disappeared.
Reflection: You can easily missed The Sally Port as it is located along the pathway. If you look closely at the left hand corner, you can see a small door there. I went up the steps of The Sally Port and it basically led to the topside of fort canning park when the Fort Gate and remnants of Fort Wall is located.
Fort Gate and remnants of Fort Wall
You are now passing through a remnant of the fortress that once occupied Fort Canning Hill from 1861 to 1926.
The fort served two purposes – to protect Singapore from attack by sea, and to give Singapore’s European population a refuge in the event of local disturbances.
The fort wall that you now see is a fragment of the strong wall that surrounded the summit of this hill.
The low, thick wall was meant to withstand artillery bombardment. A moat, which had completely disappeared, used to run around this wall.
Reflection: If you take a close look behind the fort gate, you can spot a small door entrance and there is a flight of stairs leading up to the roof of the fort wall. I went up the staircase in order to get a view at the roof of the Fort Wall. I noticed that the stair steps is really steep, so you need to be careful when going up and down. Apart from that , I have captured some pictures while I am at the roof of the fort wall. While you are at the roof, you get an overview of the entire place.
Sculpture and Blossom
First two picture on your left is a sculpture named blossoming. Resembling a blooming flower, this sculpture was shaped by chua boon kee. The tree had grown and adapted to its changing environment over the years. 99.9% of its unique was created and moulded by nature itself. To give it a new lease of life, chua boon kee contributed to the remaining 0.1% in five days.
Last two picture to your right is named madras thorn, a native of tropical America, to this region. A medium-sized tree that grows up to 15m in height. It was commonly grown along roadsides in Singapore until major caterpillar attacks in the 190s led to it being phased out.
This madras thorn in fort canning park was endorsed as a heritage tree in 2001.
Reflection: It’s amazing that the sculpture named blossoming is 99.9% shaped by nature. Its unnatural shape really intrigue people to take a few more looks before leaving. I felt that the sculpture really teaches people to be appreciates of the nature as it is beautiful in every way.
Bonus a little history lesson
First picture on the left: D0bbie Rise also known as Major-General Sir William George Sheldon Dobbie was born in madras in 1879. He started his military career in South Africa. In World War 1, he won the Legion of Honour. He later served in Egypt. Between 1933 and 1935, he was Commandant of the School of Military Engineering. He was then appointed General Officer Commanding (Malaya), where he served until 1939. He was next appointed Governor of Malta, where he served during German bombardment of the island during early World War 2 . He died in 1964.
Second picture to the right: Keramat Iskandar Shah. Since 1822, this terrace has been regarded as a keramat, an auspicious place where some believe they can ask for favours from the supernatural. Keramats are often tombs, and it has been claimed that this site is the burial place of Sri Sultan Iskandar Shah, the last of the five kings who ruled Singapore during the golden age of Malay Kingdom in the 14th Century. Historians are not certain if this is indeed his burial site. When the British occupied Singapore in 1819, the forest covering the hill was cleared, and many ruins of brick buildings were discovered.
Last picture at the bottom: Site of Singapore’s First Botanical Garden. The first botanical garden in Singapore was the brainchild of Nathaniel Wallich, a Dane who became superintendent of the Royal Gardens at Calcutta in 1815. In 1822 he came to Singapore and wrote to Raffles, then living in Bencoolen (Sumatra), to recommend that a botanical and experimental garden be established here.
Reflection: Along the trail you get to see sign board telling you the significant part an individual played in history and some important fact about Singapore history. I felt that this is interesting as it tells us more about our heritage and how the past was like. Hence, it actually affects why things are the way it is now.
The Amazing Greenery
Another reason to visit Fort Canning park, apart for its historical remnants , you can also enjoy its beautiful scenery and the fresh air from mother nature. Just remember to bring along mosquito repellent as there is a lot of mosquitoes there. Other than that you should be fine and I bet you will enjoy your journey there.
My Thought Overall: In a nut shell I really enjoyed my journey to one of Singapore historical landmarks. While walking through the trail you can see so many history left behind by our ancestor. You get to see how the past was like and i felt that it really teaches you to appreciate what you have now.
Source: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Canning> <https://www.nparks.gov.sg/~/media/nparks-real-content/gardens-parks-and-nature/diy-walk/diy-walk-pdf-files/colonial-history-trail-at-fcp.pdf?la=en> <https://www.nparks.gov.sg/~/media/nparks-real-content/learning/learning-journeys/guided-walks/diy-guided-walks/revisiting-history/diy-trail-guide–singapores-colonial-history.pdf?la=en>