Friday, June 27, 2014

The Mysterious House at Dairy Farm.

If you have been to the Dairy Farm Nature Park, you might have seen this rather quaint abandoned building near the Wallace Education Centre.
In the past, I have been often asked by many people, including some TV production companies, with regards to the background of this mysterious bungalow.

Until recently, my only bit of knowledge of this house was that it was used as the field headquarters of Brigadier Duncan Maxwell during the Battle of Singapore in Feb 1942. Brigadier Maxwell was in command of the 27th Brigade of the 2nd Australian Imperial Forces. His men were assigned to defend the area between Kranji River and the Causeway.

Who occupied the house before and after the war was totally beyond me until recently, when a close friend, Jerome, sent me some old photos of Dairy Farm.
Jerome's great great grandfather came to Singapore from China in the 1890s and lived in the area that would eventually become Dairy Farm and Chestnut Drive. His family homestead was there till the late 1980s when the government acquired the land for housing.

It seems that this particular house was formerly owned by the Cold Storage company that ran the dairy farm. The house was staff quarters and was used by the chief veterinarian as well as the General Manager of Dairy Farm in its time. The last occupant was Mr Fielding, and thus it is often referred to as Fielding's House.

So, mystery solved !
Until now, you'd probably only find urban legends and talks of haunted houses if you tried to google this place.

The main milking shed at Dairy Farm has now been turned into the Wallace Education Centre and is used for teaching schools about art and ecology.

Here are some pictures of the Wallace Education Centre today as well as an old photo from Jerome showing the original milk shed in the background

Wallace Education Centre, Dairy Farm Nature Park.
The original milk shed at Dairy Farm.

Related links:
The Dairy Farm
Dairy Farm Nature Park
Alfred Rusell Wallace

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tenancy Agreement for living at Princess Elizabeth Est

Princess Elizabeth Estate was built in 1953 by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), after taking over the project from the Princess Wedding Fund Celebration Committee.

In 1960, all housing related functions in Singapore were assumed by a newly created government body, the Housing and Development Board, which was established by an Act of Parliament on 1 Feb 1960.

Reader Amir Ahmad recently sent me a copy of the original tenancy agreement which his father signed with the HDB in June 1960. That allowed them to move into No. 141 Elizabeth Drive. This unit was on the ground floor of the 7-storey block. This bock would in time be known as Block 24.

Here is a scanned photo of that tenancy agreement, a rare and priceless heritage document today.
This was one of the early documents issued by the new Housing and Development Board.

Amir Ahmad also made me a sketch of his old home at unit #01-141.
Some of you, who might have lived at Blk 23 or Blk 24 will recall the layout of these 3 room flats.

If I am not wrong, I believe Amir used to live beside the unit that was used by our estate band boys, the Pests Infested, for their loud band practice? Can't imaging fitting a band into those tiny living rooms that we had!

Thanks for your contribution, Amir Ahmad.

Related links:

Photos from ex-residents (14) - Amir Ahmad