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Farrer Park Location History

FARRER PARK LOCATION HISTORY

The Farrer Park location has a rich place in Singapore’s history. It has seen developments in its sporting, political and aviation history over the last 180 years.

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1842: Serangoon Road Race Course

In 1842 the first racecourse in Singapore was built here. Known as the Serangoon Road Race Course, it drew many and created employment for early settlers from Java and India.

The former racecourse was established by the Singapore Sporting Club (est. 1842). Its first members included William Macleod Read, Charles Spottiswoode and William Napier.

They were granted the Farrer Park site to develop the Singapore Racecourse, which opened in 1843. The first horse race here was named the Singapore Cup.

Horse racing gained the interest and attention of the wealthy Chinese in the 1860s, and they offered prize money for races with Cheong Hong ​Lim Cup and Confucius Cup. They came together again in the Autumn Meeting of 1869 and presented the Celestial Plate. The racecourse also served as a polo field and a golf course in the 1870s-90s.

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1911: First powered flight in Singapore

Barely 8 years after the first powered flight in 1903 by the Wright brothers flying the Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, the first powered flight in Singapore took place at Farrer Park race course on 16 March 1911.

Box Kite No. 27 was carried by sea in crates and then assembled in Singapore. An airstrip was prepared at the old race course in Farrer Park for demonstration flights. The pilot was Joseph Christiaens and the plane was a British Bristol Box Kite biplane. The Box Kite flights at Farrer Park on 16 March 1911 marked the beginning of aviation in Singapore.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reprinted with permission.

It was also the backdrop for grand parades including 1919's Centenary Day celebrations, which marked 100 years since Singapore's founding by Sir Stamford Raffles. After the racecourse moved to Bukit Timah, the old racecourse was renamed Farrer Park after RJ Farrer, President of the Municipal Commissioners.

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1955: Merdeka Rally

In 1942, following the fall of Singapore, Indian soldiers were mustered there and urged by nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose to switch allegiance to fight for India's independence from the British. Days later, thousands of Chinese were gathered and held here for a week before they became victims of the Sook Ching (“purge” in Mandarin) massacre.

After the war, Farrer Park was the site for the 1955 Merdeka Rally. On Aug 15, 1955, the People's Action Party campaigned here for self-government.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reprinted with permission.

Thereafter it had a rich and tangible history in Singapore’s sporting life. It became a beacon for Athletics with the opening of the Farrer Park Athletic Centre in 1956.

The Farrer Park gym that is the current home of the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association was officially opened by Othman Wok on Nov 30, 1968.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reprinted with permission.

Local swimming champion Ang Peng Siong, the world's fastest swimmer in 1982, learned to swim at Farrer Park Swimming Complex, which opened in 1957. He trained under the supervision of his late father Ang Teck Bee, who worked there as a lifeguard. Paralympian swimmer Theresa Goh was also a regular at the venue.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reprinted with permission.

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Present Day @ Farrer Park

Present day Farrer Park has undergone transformative change starting with the completion of Connexion, Singapore’s first truly integrated healthcare and hospitality complex in 2014.

Developed and managed by The Farrer Park Company, Connexion delivers healthcare, hospitality, preventive medicine, medical training and education all under one roof. Its mission is to bring value to people through fresh and fair solutions for healthcare, hospitality and wellness.