Sunday, April 07, 2013

Taman Jurong Heritage Trail - Taman Jurong in 1970


Recently, I came across an interesting document concerning Taman Jurong. My church, the Calvary Bible-Presbyterian Church at Toa Ching Road, has just celebrated our 40th anniversary. They gave each of us a copy of the the first issue of our church bulletin, Vol 1, No. 1, dated September 1970. In this bulletin, there was a pastoral letter was written by our first pastor, Rev Philip Heng. Titled A Glimpse of the Promised Land, he narrated his impressions of coming to this part of Singapore for the first time. I reproduce extracts of his essay below. You will see that he mentions several places that have since disappeared from the face of Singapore. Do you remember any of these places?


Notice that Corporation Drive joins directly to Corporation Rd in this map – no Yung Ho Rd at that time!

“Those who have seen our proposed church site in Jurong Town will readily agree that we are in a strategic position, not “far from the madding crowd and strife” but rather in the midst of humanity. Let me take you on a tour to see why our site is so strategic.

Just look at the numerous significant landmarks that point the way to our proposed church. Coming by the “southern” approach, we drive westwards along Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim and turn right into Corporation Road at Bulatan Gudang (Godown Circus). At the traffics we turn right again into Corporation Drive. On the left hand side are the Police Station and the Bank of America while on the right side are the St. John’s Ambulance Association House and market. Further along comes the First National City Bank and Chartered Bank, the Jurong Dental Surgery, on the left hand side with the Jurong Primary School conspicuously opposite. Right next to the school are more high rise flats.

At the Junction with Yung Kuang Road, and on the left side is the Jurong Hospital and Clinic. Two stones’ throw away are the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) visible from the road. We next pass a large open-air cinema and come to the junction with Tao Ching Road. And right here, in the foreground of Blocks 111 and 112 is our “Promised Land”.

Site of the Calvary Bible-Presbyterian Church at the junction of Corporation Dr and Tao Ching Rd (1970)
Bro. Moses and Lillian Tan of the Life Church live here in Block 111 which also houses the Jurong Town Residents’ Association. Behind Block 112 and skirting our proposed church are several blocks of multi-storey flats being built and presently overtaking the 10-storey blocks. Beyond these will be executive housing.

What about the older blocks of buildings? Across Corporation Drive from the church are 3-storey blocks. How dwarfish they look by comparison! However, they house established shops such as the tailor, photographer, stationer, laundrer, dress-makers, grocers and the hair-dresser. Beyond these, on the far left, are numerous eating stalls, JTC offices, the post office, the Government outpatient dispensary and other shophouses and business houses.

Continuing our tour along Corporation Drive, we come by another large empty plot on the left earmarked for a cinema and a creche. Then we pass by the Jurong Church and Civic Centre on the right. The road runs on for another quarter mile with multi-storey flats flanking both sides some still under construction. When we come to the end, it is now block 99 and just think of the thousands dwelling there.

We turn left in Yung An Road to be confronted with several blocks of Army barracks. What an opportunity it would be to minister to the men in uniform – defenders of our country, our sons.”

Here are some photos of places mentioned in the above article that are still standing today.





PS - Having been closely associated with this part of Singapore for more than 30 years, I plan to start a new series of articles about Taman Jurong which I will label Taman Jurong Heritage Trail. Look out for them.

20 comments:

Johnny said...

I used to pass by Taman Jurong for about three years while on the way to work. Have always thought it to be a nice quaint neighbourhood. I look forward to learning more about Taman Jurong. :)

Srk said...

Thanks for your grateful informations, am working in Tourism Portal, so it will be helpful info for my works.

Anonymous said...

I attended Calvary Kindergarten (1976-77).
Grew up in Yuan Ching Road.
Vividly remember the old Jurong Hospital, for i was a frequent visitor..... n dubious honour for a mischievous boy.

I even remember the old Chase Bank, just across a child care centre where I was entrusted to...

Lam Chun See said...

Actually I have posted a few articles and photos previously on Taman Jurong. Will relabel them later.

Lam Chun See said...

Last year they demolished blocks 103 and 105. Now they are demolishing blocks 5-10 @ Yung Kuang Rd and Yung Ping Rd. Meanwhile, Corp Tiara is taking shape fast. Soon this part of Spore will be changed beyond recognition.

TheSounDOne said...

Was there a swimming complex much like that of Big Splash also in Taman Jurong?

Lam Chun See said...

Yes. I think the original Big Splash was in Taman Jurong; next to the Mitsukoshi Garden.

FL said...

My first impression of the old Taman Jurong (TJ) was the ex-Taman Jurong NS Camp (TJC)there. I remember taking public bus no. 175 (?) regularly from SAFTI to home in Bt Ho Swee during my full time NS in 1970/72. This bus leaving SAFTI was always packed with NSmen. The bus would looped into Corporation Rd/Drive area where TJC was located. My other memories of TJ around 1974/75 were the ice-skating rink and the drive-in cinema which I enjoyed with friends during weekends then.

Tah Chung said...

There used to be a zinc roofed hawker place like the one in Holland Village. Like Holland V, it must be gone by now.

Tim said...

A West Point hospital? Seems so ironic it is near an army camp.

Tim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lam Chun See said...

The West Point Hospital in the photo is the former Jurong Hospital and Clinic. This is a very small private hospital and caters mainly to the nearby factories in Jurong. Many send their foreign workers there for medical checks and treatment.

The second irony is that it was renamed Westpoint relatively recently, after the two army camps had moved out.

Anonymous said...

I'm always very traumatised when I hear of this church. I used to attend the kindergarten at the church. There was once I missed the school bus home because I was in the bathroom. When I realised that I was left behind, I walked out of the church compound to my grandmother's home in Blk 115 (about 5 mins walk away). Nobody cared that a 5 y.o. was leaving the school and church compound on her own. I called my parents from my grandma's place eventually. When my mother called the school to ask them who they can let me leave the compound on my own, the kindergarten adminstrator decided to call my mother names. They were very very snotty in those days and looked down on the poorer people who send their kids to the school. My parents pulled me out of the school and sent me to St Francis of Assisi at Boon Lay instead. I guess we weren't good enough for Calvary.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy, it's sad to know that they demolished blocks 103 and 105. I lived in block 105 for many years and was thinking of re-visiting it and the area the next time I go back home. Raymond.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Blk 99, then Blk 1, and finally Blk 144 in the 70's and 80's before moving out of Taman Jurong. Went to school there all my life, Jurong Town Primary and Jurong Secondary, then Jurong Pre-U in the same secondary school.

Mitsukoshi Garden was later known as CN West something (can't remember exact name). The slides are steeper than those in Big Splash.

Remembered running cross-country in Jurong Park during school fitness test or PE, roller-skating at the rink there, fishing at the Jurong Lake... Ah...memories!

Anonymous said...

Living in TJ now but still not know about the past of it. Now that I know, how I wish to re-live the past!

Philatherapist said...

A few days ago,I came across a photocopy of a birth certificate of a person who was born in 1971 and the parent's address recorded in the BC as Block 41 Jalan Peng Kang,Singapore 22 .For those who are familiar with Taman Jurong, they will definately remember the name of the roads joining the estate such as Yuan Ching Rd, the longest of them all about 1.5km. Others such as Yung Loh,Yung Ho,Yung Kwang,Yung An,Tao Ching,Kang Ching,Ho Ching,Tah Ching are short roads about 200-500 metres long.Lining the short roads were blocks of flats from less than 6 floors to the highest blocks of 21 floors.The highest/tallest block at Taman Jurong,Blk 63,64,65&66 Yung Kwang Rd also popularly known as Diamond Block because of its design and inter connection at the ground floor where Standard Chartered Bank,NTUC Fair price supermarket and other shops operate.Now going back to road names,I recalled that blocks starting with no 40 were located behind Taman Jurong Camp where the present day Yung An Rd is.The Assyakirin Mosque today is where blocks 40-50 used to be.Between 1971-1975,I frequented Taman Jurong as my married brother and sister used to stay at Blk 46 and Blk 118. In between visits to my siblings flat,I secretly visited Jurong Cinema to watch a 'soft porn' movie titled Sex and the Animals! It could be be classified as soft porn movie back then but now it is freely available in the National Geographic or Animal Planet channels as documentaries.
Today I am still travelling to Taman Jurong and can't stop wondering whether Jalan Peng Kang has been renamed Yung An Rd and for those who have memories of the Diamond Block and want to treasure it, please hurry as all four blocks have been vacated recently and I am quite sure it will be demolished soon.

Chun See Lam said...

Hi Philatherapist. Thanks for sharing you memories of Taman Jurong. Regarding the Jalan Peng Kang that you mentioned; I checked my 1963 street directory and cannot not find such a road; neither Peng Kang Rd or Jln Peng Kang.

Mrs Singh said...

My dad shifted to jurong from town in 1966,i have seen taman jurong for 49 years,and am proud to be called TAMAN JURONG
Time has changed so has our enviourment but memories are still fresh.The Misokoshi garden with slides that children loved and the open air theater.If only time can reverse back. Hope to see the misokoshi garden agin.

Anonymous said...

I was a resident in blk 114 ho ching road from 1970 till 1994. Got married & shifted elsewhere. Fond memories of the old Jurong Town pri school. There was an old well (I cant remember if its a well or just part of the sewage system)at the edge of the school field beside jurong sec school. Reputedly it was haunted hehehe. Jurong lake back then was abundant with varieties of fishes.. I still remember back then during my morning run at japanese, chinese garden, there will be schools of fishes jumping about on their feeding frenzy at the break of dawn..recently i went fora morning run at the area...no fishes jumping about...quite sad though..one of the best buns that i ever had was the old b & w bakery..its just behid the old jurong npp. Near to the old post office. There use to be an old posb branch at the vicinity (All 4 stories block of flats) the lower floors were all either shophouses or coffee houses while the 2nd till 4th floor were residential. I love this spot especially in the late afternoon...its rather cooling and the atmosphere was as if youre living in europe (coz the walkways was filled with yellow flowery petals that bloomed)