Historical Origins

Punggol has a long history. It is believed that one of the oldest settlements in Singapore, a Malay village named Kampong Punggol located in the vicinity of the Punggol Jetty, existed 200 years ago (before Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore). The original settlers then primarily depended on fishing for a living, with some planting of fruits and vegetables.

Punggol (also spelled Ponggol) is a Malay word meaning hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring the fruits down to the ground. It also refers to a place where fruits and forest produce are offered for wholesale.

From the mid 19th century onwards, Chinese immigrants started settling in Punggol. They were initally engaged in plantation work (mainly rubber), though poultry farming and pig rearing activities soon flourished. Farm produce, fruits and vegetables were traded in the marketplace at the former eighth milestone of Punggol Road. Fishermen sold their catch at the Serangoon River mouth where their boats were docked.

Kampong life gradually changed when basic amenities like piped water, electricity, paved roads, drainage systems and were even television were introduced in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the government began phasing out the poultry and pig farms. The vacated land were subsequently tendered out on short term leases for non-pollutive agricultural activities (eg. vegetable farming).

Punggol used to be known not only for the sumptuous seafood, but also for its many boatels that provided services like docking and renting of boats for boating, water-skiing and skin-diving lessons. These seafood restaurants and boatels have since been relocated to facilitate reclamation works.


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