Punggol Early History

Located in the vicinity of the Punggol Jetty, Punggol was believed to have existed 200 years ago before Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore. The Punggol area used to be a well-established rural district dotted with farmhouses and farm structures, which were serviced by roads and dirt tracks. It was one of the oldest settlements in Singapore. The original settlers were predominantly Malays.

The early Chinese immigrants, who settled in Punggol from the mid 19th century onwards, were engaged in plantation work, mainly rubber. As more and more Chinese immigrants settled in Punggol, poultry farming and pig rearing activities flourished. Trading on farm produce, fruits and vegetables was carried out in the marketplace at the former eighth milestone of Punggol Road. The Serangoon River mouth became the docking point for fishing boats where fishermen gathered to sell their catch.

In the 1960s, basic amenities like piped water, electricity, paved roads, and drainage systems were introduced through government and self-help programmes. It was also at this time that television became popular and antennas could be seen installed on many kampong rooftops.

Poultry and pig farms were gradually phased out when redevelopment commenced in the 1970s. The last pig farm closed down in 1990. Land vacated by resettled farmers were then tendered out on short term leases for non-pollutive agricultural activities, which included hydroponic non-pollutive vegetable and orchid farms that used to flourish along the Cheng Lim Farmways and Buangkok Farmways. These farms existed along with old kampongs and low-rise residential areas. Most of these farms have given way to the high-rise HDB flats of Sengkang New Town and Punggol New Town.

Historically, Punggol was populated mostly by Teochews and Catholics. The end of Upper Serangoon Road is known to Teochews as kangkar or "river bank" or "river mouth". Ferries were used on the Serangoon River as transport. An old market was also located here. The Catholic missionaries arrived here 140 years ago and set up churches and schools. A Malay kampong, which has since been cleared, could also be found at Tanjong Punggol. At the end of Punggol Port Road, Indonesian and Malaysian fishermen auctioned their catch at the wholesale fish market.

During the Second World War in 1942, about 400 Chinese civilians were massacred by the Japanese military forces at Punggol Point, the northern tip of the area, in what was to be known as the Punggol Beach Massacre as part of the Sook Ching Massacre. Today, that location has been marked as a national heritage site by the National Heritage Board.

Punggol was also known for its sumptuous seafood and boatels that provided services like docking and renting of boats for boating, water skiing and skindiving lessons. These seafood restaurants and boatels have since been relocated in the mid-1990s to facilitate land reclamation works.


Article extracted from Wikipedia

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