Do you remember these? Fun facts about Sentosa to celebrate the island’s Golden Jubilee, Lifestyle News
Those of us who still keep physical photo albums might have snapshots of a very different-looking Sentosa in our collection.
Ask any Gen-Xer parent or older, and they’ll likely happily recount the thrill of boarding a first-gen cable car or ferry that would take them to a rustic kingdom offshore.
How things have changed since Pulau Blakang Mati was renamed Sentosa, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee this year. Yes, it has been five decades since a statutory council under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was established on September 1, 1972 and called Sentosa Development Corporation. Its role: to oversee the development, management and promotion of Sentosa Island as a tourist destination.
We have seen the island go from offering ferry rides to being connected to the mainland via the Sentosa Causeway, a 380m long bridge officially opened on September 15, 1992.
We also saw Fantasy Island (a waterslide park that closed in 2002) make way for Adventure Cove; the Asian Village (an enclave of structures representing the traditional architecture and cultures of different Asian countries) redeveloped into Universal Studios Singapore; and the decidedly unflappable monorail transformed into the fast and quiet Sentosa Express.
Here, we take a walk down memory lane and uncover little-known facts about the state of amusement.
Resorts World Sentosa was once a charming ferry terminal
Before the construction and official opening of the Sentosa Causeway in 1992, there were only two ways to get to Sentosa, one of which was by ferry. As the ship approached Sentosa, visitors were greeted by the terminal (with its iconic clock tower) which housed a few restaurants.
Sunset saw the start of a water show known as the Musical Fountain (located behind the terminal), which featured choreographed jets and streams of water illuminated by colored lights and set to popular music.
The Sentosa Express was a monorail… without air conditioning
Opened on February 23, 1982 (fun fact: no report, but it was the same year that Singa the Lion was unveiled as the national courtesy campaign mascot), the monorail took visitors around the island in a narrow two-seater wagon.
It had open windows (not much fun when it was raining) to give passengers a view and sound of the verdant jungle and island attractions below as the train rolled. The monorail ceased operations in 2005 and was replaced by the fun, futuristic, color-coded Sentosa Express which began operating on January 15, 2007.
The Mount Faber cable car line is 48 years old!
Commencing operations and officially declared open on February 15, 1974 by then-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Dr. Goh Keng Swee, the first generation ropeway was a ropeway that connected Mount Faber to Sentosa. In addition to this Mount Faber line, the cable car system today also has a Sentosa line, which was introduced in July 2015 and takes passengers from Merlion Plaza to Siloso Point.
Capella Singapore was once a building that served as a mess for British officers
Capella Singapore may smell of luxury today, but back in the 1880s, when the two-story buildings were known as 48 to 51 Ironside Road, the smell was more…military. At the time, according to Roots.sg, the structures were used as garrisons for the British artillery: “Blocks 48 and 49 were used for the officers’ mess and single officers’ living quarters, while blocks 50 and 51 were for married officers and their families.”
Another fun fact: On June 12, 2018, the hotel hosted a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
For a time after World War II it was used as a training base for military units
To further highlight Sentosa’s rich military history, here’s another interesting fact:
According to the National Heritage Board, Sentosa continued to be a post-war training base for “military units such as the Singapore Volunteer Corps, Locally Enlisted Personnel (LEP), First Singapore Regiment of the Royal Artillery (First SRRA), the Raffles Institution Cadet Corps and the Singapore Naval Volunteer Force (predecessor of the Republic of Singapore Navy)”.
There was a primary school on the island
Yes, you read that right. According to the 1964 Straits Times article, Blakang Mati Integrated Primary School was declared open that year. There is unfortunately not much information about this institution, but we are sure it must have been a fun (boat) ride to school every day!
Fort Siloso has been declared a national monument
Strategically located on the western tip of Sentosa, Fort Siloso was used to defend the western entrance to Singapore’s New Port (known today as Port of Keppel).
During the monumental Battle of Singapore which took place from February 8 to 15, 1942, Fort Siloso provided essential defense by shifting from its role of seaward fortification to providing firepower to the mainland and turning its guns on Japanese troops who decided to invade Singapore from the north. Malaysia. On Total Defense Day (February 15) this year, it was listed as Singapore’s 74th National Monument.
Sentosa is said to have the most peacocks in one place in Singapore.
According to Sentosa’s official website, “Sentosa is said to have the highest number of peacocks in one place in Singapore.” Among them are Indian peacocks (those with bright blue heads and necks) and green peacocks (also known as Javanese peacocks). If you’re lucky, you might come across a rare one that’s all white due to leucism, a genetic mutation that prevents color pigmentation.
READ ALSO: Adventures at Home: New Sentosa Tours Offer Wild Encounters and ‘Time Travel’
This article first appeared in Wonderwall.sg.