Labrador Nature Reserve @ Keppel
Another weekend and another park cum nature reserve. Today it was the turn of Labrador. This is much much smaller than previous adventures but quite unique. We started in the jungle at the top of the cliff looking at WWII 6″ gun placements and tunnels for ammunition. We then migrated down to the beach and park area, including wild chickens all over the place. Then a quick walk around the park including machine gun nests, playgrounds and dragon’s teeth, before finishing with a boardwalk and ending up in Keppel Marina overlooking multi-billionaire’s investments in floating things.
An absolutely cracking day. Well worth a read with some very interesting Daddy-Pedia facts about our little Red Dot…
Labrador Nature Reserve @ Keppel
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Daddy-Pedia time with regards to the artillery here; It used to be known as Pasir Panjang Beach, which translated from Malay, means Long Beach. The area used to have a long strip of coastal land at high tide and a rocky beach at low tide. Clearly why it was a potentially Singapore Island invasion point from the sea and the beaches, hence having a lot of battery placements and the machine gun nests. Also, and more so evident today, why PSA has constructed the monster port terminal there = safe port haven.
We got a taxi to drop us off by this rather amazing Thai restaurant (one to try next time) called Tamarind Hill. There used to be a British military base/fort here, known as Fort Pasir Panjang, right on top of the sea-facing cliff, which is unique to Singapore. Apparently first constructed around the 1890s. The cliff’s high vantage-point led the British government to identify it as a strategic defence site to protect the entrance to Keppel Harbour and it became one of nine locations on Red Dot where the Brits set up gun batteries as part of the Singaporean British defence system.
In the 1930s there was worry about of friends the Japanese developing a mighty naval force, and the British military strove to make the beach an element of a so-called “impenetrable fortress” as part of their strategy to turn Singapore into a powerful military base akin to “Gibraltar of the East”. How about that? There is a myth that because the Japanese actually attacked from Malaysia crossing the Straits to the North that the British were caught with their pants down and could not even turn the guns round that faced into the sea only. Yes, the Brits were caught out it seems, but the myth re the guns not having a 360-degree turning circle are incorrect. Those bad boys could fire a shell 10Km in pretty much any direction.
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Some more Daddy-Pedia now about our mate Keppel, Dragon’s Teeth & Pirates; Keppel Harbour or the Keppel Channel, is a stretch of water between our main island and outlying islands of Pulau Brani & Sentosa. With natural shelter and deep waters, it was the perfect place for our mates the British colonists to kick off a new maritime location for Far East trading, and that is how Singapore eventually became a successful independent state.
Back in August 1819, a chap named William Farquhar found it and reported back his discovery to Sir Stamford Raffles. He mentioned a new harbour that was inhabited by sea Gypsies, loving known as Orang Laut. In the 1830s this was also a haven for pirates, come on you’ve all seen Pirates of the Caribbean when they actually sail into Singapore and meet the Japanese actor playing a Chinese pirate??? By 1832 it was a very busy Government centre for Britain, busier than Penang & Malacca in fact. Around this time a due called Captain Henry Keppel (ah ha…) was sent over on a jolly to clear Singapore of the pirates, and whilst he was here he found the deep-water harbour and consequently had his name applied to it. You have to love a bit of Daddy-Pedia right? The harbour was finished in 1886.