Heritage trail showcasing Kallang landmarks launched

Take a 3km walk on a trail that winds around the Singapore Sports Hub and learn the story of Kallang's heritage through 18 markers.

The Kallang Story: A Sports, Arts and Heritage Trail was launched yesterday in conjunction with Singapore's bicentennial celebrations.

The trail marks out the sites of former landmarks in the area, such as the Oasis Theatre restaurant, Wonderland Amusement Park and Gay World Stadium.

"There is a treasure trove of stories at Kallang. This was where many of our nation's sporting memories were forged, and was also home to Singapore's first civil international airport," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport, and Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng.

"I encourage everyone to come explore the area with family and friends, relive old memories and reflect on our Singapore story."

At the trail's launch, replicas of the historic Merdeka Lions statues were unveiled by Mr Baey in front of the National Stadium, facing the Kallang Basin.

The original statues were commissioned by the Public Works Department in 1955 as part of Merdeka Bridge and were a symbol of Singapore's political push for self-governance from the British.

The statues were moved to Kallang Park in 1965 and then to Safti Military Institute in Jurong in 1995.

The trail is split into three parts: The Waterfront Trail along the Kallang River, The Stadium Trail on the second level of the National Stadium, and The Park Trail, which covers ground from the OCBC Arena to the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Mr Baey was joined at the launch by a host of sporting luminaries including former Olympians C. Kunalan (sprinting) and Lee Wung Yew (shooting), as well as 11 community groups.

Each group was led by an expert guide on a tour of the trail, many with personal histories intertwined with Kallang. One of the guides was Ms Chong Hai-yen, a senior lecturer at Republic Polytechnic's School of Sports, Health and Leisure.

"I trained here at the Kallang Basin for many years as a dragon boater. There was a short slipway that we always passed by. I didn't know it then but the slipway used to be for seaplanes at the old Kallang Airport," said Ms Chong, who is in her 40s.

"Another thing that the public may not know is that the aviator Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean) landed at the Kallang Aerodrome in 1937 as part of her round-the-world flight and called it the 'aviation miracle of the East'."

Also dotting the trails are 14 repurposed benches, made from the timber seats of the old National Stadium, the result of a design competition named Re:Bench that was organised by the Sports Hub and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2019, with the headline 'Heritage trail showcasing Kallang landmarks launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe