Sembawang Park, Singapore


Sembawang lies on the north-eastern corner of Singapore Island. It has been associated with a massive shipbuilding industry for many years and still is. Named after a native tree, it used to host rubber estates and then a British naval base. Sembawang is sited next to Woodlands, best know as the northern suburb of Singapore that is linked to Malaysia through the Causeway and Malayan Railway. Above image, day fishermen have a whale of a time at a wharf that juts out towards Johor in Malaysia.





Sembawang Park (above) is not far from the shipyard (picture below). Interesting enough, there are many examples of Australian flora in this park, the most famous of which is the Bottle Tree, originally from Queensland. I am told that this tree no longer exists as I write, but there is also the Cannon Ball Tree still on site. There is also a hot springs on location for visitors. This far corner of Singapore is also accessible by MRT to Sembawang Town. You may come across many National Servicemen in this area, as the Naval Diving Unit and the 1st and 3rd Transport Battalion of the Singapore Army are also based here.








A bungalow previously housing engineers and other technicians working for the Sembawang Shipyard has been turned into a restaurant in Sembawang Park - the Beaulieu House (picture above). You can dine on Chinese seafood and European cuisine, with a view to the Johor Straits, in surroundings I can only surmise as retro. Beaulieu House was built by the David family who were involved in the mining business and then acquired by the British Navy around 1910.







The Beaulieu House offers several private function rooms, one of which, the Alfresco A & B, can seat over 200 people.





You can enjoy both European and local reflections inside the Beaulieu House - a touch of old England (above) and a restored trishaw (below).









Sembawang does provide a refreshing hideaway from most of contemporary Singapore. Standing by its shore, I am reminded of schoooldays on another tropical island not far north - Penang. Both provide provdie the setting for lazy afternoons when we could still be conscious of the laps of the gentle waters of a sheltered straits and when the cares of the world were just borne by others. You can go cycling or running in Sembawang, far removed from the trials and tribulations of share market movements or strategic-politcal dramas. It also offers insights into what greeted Sir Stamford Raffles when he eyed upon this island of Singapore and made him negotiate with the then Sultan of Johor to take over the island.







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