Sunday, August 16, 2015

[Singapore Parks] Mount Emily Park

Signboard of Mount Emily Park
There are more than 300 parks and 4 nature reserves that come under the charge of Singapore's Statutory Board, NParks. Indeed, some parks are less well frequented than others. This can be due to their locality, its facilities or the variety of activities that are organised within the park.

Mount Emily Park is pretty much a quiet old dame of a park that offers nothing more than serenity. Surrounded by private housing, St. Margaret Primary School and the Istana grounds, the park sits on an elevation far beyond the noise of any vehicular movements. Even though the park itself is within the Central Business District.

Behind its quiet facade, the park grounds hold rich history of Singapore's past. Mount Emily was previously known as Bukit Rawa. 

Closer look at the Coat-of-Arms

One of the first structures that you will see at the park is this entrance shelter. Sited in the rock wall of this structure is an emblem of yesteryear. This emblem is a coat of arms granted to the Municipal Commission by the College of Heralds in April 1948. (1)  The colours featured on the coat-of-arms are largely intact and it's such a throwback to see this in person.

Singapore's Coat-of-Arms

It is said that this was the entrance to the former Mt. Emily Swimming Pool. This is where the part about it having a rich history begins.

Reservoir and Mount Emily Swimming Pool

Mt. Emily Reservoir (2)
Mt. Emily once held two service reservoirs that were constructed in the 1880s. But by the late 1920s, the service reservoir was no longer required. It's redundancy was brought upon by the building of the Fort Canning Service Reservoir, which the press claimed to be the largest enclosed reservoir in the East. (3)   

1954 Map from OneMap (4)

The reservoir was then converted into a swimming pool and it was officially opened by Mr R. J. Farrer, President of the Municipal Commissioners on January 10, 1931. (5) The total cost of converting the reservoir into a public swimming pool came up to $30,000. (6) To find out more about Mount Emily Swimming Pool, click here. (7)

Mount Emily Park

Panoramic view of the park

In the early 1900s, Mount Emily Park was seen as a popular retreat of those staying close by. There was a band that played in the afternoon. Parents and children would also spend time playing together. (6)  

Some of the oldest trees seen in the park
The girth of some of the trees there stood as testament of its glorious days. The age of these trees must have been more than 100 years old.

With such a rich history to this park, surely it must be made into a place of interest for local Singaporeans.

Last updated: August 19, 2015


1. Lim, J. November 7, 2014. A crestfallen ghost of the past. The Long and Winding Road. Accessed on August 16, 2015. 

2. National Archive of Singapore. Accessed on August 16, 2015.

3. The Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser. September 17, 1929. New Emily Park. P9.

4. OneMap. Accessed on August 16, 2015.

5. The Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser. January 1, 1931. Mount Emily. P20.

6. The Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser. January 12, 1931. A Big Splash. P20.

7. Mount Emily Swimming Pool. December 20, 2012. Accessed on August 16, 2015.

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