Padang Walkabout
Start at City Hall MRT


Padang Walkabout will take you through the Civic District, around the Padang. You will pass by Tan Kim Seng Fountain, Cenotaph, see a Cannonball Tree, Indian National Monument, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Lim Bo Seng Memorial, Anderson Bridge, Dalhousie Obelisk, Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, Singapore Cricket Club, Old Parliament House, former Supreme Court Building, City Hall, Padang, St. Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore Recreation Club, and Civilian War Memorial.

Tours: This walkabout will begin right after the map below. Click here to skip History.

History: The Padang (政府大厦大草场), a Malay word meaning big field in front of the City Hall was formerly known as the Padang Cricket Ground. Sir Stamford Raffles instructed the first resident of Singapore, William Farquhar, to reserve the Padang area for public purposes. A bronze statue of Raffles was placed at the centre of the Padang on 27 Jun 1877, however, on 6 Dec 1919, on the centenary of the founding of Singapore, it was relocated to the front of the Victoria Memorial Hall (now Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall).

World War 2 formally ended in Singapore, only in a second surrender ceremony held in Singapore on 12 Sep 1945, Admiral Lord Mountbatten accepted Japanese surrender in Singapore and witnessed the raising of the Union Jack at the Padang. Singapore achieved self-government on 3 Jun 1959. That evening, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his new PAP team held a huge rally at the Padang.

Mr Yusof Ishak took his oath at the Padang to become the Republic's first president on 3 Dec 1959. Singapore was separated from Malaysia on 9 Aug 1965 and became a sovereign nation. On 9 Aug 1966, Singapore's very first National Day Parade was at the Padang. It was a simple march-past involving some 23,000 participants and was a grand solemn affair.

In 2008, Singapore staged Formula One's first ever night race and around Padang is part of the race circuit. On 14 Aug 2009, the world counts down (365 days away) to the Singapore 2010 first-ever Youth Olympic Games at the Padang.

After you exit City Hall MRT Station, turn right and walk into CityLink Mall towards Esplanade exit. Exit CityLink Mall via Esplande exit, you will take the escalator up. At the top of the escalator you will come to a maze of exits. Take Exit A, up to Connaught Drive / Esplanade Drive. Once up onto the road level, look around and you will see...

1. Tan Kim Seng Fountain - In 1857, Tan Kim Seng, a prominent Chinese community leader & philanthropist, donated a sum of $13,000 to the Municipal Council for the purpose of bringing free piped water to the Town. The Council erected this beautiful Victorian Fountain in 1882 in recognition of his generous contribution.

Walk ahead and you will find...

2. Cenotaph was built in memory of those who gave their lives in World War One (1914 - 1918) with a second dedication added in remembrance of those who died in World War Two (1941 - 1945) on the reverse side of the monument. This monument was unveiled on 31 March 1922 by the young Prince of Wales, late Duke of Windsor.

Walk ahead along the pavement and just near the bus-stop shelter you will see a storyborad about...

3. Cannonball Tree - The flowers are large and fragrant with 6 thick fleshy waxy curved petals, yellow on outside and pink inside. The fruits are large, round and hard, reddish to grayish brown, and very much resemble cannonballs. Hindus use the fragrant flowers for prayer and worship. The hard shells from the fruit are used to make containers and utensils.

4. Indian National Army Monument - This World War Two plaque was erected in 1995 to mark the site of the original monument used to stand, dedicated to an unknown soldier of the Indian National Army (INA) during the Japanese Occupation.

5. Queen Elizabeth Walk just beside the river, formerly known as the Esplanade, was the focal point of sporting activities in Singapore from the early days. In 1890, land around the Esplanade was reclaimed and enlarged, turning it into a park that became a popular place for evening walks and social activities. In 1953, as part of the Coronation Celebrations, the seafront promenade was refurbished and renamed Queen Elizabeth Walk.

6. Lim Bo Seng Memorial was built in 1954 in memory of Major-General Lim Bo Seng who led Force 136, an anti-Japanese resistance movement. He was captured by the Japanese in Ipoh in 1944 and died the same year during detention. His body was brought back from Malaya after the war and he was buried at MacRitchie Reservoir with full military honours.

Use the pedestrian underpass to get across to the other side of Anderson Bridge.

7. Anderson Bridge - Governor Sir John Anderson, K.C.M.G. Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements, for which it was named after, declared it officially opened on 12 March 1910. Anderson Bridge was built with the intention to replace the overloaded Cavenagh Bridge as the link between the government administrative area in the Civic District on the northern bank and the Commercial District (now Raffles Place) on the southern bank of the Singapore River.

After the underpass, on the right side...

8. Dalhousie Obelisk was built to commemorate the visit of the Governor - General of India, Lord Dalhousie, & his wife in 1850. It serves as a reminder to all merchants of the benefit of free trade.

9. Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall was built as the Town Hall and was an architectural milestone for Singapore as it marked the arrival of Victorian Revivalism. Victoria Memorial Hall was built as a grand gesture to the memory of Queen Victoria in 1901. During World War II, the Hall was used as a hospital and following Japanese surrender, a venue of Japanese war crime trials. On 21 November 1954, the ballots for
Singapore’s first elections were counted under the clock tower and the People’s Action Party (PAP) led by Lee Kuan Yew was inaugurated. Today, it is the home of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and a lively and popular venue for the performing arts.

In front of Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, you will see the bronze statue ‘Sir Stamford Raffles’ (Artist: Thomas Woolner, 1887). It was originally unveiled on the Padang by Governor Sir Frederick Weld in 1887 coinciding with Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and moved here during Singapore’ s centenary celebrations in 1919.

10. Singapore Criket Club was once an exclusive club for British and European members. In Oct 1852, a meeting to found the Singapore Cricket Club was convened, making it Singapore’s second oldest surviving club after Turf Club (found 1842).

11. Old Parliament House was built in 1827 by G D Coleman, it is Singapore’s oldest surviving building. It was commissioned as a residence for the merchant, John Argyle Maxwell. It is later used to house the Court and other Government Offices until 1965, when the building became Parliament House. Singapore’s first independent parliamentary sessions were held here. On 6 Sep 1999, the Singapore Parliament shifted to the New Parliament Complex. Look out for the bronze elephant statue on the grounds, a gift from King Chulalongkorn of Siam on his visit to Singapore in 1871. This historic building was renovated and re-launched as The Arts House, a multi- disciplinary arts centre in 2004.

12. Former Supreme Court Building (最高法院大厦) was built in 1939, the last colonial classical building to be built in Singapore. Marvel at the massive Corinthian columns and the large dome. Above the entrance of the building, the stately sculpture of Justice wields her scales (‘Allegory of Justice’ Artist: Cavalieri Rodolfo Nolli, 1939) and there is a frieze of the historic signing of the 1819 treaty between Raffles and Sultan Hussein, which established Singapore as a trading post. It was officially opened by Governer Sir Shenton Thomas on 3 August 1939. Together with City Hall, the courts and Legal Offices moved to the new Supreme Court Building located along North Bridge Road in mid 2005.

13. City Hall has been the stage for many of the historic events associated with Singapore’s nationhood. It was here that the British accepted the surrender of the Japanese on 12 Sep 1945, formally ending the Japanese Occupation of Singapore (Feb 1942 – Aug 1945). It was also here that Lee Kuan Yew, as Prime Minister, proclaimed self-government for Singapore on 5 Jun 1959 and merger with Malaysia on 16 Sep 1963. After Separation from Malaysia, the first fully-independent Singapore Government was sworn in at City Hall on 9 Aug 1965. Designed by F D Meadow, City Hall was completed in 1929 as the office for the Municipal Council. The Council was established in 1856 to manage the services of the town. The building was renamed City Hall in 1951 when Singapore acquired city status. The Council was dissolved in 1963 and its functions allocated to other Government departments.

14. Padang - You have been walking around the Padang, a Malay word which means “flat field”. It was reserved as an open space in Raffles’ 1822 Town Plan. It is Singapore’s most important civic space and the venue for events such as National Day Parades.

15. St. Andrew's Cathedral - The original church was designed and built by G D Coleman in 1834. In 1852, it was declared unsafe and a new building was erected. The present Cathedral was built in the English Gothic style by Colonel Ronald Macpherson, between 1856 and 1864 using Indian convict labour. In 1863, the tower with a spire was completed. A window inside this oldest Anglican house of worship in Singapore commemorates Raffles, regarded as the founder of modern Singapore. It is named after St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland. The Cathedral’s glossy white exterior is the result of using Madras Chunam, amixture of shell lime, egg white and sugar.

16. Singapore Recreation Club - “SRC” was founded on 23 Jun 1883 by a group of thirty Eurasian men and was officially established on 1 Jul 1883. At that time, the Club was housed in a building on Waterloo Street. In 1884, a Pavilion was erected on the site of the Padang allocated to the Club. By 1904, with increasing membership, construction of a Clubhouse commenced, and was formally opened on 2 Sep 1905. There were further additions/renovations to become the existing building today.

17. Civilian War Memorial - was also known as the “Chopsticks”, this structure was built to honour the civilians killed during the Japanese Occupation. The four pillars symbolize the Chinese, Eurasians, Indians and Malays who died in the war. A memorial
service is held at this site on 15 Feb every year to commemorate the Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942.

Information is correct as at 21 June 2015. Please visit the destination website for latest updates.