Sunday, 17 August 2014

Travelled Back In Time - Queenstown/Alexandra and Schools

Remembering the good old days in 1980s, I used to take bus 14 (now no longer service at bus-stop) from my mum's block to Margaret Drive to visit my old friend/sister of more than 28 years who grew up and lived in Margaret Drive Blk 96 since early 1970s till it demolished in late 1990s/2000s. Her former school - Hua Yi Sec School (formerly known as Hua Yi Government Chinese Middle School - 1956-1983) was once located along Margaret Drive, where she and her sister studied in 1980s. She told me that her former school was said to be "Haunted" school by Queenstown residents where she and her sister encountered that was not reported in news I believe. She mentioned that half of the teachers and students were suddenly sick during lessons and were sent to hospital. She and her sister were lucky then and it because they saw something that made them wavered and dared not speak. Well, I might not say what will happened about these former schools had ceased years ago after this incident. Then in December 1999, Hua Yi moved to an even bigger premises at the present Jurong West Street 42. How true it is and I may not know and it's up to you to believe or not.
Back then, it was noisy and busier towns at Margaret Drive, when I used to play bowling and watched movies at Queensway/Queenstown cinema in 1980s/1990s before it closed. Hawkers centres was where I used to dine for 30 years.
That was the time, there was no heritage group was formed, only just recently a few years ago. If I were the one to set up the site of the history in Queenstown where I grew up for more than 5 decades and lots of happening over the years. Having mixed lots of old childhood friends and old neighbours from neighbourhood blocks since 1970s till now (keep in touch) for many decades.
Photo taken in 1960s
I would remember I sat on the rattan chair as a child in 1960s (photo above) outside my mum's doorgate with my younger brother held a toy gun, oh yes, the old metal gate was installed when the neighbourhood blocks (1st satellite housing estates) was built in early 1960s. And the metal doorgate and alum steel window still exits in this neighbourhood blocks.
Metal gate door
The alum steel window and wooden door still exits in Queenstown at my mum's neighbourhood block.
Alum Steel window and wooden door
I recall the time, my good sister who lived at Margaret Drive, had this kind of units back then in 1970s and the living hall was small with 2-bedroom and a kitchen, the same as my mum's flat. But my mum's unit is on the ground floor.
Queenstown Sec School (formerly Queenstown Tech. Sec Sch)
Back to the Heritage Queenstown that you may or may not know much about this school that my hubby used to tell me about his old school at Queenstown Technical Sec school in 1970s (now Queenstown Sec. School)'s compound where there was used to be 4 storey-low rise housing estates (Princess estates) and playground next to Queenstown Sec. School back then in early 1970s. 
4 Storey-low rise Princess estates
In 1970s, my hubby recalled that he used to take old "SBS" bus from Havelock road to Queenstown Sec School for school class lessions and walked through the Princess estates where the playground was. He told me that after school, he used to wander around the princess estates and playground where there was old swing and see-saw, the ground was sandy and little grass back then. There was used to be children's football field too.
Streets Hawkers at Margaret Drive in 1960s
Before that there was used to be streets hawkers who peddled along Margaret Drive at Queenstown too. In early 1960s, many old Singaporean residents were used to live in kampongs and spoke many local dialects - Hokkien, Teochew and some Malay languages among old folks. There were those residents who used to unlock front doors for neighbours who came to visit one another and taken care of each other and their children when they were not around or went to work as they lived side by side in the neighbourhood kampongs that were formed. It was their kampongs spirit that helped to get to know one another and it was simple life to live with.
Princess House in 1950s (Now)
There is one prominent block that clearly seen along Alexandra road - "Princess House" built as part of Queenstown, the first satellite town, in the mid-1950s by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). It is sited near the junction of Alexandra Road and Leng Kee Road within Princess Estates which was the 1st of 5 neighbourhoods to be built too.
Princess House (Then)
Princess House was designated as the new office of the SIT and was used to be a multi-purpose building for office and community facilities to serve Singapore’s first new town. As the 1st Hdb headquarters, Princess House is historically, its significant, played an important role in shaping the post-war development of Singapore and was used to housed Ministry of Environment in 1970s. I heard that the foreign dignitaries such as Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; Edward Heath, then Prime Minister of Australia; as well as ministerial delegations from Denmark, West Germany, New Zealand and to name a few, had visited Princess House after it was built. Princess House was gazetted and conserved in 20 Sep 2007 as a tribute to the beginnings of Singapore’s public housing programme, and also as a lasting reminder of Queenstown’s history.
Queenstown Consumers Club in 1970s
There was used to be shop along Alexandra road near Forfar estates. I recalled that my mum used to buy cheap goods at Queenstown Consumers Club in 1970s where she lives near her place. Each goods can be fetched about 20 cents or 30 cents each goods you chose. The Queenstown Consumers Club (Queenstown Cooperative Club) was popular to the Queenstown residents back then and opened to Queenstown residents only. She said that it was like a mini-mart or supermarkets where the essential items; sugar, rice, canned foods and others sold at 20 cents or 30 cents cheaper than the market prices. Now it costs about 50 cents (fine salt), rice $2.50 to $5.50(250gm)..etc from NTUC supermarkets and wet markets.

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