Monday, 15 December 2014

Former Queenstown Driving Test Centre

Driving Test Centre was my first "Highway Code" test paper in 1982. Before that, I bought a book - Highway codes in 1981 to read more details before I took a test examination. I remember my mum told me last year that she took driving test and oral test in early 1950s at Maxwell Driving Test centre, was the first driving test centre when she was a teen then at that time. She said that the test was not easy and it took her effort to pin point the road & traffic light by using a small 'toy' car. There was no paper exam or nothing, just use the toy car because some people like her were not highly educated and only chinese speaking and dialects.
Nostalgic Car - Ford Prefect in 1950s
She passed her test as well as driving test in her 1st attempt after she was asked how to slow down the 'toy'car at the speed of the 'toy' car before pedestrian crossing, she was lucky and because she knew what the road was like at that time. I believe that her older siblings who had cars were the one who drove her everywhere on the road. After she passed, she immediately bought her own car - Ford Prefect in early 1950s (photo above).
When the new test centre "Queenstown Driving Test Centre was built in 1969 and was the second driving test centre to replace Maxwell test centre in providing tests for applicants of vocational licenses to operate buses and taxis and also to ease the workload of testers at Maxwell Driving Test Centre, relieve the traffic congestion along Maxwell Road.
I completed my Highway Code and obtained my provisional license from the Driving Test Centre in 1980s. I started to learn driving under "L" sign and my driving instructor was a guy whom I knew from my old friend's recommendation. At the time, his car was manual and not automatic car during the time it was not invented yet.
Driving Licence in 1970 (Issued 1969)
The Driving Licence was first issued in soft paper in 1950s at that time till 1970 which my mum has kept since. So do you have this? This is very rare of this paper Driving Licence when there was no computer at that time and handwritten by the staff that issued out. As you can see the difference on top of the driving licence, stated "Passport No. (foreigner only) till 1989 without logo of lion head.
Class of Vehicles shown as:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (see above) and now it included 2A, 2B,4A printed in 1990s
Paper licence to Laminated Licence
The above photo shown without laminated licence at that time because it was not invented during the time till 1990. And the soft licence paper reduced its size in 1971 to save the cost. The logo "lion head" appeared on the laminated licence in red but before that it was black in colour till 1990 with indicated "Passport no. (foreigner only). The below laminated licence indicated Licence/ID no. printed in 1990s. I was confused these licence changes over the years and now "photo" licence plastic card imprinted in late 2000s onwards. I was told by my mum that there was no "PDL" issued vocational licenses in early 1950s. The above driving licences were kept by me after my mum passed to me for safekeeping for nostaglic.
Former Queenstown Driving Test Centre (taken in 2013)
Queenstown Driving Test centre was ceased and taken over by Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre in 1997 and later that year in 2006/7 was International School, I recalled.
Queenstown Driving Centre (Back)
I was informed that there was an event - Farewell Queenstown Driving Test Centre" on 13 Dec 2014 and I was thrilled and looked forward to see the classroom where I took a 'Highway Code" test paper in 1982 that I longed to see.
Highway Code Test room
I still remember the classroom was 2nd level in middle room facing the bus-stop and at the time there was no Queenstown Mrt station (opened in 1988). The "Highway Code" test paper was conducted in days and nights too, because most people like me were working then and they hardly took leave to go for a test paper. Mostly "busy" Singaporeans took test at nights after work.
I was glad to see the classroom, still intact and no changes as the building and rooftop remains the same but sadly it was only one day event in bid to say "Goodbye" to Queenstown Driving Test Centre. I hope that this building would save and transforms into museum instead at Blk 38 "coffin" shape wet market. I believe Singaporean would love to see this "nostaglic" centre as Singapore's 2nd Driving Centre in its historic way.

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