Kampong Java Road

Singapore Infopedia


Kampong Java Road connects Bukit Timah Road to Newton Circus.1

The road got its name from the large number of Javanese living along Kampong Java Road all the way to Arab Street in the Rochor district, concentrating at Java Village, or Kampong Java. The Javanese were good pekebun (gardeners), selling their produce along Arab Street’s five-foot ways. They were also good syces (those who tended to horses) and made themselves useful at the old race course just behind Kampong Java.2

Today, the road is mainly lined with residential units. The Kampong Silat housing estate, made up of apartments and shophouses with distinctive curved roofs for weather protection, was constructed between 1948 and 1952. The residences were designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust.3

Located at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Kampong Java Road, the most prominent feature of Kampong Java Road is the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The hospital, established in 1924, was originally located on the other side of Kampong Java Road. The current building was constructed in 1997.4 Next to the hospital is the Tanglin Police Division Headquarters built in 2001, while the Kampong Java Park sits behind the hospital, at the junction of Cavenagh Road and Bukit Timah Road.5

The site of the park was originally occupied by a Christian cemetery (also known as the European or British Cemetery), which had moved from Fort Canning in 1865 and remained here until 1908.6 In that year, the cemetery moved again and was incorporated into Bidadari Cemetery.7 The old cemetery site was converted into the present Kampong Java Park in 1973.8

Variant names
Ang mo thiong in Hokkien and hung mo fan in Cantonese, both of which mean “European cemetery”, a reference to the Christian cemetery located in the area between 1865 and 1908.9

Malay: Kuboran orang puteh, which means “white man’s graveyard”.10


Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

1. Mighty Minds Street Directory (Singapore: Angel Publishing Pte Ltd., 2015), map 110. (Call no. RSING 912.5957 MMSD)
2. Victor R. Savage and Brenda S. A. Yeoh, Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2013), 201–02. (Call no. RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])
3. Norman Edwards and Peter Keys, Singapore: A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places (Singapore: Times Books International, 1988), 342. (Call no. RSING 915.957 EDW-[TRA])
4. Elisabeth Gwee, “A Long Overdue Book on the Story of KKH,” Straits Times, 20 November 2002, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
5. “New Home for Major Police Departments,” Straits Times, 3 May 2011 (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website); Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 206.
6. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 206, 499; Karl Ho, “Haunts Not for the Faint-Hearted,” Straits Times, 17 March 2002, 11 (From NewspaperSG); Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 202.
7. Peter K. G. Dunlop, Street Names of Singapore (Singapore: Who’s Who Publishing, 2000), 166. (Call no. RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS])
8. Edwards and Keys, Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, 206.
9. H. W. Firmstone, “Chinese Names of Streets and Places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula,” Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 42 (February 1905): 100–01 (Call no. RQUIK 959.5 JMBRAS); Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 202.
10. Savage and Yeoh, Singapore Street Names, 201–02.

Further resource
Urban Redevelopment Authority (Singapore), Kampong Glam: Historic District (Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority, 1995), 19, 21, 69. (Call no. RSING 363.69095957 KAM)

The information in this article is valid as of 7 December 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.



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