Singapore Botanic Gardens

Singapore Infopedia

by Lim, Tin Seng, Nor-Afidah Abdul Rahman


Established in 1859, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the oldest garden in Singapore. Besides being an ornamental and recreational garden,1 it was also a scientific garden in its early years.2 Currently, the Gardens’ mission includes providing botanical and horticultural support for the nation’s greening plans,3 being a centre for plant taxonomic and biodiversity research in the region, as well as a recreational and educational attraction.4 The 74-hectare (183 ac) Gardens was inscribed as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site on 4 July 2015.5

Although the Singapore Botanic Gardens was established in 1859, its origins can be traced to 1822 when Stamford Raffles proposed the allocation of a 19-hectare (47 ac) site for the establishment of a botanical garden on Government Hill (now known as Fort Canning Hill), where he resided. The proposal, which had input and support from Nathaniel Wallich – a Danish surgeon and naturalist who had previously been the superintendent of the Royal Gardens in Calcutta – was submitted to the Bengal government.6 Apart from being a keen naturalist, Raffles’s motivation to set up a botanical garden in Singapore was linked to the colonial tradition of developing such gardens in the tropics for the experimental cultivation of cash crops as well as for the research and preservation of native plants.7

In fact, shortly after Raffles arrived in Singapore in 1819, he had a garden set up beside his home on Government Hill, where spices and trees that he had brought with him were planted. This laid the foundation for the more expansive botanical garden proposed by Raffles.8 By 1823, the garden had grown to occupy the 19 ha of land as initially planned, and was focused on the cultivation of nutmeg, cocoa and cloves. This led to the establishment of the spice industry in Singapore, which became the mainstay of the island’s economy at the time.9

However, due to high upkeep, coupled with a lack of funding and government support – especially after Raffles’s permanent departure from Singapore in June 1823 – the garden, which was under the supervision of surgeon William Montgomerie, was closed in June 1829.10 Its land was then used for various public projects, including an Armenian church, a school and a hospital.11

In 1836, the Government Hill botanical garden was revived briefly on a much smaller 2.8-hectare (7 ac) portion of the original site. Led by the newly formed Singapore Agricultural and Horticultural Society, of which Montgomerie was vice-president,12 the garden was used for the cultivation of nutmeg. A decade later, however, this plantation was also abandoned after the price of nutmeg declined.13

Establishment of the Singapore Botanic Gardens at Tanglin
Interest in setting up a botanical garden was renewed again in 1859 by a second agri-horticultural society, also formed in the same year.14 One of the society’s first steps in reviving the botanical garden was to reposition it as a landscaped ornamental garden and leisure park rather than just an experimental horticultural plot.15 To this end, the government acquired a 23-hectare (57 ac) tract in Tanglin from businessman Hoo Ah Kay (also known as Whampoa), who was also a founding member of the same society that broached the initiative. The Singapore Botanic Gardens was thus established at Tanglin, its present location.16 The site was bounded by Cluny Road on the north, Napier Road on the south and Garden (now Tyersall) Road on the west. It consisted of undeveloped land, secondary forest and a virgin jungle. Once described as “a haunt of tigers”, the primary jungle – 6 ha (15 ac) of which still exists – remains a key attraction of the Gardens today.17

To develop the Gardens, Lawrence Niven, supervisor of an adjacent nutmeg plantation, was recruited in 1859 as its first superintendent.18 Adopting the English garden as the principal gardening style, Niven created many of the Gardens’ distinctive features that still remain today. These include the interconnecting curving pathways and promenades, Bandstand Hill and ornamental planting.19

In 1866, 12 ha (30 ac) of adjoining land to the northwest was acquired and Garden Road was altered accordingly. Niven constructed landmarks within the extension: The Swan Lake was excavated the same year, and the superintendent’s/director’s bungalow (known today as Burkill Hall) was completed in 1868.20 To attract more visitors and raise funds, Niven also organised flower shows and horticultural fairs.21 The expansion and construction of new developments, however, depleted the society’s funds; by 1874 its debt had forced the society to hand over the management of the Gardens to the colonial government.22

Growth of the Singapore Botanic Gardens
After the colonial government took over the Gardens, it assumed a more scientific and economic role. The Gardens came under the stewardship of its pioneering batch of directors trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Henry James Murton (1875–80), Nathaniel Cantley (1880–88) and Henry Nicholas Ridley (1888–1912).

Following a 41-hectare (101 ac) northern extension in 1879, Murton established the Economic Garden there the same year for the conservation and research of plants with economic potential, such as coffee, sugarcane and pará rubber (Hevea brasiliensis). Pará rubber seedlings were first successfully planted by Murton in 1877.23 He also saw the development of the zoo within the Gardens’ compound, which at its peak, between 1875 to 1878, housed around 150 animals, including leopards and a tiger. However, the zoo closed in 1905 due to high maintenance costs and a dwindling number of animals.24 Cantley, on the other hand, brought order to the rapidly growing garden by introducing by-laws for visitors and a labelling system for the Gardens’ plants and trees.25

Under Ridley’s directorship, the Botanic Gardens focused on the cultivation of pará rubber. He perfected the rubber-tapping technique using the “herringbone” method of making small cuts on the tree trunk to obtain latex, thus enabling latex to be tapped continuously from the living tree. The Gardens’ subsequently gained fame when it became the major supplier of rubber seeds during the rubber boom of the early 1900s.26 Ridley also greatly expanded the Gardens’ collection by adding many plants he came across during his expeditions to far-flung areas around the region. One of his most important additions was the orchid hybrid known as Vanda Miss Joaquim, (Papilionanthe Miss Joaquim), which was designated as Singapore’s national flower in 1981. Many of these plants were recorded in the Gardens’ inaugural periodical, Agricultural Bulletin, as well as Ridley’s publications such as Spices (1912), the five-volume Flora of the Malay Peninsula (1922–25) and The Dispersal of Plants Throughout the World (1930).27

Following Ridley’s departure in 1912, the Botanic Gardens continued to expand right up to the early days of independent Singapore under directors like Isaac Henry Burkill (1912–25), Richard Eric Holttum (1925–42, 1946–1949), and Humphrey Morrison Burkill (1957–69), as well as Assistant Director E. J. H. Corner (1929–45).28 Under Holttum’s directorship especially, the status of horticulture as a principal activity of the Gardens grew. Inspired by the free-flowering and popularity of Vanda Miss Joaquim, Holttum also started the Gardens’ orchid-breeding programme, which produced many floriferous orchid-hybrids, including the Spathoglottis Primrose, the Botanic Gardens’ first orchid hybrid. This led to the growth of Singapore’s orchid nursery industry and orchid export trade.29

During the postwar period, general interest in the Botanic Gardens took a backseat as the prevailing concern of the time was to tackle the various social and economic issues as Singapore moved towards nationhood. However, it did not stop the Gardens’ directors, botanists and horticulturists from publishing their research to bring renewed attention to the Gardens. Some of the titles produced during this period include Malayan Orchid Hybrids (1956), Malayan Wild Flowers (1950), The Life of Plants (1964), as well as Holttum’s Gardening in the Lowlands of Malaya (1953) and his first volume of Revised Flora of Malaya (1953).30

In the 1950s, in line with the Malayanisation policy in the civil service, local candidates were identified and sent overseas to be trained as botanists and horticulturists, so as to prepare for the transfer of civil-service leadership from the British to the locals.31 The first local director of the Gardens was Chew Wee Lek (1970), followed later by Ng Siew Yin (1976–88) who took the helm as deputy commissioner of the then Parks and Recreation Division.32

Post-independence years
After Singapore gained independence in 1965, the Botanic Gardens’ mission was revised from an essentially research-orientated institution to one that provided botanical and horticultural support for the nation’s “garden city” vision.33 Introduced by former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1967, the “garden city” campaign aims to transform Singapore into a city with abundant lush greenery and a clean environment in order to make life more pleasant for the people.34 In its initial phase, an intensive tree-planting programme was spearheaded by the then Parks and Trees Unit. The Botanic Gardens was involved in providing the horticultural know-how for planting and cultivating the trees.35

When the vision was later expanded to include the creation and maintenance of recreational parks and gardens, the Gardens opened the School of Ornamental Horticulture in 1972 to equip public officers and students with theoretical and practical horticultural training.36 The Gardens also boosted its attraction as a public park and recreational space with a number of new additions to its grounds: a second lake at Cluny Road, an orchid enclosure, ornamental plant houses, the Sundial Garden, the Japanese Garden, an aviary and a miniature waterfall.37 In the area of scientific research, the Gardens continued to publish The Gardens’ Bulletin regularly and also launched a new periodical, Gardenwise, in 1989 as another vehicle for disseminating educational materials and research related to botany and horticulture.38

As these developments took place, the Botanic Gardens underwent an administrative reorganisation when it merged with the Parks and Trees Division of the Public Works Department in 1973 to form the Parks and Recreation Department. The new department harnessed the bigger pool of resources as a result of the merger and focused on the continued implementation and maintenance of the “garden city” programme.39 Following the change, the position of director became known as commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Department; however, after another organisational restructure in 1988, the position of director was reinstated.40

In 1996, the Gardens came under the management of the newly formed National Parks Board (NParks), which absorbed the Parks and Recreation Department.41 Following the 1990 masterplan, the Botanic Gardens was revitalised with new and improved public amenities, research infrastructure and training facilities. The plan was implemented in three phases from 1990 to 2005.42

The Gardens today
The Singapore Botanic Gardens today is divided into three main cores: Tanglin, Central and Bukit Timah.43 The heritage portion of the Gardens is the Tanglin core, where some of the Gardens’ oldest landmarks are found. These include the Tanglin entrance (1860s), where the Main Gate is located, Swan Lake (1866) and Bandstand Hill (1860/61), which is famed for its white painted gazebo known as the Bandstand (1930). The heritage museum and research facilities such as the herbarium, the Library of Botany and Horticulture, as well as the Orchid Breeding and Conservation Biotechnology Laboratory, are also sited there.44 The Central core, which is the tourist belt of the Gardens, possesses an array of botanical and horticultural attractions such as Palm Valley (1879), Symphony Lake (1974), Ginger Garden (2003) and Fragrant Garden (2013). The National Orchid Garden (1995) and the Rain Forest (pre-dating 1859) are also located in the Central core. The former contains the products of the Gardens’ orchid breeding programme, while the latter is primary forest and features some of the oldest trees on the island.45 Finally, the Bukit Timah core comprises the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden (2007) – Asia’s first children’s garden – as well as the Eco-Garden and Eco-Lake, where one can examine the herbs, spices, nuts, beverage crops, fruit trees and medicinal plants.46

In addition to these attractions, there are a number of historic buildings throughout the Gardens. Among the oldest are the former residences of the Gardens’ directors and botanists: Burkhill Hall (1868), Ridley Hall (1882), E. J. H. Corner House (1910) and Holttum Hall (1921).47 In addition, the Gardens has six conserved buildings, which were part of the former Raffles College – five bungalows from the 1920s and the Raffles Building, completed in 1958 and previously known as Raffles Hall.48

As at January 2014, the Gardens has 36,400 living plant accessions, 6,544 species and 44 heritage trees, some of which are more than a hundred years old. The herbarium includes 750,000 specimens, of which 8,000 are type specimens, and a library that contains over 28,500 volumes that include books, journals and unpublished materials.49 Today, the Gardens is considered one of the most important centres for plant taxonomic and biodiversity research in the region, apart from being a recreational and educational attraction.50

Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2009, as the Gardens marked its 150th year, views that the Gardens had a shot at becoming a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site (WHS) began to gather momentum.51 The Gardens had previously won major accolades such as Michelin’s three-star rating in 2008, and was named “Asia’s Best Urban Jungle” by Time magazine.52 The Gardens’ close historical links with the colonial economy, as well as its current ecological value, were singled out as its strengths for the bid.53

In April 2010, the then Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (now Ministry of Communications and Information) called a government tender for a study to identify suitable heritage sites to be nominated as WHS.54 Some of the suggested sites following the study conducted by professors Lynne D. DiStefano and Lee Ho Yin of the University of Hong Kong included Kampong GlamChinatownLittle India and the Botanic Gardens.55 After further consultation with experts, academics and other stakeholders, as well as pitting the suggested sites against UNESCO’s criteria, the choice was eventually whittled down to the Gardens.56 Singapore’s cultural districts were not considered strong contenders as these enclaves were Singapore-centric instead of embodying universal value – a criterion to qualify as a WHS – and were deemed to have lost much of their charm due to commercialisation.57

Nomination dossier
In the run-up to Singapore’s official submission for the Gardens’ bid, the government enlisted the help of experienced foreign consultants and ran a public campaign to encourage citizens’ participation in the nomination. In 2011, Nigel Taylor was appointed as the Gardens’ director so that Singapore could benefit from his experience with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, having successfully won the UNESCO WHS status for Kew Gardens.58 In April 2013, consultancy firm Chris Blandford Associates was hired to prepare the Gardens’ nomination dossier, as it too had a hand in clinching the honour for Kew Gardens.59 To strengthen the nomination, the National Heritage Board and NParks invited the public to view and comment on the draft of the dossier, as well as to contribute anecdotes and memories of the Gardens. More than 200 responses from the public were gathered. The open call, a key part of the nomination process, ran from September to December 2013.60

The nomination dossier comprised two components. The first was the nomination document, which detailed the Gardens’ universal values: as an impetus to the region’s rubber boom in the 20th century, and as a tropical colonial garden landscape. The second part was the site management plan, which proposed ways to manage the Gardens.61 The dossier tapped on the knowledge of local interest groups such as the Nature Society Singapore, Singapore Heritage Society and the Rubber Trade Association of Singapore. After one-and-a-half years of preparation, a 700-page nomination dossier was ready in 2013 and subsequently submitted to UNESCO in January 2014, two weeks before the deadline.62

Inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Site
In September 2014, an assessor from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a UNESCO-appointed panel, visited the Gardens. The ICOMOS visit was part of the evaluation process and its recommendation would guide the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in its consideration of Singapore’s WHS bid.63 On 15 May 2015, the ICOMOS released their recommendation for the Gardens to be inscribed as a WHS, which shored up the Gardens’ nomination and created optimism for a positive outcome.64 On 4 July 2015, the World Heritage Committee announced that the Gardens had clinched WHS status at the committee’s 39th session in Bonn, Germany. The results were received in Bonn by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who was accompanied by officials from NParks and the National Heritage Board.65

Singapore Botanic Gardens’ milestones
1822: Stamford Raffles proposes the establishment of the Botanical and Experimental Garden on Fort Canning Hill; by 1823 the 19-hectare garden had come into being.66
1829: Botanical garden at Fort Canning closes.67
1859: The Singapore Agricultural and Horticultural Society sets up the Singapore Botanic Gardens at its present Tanglin site.68
1860s: The Gardens’ trademark interconnecting curving pathways, the Bandstand Hill and Swan Lake are completed.69
1868: Burkill Hall is completed.70
1874: Management of the Gardens is taken over by the colonial government.71
1877: The Gardens successfully plants its first pará rubber tree.72
1879: Economic Garden is completed.73
1882: Ridley Hall is completed.
1910: E. J. H. Corner House is completed.
1921: Holttum Hall is completed.
1930: Bandstand is erected on Bandstand Hill.74
1931: The Gardens produces its first orchid hybrid, the Spathoglottis.75
1960s: The Gardens spearheads the greening of Singapore.76
1973: Merges with the Public Works Department’s Parks and Trees Branch of the Public Works Department, forming the Parks and Recreation Department.77
1990: Masterplan is implemented to revitalise the Gardens.
1995: National Orchid Garden opens.78
1996: The Gardens becomes part of the newly formed National Parks Board.79
2003: Ginger Garden opens.
2005: Evolution Garden and Shaw Symphony Stage are completed.80
2006: Botany Centre and Green Pavilion are opened.81
2007: Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden opens.82
2011: Healing Garden opens.
2013: Fragrant Garden and Heritage Museum are completed.83
2015: Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4 July.84

Directors of the Singapore Botanic Gardens
1859–1875: Lawrence Niven (superintendent).85
1875–1880: James Murton (superintendent).86
1880–1888: Nathaniel Cantley (superintendent).87
1888–1912: Henry Nicholas Ridley.88
1912–1925: Isaac Henry Burkill.89
1925–1942: Richard Eric Holttum.90
1942–1945: Kwan Koriba.91
1945–1946: Gilbert Archey.
1946–1949: Richard Eric Holttum.
1949–1954: Murray Ross Henderson.
1954–1957: John William Purseglove.92
1957–1969: Humphrey Morrison Burkill.93
1970: Chew Wee Lek.
1970–1976: Arthur George Alphonso (deputy commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Department from 1973).94
1976–1988: Ng Siew Yin (deputy commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Department).95
1988–1996: Tan Wee Kiat (director after the position was reinstated in 1988).96
1996–2010: Chin See Chung.97
2010–2011: Wong Wei Har.
2011–present: Nigel Taylor.98


Lim Tin Seng and Nor-Afidah Abdul Rahman

1. Nigel P. Taylor, “Environmental Relevance of the Singapore Botanic Gardens,” in Nature Contained: Environmental Histories of Singapore, ed. Timothy P. Barnard (Singapore: NUS Press, 2014), 117–8. (Call no. RSING 304.2095957 NAT)
2. Bonnie Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer: The Singapore Botanic Gardens (Singapore: National Parks Board, 2009), 39–42, 50–51. (Call no. RSING 580.735957 TIN)
3. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 64–65.
4. “Roles, Vision and Mission,” Singapore Botanic Gardens, n.d.

5. Melody Zaccheus, “Singapore Botanic Gardens Clinches Prestigious Unesco World Heritage Site Status,” Straits Times, 4 July 2015 (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website); Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Singapore Botanic Gardens Candidate World Heritage Site: Nomination Dossier (Singapore: Botanic Gardens, 2014), 5. (From PublicationSG)
6. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 24–26.
7. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 22.
8. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 21; Taylor,Environmental Relevance,” 116.
9. Taylor, “Environmental Relevance,” 116.
10. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 27; Taylor,Environmental Relevance,” 116.
11. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 27.
12. “Singapore,” Singapore Chronicle and Commercial Register, 28 May 1836, 2. (From NewspaperSG)

13. Taylor, Environmental Relevance,” 116.
14. “Untitled,” Straits Times, 24 December 1859, 2. (From NewspaperSG)

15. J. W. Purseglove, “History and Functions of Botanic Gardens with Special Reference to Singapore,” Gardens’ Bulletin 17, No. 2 (1959), 130. (Call no. RCLOS 580.744 SIN)
16. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 28; “Untitled.”
17. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 28.
18. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 28
19. Taylor, Environmental Relevance,” 117–8; Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 55, 58.

20. “Untitled,” Straits Times, 14 November 1865, 2 (From NewspaperSG); Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 51.
21. Taylor, Environmental Relevance,” 118; Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 31.
22. Purseglove, “History and Functions of Botanic Gardens,” 130; “Legislative Council,” Straits Observer (Singapore), 28 December 1874, 2. (From NewspaperSG)

23. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 34; Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 64, appendix IV.
24. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 51; Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 32; The Botanical Gardens,” Straits Times, 11 November 1876, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
25. I. H. Burkill, “The Second Phase in the History of the Botanic Gardens, Singapore,” Gardens Bulletin, Straits Settlements 2, no. 2 (1918), 102–3 (Call no. RRARE 581.05 GBSS; microfilm NL6574); Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 36–37.
26. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 39–42; Hassan Ibrahim and Serena Lee, “The Day the Rubber Trees Cried,” Gardenwise 25 (25 July 2005), 25.

27. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 43, 46.
28. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 48, 50, 60.
29. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 50–51.
30. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 63.
31. “Malayanisation in Singapore,” Straits Times, 25 April 1955, 6. (From NewspaperSG)

32. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 60, 62, 65–66.
33. Taylor, Environmental Relevance,” 133.
34. “S’pore to Become Beautiful, Clean City Within Three Years,” Straits Times, 12 May 1967, 4 (From NewspaperSG); Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965–2000: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Times Editions; Singapore Press Holdings, 2000), 188. (Call no. RSING 959.57092 LEE-[HIS])

35. Lee, From Third World to First, 188–90;Body to Make People Care for Trees,” Straits Times, 19 April 1967, 13 (From NewspaperSG); Public Works Department, Annual Report 1968 (Singapore: [s.8–69.n.], 1969), 58 (Call no. RCLOS 354.59570086 SIN); Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 64.
36. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 65; 16 Attend Classes at Garden School,” Straits Times, 3 October 1972, 8. (From NewspaperSG)

37. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 6.
38. Tan Wee Kiat, “Director’s Message,” Gardenwise 1 1 (November 1989), 1.

39. “New Dept to Develop Garden City,” Straits Times, 28 February 1973, 7; William Campbell, “Pooling Talent to Avoid ‘Blooming Mistakes’,” Straits Times, 25 September 1973, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
40. Lai Nam Chen, “Changes That Reflect Magnitude of Task of Keeping Garden City,” Straits Times, 11 August 1979, 17 (From NewspaperSG); Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 70.
41. “Mission and History,” National Parks Board, accessed 11 August 2015; “New Board,” Straits Times, 4 July 1996, 32. (From NewspaperSG)

42. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 19, 71.
43. “Marvels Within,” Singapore Botanic Gardens, n.d.
44. “Tanglin Entrance,” Singapore Botanic Gardens, n.d.; Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 61 (management plan).
45. “Nassim Entrance,” Singapore Botanic Gardens, n.d.; Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 47, 60–62 (management plan).
46. “Bukit Timah Entrance,” Singapore Botanic Gardens, n.d.; Shobana Kesava, “Asia’s First Garden for Children Opens Here,” Straits Times, 2 October 2007, 28. (From NewspaperSG)
47. “1988: Present: The Gardens Today,” Singapore Botanic Gardens, n.d.; Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 37 (management plan).
48. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 331.
49. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 43, 73, 83.
50. Singapore Botanic Gardens, “1988-Present.”
51. Tan Dawn Wei, “Unesco Bid: How Sbout Tiong Bahru, Bukit Brown?Straits Times, 14 April 2013, 8–9. (From NewspaperSG)
52. Singapore Botanic Gardens, “Singapore Botanic Gardens Clinches Inaugural International Garden Tourism – Garden of the Year Award,” press release, 14 April 2012.
53. “A World Heritage Site in S’pore?” Channel NewsAsia, 15 April 2010. (From Factiva via NLB’s eResources website)
54. “World Heritage Site”; Tan Dawn Wei, “What World Heritage Status Would Mean for the Botanic Gardens,” Straits Times, 6 April 2013, 10–11. (From NewspaperSG)
55. Tan, “What World Heritage Status Would Mean.”
56. National Parks Board, “Annex D – Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Bid Process (2010 to September 2014),” media release; Tan Dawn Wei, “Unesco Bid: How about Tiong Bahru, Bukit Brown?” Straits Times, 14 April 2013, 8–9. (From NewspaperSG)
57. Tan, “Unesco Bid.”
58. Siau Ming En, “UNESCO Nomination Dossier a Labour of Love Since 2010, Today, 6 July 2015, 2. (From NewspaperSG)
59. Tan, “What World Heritage Status Would Mean.”
60. Melissa Lin, “Help in Botanic Gardens’ Unesco Site Bid,” Straits Times, 12 September 2013, 6 (From NewspaperSG); National Parks Board, “Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
61. National Parks Board, “Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
62. Siau, “UNESCO Nomination Dossier”; Zaccheus, “Prestigious Unesco World Heritage Site Status.”
63. National Parks Board, “Singapore’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
64. National Parks Board, “ICOMOS Recommends the Singapore Botanic Gardens for Inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Site,” press release, 16 May 2015.
65. Zaccheus, “Prestigious Unesco World Heritage Site Status.”
66. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 25; Taylor, Environmental Relevance,” 116.
67. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 27.
68. Purseglove, “History and Functions of Botanic Gardens,” 130.

69. Taylor, Environmental Relevance,” 117–8.
70. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 27.

71. Purseglove, “History and Functions of Botanic Gardens,” 130.
72. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 34–35.
73. Burkill, “Second Phase,” 96.

74. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 18, 23.
75. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 50–51.
76. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 64–65.
77. “New Dept to Develop Garden City,” Straits Times, 28 February 1973, 7. (From NewspaperSG)

78. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 16.
79. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 20.
80. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 16, 22.
81. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 21, 38.
82. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 24.
83. Botanic Gardens (Singapore), Nomination Dossier, 16.
84. Zaccheus, “Prestigious Unesco World Heritage Site Status.”
85. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 29.
86. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 33.
87. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 35, 39.
88. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 39, 48.
89. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 48.
90. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 50, 59.
91. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 55.
92. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 59.
93. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 60.
94. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 66.
95. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 65, 67, 70.
96. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 70, 101.
97. Tinsley, Gardens of Perpetual Summer, 101; National Parks Board, Annual Report 2008/2009 (Singapore: National Parks Board, 2010), 5; National Parks Board, Annual Report 2010/2011 (Singapore: National Parks Board, 2011), 4.
98. Kezia Toh, “Making Botanics a Garden of Learning,” Straits Times, 5 December 2011, 6. (From NewspaperSG)

Further resources
Bonnie Tinsley, Visions of Delight: The Singapore Botanic Gardens Through the Ages (Singapore: The Gardens, 1989). (Call no. RSING 580.74459597 TIN)

Survey Department, Singapore, Plan of the Town of Singapore By Lieut. Jackson, 1828, survey map, National Archives of Singapore (accession no. SP002981) 

The information in this article is valid as of 27 August 2015 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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KK Women's and Children's Hospital


The KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital has a history that stretches back to 1858 as the fifth general hospital established since Stamford Raffles set up a trading post in Singapore in 1819. The hospital officially became a maternity hospital on 1 October 1924. Today, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is...

Aw Boon Haw


Aw Boon Haw (b. 1882, Yangon, Myanmar–d. 1954, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), whose name means “gentle tiger”, was also nicknamed “Tiger Balm King”. He is known for having established the Chinese cure-all, Tiger Balm, and for building an empire around it. His other contributions include building the Haw Par Villa (also...

Raffles Medical Group


Established in 1976, Raffles Medical Group is one of Singapore’s largest private integrated healthcare providers. It operates a network of medical and dental facilities throughout the island, and provides specialised medical services such as evacuation and repatriation. In addition, the group is a shareholder Raffles Hospital and manufactures its own...

Tomoyuki Yamashita


Tomoyuki Yamashita (b. 8 November 1885, Osugi Mura, Shikoku, Japan–d. 23 February 1946, Manila, Philippines), was the Army Commander of the 25th Army that captured Malaya and Singapore during World War II. The capture was the most decisive victory of the East over the West. ...

Selarang Barracks


Selarang Barracks was built between 1936 and 1938 to house an infantry battalion. During the Japanese Occupation (1942–45), it was used by the Japanese Imperial Army to hold Australian and British prisoners-of-war (POWs). It is also the site of the infamous Selarang Barracks Square Incident during the war, in which...

National Stadium


The National Stadium of Singapore was officially opened on 21 July 1973 by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. For over three decades, it was used for many major sporting, cultural, entertainment and social events, such as the 1983 and 1993 Southeast Asian Games, the second-leg final of the 2004...