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Historical Background
Abstract from http://www.ura.gov.sg/dgp_reports/punggol/int-hist.html

Kampong Punggol, which was located in the vicinity of the Punggol Jetty, was believed to have existed 200 years ago, even before Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore. It was one of the oldest settlements in Singapore. The original settlers were predominantly Malays. Fishing was then the main activity. Villagers also planted fruits and vegetables.

In Malay, Punggol (also spelled Ponggol), means hurling sticks at the branches of fruit trees to bring the fruits down to the ground. It also refers to a place where fruits and forest produce are offered for wholesale.

The early Chinese immigrants, who settled in Punggol from the mid 19th century onwards, were engaged in plantation work (mainly rubber). As more and more Chinese immigrants settled in Punggol, poultry farming and pig rearing activities flourished. Trading on farm produce, fruits and vegetables was carried out in the marketplace at the former eighth milestone of Punggol Road. The Serangoon River mouth became the docking point for fishing boats where fishermen gathered to sell their catch.

In the 1960s, basic amenities like piped water, electricity, paved roads, and drainage systems were introduced through government and self-help programmes. It was also at this time that television became popular and antennas could be seen installed on many kampong rooftops.

Poultry and pig farms were gradually phased out when redevelopment commenced in the 1970s. Land vacated by resettled farmers were then tendered out on short term leases for non-pollutive agricultural activities (eg. vegetable farming). Punggol was also known for its sumptuous seafood and boatels that provided services like docking and renting of boats for boating, water-skiing and skin-diving lessons. These seafood restaurants and boatels have since been relocated to facilitate reclamation works.
Former Ponggol Seafood Restaurant  Former Ponggol Choon Seng Restaurant
World War II Massacre
During the Second World War, on 28 February 1942, about 1,000 Chinese civilians from the area around Upper Serangoon Road were rounded up, detained, and were massacred by the bojo kempei (Japanese auxiliary military police) firing squads at Punggol Point, the northern tip of the area, in what was to be known as the Punggol Beach Massacre as part of the Sook Ching purge.

Punggol beach is now on the National Heritage Board's list of historical sites. The marking of the Punggol beach massacre site was part of a series organised in 1995 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II.
Memorial Plaque  Memorial Plaque

Abstract from http://www.asiawind.com/forums/read.php?f=3&i=346&t=345&v=f

In the Telok Kurau English School center (now part of La Salle School campus) the Chinese males were asked to put down on a piece of paper their name, age and occupation. From the information collected all detectives, government officers, and teachers were tied up with other tattooed people and taken by army trucks to Ponggol foreshore and shot.

Abstract from http://www.spi.com.sg/spi_files/massacre/main.htm

While the dreaded kempeitai enforced all screening programmes within the heavily populated areas of downtown Singapore, responsibility for these activities to the north and east of the island fell to units of the Konoye Imperial Guards. Commandeering a large colonial bungalow known as Oehlers' Lodge, on Upper Serangoon Road, the Guards deployed sizable numbers of troops on house-to-house searches throughout the area. Here their tactics differed from those of the kempeitai. Elderly men, females, and all children below the age of fifteen years were not required to attend the concentration camp at the lodge.

The lodge built by a member of the Oehlers family was located on the northern side of Upper Serangoon Road, several hundred yards before the Punggol Road turn-off. One side of the property was a tennis court, contained within a high, rectangular mesh-wire fence. The Guards decided this would be an ideal location for screening the entire Chinese community living alone Upper Serangoon Road to the eastern end at Kangkar where there resided Teochew fishermen and their families.

Some 1,000 Chinese males found themselves incarcerated on the tennis court. The Guards began a body search on those with tattoos. Those with body markings were likely to be members of Chinese secret societies or other gangster elements. Every male spotting a tattoo was routinely set aside for execution.

Then began a Q&A interrogation of all detainees on the tennis court through Taiwanese interpreters. They were asked about their attitudes towards the Japanese, whether they were communists, whether they were Government servants, merchants, students, employees of Japanese companies, working for British companies or laborers. At the end of the interrogation came 12 military lorries pulled into the lodge driveway. Prisoners who had been discovered with tattoo marks were loaded into the back of the first vehicle. With them went a number of Japanese troops armed with rifles and light machine guns. One by one the remaining eleven lorries were filled with Chinese men, youths and boys who were led across in groups from the tennis court.

The 12 vehicles drove off in convoy along Upper Serangoon Road, turned left into Punggol Road and motored to the bus terminus located then, as it still is today, at the extreme end of the route where the road meets the Straits of Johore. All prisoners were ordered to get down from the lorries. Then as evening approached, they were escorted to the Punggol foreshore, group by group, and executed by firing squads.

Matilda House
Abstract from http://www.ura.gov.sg/skyline/skyline02/skyline02-01/text/skylineP4c.html

Located at Punggol, Matilda House was built in 1902 for Mr Joseph Cashin whose family history in Singapore can be traced back to the early 1840s. The building is a fine example of an early style tropical bungalow. The tropical style of the building is accentuated through its architectural features such as open verandahs, raised floors and the use of timber framed lattice and louvres to permit cross breezes. As the only remaining historical bungalow in Punggol, the conservation of Matilda House will serve as a significant landmark for the future Punggol new town and as a reminder of "old Punggol".
Matilda House
In the 1970s to early 1990s, Punggol was used for agriculture and there were a number of pig farms located there.

Abstract from http://www.fao.org/WAIRDOCS/LEAD/X6105E/x6105e10.htm


In 1970, with the introduction of effluent water quality standards, the Government of Singapore embarked on a comprehensive programme to reduce pollution caused by industrial sources. Agricultural activities that produce wastes which pollute the environment, especially pig farming, were identified. The measures taken by the Singapore Government to alleviate the problem of water pollution from pig farms were:
  • to cease rearing of pigs in farms located within water catchment areas. This was successfully completed in 1981;
  • to identify less sensitive areas outside water catchment where pig farming could be carried out. A total of 1 000 ha of land was developed in Ponggol between 1976 and 1980 for relocation and intensification of pig farming;
  • to seek financial and technical assistance from international agencies to carry out research and development programmes in animal waste management and utilisation.
Relocation of Pig Farms at Ponggol

Starting in 1975, pig farmers were resettled from the water catchment and urban areas to Ponggol district in the central north tip of Singapore. The Government of Singapore made ex-gratia payments to farmers who were affected by the clearance programme for the improvements made on their land. Farmers were also given options to continue pig farming on alternative land at Ponggol or to cease pig farming completely. About 1 000 ha of land in Ponggol were developed in phases. Ponggol Phase I pig farming estate comprising an area of 208 ha was established in 1974-1975. This was followed by the development in 1975-1976 of Phase II pig farming estate consisting of an area of 253 ha. Farmers were given temporary occupation licenses (TOLs) with nominal rental charges for the land allocated to them.

There were 198 TOL farms established on 113 ha of land in Ponggol Phase I & Phase II Pig Farming Area (PFA). These farms vary in capacity from a minimum of 200 heads to a standing pig population (SPP) capacity of around 4 000 pigs per farm. The facilities built on the farms included pens for boars, sows, weaning and fattening pigs, feed store, rainwater collection pond and dwelling house.

There were inherent shortcomings in encouraging the development of small farms. Most of the farmers installed cheap feed-milling machinery on their farms and experienced difficulty in producing quality pig feeds. There was lack of economy of scale. The farmers brought with them traditional practices that included old building materials and wide farms, and they did not improve their housekeeping and husbandry practices.

Abstract from http://www.traill.uiuc.edu/sowm/paperDisplay.cfm?ContentID=6527

Two aerial photos of the Ponggol pig waste treatment plant are given in which you could identify the unique design of the barns and all of the major unit treatment modules employed in the Ponggol Pig Wastewater treatment Plant.
Ponggol Pig Wastewater treatment Plant
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