Kampong Java Road


Kampong Java Road (a.k.a. Kg. Java Road) connects Bukit Timah Road to Newton Circus. Newton Circus is a circular road where Thomson Road, Norfolk Road, Keng Lee Road and Kampong Java Road meet at different points.

The road got its name from the large number of Javanese who lived along Kampong Java Road all the way to Arab Street in the Rochor district, concentrating at Java Village or Kampong Java. Most Javanese came to settle there after Sir Stamford Raffles' Town Plan of 1822 made the area a designated residential plot for the Arabs in Singapore. It soon became a Muslim heartland, attracting Muslims of other races, especially the Javanese. The Javanese were good pekebun or gardeners, selling their produce along Arab Street's five-foot-ways. They were good syces (stable hands, tending to horses) and made themselves useful at the old race course just behind Kampong Java.

Today, the road is mainly lined with residential units. Kampong Silat Housing Estate, made up of apartments and shophouses with distinctive curved roofs for weather protection, was constructed from 1948 to 1952 and was designed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Some of these SIT housing blocks can still be seen on Kg. Java Road.

The most popular feature of Kg. Java Road is the KK Hospital or the Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's hospital, located at the junction of Bukit Timah Road and Kg. Java Road. The hospital, established in 1924, was originally located on the other side of Kg. Java Road. The current building was constructed in 1997. Next to the hospital is the Tanglin Police Division Headquarters, built in 2001, while behind the hospital is the Kampong Java Park, at the junction of Cavenagh Road and Bukit Timah Road. The site of the park was originally occupied by a Christian cemetery (also known as European or British Cemetery) which moved from Fort Canning in 1865 and remained here until 1908. In that year, the cemetery moved again and was incorporated into the then recent Bidadari Cemetery. In 1973, the old cemetery site was converted into the present Kampong Java Park.

Variant Names
Chinese names:
(1) In Mandarin Ang moh poon or Ang moh Phun, meaning "white man's tombs" or "European tombs", a reference to a Christian cemetery at Kampong Java Park between 1865 and 1908.
(2) In Hokkien Ang mo thiong and in Cantonese Hung mo fan, both of which mean "European cemetery".

Malay name:
Kuboran orang puteh which means "White man's graveyard".

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja

Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore (p. 166). Singapore: Who's Who Publications.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN)

Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1988). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (pp. 206, 342, 499). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 EDW)

Haughton H. T. (1973). Native names of streets in Singapore. In M. Sheppard (Ed.), Singapore 150 years (p. 213). Singapore: Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN) 

Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2003). Toponymics: A study of Singapore street names (p. 211). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
(Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV)

Urban Redevelopment Authority. (1995). Kampong Glam: Historic district (pp. 19, 21, 69). Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority.
(Call no.: SING 363.69095957 KAM)

Firmstone, H. W. (1905, January). Chinese names of streets and places in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula. Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 4, 100-101.
(Call no.: RSING 959.5 FIR-[IC])

Gwee, E. (2002, November 20). A long overdue book on the story of KKH. The Straits Times, Life, p. 6.

Ho, K. (2002, March 17). Haunts not for the faint-hearted; The Ghoulish Trail, which takes participants to rumoured haunted places in Singapore, proves to be more educational than frightening. The Straits Times, Life.

New home for major police departments. (2001, May 3). The Straits Times, p. 3. 

The information in this article is valid as at 2003 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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