Mount Faber is located in the Bukit Merah area in the central region of Singapore. Telok Blangah Hill was the original name for Mount Faber, and it was renamed Mount Faber in July 1845 in honour of Captain Charles Edward Faber of the Madras Engineers, who built a narrow winding road to the summit for the new signal station and flagstaff. The Signal Station and Flagstaff remained on the hill until the early 1970s. At 105 m above sea-level, Mount Faber is Singapore's fourth highest peak after Bukit Timah (162 m), Bukit Gombak (133 m) and Bukit Batok (106 m). At the top of Mount Faber, cable car rides connect to the island of Sentosa, offering breathtaking views along the way.
Tulloh Blangan Hills as illustrated in John Turnbull Thomson's 1844 Map, is also seen in a 1920 Singapore Map, and the 1943 Syonanto Map. Telok Blangah Hill and the range of at least seven hills, sprawling Telok Blangah mukim (classic Malay word describing "territory" pertaining to land area; is also an accepted legal term in conveyancing law, meaning "plot of land") covered quite a vast area stretching from Kampong Bharu Road to near Alexandra Road. The hills include names like Bukit Jagoh, Mount Washington, Bukit Radin Mas, Mount or Bukit Chermin, Bukit Berlayer, Bukit Teresa, and Bukit Purmei. Bukit means "hill" in Malay. At the foot on various sections of this hill range, were from 1823, Temenggong Abdul Rahman's settlement, and other village settlements later sprang up, like Kampong Bharu, Kampong Heap Guan San, and further back Bukit Merah. The original part of Henderson Road at Alexandra Road junction to Depot Road, was probably cut when swamps were cleared in the mid-1920s. The extension of Henderson Road at Depot Road to Telok Blangah Road was only constructed in the mid-1970s, and this meant slicing the original length of Telok Blangah Hill/Mount Faber; one part remained as the Mount Faber we see today, and the other section was renamed Telok Blangah Hill with Telok Blangah Hill Park up Telok Blangah Green, on which stands Alkaff Mansion.
The first developments of Telok Blangah Hill and its change of name
Sometime in early 1845, plans were made to set-up a signal station, flagstaff and observatory up the undeveloped Telok Blangah Hill. Led by Captain Faber, Indian convict labourers were employed to clear the overgrowth of flora and the overgrown pineapple plantation of Temenggong Daing Ibrahim (son of Temenggong Abdul Rahman), who lived at the foot of the hill. In July 1845, the government announced that Telok Blangah Hill, also spelt Tulloh Blangah Hill, would in future be named Mount Faber, after Captain Charles Edward Faber, of the Madras Engineers, who cleared and carved a road up to the summit of this hill, for the installation of a signal station and flagstaff. John Turnbull Thomson, the Government Surveyor, in the mid-1850s, had estimated that Mount Faber was about 300 feet high.
Signal Station and Flagstaff
The Singapore Free Press report of 29 May 1845, stated in its editorial column that the Signal Station on Blakan Mati had been moved to Tulloh Blangah Hill. A new flag-staff was erected in May 1851, and within a month, it was struck by lightening and destroyed. This happened before daybreak, and the signal-men had not yet come to work. Another disaster struck on 8 February 1876, and the Singapore Free Press reported that the Signalman's bungalow was destroyed by fire. The Signal Station and Flagstaff was on the hill till the early 1970s. Today two Telecoms transmitting towers are stationed here.
This defence installation had two emplacements just above the Temmengong Abdul Rahman's Istana Lama, half-way up Mount Faber, to command the Selat Sinki, and the western half of the harbour. The emplacements of two 56 pounder guns and two 13 inch mortars, existed for a long time, as did the granite emplacements laid on the top of Mount Faber for two mortars. Not much other information is available on Fort Faber.
In September 1903, it was suggested by Mr. R.S. Fry head of the Observatory, that the Observatory with its time-ball, then situated at Pulau Brani, should be removed to Mount Faber. The Observatory was then built on Mount Faber, in latitude 1 degree 16' 8" North, longitude 103 degrees 49' 24" East, and came into use from 1 June 1905.
Golden Bell Mansion
The Golden Bell Mansion, with a left dome resembling a Buddhist stupa, built in 1909, in its time a splendid residence owned by Straits Chinese Tan Boo Liat (grandson of Tan Kim Ching, and great-grandson of Tan Tock Seng). According to Song Ong Siang, on 15 December 1911, Chinese revolutionary leader Dr Sun Yat Sen, stayed the night here, in Singapore, immediately after his arrival from Europe. In February 1912, Dr. Sun's wife, three daughters and their maid, also stayed here en route from Penang to China. After the death of Tan Boo Liat in Shanghai in 1934, the house was sold. The house, today occupied by the Danish Seaman's Mission, still stands in Pender Road, on the mid-levels of Mount Faber, on the part of the hill which was once known as Mount Washington.
Mount Faber Scenic Park
The natural tranquility and luscious greenery of this scenic park enables visitors to enjoy views of the spectacular towering skyline of Singapore's Central Business District and Keppel Harbour. Tourists also come for the panaromic view of the south-west coast of Singapore, Singapore's surrounding southern islands, and the nearby Indonesian archipelago. Opened in 1964, and developed on the theme "A Scenic Ridge Park in the Tropics", the park is now a frequent haunt for nature-lovers, fitness fanatics and tourists. Tourists come for rides on the cable car (opened on 15 February 1974) from Mt. Faber Cable Car Station to the island of Sentosa. The well-landscaped park also has a Marina Deck, with a section for 'theme parties' on the hill.
Another excellent lookout point sits atop the peak of Mount Faber Scenic Park - Faber Point, from where the most stunning view of Singapore's modern skyscraper skyline can be seen. A walk up and around this circular, platform, gives visitors mural views of Singapore's colourful history on copper-tooled mural panels. A Merlion Sculpture, Singapore's mythical and Tourism symbol, is also represented on this peak.
Plans for Mount Faber-Telok Blangah Hill Bridge
On 6 November 1989, it was reported in The Straits Times and The Business Times, of the government's plans to construct a 140 m-long and 4 m wide suspension bridge linking Mount Faber Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. Estimated to cost S$5m, the approximately 27 m, about nine-storey high "Mount Faber-Telok Blangah Hill Bridge", will be built across Henderson Road at Telok Blangah Green. In future nature-lovers will be able to jog or walk from Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill when Singapore's tallest "pedestrian suspension bridge" is built to link these two parks.
Completion of Henderson Waves
Henderson Waves, which links Mount Faber to Telok Blangah Hill, along with Alexandra Arch, was officially opened by current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 10 May 2008. The 274 m-long and 8 m-wide Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore at 36 m above Henderson Road. Its distinctive wave-like steel-and-timber structure comes from seven undulating curved "ribs" that alternately go above and below the bridge deck. Henderson Waves offers breathtaking views of the city and southern islands. Together, Henderson Waves and Alexandra Arch provide a seamless walking trail linking the three hills of the Southern Ridges – Mount Faber, Telok Blangah Hill and Kent Ridge.
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