Tanjong Rhu Road



Tanjong Rhu Road begins from the junction of Fort Road and Meyer Road, and ends near the Marina Reservoir. It runs parallel to the East Coast Parkway while part of the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway runs under Tanjong Rhu Road.1 This road used to be a marine yard and the centre of shipbuilding and repair in Singapore before the shipyard industry moved to Jurong in the 1980s, and thereafter the Tanjong Rhu Road area was converted into a residential estate.

History
Tanjong Rhu Road was named after the casuarina trees that grew along the coasts of Kallang and Rochor. Casuarina trees are known as pokok rhu in Malay, rhu being the Malay name for the casuarina littoria variety of the tree.2 It is unknown when the road was named Tanjong Rhu but the name has been in use since at least the early 17th century, as the area is labelled “Tanjon Ru” in Emanuel Godinho de Erédia’s1604 map featuring Singapore.3 Other roads that connect to Tanjong Rhu Road are named similarly, such as Tanjong Rhu Place, Tanjong Rhu View and Tanjong Rhu Cross.


According to Stamford Raffles’s town plan prepared by Philip Jacksonand published in 1828, Raffles had intended for Tanjong Rhu to be a “marine yard”. Only the tip of Tanjong Rhu, which was historically known as Sandy Point,is depicted in the map.6 One of the pioneers of the shipbuilding business was William Flint, who set up a company in Tanjong Rhu in 1822.George Lyons and his brother also set up a shipbuilding yard there in the 1850s.8 Other shipbuilding companies followed suit, including Thornycroft9 and United Engineers.10 By the early 20th century, Tanjong Rhu had become known for its shipyards.11

Tanjong Rhu shipyards
Vessels of various sizes were built and repaired at the Tanjong Rhu shipyards – such as high-speed patrol boats, warships, launches, tankers and tugboats. The orders came from local clients like the Singapore Marine Police Force and overseas government agencies such as the Ceylon Navy.12 During the war, Thornycroft’s shipyard was taken over by the Japanese and was severely damaged. When the war ended, Thornycroft regained possession of the shipyard and took several years to restore the shipyard to its former condition.13 In January 1968, Vosper Thornycroft Uniteers, as the company was later known, opened a $1.5 million administrative building and boatyards at Tanjong Rhu.14

In addition to being home to shipbuilding businesses, the Bugis fleet coming from the Celebes (Sulawesi) also anchored at the Kallang Basin by Tanjong Rhu during the 19th and early 20th centuries for trade.15 The Bugis fleet continued to dock at Kallang Basin until as late as the early 1960s,16 after which they started to anchor off Telok Ayer Basin instead.17


Developments and landmarks
By the 1980s, most of the shipyards had been relocated to Jurong as the government had begun its plan to clean up the waterways.18 Today, Tanjong Rhu is a private residential area boasting waterfront condominiums including The Waterside, Tanjong Ria, Water Place, Sanctuary Green, Parkshore and Pebble Bay. It has the distinction of being Singapore’s first waterfront residential enclave.19

The East Coast Parkway (ECP) runs parallel to Tanjong Rhu Road, while an underground section of the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) passes under Tanjong Rhu Road.20 Other new landmarks that have sprung up recently in the area include the Singapore Sports Hub, officially opened in 2015.21 The Singapore Swimming Club, which was established in 1893, is still situated along Tanjong Rhu Road. Club members travelled to the original clubhouse by boat from Johnston’s Pier.22 In 1995, Dunman High School relocated from Dunman Road to Tanjong Rhu.23

Tanjong Rhu Bridge, Singapore’s first suspension bridge, was built in 1998, linking pedestrians from Tanjong Rhu to the Singapore Sports Hub.24

Variant names
Sha tsui: Cantonese for “sand pit”.25



Author

Thulaja Naidu Ratnala 



References
1. Singapore Land Authority. (n.d.). OneMap. Retrieved from OneMap website: https://www.onemap.sg/index.html

2. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, pp. 375–376. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 510. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[TRA])
3. Mills, J. (1930). Eredia’s description of Malaca, Meridional India and Cathay [Microfilm: NL 10286]. Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society8(1) (109), [Plate VI], 224–225; Periasamy, M. (2015). The Rare Maps Collection of the National Library. In Visualising Space: Maps of Singapore and the region (pp. 34–85). Singapore: National Library Board, pp. 67, 74. (Call no.: RSING 911.5957 SIN)
4. Mighty Minds Pub. (2015). Mighty Minds Singapore street directory. Singapore: Mighty Minds Pub, pp. 111D, 112. (Call no.: RSING q912.5957 MMSSD)
5. National Archives of Singapore. (1822-1823). Singapore 1822–3 [SurveyMap]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website:http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
6. Survey Department, Singapore. (1828). Plan of the town of Singapore by Lieut Jackson [Survey Map]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/
7. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions. pp. 375–376. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA]); Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 510. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[TRA])
8. Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 510. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS]
9. Shipbuilding firm’s $9m. of contracts. (1968, January 23). The Straits Times, p. 4; Thornycroft shipyards at Tanjong Rhu. Singapore. (1927, April 13). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tyers, R. K. (1993). Ray Tyers’ Singapore: Then and now. Singapore: Landmark Books, p. 510. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TYE-[HIS])
10. Singapore launch ceremony: a diesel-engined tug ordered by railways. (1935, September 18). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11. The waterfront in the past. (1935, January 14). The Straits Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. They build ships for many lands in East Asia. (1955, October 29). The Singapore Free Press, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tanjong Rhu-built launches sold to Iraq, Ceylon and Pakistan governments. (1960, December 26). The Singapore Free Press, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Shipyard wins $10.9 mil worth of contracts. (1977, May 5). The Straits Times, p. 17. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Speed boats for police. (1947, August 7). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Local firm gets a big order from Ceylon Navy. (1966, July 15). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. T’croft expands Tg. Rhu shipyard: Land to be reclaimed. (1954, September 29). Singapore Standard, p. 9. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14. Shipbuilding firm’s $9m. of contracts. (1968, January 23). The Straits Times, p. 4. Retrieved NewspaperSG.
15. Notes from the kampong. (1886, October 30). The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884–1942), p. 8; The Bugis fleet arrives. (1936, April 5). The Straits Times, p. 14. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. Bugis fleet waits at Kallang for a monsoon deflection to sail home to the Celebes. (1961, October 14). The Singapore Free Press, p. 7. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Chandran, R. (1966, September 30). The ‘Bugis fleet’ slips out of Kallang BasinThe Straits Times, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Dunlop, P. K. G. (2000). Street names of Singapore. Singapore: Who’s Who Pub., p. 303. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 DUN-[HIS]); ‘Shape up or ship out’. (1985, June 29). The Straits Times, p. 12;Key dates in the Kallang Basin and Singapore River clean-up. (1987, June 25). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Singapore Land Authority. (n.d.). OneMap. Retrieved from OneMap website: https://www.onemap.sg/index.html; Shipping out the old, shaping up the new. (2004, December 17). The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
20. Mighty Minds Pub. (2015). Mighty Minds Singapore street directory. Singapore: Mighty Minds Pub, pp. 111D, 112. (Call no.: RSING q912.5957 MMSSD)
21. Boh, S. (2015, July 26). PM marks Youth Day, opens Sports Hub in front of 50,000 crowd. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
22. Tan, C. L. (1994). The first 100 years: Singapore Swimming Club 100th anniversary. Singapore: YTJ Total Communications. pp. 7–8, 24–25. (Call no.: RSING 797.210605957 TAN)
23. Saying goodbye in a unique way. (1994, December 4). The Straits Times, p. 4; Better design, facilities at new buildings for two schools. (1995, May 28). The Straits Times, p. 26. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Foot-bridge link. (1998, August 5). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
25. Savage, V. R., & Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). Singapore street names: A study of toponymics. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, p. 376. (Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV-[TRA])



Further resources
British Royal Airforce. (1950). Singapore photomap Tanjong Rhu [Survey Map]. Retrieved from National Archives Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/

Life in Katong. [2002]. Singapore: National Library Board, pp. 8–9.
(Call no.: RCLOS q959.57 LIF-[HIS])

Survey Department, Singapore. (1920). Tanjong Ru (Rhu) [Survey Map]. Retrieved from National Archives Singapore website: http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/



The information in this article is valid as at 24 January 2018 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.

Subject
Street names--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Streets and Places
Architecture and Landscape>>Streets and Places
History>>Asia>>Southeast Asia>>Singapore