Wednesday, April 7, 2010

of sculpture and structure

picture from national archive of singapore

if you walk around kallang riverside park, you will come across a sculpture and a structure which remind you of the important part played by the kallang gasworks in the development of singapore.

the history of the kallang gasworks dates back to 1861 when piped gas first produced primarily for street lighting, and later for commercial and domestic uses. gas in those days was produced using coal as a feedstock. kallang gasworks' location by the bank of the rochor river was an ideal choice for easy delivery of coal by boat from neighbouring countries.

in 1958, kallang gasworks made headlines by being the first in the region to switch to heavy fuel as feedstock. the gasworks commissioned three modern catalytic heavy fuel oil gasification plants that were considered the most modern in the gas industry. naphtha, a clean and more efficient feedstock was introduced in 1966. this led to the phasing out of heavy fuel oil plants in 1980.

the completion of senoko gasworks in 1997 to meet the long term needs of singapore saw the relocation of gas production operations from kallang to senoko. kallang gasworks ceased operations on 23 march 1998 and the event was officiated by bg (ns) george yeo, then second minister fro trade and industry. kallang basin, the site where the gasworks used to stand as a prominent landmark of the area, has been earmarked for development.

the structure that stands as a reminder of the important part played by the kallang gasworks in the economic development of singapore is gasholder no.3

although the plants, equipment and structures in kallang gasworks have been dismantled, the supporting pillars and girders of gasholder no.3 have been preserved and erect ed on the plaza that lies in front of you.

commissioned in 1901, gasholder no.3 is the oldest remaining structure of the former kallang gasworks. the gasworks bear testimony to singapore's development from a fishing village to a cosmopolitan city.

refurbished in a shade of blue that is close to the original, this gasholder was preserved and installed at kallang riverside park as a tribute to kallang gasworks' contribution to singapore's economic development and a testament to our industrial past.

to-date, town gas remains widely used in singapore's homes, commercial establishments and industries since its inception over 140 years ago.

the sculpture is called 'spirit of kallang'. some of the materials used in the construction of this sculpture came from the old kallang gasworks.

spirit of kallang

this sculpture was official unveiled by minister for information and the arts and second minister for trade and industry, brigadier-general (ns) george yeo at the official retirement of kallang gasworks on 23 march 1998.

the spirit of kallang incorporates materials from kallang gasworks. its design symbolises the hardworking ethos and enduring spirit of the early pioneers of singapore who worked hard to establish a better life for future generations.

kallang gasworks (1861 - 1998) this sculpture was commissioned by singapore power limited and created by mr lim leong seng.

when i was doing a search on the internet, i discovered that my blogger friend has done a similar posting sometime ago.


nah said...

That structure at Kallang Riverside Park was the pillars and girders which supported a gas tank. The tank which was a massive cylindrical drum could move up and down within this structure. Sometimes it would move right to the top of the structure, other times it would remain low, depending on the volume of gas produced and stored in it, I was told. There were a few these movable tanks, besides the tall blue gas tank.
In the early years, Kallang Gas Works was called “huay sia” or “fire city” as flames from the burning of waste gas could be seen from the Gasworks' discharge chimney stack throughout the day. Residents around the area had to tolerate breathing in the pungent toxic gas which was released day in, day out, until two tall chimneys were constructed.

doris said...

am sure nah could see the KGW from his shop house. i used to pass the gas works twice daily by bus to and from school.

yg said...

doris, the bus took you past nah's father's shophouse twice a day?

doris said...

ya, but i was a student then and i didn't know that nah existed till i went to bhts.

yg said...

but you have spied the good-looking boy with a neat hairstyle in that chinese wine shop!