History of Canberra, Sembawang
Canberra is a new urban town situated between Sembawang and Yishun. It is set in the Sembawang planning area, an area with a rich historical background. Sembawang is bordered by Mandai to the South, Simpang to the East, Straits of Johor to the North, Woodlands to the West, and Yishun to the Southeast.
The area is named after a tree, ‘Sembawang Tree’ found in Sembawang Park. The early Sembawang was home to a naval base with developed shipyards and rubber plantation.
The area has developed over the years. Between the 19th century and early 20th century, Sembawang Town was popular with vast pineapple, pepper, and gambier plantations running from the Seletar River across to Sungei Sembawang.
In 1983, the first Naval Base was opened in the area. Consequently, military facilities like barracks and air bases were developed in the area, which significantly contributed to its growth.
The area’s maritime is still alive and can be felt through the nautical designs of houses around the neighborhood. Most roads like Admiralty Road, Queen’s Avenue, and King’s Avenue are named after various Admirals, warships, and Royal Navy Dockyards in reference to the area’s rich heritage as a British naval base.
Among the notable places in Sembawang is the Sungei Sembawang river stretching 4 km through the town. It is also home to popular parks in Singapore, such as Sembawang Park that is home to various species of birds, flora, and fauna plants. The park also has a natural beach and ideal spots for camping.
Also within the area are black and white bungalows conserved under the development plan. The notable ones are the Beaulieu House at Sembawang Park and the Former Admiralty House located along Old Nelson Road. The British Armed Forces used the house with a traditional English cottage design during the second world war. It is now gazetted as a national monument.
For a long time, Sembawang has mainly remained a suburban area with recreational, military, and industrial facilities. It has served as a home to port facilities and naval bases since the early 1900s and still handles shipping traffic to date. Sembawang has managed to retain its charm in a crowded and developed world. However, things might change soon as the area continues to witness new developments.
Before 2012, Canberra had a small population until the government decided to open it up by developing housing estates. Canberra Residences was the first of the many condos, including private and ECs developed in the area.
Today, many apartments and condos are completed, and residents have already moved in. The only challenge has been a shortage of amenities. But that will come to an end soon as the government launches a series of developments.
Some of the developments include Canberra MRT station, Sembawang Hot Springs Park, Bukit Canberra, Woodlands Health Campus, Canberra Plaza, and the North-South Corridor. These new developments will breathe new life into Sembawang and allow residents in the north to meet their daily necessities close to home.