History About Keppel Bay and Harbourfront
The use of Keppel Bay dates back to the early 13 century. It operated as a passage connecting ships heading the South China Sea from the Straits of Malacca.
Keppel Bay was discovered by Henry Keppel in 1848. The captain first sailed to Singapore in 1832 as a midshipman. He later travels back to the island in 1842, now a Captain of a British Royal Navy tasked, to help quench the growing privacy in the Strains.
For a while, the harbour was called the New Harbour. It was not until 1900 when the name was changed to Keppel by the acting Governor, Sir Alexander Swettenham in honour of 92- year old Admiral Keppel’s contribution to the harbour upon his visit to Singapore.
Keppel Bay underwent one of its first transformations in the 1900s. The government announced its plan to construct the King’s Dock, the largest dock East of the Suez in 1913. Its construction took more than four and a half years consuming up to 203,000 tonnes of concrete. The King’s Dock became the second largest in the world when it opened.
Singapore’s prosperity is closely linked to the development of the harbour. In the mid-1950s, Singapore had one of the busiest ports in the region. The overwhelming influx of ships led to the necessity of creating the Queen’s dock.
The development of the docks contributed significantly to Singapore’s post-independent economy. They served through to the 20th century making the area a maritime hotspot, the bay was filled with workers who removed rusts and painted the ships from various parts of the world.
In 1964, the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) was established as a statutory board. Later, the Singapore Drydocks and Engineering Company was formed in1968 to manage the Dockyard Department of PSA. The company’s name was changed to Keppel Shipyard Private Limited on 23 August 1968.
Today’s Keppel Bay is changed. The shipyard activities have been moved to Tuas and the docks no longer exist. Keppel Bay has been transformed into a luxurious enclave at the fringe of the CBD.
Luxury waterfront condos now stand in an area once predominantly occupied by seamen and docks. Although the landscape has changed to become modern Singapore, the past docks still form an important part in the island’s history. The names of developments in the area like Corals, Reflections, and the Caribbean pay tribute to Keppel Bay’s rich history.