Seletar Chronicle

News for Residents

Heritage and Nature Walks

Posted by susanamy on July 5, 2008

We’ve been so busy lately, arranging walks for members of the public around Seletar Camp. These walks are in such hot demand that we’re putting up extra dates to accommodate the enthusiastic visitors.

Over June, Keng Seng, our resident plant and tree expert, led a number of nature walks for happy visitors, some of whom ended up with a giant home-grown avocado as a gift to take home and enjoy. They were so thrilled and some of them presented Keng Seng with chocolates as a token of gratitude for their unique afternoon tour. These tours have appeared on various websites and of course news of them has been spread by word of mouth too. The next 3 are fully booked. 19 July has a few places left. Check with Sue at 91057778 for the next available date.

The nature walks take you for a pleasant 1.5 hour amble around the Camp, taking in residents’ gardens and the natural environment of the area. Bring along a hat, water, a good pair of binoculars for bird spotting and a sense of adventure. Living in the city, we become so desensitised to all the creatures that live with us on this island, so it’s nice to take a breather in Seletar and just relax and observe. Ask your walk leader about any of the plants or animals you observe and learn something new. To book a place, please call Sue at 91057778. Since Keng Seng does this out of enthusiasm for Seletar, we hope all groups will be considerate and cooperative with booking, punctuality and attention. We have many repeat nature walkers!

So that’s nature. What about history?

The Jalan Kayu Heritage Trail and NC have helped us organise groups of enthusiastic heritage hunters, searching this seemingly modernised city for stories from the past. This morning, we had 20 visitors in the house, full of questions about the camp. We were able to fill them in on Seletar’s past significance (first Singaporeans may have lived here! Best and biggest RAF base in the East! Target for bombing during the occupation! And much much more) and present meaningfulness (great heritage, beautiful environment, fascinating vibrant community and abundant nature!). We watched Li Xiuqi’s short film on the area and all left, saying they didn’t want to leave! They were so excited to find out about this less known “jewel” of Singapore and supported the continuing existence of the residential area for future generations to benefit from. There are many more of these tours taking place this year, so please contact Sue if you’d like to take part, or if you are a resident, if you’d like to host one of these. Tel 91057778.

Now we are all wondering what is going to happen to the lately renovated guardhouses at the front gate. We do hope that there will be some room for a museum there.

Whether you’re joining an organised tour or striking out on your own around the camp on foot or by bike, enjoy the splendours of Seletar and tell your friends.

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13 Responses to “Heritage and Nature Walks”

  1. Sue said

    Can Seletar survive what’s happening to it? The wildlife is already very disturbed by the development.

  2. D.PAWLEY said

    Is there still a nine hole golf course at Seletar?I lived in Hampstead Gardens alongside the second fairway in 1956.

  3. susanamy said

    Thanks for the comment on the Seletar Chronicle website. I am thrilled to know that you lived in Hampstead Gardens in 1956. Please can you give me more details? As a current resident of the airbase and an avid collector of its history, it would be great to have your personal recollections.
    I am sad to tell you that while Hampstead Gardens still exists, nobody lives there now and the golf course is making way for more buildings, as the whole base is going to be refitted to become an aerospace park.
    We will be here until the end of the year, when most residents will have to leave.
    I did not know until you wrote that people actually lived in Hampstead Gardens. There was a school, I know. And I thought possibly an RAF building.
    Have you had a look at the RAF Seletar Association website? They are a very friendly bunch of people who meet regularly, have an excellent newsletter and smaller meetings in many parts of the UK. You can write to Dave Taylor to get more information, or just apply on the website.
    I’m British too, but have lived in Singapore for the past 23 years. I invite the veterans every year to my garden for a barbecue. Some of them have also stayed with me – I’m an informal bed and breakfast! I’m not sure if you’re contemplating taking a look at Seletar before it changes drastically, but do let me know. I’ll put you in touch with people and also hope to be able to show you around!

    • PETER SEYMOUR said

      Hi,
      I’ve been trawling Seletar based websites as I’m writing our fmily history. My father . Group captain R G Seymour was CO from 552-54 and I spent 21/2 very happy years there as a boy, attending Seletar school and living at 1,Park Lane. Later I followed into my father’s footsteps, joining the RAF and retiring in 1994. I’d be very interested in Seletar news!

      • Sue Amy said

        Dear Peter

        Sorry for the ever so slow response to your note. I’ve been in England, and got snowed up at my mother’s, where there is no such thing as the internet.

        You may have read about the changes to Seletar, a great tragedy. Park Lane is under wraps at the moment, so I am unable to say whether it is still standing, but I could send you a picture taken about a year ago. Unfortunately, your old school has been torn down. Dave Taylor has some pictures of it in recent years, when it was very delapidated.

        I do recommend your joining the RAF Seletar Association. They are very active, do tours to Singapore, reunions national and regional and put together a great quarterly full of reminiscences.

        I’m still around Singapore, though sadly no longer in Seletar. Do let me know if I can be of further help.

        Warm wishes

        Sue

      • David Taylor said

        Peter, As well as Membership secretary for the RAF Seletar Association I also wrote the history of Seletar – Crowning Glory – and would be interested to know if you have any data that might be of help for an update. Any documents, photos, personal recollections etc, all are valuable, especially now that the base is more or less defunct. I was a good friend of Grp Cpt Maisner, the last RAF CO, and he helped a lot, albeit that he was suffering form Parkinsons disease, and as a result unable to converse very well. He loaned me all his albums, and contributed in so many other ways.
        I do have some good photographs of No1 Park Lane, as well as video footage.
        Regards,
        Dave Taylor

  4. Roger Lomas said

    HI
    I lived in Seletar in the late 60.s. My father was a Flight Sergeant Engineer looking after the Marine Craft at RAF Seletar at that time..
    I would have been about 8 ys old. My older Brother & sister lived at Birdcage walk in the 50’s ans they are wondering if the street still exists also?

    I would like to look around Seletar and my old school etc etc.I have never retuned and am contemplating a visit this spring & wondered if you can help.. ie places to stay etc

    Looking forward to your reply

    Roger Lomas

  5. george pasqual said

    I am a resident of neigbbouring Seletar Hills and have always enjoyed the green and old world ambience of the Seletar Base, having spent a lot of my younger days golfing and soaking in the woodsy areas there. I wrote an article in the press about saving the rustic landscape of the area and the many tembusu trees that have existed for maybe more than 100 years. I would like to be acquainted with your group. I am a member of Seletar Hills Estate Residents’ Committe, SHERA, and write for our quarterly newsletter and anything interesting about our area including the airbase does evoke interest. Thanks and I enjoyed the Seletar Chronicle. George

    • Sue Amy said

      Hi George

      Well, as you will know, Seletar Camp certainly isn’t what it used to be. You might like to join the RAF Seletar Association, where you can get information on Seletar as it was. On this website, I simply endeavour to keep the candle burning and will publish pictures of Seletar as it was before the dreadful facelift. Also if there are any get-togethers, I’ll let you know. Many previous Seletar Camp residents have fled to Seletar Hills!

      Warm wishes

      Sue

  6. sue said

    Hi, I am writing an article for school about the history and development of the seletar hills subzone, kindly point me in the right direction. Is there any information anyone can share, or books relating this area?

    Please contact me at exquisite-illusion@hotmail.com, thanks.

    • Sue Amy said

      Hi

      You can go to the National Archives. Interviewing long-time residents can also get you some interesting and personal information. Enjoy your project! Sue

  7. gregg taylor said

    i lived in 3 hampstead gardens in 1966/67 my family corpral john taylor royal signals and mum sherley my older brother david and younger sister beverley, i dont remember much about school there i remember the golf course and swimming pool, if any one knew us we had a little fruit monkey as a pet and you would only get past her judy if you gave her malteasers, we use to have the coconut tree in the front garden and a guy use to come and get the coconuts down for us, i have some old photos around if any one is intrested,
    gregg

    • Sue Amy said

      Thanks, Gregg for the malteaser memories of Seletar. Can you send me a digital version of your photos? I can add them here. You may be interested to know that there is an RAF Seletar Association who arrange trips to Singapore every 1-2 years to walk down memory lane and take in the NEW that Singapore offers.

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