Are trees part of a country’s heritage and memory? Singapore agrees on that idea as the country’s National Parks Board (NParks) has unveiled over the week-end an avenue of Heritage Trees at Connaught Drive.
Launched by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development, Mr Desmond Lee , the “Avenue of Heritage Trees” features a total of 22 Heritage Rain Trees, marking it as the largest number of trees in a single avenue endorsed under the NParks’ Heritage Tree Scheme.
This Avenue of Heritage Trees will be part of an upcoming Civic District Tree Trail, which will be opened to the public from 1 May 2016. This Tree Trail will allow members of public to learn about these Heritage Rain Trees, as well as other interesting trees in the Civic District with a rich history.
Mr Lee said, “Even as we continue to plant new trees, we must also cherish and protect the trees that have been maturing gracefully since Singapore’s early days. These trees are a familiar sight for us, and have been providing shade, shelter, and a green respite for many generations of Singaporeans.
The Avenue of Heritage Trees gives us the opportunity to appreciate and to learn more about these important living heritage landmarks. Many of them are probably older than modern Singapore and have been silent witnesses of Singapore’s transformation. These include many historic events at the Civic District, such as Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s declaration of Singapore’s independence from the British in 1963, and our first National Day parade in 1966 at the Padang,” added the Senior Minister.
Some of the 22 Heritage Rain Trees along Connaught Drive are estimated to have been planted in the mid-1880s, which would make them over 130 years old. They would have witnessed historic events in the Civic District including the declaration of independence from the British for Singapore (and Singapore joining Malaysia) by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1963, and Singapore’s first National Day celebrations in 1966.
As part of NParks’ place management efforts to enliven the Civic District, members of the public can relive memories of Singapore’s history, growth and development through the Civic District Tree Trail. The trail will be opened to the public from 1 May to promote the conservation of mature trees and share with the public our natural heritage.
The Civic District Tree Trail will start at the front gate of the Istana (Singapore President’s Palace) to showcase the majestic Rain Trees adorned with lush epiphytes, before passing by some interesting trees in front of the School of the Arts, Singapore National Museum, Chjimes and within St Andrew’s Cathedral compound. From there, the trail will take visitors past Royal Palms in front of the National Gallery Singapore (formerly City Hall) and lead visitors to the Connaught Drive to admire the Avenue of Heritage Trees and the “Gor Zhang Chiu Kar” Angsana trees at Esplanade Park.
The trail will end with visitors taking in sight of the heritage Tamarind Tree at the entrance to the Merlion Park and some Frangipani ‘Singapore White’ trees at Raffles Landing.
A free guided tour of the two-hour trail will be available every month from May. More details of the guided tours and a downloadable DIY trail e-guide will soon be available on the NParks website under http://www.nparks.gov.sg.