Bidadari estate to retain pioneers' tombstones

Bidadari estate to retain pioneers' tombstones
The tombstone of Dr Lim Boon Keng.

SINGAPORE - JOGGERS in the future Bidadari housing estate's new park will be running on sacred ground and be reminded of the contributions of Singapore's pioneers.

Tombstones of 20 notable Singaporeans once buried in the former Bidadari cemetery will be preserved in the 10ha park, the National Heritage Board (NHB) announced on Wednesday.

These include Dr Lim Boon Keng, a 1900s philanthropist and social reformer after whom Boon Keng Road is named, former labour minister Ahmad Ibrahim, and first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly George Edward Noel Oehlers.

NHB is partnering the Housing Board to assimilate Bidadari's rich heritage into the estate, which will see its first flats ready in 2015. This is the first time that a new estate will include these considerations from the initial design stage.

The tombstones will be relocated from the Bidadari Memorial Garden, which will make way for the estate. One of the original gates to the former cemetery will also be placed in the new park.

All graves in the former cemetery were exhumed by 2006.

NHB is also planning a pedestrianised Heritage Walk to replace the present Upper Aljunied Road.

Residents strolling along the tree-lined boulevard in future will learn through photographs and boards about old landmarks once found nearby, such as the 19th century Bidadari House once owned by a sultan of Johor.

A landmark there that has been lost through time will also be resurrected - in name.

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