SINGAPORE - In its heyday, from the 1960s to 1980s, Queenstown's bustling town centre could well compare with the buzz of today's Orchard Road. Singaporeans now take amenities for granted but the town boasted several firsts then.
Mr Kwek Li Yong, 24, president of My Community, a civic society that champions the preservation of history and heritage in Singapore, says: "There was a library, a polyclinic, a bowling alley, a sports complex and an emporium. There were also cinemas and many shophouses and eating places."
Many of these buildings have since been demolished and the town centre is a shell of its former self.
Still, Mr Kwek, who lives in Jurong West, says his group chose Queenstown as the first project because of its rich history and heritage, much of which remains unrecorded today.
It was named by the British on Sept 27, 1953, to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the town's naming, My Community and Queenstown's Citizens Consultative Committee will organise a two-week arts and heritage festival from Sept 13 to 29.
Called My Queenstown Festival, it will feature 18 plays, gigs, performances and exhibitions at various locations in Queenstown to showcase its colourful history.
The colony suburb started out as the Singapore Improvement Trust's most ambitious project to tackle overcrowding in downtown Singapore.
Queenstown was also designated Singapore's first satellite housing estate, a self-contained estate with its own amenities so residents did not have to travel downtown for them.
Several public institutions were first set up there, including Singapore's first technical school, polyclinic, branch library and sports complex.