Mr. Giovanni Viterale,
General Manager of The Fullerton Heritage
Mr. Bala Subramaniam,
Singapore’s First Local Post Master General
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning. On my way here today, I am reminded of the rich history of this precinct that dates back to more than a century ago. Today’s launch of the Fullerton Heritage Gallery is made all the more memorable with the return of the Foundation Stone for the Monument to the Early Founders of Singapore. Relocated to the National Archives of Singapore in 2000 due to development works in the area, it is now back to its original home here at the Fullerton Building.
2 I am also pleased to introduce The Fullerton Heritage precinct, which is marked by The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, The Fullerton Waterboat House, One Fullerton, Clifford Pier, the recently-reopened Customs House, and the new The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, opening later today. Establishing it was certainly not an easy task, but I am glad to see that locals and visitors alike will enjoy a multi-faceted experience that presents a fine balance between Singapore’s treasured past and contemporary living.
A joint effort in preserving our national heritage
3 The evolution from our humble beginnings to the global city state that we are today, reminds us of how far we have come in the past 50 years. Over the years, collective efforts by the National Heritage Board, and generous contributions by individuals and organisations have helped preserve various aspects of our precious heritage. It is encouraging to witness the commitment of our partners in keeping our history and heritage alive. For instance, I understand The Fullerton Heritage team spent a considerable amount of time on research of the area. Also, some of them were trained by an external trainer on the history of the place to help them better understand the rich historical background of the buildings and the area, and their relevance to Singapore. The passion, commitment and continued support of our partners will go a long way in showcasing our vibrant and diverse heritage and culture.
4 Today, we witness a meaningful initiative by The Fullerton Heritage in showcasing Singapore’s history through the launch of The Fullerton Heritage Gallery. Supported by NHB’s Heritage Industry Incentive Programme, the Gallery will help bring to life the rich history and heritage of The Fullerton Heritage precinct, and mark the progress of an area that has always been an important cornerstone in our country’s history.
5 The return of the Foundation Stone is equally significant. Mooted by the Alumni International Singapore and originally erected outside the Fullerton Building in 1970 by the late Mr. Yusof bin Ishak, the first President of the Republic of Singapore, the Foundation Stone for the proposed monument, which is intended to pay homage to our many forefathers who built this land, will now be returned to its rightful place. Bringing the Stone back to the waterfront area will make it more accessible to visitors, and enable them to get a better understanding of Singapore’s early history.
6 Ultimately, no monument can pay a more fitting tribute to our early forefathers than the vibrant city and impressive skyline that we enjoy today. This is the best testament to the blood, sweat and toil of our forefathers. This living city that we will continue to develop and grow is the most appropriate tribute to the noble contributions of our early founders.
Rich significance of The Fullerton Heritage
7 The preserving and revitalising of The Fullerton Heritage precinct is all the more important given the rich social and historical significance of the Fullerton Building. Declared open in 1928, the Fullerton Building was home to the General Post Office, along with other colonial governmental offices. Over the years, it housed many important arms of the government, such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Trade and the then Ministry of Communications. It was also the birthplace and home for past and present government agencies, such as the Economic Development Board, Trade Development Board, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, and the Maritime Port Authority.
8 With many exciting plans to transform Marina Bay into a waterfront ‘Garden City by the Bay’, the preservation and development of areas such as The Fullerton Heritage and Collyer Quay, alongside existing attractions such as the Merlion Park, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay and Marina Bay Sands Singapore, will certainly add to Singapore’s vibrancy and vitality, and strengthen our position as a dynamic Asian hub that serves as a great place to live, work and play in.
A Fullerton Heritage for one and all
9 I am also happy to share that plans to further improve and promote The Fullerton Heritage precinct will continue with efforts to mark the associated heritage trails. These trails and markers will allow the public to better understand and appreciate the history and heritage of the area, as well as take on a more proactive role in discovering for themselves the many meaningful stories behind the various historical buildings. We hope that such comprehensive facilities will help make The Fullerton Heritage precinct a popular cultural destination for visitors, and even more so for Singaporeans, many whose own family histories tell of their forefathers who first stepped onto these shores bearing nothing but hope for a brighter future.
10 I am glad to witness yet another milestone in the conservation and promotion of our nation’s heritage, and I commend The Fullerton Heritage and all its partners’ efforts towards making this possible. I encourage everyone to take time to immerse in the richness of this experience.
11 Thank you.