The Padang will be officially gazetted as Singapore’s 75th National Monument on 9 August 2022, making it the first green, open space to join the country’s list of National Monuments.
The iconic site is a social and community space that has borne witness to many significant national events, and today, continues to serve as a venue for recreation and sporting events. In view of its strong national, historical and social significance, the Padang will be preserved and accorded the highest level of protection in Singapore under the Preservation of Monuments Act.
With the gazette, the character and appearance of the Padang will be preserved for future generations, while ensuring all current uses can continue.
The Padang and its Significance
The Padang stands out amidst the other edifices surrounding it in the Civic District as well as the larger commercial core of the city centre in its south-west. It has been retained as an open green space despite the many development changes in its vicinity since Singapore’s colonial days.
It is also bordered by several National Monuments all around its perimeter – the Cenotaph, Lim Bo Seng Memorial, Tan Kim Seng Fountain along one of its longer sides, the Former City Hall, Former Supreme Court and Saint Andrew’s Cathedral on the other, as well as the Civilian War Memorial and Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall at either end of its shorter sides.
The historic site is associated with key milestones in Singapore’s history, including:
- The victory parade celebrating the formal surrender of the Japanese in Singapore on 12 September 1945
- The victory rally of the first fully elected Legislative Assembly on 3 June 1959
- The installation of Mr Yusof Ishak as the first Malayan-born Yang di-Pertuan Negara (head of state) and the unveiling of National Symbols on 3 December 1959
- The inaugural National Day Parade on 9 August 1966
The Padang is also one of Singapore’s oldest spaces for public recreation and celebrations, and hosted sporting events during the colonial period such as New Year’s day sports and cricket matches. Celebrations for royal birthdays, jubilees, coronations, Lunar New Year, Thaipusam and the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday have also been held there.
Today, the Padang continues to function as a key recreation and commemorative space for members of all communities, hosting major sporting events such as the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens and serving as the starting and end-point of the Singapore Marathon.
New Outreach Programmes
Following the gazette, the National Heritage Board (NHB) will promote greater awareness and appreciation of the Padang’s significance in Singapore’s history through various commemorative initiatives to be launched from August, including tours and interactive games for students and members of the public.
These initiatives include Maze@Padang, a Minecraft game for upper primary school students where players will be transported to a virtual underground maze beneath the Padang. While competing against their peers to hunt for clues and answer questions to escape the maze in the fastest possible time, students can learn about the significance of the space and the important milestones in Singapore’s road to independence in a fun and interactive manner.
In addition, new guided tours focusing on the Padang and two of its surrounding National Monuments – Former City Hall and Former Supreme Court – will be launched in the month of August.
You can also look forward to Monumental Hunt in the Civic District launching in November this year, a fun-filled puzzle hunt in the Civic District to discover fascinating new facts about our National Monuments.