Dalhousie Obelisk

Dalhousie Obelisk

Located near the Asian Civilisation Museum, the Dalhousie Obelisk is a distinctive monument that is easily recognizable from a distance. Built in February 1850, it holds the distinction of being the island’s first public statue and serves as a reminder of singapore‘s colonial past when it was governed from Bengal as part of the Straits Settlements. The obelisk commemorates Lord James Andrew, the Marquis of Dalhousie and Governor-General of India, who made his second visit to Singapore during that time.

Lord James’ visit to Singapore was a significant event as it marked a potential change in local administration and a reduction in expenditure. His arrival was closely watched by the people of Singapore as they anticipated the impact of his policies on the island. The Dalhousie Obelisk stands as a symbol of this historical moment and the influence of Lord James on Singapore’s development.

The design of the Dalhousie Obelisk was inspired by a “needle” and was created by Government Surveyor John Turnbull Thomson. The structure was intended to remind merchants of the benefits of free trade, which was a key aspect of Singapore’s economy during that time. It is believed to have been modeled after Cleopatra’s Needle in London, a well-known ancient Egyptian obelisk. The construction of the obelisk was completed by the end of 1850, and it features inscriptions in Jawi, Chinese, Tamil, and English on each side, showcasing Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage.

The Dalhousie Obelisk is not only a historical landmark but also a popular spot for visitors to take photos. Its four decorative pinnacle lamps add to its aesthetic appeal and make it an attractive backdrop for selfies. Located in the historic Civic District, it offers a picturesque setting for capturing memories and immersing oneself in Singapore’s rich history.

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Interestingly, the Dalhousie Obelisk has been moved twice throughout its history. The first relocation occurred in the late 1880s due to land reclamation work for the expansion of the Padang and the construction of New Esplanade Road. This move was necessary to preserve the monument and ensure its visibility to future generations. In 1891, it was shifted again to its current location near Victoria Theatre, where it continues to stand as a testament to Singapore’s past.

The Dalhousie Obelisk holds significant historical and cultural value for Singapore. It serves as a reminder of the island’s colonial past, the influence of Lord James Andrew, and the importance of free trade in shaping Singapore’s economy. Its distinctive design and prominent location in the Civic District make it a must-visit attraction for tourists and locals alike.

Visiting the Dalhousie Obelisk offers a unique opportunity to connect with Singapore’s history and appreciate the architectural and cultural heritage of the island. As one stands before the obelisk, it is impossible not to be awed by its towering presence and the stories it holds within its inscriptions. The obelisk stands as a silent witness to Singapore’s journey from a colonial outpost to a thriving cosmopolitan city-state.

In conclusion, the Dalhousie Obelisk is a significant monument in Singapore that represents the island’s colonial past and the influence of Lord James Andrew, the Marquis of Dalhousie. Its distinctive design, inscriptions in multiple languages, and strategic location make it a notable landmark in the Civic District. The obelisk serves as a reminder of Singapore’s history and the importance of free trade in shaping its development. A visit to the Dalhousie Obelisk offers a glimpse into Singapore’s past and allows visitors to appreciate the cultural and historical significance of this iconic monument.

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Address And Location:

1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555

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  • 1 Empress Place, Singapore 179555

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