Located at the southern most tip of Singapore, Labrador Park is a sprawling 16.8ha gazetted nature reserve that has a rich history dating to the early 19th century, where its landmark outcrop known as Dragon Teeth Gate or ‘ Long Ya Men ‘ served as a key navigational point for ships entering Singapore’s main port of Keppel Harbour.
The Dragon Teeth Gate was identified back in the 14th century by the ancient mariner Wang Da Yuan who noted in his travels that Fujian mariners knew these two outcrops as ‘Long Ya Men’ as it reminded them of the two pegs at the bow of their ships, between which passed the ship’s anchor. This iconic outcrop was however blown up in 1848 to widen the western channel access to Keppel Harbour.
Such was the importance of Labrador and Keppel Harbour that in 1864, the beginnings of a fort were constructed into the coastal Cliffside consisting of concrete bunkers, a labyrinth of underground tunnels and gun batteries. Completed in 1878 it was known as Fort Pasir Panjang and was part of a series of 11 coastal forts that the British constructed to protect Singapore’s waters.
With the imminent threat of World War II and a popular belief that the Japanese would invade from the sea, the fort was upgraded to house 2 six-inch 37-ton guns with a 10mile range. Yet in February 1942, the guns had to be rotated almost 180 degrees to fire at advancing Japanese troops in the Pasir Panjang area but with little effect because of their almost flat trajectory.
After the war, Labrador Park continued to be a popular beach and nature reserve for many and in 1993 a protection bill was passed to protect the rich marine life that surrounded Singapore’s last remaining rocky seashore. In 2001, a series of previously undiscovered underground tunnels were found and it helped lead to its officially gazetting as a Nature Park.
Labrador Park is now part of the sprawling section of the Southern Ridges and is a hotspot for an array of leisure seekers, from joggers and cyclists, to kite-flying enthusiasts, anglers and families out for a picnic. The construction of the Labrador Train Station (Circle Line) has also made the park more accessible to many and recently a newly constructed boardwalk now connects visitors to Reflections @ Keppel Bay.
If you’re keen to explore Labrador Park, do download this MAP created by NParks.