Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Convicts in Singapore

The Asian Civilizations Museum building in Singapore is strategically located on the waterfront near the mouth of the Singapore River. In its previous life as the Empress Palace Building, it was the home of the Government Offices from the colonial days.

We visited the Museum on a recent trip to Singapore and discovered that it was one of the last buildings in Singapore to be constructed using convict labour in the 1860's.

On researching this, we discovered that the British government transported Indian convicts to Singapore from 1826 to 1867. They were and employed in public works and contributed much towards the early development of Singapore - building roads and bridges and many old colonial buildings some of which are still standing such as the Asian Civilizations Museum building, the Istana and the St Andrew's Cathedral. They were stone cutters for the Horsburgh and Raffles Lighthouses and labourers for construction work in early Singapore's defence works.

So another piece of the jigsaw of the history of British penal system has fallen into place.

If you are interested in researching convicts who were transported to Australia, you can go to the

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