Sembawang and Singapore


Lantern Swinger
Hi everyone - new to the site.

My background is 15 years RNR which included a 5 year full time stint, back to the offshore oil and gas business, and then one of the many that were retired after "Options for Change".

I am now working in Sembawang on a project, and there are still signs of the old firm here.

So, anybody have memories of Sembawang? A lot of changes here I know, but there are still some of the old places left and it would be good to hear about what it was like a few years ago.

Last I was down there the majority of the Hawkers where located around Clarke Quay. Have they been moved on?? A nice little Indonesian eating hole on the quay none to happy about the rat catcher with the rat in a cage going into the kitchens. Stay away from the meat balls.


Lantern Swinger
Aint no Hawkers round Clarke Quay now!

Its OK but a yuppie/tourist place - microbreweries, comedy club, nightclubs and expensive riverside eating places that are NOT hawker standard but restaurant type places.

Having said that - we still all go sometimes!



Lantern Swinger
On the subject of rats however...........

Had rats in the ceiling in the office in the yard. The Pied Piper and his oppo come along, put down glue boards in the roof space, and a couple of days later we all see one plywood board with one very live, very cross, large rat stuck to said board being taken out for disposal!

We still have to de-rat the ship of course which will be another interesting exercise considering the numbers around here.



Lantern Swinger
On 845 in the mid/late '60's on the Rusty B, stayed in B Block for almost 3 months after Borneo.

Drafted back to NASU Simbang in '69 - had a great time.I shared a cabin in G Block with a Geordy bootneck called Bill for over a year he kept playing Roy Orbison records all the time, nearly drove me mad. Still in touch with a coupe of guys who were on 847 and who now live in Penang.
oh gawd------- there in 97 for the ocean wave trip--------- many a night spent in the PX bar- or in sembawang its self-- and a silly sports day in the fernleaf club!!!!
I have a place on Whampo drive, which the missus and I use twice a year. Love the place.

Use the Bars in Amoy street, and avoid Clarke Quay and Boat Quay like the plague.. Too many Aussies and Quilos with big gobs and wallets.

Looking forward to the Grand Prix, May let the house out and stay with inlaws.

You lucky bugger I would love to get a job out there.

I had my first run ashore in the 'Wang in 1975. For a 17 year old it was a bit of an eye opener. Straight out the gates and across the road into the Melbourne Bar, then down the strip to the Nelson Bar, Voyager Bar and the rest.. into the patio for an egg banjo at Moes, and then a visit to the stables out the back... just for a look! Amazing that such a small area could contain anything a young lad on the piss could desire.. and a few things that he didn't!

My last trip there was in the late 80s. By then the yanks were beginning to establish a permanent presence so the prices had all gone up, many of the bars had shut down or only opened occasionally and the patio had gone. Im glad I had the chance to see it before it became sanitised like the rest of Singapore has!


Lantern Swinger
Although many of the yard builings remain and the black and white houses/barracks are still here and what was (I have been told) the Detention Centre is now the Singapore Drug Rehabilitation Centre (complete with guard towers and armed guards!), there seems to have been a lot of changes to Sembawang village.

Ritchie - Was you "G" block in the yard or part of the black and white buiildings?

BH - The PX is still here in the base and there is also the Terror Club which we have been to a couple of times for lunch - same thing?

Pinch- Amoy Street is good. Go up to Tanglin Village Dempsy myself for a quiet time. Your are right - the quays are too touristy and are full of the ex-pat brigade but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I know I am lucky - better here than Aberdeen or many other places. Just hope I can get more work when this finishes.

Jack - I would have liked to see the place before it was changed. I am trying to think where your Melbourne bar and the Strip could have been. Do you mean out main gate and turn left or out the gate and up the hill?

Singapore seems bad at keeping old photos or history of the past - suppose it is because they concentrate on the sucess storey and of course anything that the goverment say is good and anything old is bad.

Any more info gratefully received.



Book Reviewer
McC, memories from the '60's of the Naval Base being hugh, vast lawned areas with blocks of well spread out married quarters, I'll see if I can find some pics and post them.
In those days the Base stretched from Sembawang right through to a gate that came out by the causeway to Malaysia, before moving into the MQ we lived in various rented places in Jahore Bahru and had to go through immigration going to and from the boats. Presume that the base as such has gone now and the land built on.
There is a site on the www run by a schoolie in Singers with all sorts and pieces on it, if I can find it again I'll let you know.
Would be interested in any pics of how the base is now.
I been there 6 times in my naval career. I loved the place. Been hammered many times in the terror club.

Singa's fantantastic! Love the place

Orchard road I remember stumbling down a fair few times after a few drink and the quay side.

Pub's I remember the name of were Penny Black (quay side), Muddy Murphy's Irish Bar and the rest are a blur lol


Lantern Swinger
Thanks Janner.

Had no idea that the base was so large but looking things up I see it extended to over 40 square miles according to one web site!

I suspect that the SAF Navy base at Sembawang must be part of the old complex.

Interesting links as well - Aggie's is just the same (the yard took us there for a BBQ recently) but really can not recognise anything else apart from the street and place names.

The yard security people are quite wary of people taking photos (I think it goes back to when a bunch of rag heads were caught trying to plant a bomb a few years ago) but I willtry and get some shots for you next week.

Penny Black is still there Tommo - next to Harry's wer Nick Leason of Barings Bank fame used to hang out. As for Muddy's well that is where I am off to now to meet the gang.

Thanks everyone.



War Hero
For those that don't know, we still own a small amount of the real estate down there (some wharfs and a fuel depot) which regularly get used. For some reason the RN doesn't make much publicity about this facility though.
McCloggie said:
Penny Black is still there Tommo - next to Harry's wer Nick Leason of Barings Bank fame used to hang out. As for Muddy's well that is where I am off to now to meet the gang.
Loved those places.

I still have my Muddy Murphy's Polo Shirt I aquired whilst there. Is Orchard towers still full of the ladies of the night and Lady boys of the night?


War Hero
Book Reviewer
Janner, many thanks for putting up the Derek Tait pointer. Took me right back. I was in S'pore in 56, 57 when the Dockyard was still in one piece and doing complete refits (but then ships were out on the station for years), 65 when Confrontation was keeping us busy but we had already given up some of the real estate and 68 when the Yard had virtually disappeared and one lay in the stream alongside Triumph to get things fixed. Only things missing now are the SMELL particularly in the commercial harbour and the RAIN at 1600 sharp just as one wanted to get ashore.
Singas circa 1957. Dockyard maties' club, no sitting on the dockyard wall there with the good life , no ssss got any DFs Jack. All the bikes going to the DY and the Singapore oysters, read spit, as the bike riders did the old clear the throat and lined the road with yuk. HMS Terror though, a credit to the RN with all a matelot could wish for except you know what. What a dream of a swimming pool. The good life indeed with the old Singas. Still recall riding in a tri-shaw in the city, under the weather of course, lighting ' bangers ' and throwing them on the road. Smack on the wrist from a local gendarme, now the noose. Happy daze
tommo said:
McCloggie said:
Penny Black is still there Tommo - next to Harry's wer Nick Leason of Barings Bank fame used to hang out. As for Muddy's well that is where I am off to now to meet the gang.
Loved those places.

I still have my Muddy Murphy's Polo Shirt I aquired whilst there. Is Orchard towers still full of the ladies of the night and Lady boys of the night?
The four floors of whores is I am pleased to say is still in full swing.

Changi Village is the place for Lady Boys.
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