Stadium Stories: Queenstown Stadium - Singapore's First Sports Complex
STORY: Farhan Shafie
04 May 2022
No stadium in Singapore evokes more nostalgia than Queenstown Stadium. It is the first sports complex of its kind in the country, built in Singapore's first heartland.
Queenstown was our first OG satellite town in 1952, back when Singapore was still a British colony. It was dubbed a “self-contained” residential area that would help to alleviate the growing nation’s lack of housing.
"The Queen of Estates" would be the precursor to the modern housing neighbourhoods that you see today: a self-sufficient town away from the city centre that has its own amenities, schools, markets, cinemas, and places to exercise and bond within the community.
Formerly known as Queenstown Sport and Recreation Centre, the venue still stands to this day at its original site at 473A Stirling Rd, just a stone's throw away from Queenstown MRT.
Queenstown Stadium remains a favourite with the nearby residents and expatriates who frequent the 400m 8-lane bitumen running track.
The public venue is popular among runners, especially in the early morning or evening as well as the archery community, with facilities available to cater to the sport.
There is also the nearby Queenstown Swimming Complex, a famous training pool that has bred the nation's best swimmers and water polo players.
Sitting on ten acres of land between Stirling and Mei Chin Road, its old-school architecture boasts an elevated gallery with a seating capacity for up to 3,800 attendees, giving a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Coupled with the bright yellow seats at the stands, it makes for an IG-worthy snap.
Officially opened on August 15, 1970 by Lim Kim San, then Minister for Education, Queenstown Stadium was a premier location for National Day parades in the 1970s and 1980s.
When the decision was first made to decentralise the National Day Parade in 1975 to coincide with Singapore’s 10th birthday, Queenstown Stadium was chosen as one of the locations where "pocket pageants" were held to allow as many people as possible to join in the celebrations.
These parades were held throughout the day, with different ministers as Guests of Honour at different locations, in conjunction with the main parade at Kallang Stadium at the time.
In 1973, the stadium also hosted the Singapore Armed Forces’ first Colours Parade where 3,000 soldiers took part in a 10-kilometre route march from Jalan Besar to the complex. Suffice to say, our baby boomers probably have fond memories of this iconic ground.
The Footballing Ground Of Multiple Teams
Queenstown Stadium was originally home to one of the oldest and most popular professional football clubs in Singapore – the Tanjong Pagar United Football Club. The Jaguars are known for its patriotic kit which features red and white stripes and played their home matches here during the club's its initial existence and first run in the Singapore Premier League up until 2010.
While the stadium was synonymous with the club for the longest time, the 2000s saw a multitude of foreign football teams share the venue and even, in one case, occupy it fully, causing Tanjong Pagar United to shift homegrounds temporarily.
Throughout the decade, two Chinese sides in Liaoning Guangyuan and Dalian Shide Siwu, local outfit Gombak United and French club Etoile FC would call the place home. The latter's occupancy would lead to Tanjong Pagar United playing their matches in the nearby Clementi Stadium for the duration of the 2011 season.
However, after Etoile FC's withdrawal from the S-League at the end of that campaign, Tanjong Pagar would shift back to Queenstown Stadium for the 2012 season. After another brief hiatus in the 2010s, the club would vacate the stadium permanently and now plays their matches at the Jurong East Stadium.
15 August 1970: Stadium officially opens to the public
1973: Hosts SAF’s first Colours Parade
9 August 1975: One of the first decentralised venues for National Day on Singapore's 10th birthday
9 August 1983: Hosts decentralised parade on National Day
1974-2010: Home venue for Tanjong Pagar United
2006-2007: Gombak United plays their home games at the stadium
2007-2008: Chinese club Liaoning Guangyuan plays their home games at the stadium
2008: Chinese club Dalian Shide Siwu plays their home games at the stadium
2010-2011: French club Etoile FC plays their home games at the stadium
2012: Stadium undergoes renovation
2012-2014: Tanjong Pagar returns to stadium for their home games
Looking for things to do in Queenstown?
Queenstown is the OG Singaporean satellite town, so there’s more to see at this mature estate beyond checking out the stadium. Recount the story of this old school neighbourhood and visit the iconic landmarks that define the area.