In Chinese, Pulau Saigons called 浮罗西贡 (fú luó xī gòng).
In some street directories, we see “Pulo Saigon”.
Javanese called “Pulo“, while Indonesian called “Pulau“, both mean Island.
Why it is called “Saigon”?
Frankly even during my early visits to the Singapore River in the late 60s or early 70s, I don’t remember seeing any Pulau Saigon.
Maybe I was too young to remember it…
When I took a look at my old Singapore Street Directory (the early 70s Chinese edition), the only thing I can find is the Pulau Saigon Road.
You can find a footbridge to the north of this road.
The original Pulau Saigon Bridge was built in 1890, but demolished in 1986.
The reason for the demolition was that the Bridge was too old and it blocked the development of Central Expressway.
Pulau Saigon Bridge was also called Footbridge because the completion of Clemenceau Bridge in 1922 forestalled any need of developing it further and its status as a pedestrian bridge was maintained.
The map below shows 2 bridges connected to the Pulau Saigon island:
New Pulau Saigon Bridge was constructed near the former location of the original Pulau Saigon Island as an extension of Saiboo Street.
Before reclamation works merged the Pulau Saigon Island with the south bank of the river, there used to be two bridges which connected the island to both river banks. Both bridges were demolished by 1986.
This is how the Pulau Saigon looked like in 1900:
Below shows the Pulau Saigon Bridge:
Take a look at the Pulau Saigon Bridge in 1974:
Here is another photo of the Pulau Saigon Bridge which is also the Bridge No.1 from the Chinese Newspaper in 1985:
This Pulau Saigon Bridge was also known as Butcher Bridge as there was a butcher staying nearby.
This was also mentioned in the Straits Times 1985 copy:
So from the above, I believed that the Pulau Saigon Bridge was still around in the 80s.
Peter, a friend of mine, Peter may remember something about the old railway track via this Pulau Saigon island.
But that railway track bridge is another bridge, not the same Pulau Saigon Bridge as show below:
The railway joined on the same footbridge No.2 though but not on the footbridge No.1.
So what happen to Pulau Saigon Bridge now?
Is it still around?
The Pulau Saigon Bridge is now a Vehicular Bridge, completed in June 1997, linking Havelock Road to Robertson Quay.
Here is another view of the Pulau Saigon in the 80s:
It seems the area around Singapore River has changed tremendously and whether there were islands or islets at the Singapore River before, is no longer important now..
Or maybe long forgotten…