Stories of Yesteryear – Singapore in the 1960s

Films from Singapore’s past, produced and shown in the 1960s. They offer glimpses into the city landscape, everyday life, public services and leisure activities during that time. This series is produced by the National Archives of Singapore, an institution of the National Library Board.

Films from Singapore's past, produced and shown in the 1960s. They offer glimpses into the city landscape, everyday life, public services and leisure activities during that time. This series is produced by the National Archives of Singapore, an institution of the National Library Board.

Ep 1 Policewomen
3 mins

Joining the police force was a popular career choice for women in the 1960s. Recruits were trained in a variety of areas, from physical fitness and self-defence, to understanding court procedures and recognising members of secret societies.

Ep 1 Policewomen

Joining the police force was a popular career choice for women in the 1960s. Recruits were trained in a variety of areas, from physical fitness and self-defence, to understanding court procedures and recognising members of secret societies.

Ep 2 Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin
10 mins

In the 1960s, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin were home to 8,000 residents. This video shows how daily life was like on Singapore’s biggest offshore islands.

Ep 2 Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin

In the 1960s, Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin were home to 8,000 residents. This video shows how daily life was like on Singapore’s biggest offshore islands.

Ep 3 Making Incense Sticks
2 mins

Although often overshadowed by the large-scale factories that were opening and operating in Singapore in the 1960s, smaller industries were also thriving during this period. This video looks at one such factory specialising in the production of incense sticks.

Ep 3 Making Incense Sticks

Although often overshadowed by the large-scale factories that were opening and operating in Singapore in the 1960s, smaller industries were also thriving during this period. This video looks at one such factory specialising in the production of incense sticks.

Ep 4 Fighting Tuberculosis
2 mins

By the 1960s, the good work of the Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (SATA), coupled with rising standards of living, had helped reduce the mortality rate for tuberculosis in Singapore. This video looks at the services offered by SATA in the fight against this deadly disease.

Ep 4 Fighting Tuberculosis

By the 1960s, the good work of the Singapore Anti-Tuberculosis Association (SATA), coupled with rising standards of living, had helped reduce the mortality rate for tuberculosis in Singapore. This video looks at the services offered by SATA in the fight against this deadly disease.

Ep 5 Go-Kart Race
2 mins

Go-karting was featured in Singapore’s first annual Festival of Sports (Pesta Sukan). Described as ‘motor-racing in miniature’, it offered spectators and racers all the thrills of motor-racing with few of its dangers. Watch as these made-in-Singapore go-karts race for the finish line!

Ep 5 Go-Kart Race

Go-karting was featured in Singapore’s first annual Festival of Sports (Pesta Sukan). Described as ‘motor-racing in miniature’, it offered spectators and racers all the thrills of motor-racing with few of its dangers. Watch as these made-in-Singapore go-karts race for the finish line!

Ep 6 Redeveloping Toa Payoh
2 mins

As part of plans for the development of Toa Payoh satellite town, former residents of the area were moved from their attap houses to concrete ones, where there was land for farming, and they were able to resume their cottage industries.

Ep 6 Redeveloping Toa Payoh

As part of plans for the development of Toa Payoh satellite town, former residents of the area were moved from their attap houses to concrete ones, where there was land for farming, and they were able to resume their cottage industries.

Ep 7 Jurong
7 mins

To support Singapore’s shift from entrepot trade to industrial production, vegetation and swamps were cleared in Jurong to make way for factories and dry docks. This video shows the development of Jurong into Southeast Asia’s “industrial showpiece”.

Ep 7 Jurong

To support Singapore’s shift from entrepot trade to industrial production, vegetation and swamps were cleared in Jurong to make way for factories and dry docks. This video shows the development of Jurong into Southeast Asia’s “industrial showpiece”.

Ep 8 The Polytechnic
5 mins

This video introduces the wide range of courses offered by the Singapore Polytechnic in the 1960s. In areas such as electrical engineering, telecommunications, and building and architecture, these courses were designed to equip young Singaporeans with the technical skills necessary to meet the needs of a rapidly industrialising economy.

Ep 8 The Polytechnic

This video introduces the wide range of courses offered by the Singapore Polytechnic in the 1960s. In areas such as electrical engineering, telecommunications, and building and architecture, these courses were designed to equip young Singaporeans with the technical skills necessary to meet the needs of a rapidly industrialising economy.

Ep 9 The Singapore Lady – River Boat Floating Restaurant
5 mins

The Singapore Lady floating restaurant was an ambitious addition to the entertainment scene in 1968. Moored off Clifford Pier, it offered a variety of decks, lounges, and restaurants where tourists and locals alike could dance, listen to music, and savour European and Indonesian cuisines.

Ep 9 The Singapore Lady – River Boat Floating Restaurant

The Singapore Lady floating restaurant was an ambitious addition to the entertainment scene in 1968. Moored off Clifford Pier, it offered a variety of decks, lounges, and restaurants where tourists and locals alike could dance, listen to music, and savour European and Indonesian cuisines.

Ep 10 Historical Buildings
7 mins

In this video, tour old godowns (warehouses), markets, hospitals, and other buildings associated with Singapore’s pioneers such as Tan Tock Seng, Whampoa, and Hajjah Fatimah.

Ep 10 Historical Buildings

In this video, tour old godowns (warehouses), markets, hospitals, and other buildings associated with Singapore’s pioneers such as Tan Tock Seng, Whampoa, and Hajjah Fatimah.

Ep 11 Housing Week
3 mins

By 1963, nearly a quarter of Singapore’s population had been rehoused in public flats in areas such as Mountbatten and Tiong Bahru. In time, towns grew up around these flats, offering a wide range of amenities such as markets, schools, and clinics.

Ep 11 Housing Week

By 1963, nearly a quarter of Singapore’s population had been rehoused in public flats in areas such as Mountbatten and Tiong Bahru. In time, towns grew up around these flats, offering a wide range of amenities such as markets, schools, and clinics.

Ep 12 Car Services
4 mins

The rise in living standards resulted in a growing number of motor vehicles on Singapore roads in the 1960s, and a corresponding demand for petrol, oil, and servicing.

Ep 12 Car Services

The rise in living standards resulted in a growing number of motor vehicles on Singapore roads in the 1960s, and a corresponding demand for petrol, oil, and servicing.

Ep 13 Farm School
2 mins

At the Primary Production Department’s Farm School in Sembawang, students were taught practical farming methods, animal husbandry, fisheries, and the identification of livestock diseases. The use of these modern scientific techniques was meant to improve the standards of living of Singapore’s farming communities.

Ep 13 Farm School

At the Primary Production Department’s Farm School in Sembawang, students were taught practical farming methods, animal husbandry, fisheries, and the identification of livestock diseases. The use of these modern scientific techniques was meant to improve the standards of living of Singapore’s farming communities.

Ep 14 Open Air Art Display
5 mins

Queen Elizabeth Walk was the venue of Singapore's first open-air art exhibition. Featuring works from famous artists such as Ng Eng Teng and Lim Yew Kuan, the exhibition drew a sizeable crowd to the scenic waterfront area.

Ep 14 Open Air Art Display

Queen Elizabeth Walk was the venue of Singapore's first open-air art exhibition. Featuring works from famous artists such as Ng Eng Teng and Lim Yew Kuan, the exhibition drew a sizeable crowd to the scenic waterfront area.

Ep 15 Regatta
3 mins

Singapore’s island location makes it ideal for hosting sea sports competitions. This video features the first Regatta organised by the Siglap Citizens’ Consultative Committee. Races were held for koleks, speedboats, rowing boats, and motor sampans.

Ep 15 Regatta

Singapore’s island location makes it ideal for hosting sea sports competitions. This video features the first Regatta organised by the Siglap Citizens’ Consultative Committee. Races were held for koleks, speedboats, rowing boats, and motor sampans.

Ep 16 Fire Brigade
2 mins

To celebrate the acquisition of a new modern fire engine, the Singapore Fire Brigade held a public demonstration of the brigade’s firefighting capabilities at the Central Fire Station.

Ep 16 Fire Brigade

To celebrate the acquisition of a new modern fire engine, the Singapore Fire Brigade held a public demonstration of the brigade’s firefighting capabilities at the Central Fire Station.

Ep 17 Making Dental Care Products
3 mins

Rapid industrialisation in the 1960s led to the opening of many new factories producing goods for domestic sale and export. In this video, watch how toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes were manufactured in one such factory.

Ep 17 Making Dental Care Products

Rapid industrialisation in the 1960s led to the opening of many new factories producing goods for domestic sale and export. In this video, watch how toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes were manufactured in one such factory.

Ep 18 Orchids at Home
4 mins

The Botanic Gardens’ successful orchid-breeding programme resulted in a thriving export industry for homegrown orchids, and a growing international reputation for Singapore in the flower world. This video shows some of the painstaking work involved in the cultivation of orchid hybrids at the Gardens.

Ep 18 Orchids at Home

The Botanic Gardens’ successful orchid-breeding programme resulted in a thriving export industry for homegrown orchids, and a growing international reputation for Singapore in the flower world. This video shows some of the painstaking work involved in the cultivation of orchid hybrids at the Gardens.

Ep 19 Miss Tourism
3 mins

Dressed in sarong kebayas, the finalists of the Miss Tourism Singapura competition were judged on their looks, poise, intelligence, and ability to promote Singapore. The winners would become Singapore’s first goodwill ambassadors overseas, tasked with winning friends and attracting more tourists to the country.

Ep 19 Miss Tourism

Dressed in sarong kebayas, the finalists of the Miss Tourism Singapura competition were judged on their looks, poise, intelligence, and ability to promote Singapore. The winners would become Singapore’s first goodwill ambassadors overseas, tasked with winning friends and attracting more tourists to the country.

Ep 20 Camp for Horses
2 mins

At this unique holiday camp in Changi, racehorses were given the chance to rest and recuperate. They enjoyed water therapy, time in the playpen, and a diet of special grass.

Ep 20 Camp for Horses

At this unique holiday camp in Changi, racehorses were given the chance to rest and recuperate. They enjoyed water therapy, time in the playpen, and a diet of special grass.

Ep 21 Industrial Tours
2 mins

This video follows Mr E.W. Barker, then Minister for Law, as he toured Kallang Gasworks, the Port of Singapore Authority, and Pasir Panjang Power Station – three symbols of Singapore’s industrial expansion and growth.

Ep 21 Industrial Tours

This video follows Mr E.W. Barker, then Minister for Law, as he toured Kallang Gasworks, the Port of Singapore Authority, and Pasir Panjang Power Station – three symbols of Singapore’s industrial expansion and growth.

Ep 22 Swimming Class
2 mins

This video features a swimming class held at the Yan Kit Swimming Pool. Organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs for children above the age of eight, the two-week course equipped students with the skills to swim in various strokes.

Ep 22 Swimming Class

This video features a swimming class held at the Yan Kit Swimming Pool. Organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs for children above the age of eight, the two-week course equipped students with the skills to swim in various strokes.

Ep 23 Camera Enthusiasts
1 min

Photography was a popular hobby in 1960s Singapore. This video shows an adult education photography class, where students received training on composition, interior lighting, and developing photographs in a darkroom.

Ep 23 Camera Enthusiasts

Photography was a popular hobby in 1960s Singapore. This video shows an adult education photography class, where students received training on composition, interior lighting, and developing photographs in a darkroom.

Ep 24 Shells
2 mins

Shells found around the shores of Malaysia and Singapore were prized by both collectors and souvenir-hunters. This video shows how the shells were carefully cleaned and polished before being displayed in museums and sold in shops.

Ep 24 Shells

Shells found around the shores of Malaysia and Singapore were prized by both collectors and souvenir-hunters. This video shows how the shells were carefully cleaned and polished before being displayed in museums and sold in shops.

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Additional Information

Stories of Yesteryear – Singapore in the 1960s S2
Released2021
Genresarts and heritage, documentary, historical, info-ed
Seasons2
Suitable For All Ages