National Heritage Project Part 1

Maritime History:
Dragon’s teeth gate
Dragon’s Teeth Gate is a craggy granite outcrop which formerly stood at the gateway to Keppel Harbour. Long Ya Men was known locally by the Malays in earlier times as Batu Berlayar which means Sailing Rock. Ships have to sail through the Dragon teeth gate, in between the two stones to reached Keppel Harbor.
The Keppel passageway was used by Asian and early European sailors and traders for hundreds of years to sail past Singapore. Moreover, the Dragon teeth gate served as navigational aids to ancient mariners who sailed through the swift waters of the narrow passageway between it.
However, in the 17th century, the passageway was abandoned in favour of the wider and more open Main Straits. Thus, for a brief period of time it was forgotten, until, William Farquhar re-discovered it. The Dragon teeth gate poses a danger to the ships, especially when the sea is choppy. The two rock outcrops were subsequently blown up by the Straits Settlements Surveyor, in August 1848 in order to widen the entrance to the new harbor.
In 2005, a 6m high stone replica of Long Ya Men was put up near its original site, as a part of a three-month-long celebration of the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s maiden voyage, which begun in Nanjing, China.
Beryalar Beacon:
The red Berlayar Beacon, was installed in around 1930 and is about 7m tall, it was used as a navigation point for ships as it marks the shortest distance between Pulau Blakang Mati (now Sentosa) and mainland Singapore. However, prior to 2005, it was almost demolished by the authorities. Fortunately the Singapore Heritage Society appealed successfully, and the replica of the Dragon Tooth, which was supposed to replace the beacon as a commemoration for the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s first voyage, was put up in another nearby location also known as the Long Ya Men.
A beacon is an intentionally conspicuous device designed to attract attention to a specific location. It helps to guide navigators to their destinations. Types of navigational beacons include radar reflectors, radio beacons, sonic and visual signals.( the Berlayar beacon is a type of light beacon).
Underwater mines:
Underwater mines were laid between Fort Pasir Panjang and Fort Siloso and at the eastern entrance of the harbour. The mines were tethered to the seabed but floated dangerously under the surface of the water unseen to any enemy marine vessels. To enable safe passage of ships, a ‘friendly safe channel’ was created through the minefields.
References:
http://www.nparks.gov.sg/cms/index.php?option=com_visitorsguide&task=naturereserves&id=48&Itemid=75
Sec 3 Squad 2012

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