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St. John's Island

Habitats: Northern edge to western tip and south-western edge with rocky shores, rubbly edges, sparse reef and sparse seagrasses, edged with natural coastal forest. Public swimming lagoons have silty sandy shores with sparse seagrasses. There is a small patch of mangroves in the middle of the eastern part of the island.
1° 13.159'N 103° 50.905'E
55ha, 1.4km x 500m
(from Google Earth and Earth Point)

Facilities: Jetty, public toilet with freshwater, many shelters and picnic benches. Daily ferry service.

Conservation status: Listed for use as 'Open Space' in the URA Master Plan 2008, i.e., "Area to be used or intended to be used as open space" and listed as 'Park/Open Space' in Parks and Waterbodies Plan.

Mentioned in the Singapore Green Plan 2012 under "Marine Nature Areas":

"Singapore’s surrounding waters bustle with large ships and small all hours of the day, but thanks to effective pollution control, they also teem with a rich variety of marine life.

Among our marine treasures are the pockets of coral reefs which flourish to the south of Singapore, in particular around the St John’s Island Group, Pulau Hantu, Pulau Semakau and the Pulau Sudong Island Group. At these marine nature areas, numerous biological communities - corals, sea-grasses, fishes, mangroves, marine mammals, plankton and others - live in an abundance of aquatic harmony. They are a never-ending source of wonderment to divers from Singapore and elsewhere.

The government will keep these areas in their natural state for as long as possible."

Current conservation activities: The Tropical Marine Science Institute has facilities at St. John's Island for marine studies and conducts public outreach activities there. The intertidal area is also regularly surveyed by wildsingapore.

Sir Stamford Raffles was believed to have first anchored off this island before taking a smaller vessel to land on the main island. In the 1930's it became a major quarantine station for the large influx of immigrants. Later it was used as a penal settlement for political prisoners and ringleaders of secret societies. In 1975-76, reclamation by PSA at St. John's Island enlarged it by 4ha and it was developed for recreational use with the setting up of holiday camps, chalets and sporting facilities. St. John's Island currently houses several government facilities, but there are still portions of the island accessible to the public.

About the name: St. John's Island was originally called Pulau Sakijang Bandera: Sa=One; Kijang=barking deer; Bandera=a flag. The current name could have been derived from when it was used as a quarantine.

Landscape views of St. John's Island from wildsingapore flickr
Highlights of marine life at St. John's Island from wildsingapore flickr
All photos of St. John's Island from wildsingapore flickr

Blog posts about St. John's Island on wild shores of singapore


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