Kowloon Park

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Kowloon Park
Kowloon Park.jpg
Traditional Chinese 九龍公園
Simplified Chinese 九龙公园
Aerial view of Kowloon Park

Kowloon Park is a large public park in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong. It has an area of 13.3 hectares (33 acres) and is managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.[1]

History[edit]

The park was formerly the site of the Whitfield Barracks of the British Army, with a former battery (Kowloon West II Battery) in the northwestern part of the Park.

The Urban Council redeveloped the site into the Kowloon Park in 1970.[2] It was officially opened on 24 June 1970 by the then Governor of Hong Kong, Sir David Trench.[1]

Part of the site was occupied in the construction of the MTR from 1975 to 1978.

The Government was criticised when the Executive Council approved plans in 1982 for a strip of retail premises fronting Nathan Road to be carved into the hill of Kowloon Park. The move was first proposed when the Barracks were converted into public open space in 1970, and ignited some controversy. It was opposed by the Urban Council, as well as the Muslim community, whose mosque was close by.[3] The rights for the development of the 5,410 sq metre strip were sold in February 1983 to a subsidiary of New World Development for $218 million.[4]

From 1987 to 1989, the park was redeveloped at a cost of $300 million, which was funded by the then Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club.[1][5]

Facilities[edit]

Promenade near Nathan Road, home to the Avenue of Comic Stars attraction since 2012.
This Ringed Teal is among the numerous birds species in the park including swans, ducks, flamingoes, parrots ans tropical pigeons.

Flora and gardens[edit]

There is a tree walk located next to the Rose Garden. There are also some stone wall trees growing on the walls adjacent to aviary pond in Kowloon Park.

Museums[edit]

One preserved historic barrack, Block S58, is used as a godown of Hong Kong Museum of History. Three other preserved buildings of the former barracks are used as museums:

Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre[edit]

Blocks S61 and S62 of former Whitfield Camp are "Grade III historical buildings" which were constructed in circa 1910. They are a pair of identical two storied colonial military barrack blocks. The roofs are pitched with Chinese tiles with tar finish. They housed the former Hong Kong Museum of History from 1983 to 1998 before the completion of the present Hong Kong Museum of History at Chatham Road South. An extension block linking the two historical barracks was constructed in the 1980s to provide more space for the museum facilities. It now houses the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre.[6]

Health Education Exhibition and Resource Centre[edit]

Block S4 of former Whitfield Camp is a two-storied colonial military barrack building which is identical to Blocks S61 and S62. It now houses the Health Education Exhibition and Resource Centre.

Avenue of Comic Stars[edit]

Located near the park's Park Lane Shopper's Boulevard entrance, the Hong Kong Avenue of Comic Stars opened in 2012. It features 24 figurines of local comic characters and 10 bronze handprints of local comic artists along a 100-metre path.[7]

Sporting facilities[edit]

Entrance of Kowloon Park Swimming Pool and Kowloon Park Sports Centre

The park houses an indoor sports centre and a large aquatics centre.

The pool complex is the most heavily used in Hong Kong, serving over 2000 swimmers daily.[8] It includes four indoor heated pools, including an Olympic sized 50-metre main pool, two 25-metre training pools, and a 20-metre diving pool. Outdoors, there are leisure pools of irregular shapes linked together by waterfalls, a circular paddling pool, and sunbathing areas. The swimming complex opened on 12 September 1989 and can accommodate a maximum of 1530 swimmers, and has an annual attendance of more than 1 million visitors. From 2007–2009, major improvements works were carried out. The indoor free form leisure pool was converted into one of the 25-metre training pools, and a trampoline room extension was constructed.[9] The pool hosted the 2009 East Asian Games, and ahead of this event facilities were added for swimming officials, marshals, doping control, first aid, equipment and the media.[8]

As one of the best equipped swimming pools in Hong Kong, it is the only venue on the Kowloon side suitable for staging major or international swimming events.[10] Events of the Hong Kong Games are also held there regularly.

Other facilities[edit]

The former Kowloon West II Battery, which was graded as Grade I historic building, was converted into a children's adventure playground in Kowloon Park;[11] it is still recognisable for what it was, however. The gun emplacements have been renovated. Naval guns have been mounted in each emplacement after they were discovered at a construction site at Chatham Road in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1980.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Leisure and Cultural Services Department: Kowloon Park: Historical Background
  2. ^ Brief Information on proposed Grade I Items. Items No. 43 and No. 44
  3. ^ Michael Chugani, Kowloon Park land sale plan tipped to spark row, South China Morning Post, 10 January 1982
  4. ^ Jim Gilchrist, "'Bargain' $218m for park site", South China Morning Post, 6 February 1983.
  5. ^ "Redevelopment of Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui". SOCAM Development. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  6. ^ UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards: Whitfield Barracks
  7. ^ "HK Avenue of Comic Stars opens", news.gov.hk, 28 September 2012
  8. ^ a b "Park pool ready for 3rd HK Games". news.gov.hk. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "14 EAG Projects". Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Leisure and Cultural Services Department: Kowloon Park Swimming Pool
  11. ^ Leisure and Cultural Services Department: Kowloon Park: Discovery Playground
  12. ^ The Geographical Information System on Hong Kong Heritage: Former Whitfield Barracks, KLN West II Battery

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°18′05″N 114°10′11″E / 22.30143°N 114.16986°E / 22.30143; 114.16986