An estimated 73,500 HDB residents call Sembawang home, and currently there are 26,834 flats in the town (as of 31 March 2018).
Sembawang is named after the Sembawang tree, which can be found at Sembawang Park. The town used to be the site of Nee Soon Rubber estate, and was once a naval base with bustling shipyards.
From the 1800s to early 1900s, Sembawang Town was characterised by gambier, pepper, and pineapple plantations, which extended from Seletar River towards Sungei Sembawang in the North. In 1983, the opening of the Singapore Naval Base led to the development of this area, and military installations such as airbases and barracks were built in the vicinity. Today, we are reminded of the town’s maritime past through the nautical design details of blocks around the neighbourhood. Most roads in Sembawang today are also named after various Royal Navy Dockyards, warships and Admirals, that drew reference to the town’s heritage as a British naval base.
Sembawang Town is currently supported by Sembawang MRT Station, and transportation links will be further enhanced by the upcoming Canberra MRT Station, which will be completed by 2019. The town is also served by shopping centres such as Sun Plaza and Sembawang Mart, as well as an upcoming New Generation Neighbourhood Centre, Canberra Plaza, due for completion in 2019.
One of Sembawang’s distinct landmarks is the 4km-long Sungei Sembawang, the main river that runs through the town. In the 1990s, the southern end of the river which consisted of mangroves, ponds, and grasslands were filled up in preparation for the development of Sembawang.
Sembawang is home to one of the few parks in Singapore with a natural beach. Developed in the 1970s, the park is a popular spot for camping or a day by the beach. A wide range of fauna, flora, and bird species have made the park their nesting grounds. Within the Sembawang Park also stands Beaulieu House, a black and white bungalow adorned with Victorian-style iron work and Neo-Classical plaster details, which was granted conservation status by the Urban Redevelopment Authority in 2005.
Situated along Old Nelson Road is the Former Admiralty House – resembling a traditional English cottage, the building was once used by the British Armed Forces during World War II and was gazetted as a national monument in 2002.