Friday, September 27, 2013

Keppel Road and Food market in the 1960's

Keppel Road with turfing in the centre, in the 1960's.  The food market is the building at left.
The road is still largely sandy dirt road with some stoning done.
All shophouses are wooden type with concrete ground floor and roofing made of Belian wood shingles.
Note the river bank across the town....there are no buildings built across river.

 Over the years the food market that was located in the center of the town was fondly referred to as the 'Old Market'.  In the 1960's the old market was a meeting place for almost everybody in town to buy wet food like fish, meat and vegetables,  and to eat and drink provided by many Chinese and Malay stalls inside the building.  The Keppel Road that lined it on the inland side was a sandy dirt road and only towards the early 70's were the roads around the shophouses began to be stoned.  There were a handful of cars about town in the 1960's and bicycles were a highly regarded possession.  I could remember well how I had to fork out 20 cents to learn how to ride a bicycle within one hour of rental time, bearing in mind that in the sixties 20 cents was a lot of money.
Keppel Road taken on 27 September, 2013.
The former space of the 'old market' is turned into a mini- town park.
The Keppel Road is made into a one way four-lane single carriageway and tar-sealed.
All shophouses are re-built as concrete structures.
Note the view across river...What was previously an empty riverbank is now occupied with many buildings  belonging to the Customs and Marine Department.
Today the Keppel Road and the old market area is totally transformed.  The old market area has been developed into a mini-town park with maximum tree planting for much needed urban greenery and meeting place.  It is remarkable to see the physical changes happening to this part of the Bintulu town over a period of slightly more than three decades as shown by the two before and after pictures above.