Monday, October 22, 2012

Bro Roger Photo Collection (1)

Bro Roger Venne is a Gabrielite brother at Boys Town Singapore.
He has been in Singapore since 1953 teaching and working with the students and staff there.
Last Saturday, I met Bro Roger as I wanted to do an article about Boys Town, one of the institutions found around our old Princess Elizabeth Estate.

I had a most enlightening 3 hour conversation with Bro Roger who opened his archives to me.
I was in 7th heaven! As Bro Roger had been the official photographer for Boys Town, his treasure trove has photos dating back to the time when Boys Town was just a small workshop called St Joseph Trade School.

Starting from this page, I will post the photos from his vast collection.
Please remember that all these photos belong to Bro Roger and if you wish to use any of these, you must get his permission for copyright respect.

Bukit Gombak Hill 1953.
The RAF radar station on the summit has not been built yet.
Notice the farms and plantations all around the hill side.

Bukit Timah Hill viewed from Chestnut Drive, 1953.
The hillsides are scarred by the Dairy Farm Granite Quarries.
In the foreground is the St Joseph Church cemetery at Chestnut Drive.

A view of the Boys Town complex in 1958. (taken from Bt Gombak)
St Joseph church is the building at the extreme right centre (partial)
In the background are the pastures of Cold Storage Dairy Farm.

The original boarding Home of Boys Town.

Related links: Boys' Town


  1. Wow. These are priceless photos indeed. And such good quality too.

  2. Yes Chun See.
    As a tradeoff for access to his photos, I will be documenting, archiving and storing his pictures for posterity on his behalf.
    My most heartfelt gratitude to Bro Roger for this privilege.
    Please return to my blog as I will update it regularly with his photos under the title "Bro Roger Photo Collection (x)"

  3. The last photo was wehre my Primary 3 class was located on the second floor, the part of the building jutting out. I loved this building bcos it has the toilet flush and we didnt need to use the bucket system. I hear they r demolishing this building. It was the home where all the Christian Brothers stayed.

  4. Bro Roger was a lecturer at the St Joseph Trade School in my time when I studied at Boys Town.

  5. I think musicians like Mel & Joe would have remembered BOys Town launched the firts ever "Talentime for Schools" (something like "Singapore Got Talent") in the late 1960s.

  6. I met Bro Roger on a couple of occasions some 10 years ago. He was recommended to me by my former principal, Bro Emannuel who knows my family very very well. As an old alumni of Boys' Town, Bro. Roger shared with me his collection, going back to the 1940s when the trade school was founded. There was another Bro I am familiar but he was from the trade school. Bro Roger has a room up on the hill.

    My formative years were in Boys' Town. It taught me how to survive in the jungle of men, how take on bullies by using your fists when all roads were dead-end, why must we fear God and how to respect our elders.

    Good work, Keep it up.

  7. Yes the cemetery. That old bungalow could it be the Leow family or the one Eurasian teacher who married into a chinese family (whose husband was a police inspector)? Ms. Peirera was her name I think.

  8. I see the 2nd pic with the cemetry view as follows:
    Between the house and the lamp-pole is a track. This will be the present-day Jalan Pakis.
    The road nearer to the cemetery will be Chestnut Drive.

    I now remember that in front of the bungalow and facing Chestnut Drive was a wooden provision shop (corner of Jalan Pakis and Chestnut Drive).