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TALKING POINTS

3 Hidden Treasures that Uncover Quarry Bay’s Past

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• Quarry Bay is steeped in history – here are three hidden treasures that reveal the district’s past.

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Quarry Bay is today a vibrant district with both residential and commercial areas, but have you ever wondered what it looked like a century ago? Get ready for a treasure hunt with these hidden gems that will give you a glimpse into the neighbourhood’s rich history.

No. 5 Dam at Choi Sai Woo Park

With its lush gardens, jogging tracks and a playground, it’s hard to imagine that this expansive urban park was once part of the Braemar Reservoir, also known as “Choi Sai Woo”. But if you look closer, you can still find a standing monument to the area’s watery past – the No. 5 Dam tunnel portal, a Grade 2 listed historic building. The reservoir was built in 1894 by the Taikoo Sugar Refinery to provide fresh water not only for the company’s private use, but also to residential areas beyond Quarry Bay during droughts. After the refinery ceased operation in 1972, however, it was redeveloped as Braemar Hill Mansions and a park; all that remains today is this Classical Revival-style portal.

Taikoo Cable Car on Mount Parker

You might have spotted these giant blocks when hiking around Mount Parker – they’re actually the stone foundations for the world’s first cable car system for recreational purposes! In 1892, the Taikoo Sugar Refinery commissioned the construction of this 2.3km long cable car system so staff members could escape the summer heat. It ran from Yau Man Street up to Tai Fung Au, where The Sanitarium, a summer retreat, was located. Today, 24 sets of the foundation rocks – some of which are still attached with bits of metal from the steel pylons – have been uncovered along a historical trail, while the base of The Sanitarium is still visible near by the Quarry Pass Pavilion.

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Steel Stockyard on Taikoo Shing Road

Chances are you’ve passed by the massive concrete wall opposite Taikoo Park a thousand times – but did you know it’s already 56 years old? Before the wall was erected, the block between what’s now Taikoo Shing Road and King’s Road used to be the steel stockyard of Taikoo Dockyard, where many impressive vessels were built in the early 20th century. But as industrialisation progressed, the stockyard was subsequently filled up in 1965 to level with King’s Road and to create a platform (along with the wall) on which industrial buildings were built. The wall has kept its look ever since, remaining as a historical treasure hidden in plain sight.

* Some of the featured locations are not on main hiking trails – do pay attention to your surroundings and stay safe while exploring!

Special thanks to the Swire HK Archive Service for their support on this story.

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