Dalhousie Obelisk

Coordinates: 1°17′14.7″N 103°51′08″E / 1.287417°N 103.85222°E / 1.287417; 103.85222

The Dalhousie Obelisk (Chinese: 达豪施纪念碑) is a memorial obelisk in the Civic District of Singapore, located on the north bank of the Singapore River in the Downtown Core, within the Central Area in Singapore's central business district.

The obelisk is situated at Empress Place, near the Asian Civilisations Museum and the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, and the Anderson Bridge near the mouth of the Singapore River.


The Dalhousie Obelisk was built to commemorate the second visit to Singapore, in February 1850, of the Marquis of Dalhousie, who was the Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856. He was accompanied by his wife, the Marchioness, and the objective of the visit was to consider the reduction of administrative expenditure.

However, prominent merchants and traders, who felt that Singapore's infrastructure was not keeping pace with its economic development, wanted Dalhousie to exert his influence in their favour. To win over Dalhousie, they renamed the pier by which he came ashore Dalhousie Ghaut and marked it with a commemorative obelisk. The memorial was also built to remind succeeding merchants of the benefits of free trade.

The Dalhousie Obelisk was first sited at Dalhousie Ghaut (also known as Dalhousie Pier). In 1886, land reclamation for the building of Connaught Drive included the part of the Singapore River where the obelisk stood. To save the obelisk for posterity, it was removed to another site on the same line but nearer the sea wall, where the Cenotaph is now. In 1891, it was moved again, this time on the instruction of Governor Sir Cecil Clementi Smith, to its present site in front of the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall, after the Anderson Bridge was built in 1909.


The Dalhousie Obelisk is an important architectural element in Empress Place but somewhat neglected and obscured by trees. It was designed by John Turnbull Thomson when he was a Government Surveyor. He was obviously inspired by "Cleopatra's Needle" on the Thames Embankment in London.