Situated in the eastern region of Singapore, Paya Lebar has a rich history dating back to the 1830s when it was first settled. The name “Paya Lebar” originates from the Malay language and translates to “broad swamp.”This area was officially documented on a survey map from the 1830s, commissioned by the British Straits Settlements which governed Singapore, Penang, Malacca, and Perak (previously known as Dinging.)
The National Archives have records indicating that by the 1890s, Paya Lebar had become a home to several rural settlements and agricultural areas. Additionally, there was a considerable number of squatters who resided in the region and engaged in farming activities such as producing crops, as well as rearing pigs and poultry for commercial purposes.
Paya Lebar witnessed a prominent landmark in the form of the Singapore International Airport, which commenced its operations on August 20, 1955. It was built to replace Kallang Airport, located approximately 5 kilometers away from the Kallang River.
Paya Lebar Airport served as the primary destination for all commercial flights to Singapore for 26 years until 1981.
However, when all civil air travel was shifted to Changi, the airport underwent a transformation and became the Paya Lebar Air Base, which currently functions as a military base for both the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the US Air Force. (See also: Paya Lebar Air Base)