Date
29 May 2017
Stephen Davies and his team found a border obelisk in Chai Wan (left). He says an old fortification (right) in Chung Hom Kok has been neglected. Photos: HKEJ
Stephen Davies and his team found a border obelisk in Chai Wan (left). He says an old fortification (right) in Chung Hom Kok has been neglected. Photos: HKEJ

HKU proposes heritage status for 170-year-old stone marker

The University of Hong Kong is seeking Grade 1 heritage status for a border marker that is believed to be more than 170 years old.

The university’s department of real estate and construction made the proposal to the city’s Antiquities and Monuments Office, Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday.

Students and teachers from the department discovered the B.O. No. 4 border obelisk, which dates from the earliest days of the British presence in Hong Kong, during a field study this semester.

The stone marker, found in the Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village in Sai Wan Shan in Chai Wan district (formerly known as Sai Wan) is estimated to have been built between 1842 and 1845 in the Victorian era.

Stephen Davies, a lecturer in the department, said “B.O.” stands for Board of Ordnance, the British military authority in charge of surveying and mapping before 1855.

Davies believes the stone was set up by Lt. Thomas Bernard Collinson of the Royal Engineers to mark the northern boundary of the military land in the long abandoned Sai Wan barracks.

Although it has suffered damage over the years, including during World War II, the original markings are still legible.

Ken Ching, a surveyor, said the accuracy of the border obelisk’s location shows that the British had a very mature survey technique more than a century and a half ago.

Such knowledge was important for the military, he said.  

Worried that a lack of proper maintenance is a threat to the stone’s survival, while a big tree beside it could one day fall down and crush it, the university department called on the government to take adequate action to conserve the marker. 

Davies said the Hong Kong government has not done enough to preserve the city’s military relics.

For example, a fortification built in 1938 for machine-gun shooters on Chung Hom Kok Beach in southern Hong Kong Island has long been neglected, he said.

[Chinese version中文版]

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