A Travellerspoint blog

Admiring Admiralty

The Asiatic Society and Hong Kong Park.

sunny

Today was the first day of my summer holiday, so I had a well deserved lie in, then headed to Admiralty. In the nineteenth century this area was a British military zone and was home to a number of barracks, such as: the Wellington Barracks, the Murray Barracks and the Victoria Barracks. It was also home to the Admiralty Dockyard. This area's English name comes from this dockyard. Whereas its Chinese name, Kam Chung, which means Golden Bell, comes from a gold coloured bell which was the timekeeping device of the Wellington Barracks. Admiralty Dockyard and large areas of the three barracks were later demolished and a new dockyard called Tamar was built on reclaimed land here.

I went to Admiralty primarily to visit the Hong Kong Asiatic Society which is located on Justice Drive near the British Consulate, but which, for some unknown reason, I had never even known existed until recently.

On the way I passed the Conrad Hotel. I noticed a man taking photos and thought, "There must be a good view from here. I'll check it out on my way back." I then noticed a huge statue in front of the hotel called Hong Kong People by American sculptor, Kirk Newman. This is a mishmash of: people running at top speed to get to work, old men taking their pet bird for a walk in its cage, doting mothers photographing their kids, people staring at their mobile phones, or talking on them and many more typical everyday scenarios.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

Hong Kong People.

After looking at the statue, I crossed the road and headed up the hill to the Asiatic Society. The Asiatic Society is an organisation that aims at encouraging interest in Asian arts, culture, science and literature. It was founded in 1847. Entry is free. The site contains a theatre, a gallery, a double decker bridge with views, a variety of statues, an amphitheater, gardens, a restaurant and a gift shop. I loved wandering around here looking at the art works, views and historical buildings.

First, I'll write a little about the sculptures.

The Asiatic Society Entrance.

The Asiatic Society Entrance.

The first sculpture I saw was Big City Life by Eddie Kang. This shows five of his fictional characters: Storyteller the clown, Cabbit, Bubble Bearcup, Ragdoll and Goblin the robot.

The first sculpture I saw was Big City Life by Eddie Kang. This shows five of his fictional characters: Storyteller the clown, Cabbit, Bubble Bearcup, Ragdoll and Goblin the robot.

Next was Electric Bauhinia by Adrian Wong.

Next was Electric Bauhinia by Adrian Wong.

My favourite of the sculptures here was Long Island Buddah by Zhang Huan.

My favourite of the sculptures here was Long Island Buddah by Zhang Huan.

Long Island Buddha by Zhang Huan.

Long Island Buddha by Zhang Huan.

Long Island Buddha by Zhang Huan.

Long Island Buddha by Zhang Huan.

Sculpture in Joseph and Josephine Lau Roof Garden. Part of Hidden Forest Summer Project.

Sculpture in Joseph and Josephine Lau Roof Garden. Part of Hidden Forest Summer Project.

I also liked Another Time by Antony Gormley.

I also liked Another Time by Antony Gormley.

Another Time by Antony Gormley.

Another Time by Antony Gormley.

Artificial Rock by Zhan Wang.

Artificial Rock by Zhan Wang.

Lost City by Vaan Ip. I didn't like this one. It kept merging with the background buildings whatever angle I photoed it from, though I think this was the point of it.

Lost City by Vaan Ip. I didn't like this one. It kept merging with the background buildings whatever angle I photoed it from, though I think this was the point of it.

The buildings that make up this arts centre formerly housed the explosives magazines of the Victoria Barracks. I was happy to see them preserved and given a new use rather than left to fall down.

The Starr-Greenberg Building was once a laboratory where explosives were mixed and packaged. It dates from 1865.

The Starr-Greenberg Building was once a laboratory where explosives were mixed and packaged. It dates from 1865.

Starr-Greenberg currently houses the Heinrich's Administrative Wing, the Lee Quo Wei Room and Credit Swiss Room.

Starr-Greenberg currently houses the Heinrich's Administrative Wing, the Lee Quo Wei Room and Credit Swiss Room.

Sculpture next to Starr-Greenberg Building.

Sculpture next to Starr-Greenberg Building.

Starr-Greenberg Building.

Starr-Greenberg Building.

The Starr-Greenberg Building.

The Starr-Greenberg Building.

The Chantal Miller Gallery is housed in former magazine A which was used for storing explosives.

The Chantal Miller Gallery is housed in former magazine A which was used for storing explosives.

The Chantal Miller Gallery had an exhibition by Chinese artist, Lalan.

The Chantal Miller Gallery had an exhibition by Chinese artist, Lalan.

Lalan Exhibition.

Lalan Exhibition.

Lalan Exhibition.

Lalan Exhibition.

Old photo showing explosive magazine A and the same building now used as the Chantal Miller Gallery.

Old photo showing explosive magazine A and the same building now used as the Chantal Miller Gallery.

There are four cannons nearby the gallery which were found during reconstruction.

There are four cannons nearby the gallery which were found during reconstruction.

The next building is the Miller Theatre. This is housed in magazine B, a former storage area for explosives.

The next building is the Miller Theatre. This is housed in magazine B, a former storage area for explosives.

The Miller Theatre.

The Miller Theatre.

Running along the sides and back of the Miller Theatre is a narrow, barrel vaulted lighting passage which was used by soldiers to check on the explosives safely through small windows.

Running along the sides and back of the Miller Theatre is a narrow, barrel vaulted lighting passage which was used by soldiers to check on the explosives safely through small windows.

Lighting passage.

Lighting passage.

The double decker Yusomoto Bridge connects all the different parts of the site together. There are good views from here and despite being in the centre of a busy city district there's greenery all around and the sound of gurgling water and birdsong.

Double Decker Bridge.

Double Decker Bridge.

Double Decker Bridge.

Double Decker Bridge.

Downstairs in the building there is a gift shop, the Ammo Restaurant, an amphitheatre, the GG Administrative Wing and a banyan tree shaped like a giraffe. The Ammo Restaurant is a Japanese Italian fusion restaurant.

The GG Administrative Wing houses 'Discoveries in Ink' by six different Chinese artists. You must make an appointment to visit here. I didn't go inside.

The GG Administrative Wing houses 'Discoveries in Ink' by six different Chinese artists. You must make an appointment to visit here. I didn't go inside.

Gift Shop.

Gift Shop.

The Ammo Restaurant.

The Ammo Restaurant.

The Ammo Restaurant.

The Ammo Restaurant.

The Ammo Restaurant.

The Ammo Restaurant.

The Giraffe Tree, a Chinese banyan tree, is dedicated to Mr Larry Yung in recognition of his support.

The Giraffe Tree, a Chinese banyan tree, is dedicated to Mr Larry Yung in recognition of his support.

Next I headed back downhill towards Hong Kong Park. On the way I remembered to look at the view where the man had been taking a photo. To my surprise he was still there and in exactly the same position, so were two nearby gardeners. That's when I realized these were all statues. They were incredibly life-like. I found a third one called Courting Couple, too. After that I started staring at anyone sitting around wondering if they were statues, too. It was all a little disconcerting!!! I later found out these statues are the work of American sculptor J Seward Johnson.

The Photographer.

The Photographer.

The Photographer.

The Photographer.

The Gardeners.

The Gardeners.

The Gardeners.

The Gardeners.

Courting Couple.

Courting Couple.

Courting Couple.

Courting Couple.

Another beautiful banyan tree.

Another beautiful banyan tree.

Views over Admiralty.

Views over Admiralty.

Views over Admiralty.

Views over Admiralty.

When I was finished with the realistic statues, I headed towards Hong Kong Park. I used to go here a lot, but I haven't been for a while and I was very interested to go because of having researched so much to do with the Second World War in Hong Kong. I knew there was a war memorial here and some more buildings that remain from the former Victoria Barracks.

Entry to the Park from close to Pacific Place.

Entry to the Park from close to Pacific Place.

Fountains shortly after the entry.

Fountains shortly after the entry.

Fountains shortly after the entry.

Fountains shortly after the entry.

The first historical building I visited was Flagstaff House which was built in 1846. This was initially called Headquarter House and was built in Greek revival style. This building was originally the residence of the Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong and continued in this role until 1978. Flagstaff House is the oldest surviving western style building in Hong Kong. It has been home to the Museum of Tea Ware since 1984. The contents of this museum were donated by Doctor K. S. Lo, the founder of the Vitasoy soya milk company, and a connoisseur of Chinese tea.

I liked the fire places in all the rooms though I was a bit unsure why they were all needed; it's usually pretty hot here. One blog I read talked about burning confidential documents in the fireplaces. Who knows? I'm not knowledgeable about Chinese teapots but rather like them. There are certainly plenty of them here. For me though I was more interested in the building than its contents.

Teapot advertising Tea Ware Museum outside Flagstaff House.

Teapot advertising Tea Ware Museum outside Flagstaff House.

Flagstaff House with the Lippo Building behind it. The Lippo Building is designed to look like koalas climbing a eucalyptus tree.

Flagstaff House with the Lippo Building behind it. The Lippo Building is designed to look like koalas climbing a eucalyptus tree.

Close up Flagstaff House.

Close up Flagstaff House.

Dr K. S. Lo donated most of the contents of the Tea Ware Museum.

Dr K. S. Lo donated most of the contents of the Tea Ware Museum.

A room inside Flagstaff House.

A room inside Flagstaff House.

A room inside Flagstaff House.

A room inside Flagstaff House.

A room inside Flagstaff House.

A room inside Flagstaff House.

Staircase Flagstaff House.

Staircase Flagstaff House.

Paintings related to tea production.

Paintings related to tea production.

Painting related to tea production.

Painting related to tea production.

Exhibits, Tea Ware Museum.

Exhibits, Tea Ware Museum.

Teapots.

Teapots.

Teapots.

Teapots.

Pictures of tribal groups in ceremonies related to tea.

Pictures of tribal groups in ceremonies related to tea.

Pictures of tribal groups in ceremonies related to tea.

Pictures of tribal groups in ceremonies related to tea.

Display in Flagstaff House.

Display in Flagstaff House.

In the gift shop, Flagstaff House.

In the gift shop, Flagstaff House.

In the gift shop, Flagstaff House.

In the gift shop, Flagstaff House.

When I had finished looking around Flagstaff House, I walked past some more colonial buildings and went to visit the Dr K.S. Lo Gallery. Inside this building downstairs there is a beautiful tearoom, called the Lock Cha Tearoom which is designed to resemble a scholar’s quarters. Traditional music performances are held here some Saturdays and Sundays. On weekdays there are talks on tea appreciation. Upstairs there is an exhibition of Chinese chops and ceramics. Again these were mainly donated by K. S. Lo.

More colonial buildings, Hong Kong Park.

More colonial buildings, Hong Kong Park.

The K.S. Lo Gallery.

The K.S. Lo Gallery.

The K.S. Lo Gallery.

The K.S. Lo Gallery.

Downstairs Tearoom K.S Lo Gallery.

Downstairs Tearoom K.S Lo Gallery.

Staircase, K.S. Lo Gallery.

Staircase, K.S. Lo Gallery.

Staircase, K. S. Lo Gallery.

Staircase, K. S. Lo Gallery.

Looking down K.S. Lo Gallery.

Looking down K.S. Lo Gallery.

Window and Door, K. S. Lo Gallery.

Window and Door, K. S. Lo Gallery.

Inside the K. S. Lo Gallery.

Inside the K. S. Lo Gallery.

Chinese Vase, K. S. Lo Gallery.

Chinese Vase, K. S. Lo Gallery.

Hand carved chops in Dr KS Lo Gallery.

Hand carved chops in Dr KS Lo Gallery.

Nearby these museums there is a war memorial to the soldiers killed during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Hong Kong in World War II. A plaque here particularly commemorates a member of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, John Osborne VC, who saved many of his fellow soldiers by throwing himself on a grenade thrown into the pillbox he was defending during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941.

War Memorial.

War Memorial.

After viewing the war memorial, I strolled along the edge of the pond which is filled with flowers, fish and turtles. Behind the main pond there is a smaller pond and a large manmade waterfall.

Arum Lilies.

Arum Lilies.

Main Pond.

Main Pond.

Main Pond.

Main Pond.

Main Pond.

Main Pond.

Fish in Main Pond.

Fish in Main Pond.

Smaller Pond.

Smaller Pond.

Lily pads and bridge in smaller pond.

Lily pads and bridge in smaller pond.

Small waterfall.

Small waterfall.

Turtles in Smaller Pond.

Turtles in Smaller Pond.

Manmade Waterfall.

Manmade Waterfall.

Manmade Waterfall.

Manmade Waterfall.

I followed the path under the manmade waterfall to the conservatory. This has three parts: a gallery specialising in flower arrangements, mainly involving orchids, a dry desert area and a hot, humid area which proved to be cooler than outside.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Beautiful Orchids.

Teddies and Orchids.

Teddies and Orchids.

Teddies and Orchids.

Teddies and Orchids.

Hedgehog Display.

Hedgehog Display.

Flying Teddies and Orchids.

Flying Teddies and Orchids.

Elegant Birds.

Elegant Birds.

The desert area seemed to have a wild west theme going on.

Desert area.

Desert area.

Desert area.

Desert area.

Desert area.

Desert area.

The humid area had a more jungle style theme. It also had a little stream with waterfalls crossed by many bridges and lots of colourful flowers.

Colourful flowers. Apparently they are false bird of paradise flowers.

Colourful flowers. Apparently they are false bird of paradise flowers.

Colourful flowers.

Colourful flowers.

Colourful flowers.

Colourful flowers.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Bridge.

Waterfall in Conservatory.

Waterfall in Conservatory.

Waterfall in Conservatory.

Waterfall in Conservatory.

Next I had a wander in the lovely tai chi garden. This has a lookout tower to climb up, but I didn't I was getting tired, and a monument to the medical staff at the forefront of the fight against SARS.

Entry to Tai chi garden.

Entry to Tai chi garden.

Tai chi garden.

Tai chi garden.

Figure disappearing down corridor, Tai Chi Garden.

Figure disappearing down corridor, Tai Chi Garden.

Tai chi garden.

Tai chi garden.

Tai chi sculpture.

Tai chi sculpture.

Monument by artist Chu Tat-shing in memory of eight medical staff who died fighting SARS.

Monument by artist Chu Tat-shing in memory of eight medical staff who died fighting SARS.

Next I visited the aviary. There are two sections: one where the birds are in cages and one where they can fly around freely in a huge enclosed space. Visitors just wander around with them. My photos aren't great as I was only using my phone and didn't have a powerful zoom.

Artistic cage display.

Artistic cage display.

Great Hornbill in caged area.

Great Hornbill in caged area.

Colourful bird feeding, probably a Loriini.

Colourful bird feeding, probably a Loriini.

This crested pigeon landed near me.

This crested pigeon landed near me.

A common mynah bird feeding.

A common mynah bird feeding.

Walkways through the aviary.

Walkways through the aviary.

I passed one more old barracks building which is now used as the administration office of the aviary then I walked into central. I visited Duddell Street to see the only remaining gas street lights in Hong Kong. Finally, I visited Starbucks in Baskerville House right next to the streetlights. I wanted to see this Starbucks as it's designed to look like a cha chaan teng or traditional Chinese teahouse.

Victoria Barracks.

Victoria Barracks.

Gaslight, Duddell Street.

Gaslight, Duddell Street.

Gaslight, Duddell Street.

Gaslight, Duddell Street.

Starbucks.

Starbucks.

Starbucks.

Starbucks.

Starbucks.

Starbucks.

Posted by irenevt 15:46 Archived in Hong Kong

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Comments

Hi Irene, I had just finished cutting the grass in my back garden, and was just sitting watching Tv news of the floods in Germany and Belguim, and needed cheering up. Your photos did the trick. They are beautiful with your lovely text. I was with you. Thanks for posting. Alec

by alectrevor

The flooding is horrendous. I have also been reading about it here, too. I'm delighted to know you enjoyed my day out. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

I can see why you like to visit that Park, it's lovely!

by hennaonthetrek

Hi Henna, many people complain that this park is very artificial, but I like it. It's a much needed bit of greenery in the middle of a very built up area.

by irenevt

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