我們的 政府山 our Government Hill

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West Wing
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Government Hill - even before the first town plan

 

1846 - outline sketch map of Hong Kong Island
Source: Hong Kong Public Library

 

Government correspondence was, as early as November 1841, datelined 'Government Hill'As you can see in the "sketch map" it ran between the "Albany Nullah" (generally the route of Cotton Tree Drive) and "Glenealy Nullah", which can still be seen from Robinson Road.

In 1843, Governor Pottinger requested the head of Police to provide four Chinese night watchmen to protect the various buildings on "Government Hill"

In 1843, when Mr. Gordon was laying out what was the first Town Planning document, Government Hill as an area was already well understood. He suggested that south of Queen's Road, eastward from Government Hill, there should be "European-style" shops and house. Back then, "Chinese-style" houses meant many families squeezed into a very narrow building with no windows.

On a 1845 map are shown the "Chinese Secretary's" office and the Gun Battery. Up the hill are the Government Offices.

 

1845 Map of Hong Kong
- detail showing Government Hill

Source:
Gwulo.com

1843 - Report by Mr. Gordon on
Plan of the Town of Victoria

 

1940-1941

The air raid tunnels under Battery Path are only one of the historic elements of the "West Wing" of Government Hill.

 

A Short History
- by the Hong Kong Govenment

Central Government Offices

Situated at lower Albert Road the existing Central Government Offices (CGO) cover and area stretching from Garden Road westwards to include the site of the original Secretariat Building. CGO have a history of some 50 years. Flanking the St. John's Cathedral compound and dominating the frontage of Garden Road, that is a main artery for traffic up the Victoria Peak, they form a familiar central district landmark for half a century.

Apart from the government buildings, the Murray Battery (named after Sir George Murray, Master General of the ordinance from 1841 to 1846) was established on the site of the existing West Wing carpark in 1854 and remained on the site until about 1895. Battery Path is now the only reminder of this early battery.

Shortly after the Second World War, the construction of CGO was considered to be long over due, for the then existing accommodation was inadequate and many government departments were scattered inconveniently in rented accommodation throughout the city. In July 1952, after delays due to the arrival of materials and plant, construction works commenced.

Government Hill

The existing CGO stands on an area known as the “Government Hill”, bounded by upper section of upper Albert Road on the south, Queens Road Central North, Garden Road east, and Glenealy west of Hong Kong Island.

The Government Hill was selected quite early on by the British as the site for a government office. Since the early years of colonial rule, the Government Hill was also earmarked for a church (St. John's Cathedral), the Government House and all major public offices, thus combining the functions of the Governor's residence and office, and offices for other government departments.

Another integral component of CGO was the now defunct be Beaconsfield House (Kung Pak Hong, 拱北行 or “Defend the North House”, was the Cantonese name for be Beaconsfield House). Beaconsfield House had been used as a clubhouse-cum-office of the Hong Kong Volunteer Defense Corps (HKVDC) and the headquarters of the Government Information Services (GIS). In the 1990s, the Beaconsfield House (together with the adjacent old Hilton Hotel) was demolished for redevelopment of the present 60-storey Cheung Kong Center.

West Wing (completed in 1959)

Construction work of the final section of the CGO (the present West Wing) started in 1957 and was completed in 1959. The West Wing was built on a very steeply sloping site and has six floors at one end and 13 floors at the other. An underground car park was provided for approximately 140 cars.

Historical value

CGO has been the office of the central government associated with important historical events and leading figures of Hong Kong. It has been the site members of the public aired their opinions on government policies and public affairs. It is also the place where most major policies which were deliberated by government officers and unofficial members under the leadership of the Governor, now Chief Executive.

As the seat of central government and with its long history since the opening of Hong Kong, this site should be regarded as having significant historical values. The site witnessed the historical development of Hong Kong government from the colonial era to the present after the handover of sovereignty in 1997.

The birth of the Hong Kong special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997 marked the beginning of a new phase in the development of CGO.