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
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.
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.
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.
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
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