1969 Heading to the beach to cool off

Wed, 09/24/2014 - 21:23

When: A hot summer's day in 1969 [1]. 

Who: The man on the left looks a bit over-dressed, but the others are ready for the beach:

I guess they've just got off a bus. The Aberdeen tunnel wouldn't open until 1982, so how did buses get here from the north of the island? Did they take the coast road via Pok Fu Lam, or drive over Wong Nai Chung gap?

Where: We're at Repulse Bay. You can see the photographer is looking down from above the street. He is up in the grounds of the Repulse Bay Hotel.

What: Down on the beach stands the Seaview building [2]. It's still there today, and celebrates its 60th birthday this year.

In fact lots of things from this photo are still around. Here's a similar view today:

View Larger Map

The staircase is still there, and looks a bit smarter today with a fresh coat of paint. What else is there that's still in the same place?

I spot...

  • 1 bus stop 
  • 1 lamp post, and
  • 2 litter bins!

Some things have changed, of course. Beyond the lamp post, this grand building was still standing in 1969:

It was Eucliffe [3], one of Eu Tong-Sen's "castles".

Finally a change we can all be grateful for: advances in air-conditioning on public buses. Here is the cutting-edge cooling technology in 1969:

If you have any old beach photos from Hong Kong, I'd enjoy seeing them. Here's how to upload a photo to Gwulo: http://gwulo.com/node/2076

Regards, David

PS The Observatory website says it is currently 33-degrees C, so I hope you've found a cool spot to escape the heat.

Also on Gwulo.com this week:

More chapters from Betty Steel's memoir:


  1. This photo is scanned from a slide. The processing date, "AUG69", is stamped on the cardboard mount.
  2. Sea View, 16 Beach Road: http://gwulo.com/node/19856
  3. Eucliffe: http://gwulo.com/node/3828

Reference: A302M

Date picture taken
1 Aug 1969


I lived in HK in 1969 and we took the number 6 bus from Central over Wong Nai Chung gap to Repulse Bay beach. I have many photos of HK beaches which I will try to upload this summer. I remember this scene and many more. We also swam in Big Wave Bay, Stanley Beach, off boats near Lamma Island, and several other beaches but I have forgotten the names. Kirstin Moritz, Falmouth, MA. USA

The small red (Colonial) Post Box has been changed to the larger, green HK Post one now located beneath the tree between the bus stops at the pedestrian crossing.

Hi Kirstin, thanks for clarifying the bus route. And yes please, I look forward to seeing your photos.

Harry, well spotted - I'd missed the post box. Looking at that I realise I've shown the wrong staircase in Google Streetview. The statircase in the 1969 photo is the one further along in the Deepwater Bay direction, and should be this one:

View Larger Map

Now the litter-bin locations in 1969 & 2014 match exactly!

Thanks also to Doug, IDJ, and Stephen for sending in these beach photos:

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 07:49
Repulse Bay Beach-1969

A nice line of mainly British cars parked next to the beach

Date picture taken
15 Jul 1969
Shows place(s)


 Thanks for that, IDJ. Not sure how or when the beach was 'extended' but do know that over the years huge quantities of sand have been imported from Australia and the Mainland to make it as it is today. The Australian sand, apparently, is coarse. Too coarse, it seems, to play rugby on so in 2011 the organisers of Air Asia's HK Beach 5's imported 500 tons of soft sand from Zhuhai.

I do miss the McDonalds .....:-(


PS - not sure if this is Repulse Bay - taken in 1954.

Repulse Bay - 1954

From recollection the extension of the beach was an early example in Hong Kong of reclamation by suction-dredging. The sea bed was sucked up and then blown onto the beach to gradually build it up. I seem to recall lighters/barges were used to carry the pumps and associated pipework. Later in the 1990s this method was widely seen around the harbour using very large purpose built suction dredgers, notably reclaiming the new West Kowloon area and many places elsewhere.

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 07:49
Clearwater Bay

A day at the beach.  This is mt mother Emma Roberts on left, with anunidentified friend, with my brother David at far laft and me in the background, aged 3.  Photo endorsed on back in my mother's writing, "Clearwater Bay Kowloon Hong Kong Aug 1947".  

Date picture taken
1 Aug 1947

Regards, David

Thanks to Bill Duff, who writes that "the 6 ((bus)) went to Stanley and the 6a only as far as Repulse Bay".

Thanks to M. Peaker for these 1966 photos of Middle Bay...

Middle Bay 1966

Middle Bay 1966 (2)

... Harry for this 1954 view of Repulse Bay ...

Repulse Bay - 1954

... and Fergus for these views of Repulse Bay in the 1920s:

Repulse Bay

Repulse Bay Matsheds

Regards, David

Stephen Harvey writes:

Thank you so much for this photo. I remember the area well, I had a flat just near there – at Burnside; just a few steps from Repulse Bay Beach.

I also well remember “the cutting-edge cooling technology in 1969" because I was working for Metro Cars [North Point] and we were building those buses at our factory in Tsuen Wan. (We did not build them from scratch – but merely assembled them from CKD packs from England.)

I have searched my records but I regret to inform you that I cannot find any photographs of the factory.

However, I do have lots of other photos from those days and have attached a few for your perusal. 

Repulse Bay

Repulse Bay

Repulse Bay