Monuments relocated to Happy Valley Cemetery | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Monuments relocated to Happy Valley Cemetery

On the recent visit to the Happy Valley Cemetery, Patricia showed me this group of three homeless monuments that have been relocated here over the years.

The one on the right is the monument to the sailors from the Fronde. It used to be in Kowloon. If you use photosynth to move around it you'll see it has panels in English and French.


The memorial to the left has a central inscription 'Kuhlan, 1855', and further inscriptions on both sides. Click the three 'Kuhlan' links above to see them.

The monument is described in "An American cruiser in the East; travels and studies in the Far East; the Aleutian islands, Behring's sea, eastern Siberia, Japan, Korea, China, Formosa, Hong Kong, and the Philippine islands", published in 1898:

In a gloomy spot, at the foot of the hill where begins the deep cut to the Happy Valley, stands a monument commemorative of one of the few events in which Americans and Britons stood shoulder to shoulder, and shared the dangers, death, and glory of conflict. The monument is of granite, about sixty feet high, surrounded by a handsome wrought-iron railing well shaded by four old trees, and bears the following inscription :

" ERECTED BY THE OFFICERS AND CREWS OF THE UNITED STATES STEAM FRIGATE ' POWHATAN ' AND H. B. M. STEAM-SLOOP ' RATTLER,' IN MEMORY OF Their shipmates who fell in a combined attack, on a fleet of piratical Junks off Kuhlan, August 4th, 1855."


George Mitchell, A. B.
James Silvers, Carpenter's crew.
John Massey, Gunner R.M.A
M. Oliff, Private, R.A

John Pepper, Seaman.
James A. Halsey, Landsman.
Isaac Coe, Landsman.
S. Mullard, Marine.
B. F. Addamson, Marine."

From that day to this, no military procession has ever passed the spot without halting, while the band plays the " Star Spangled Banner," " God Save the Queen," and a solemn dirge, in memory of the brave fellows who sleep there.

To the southward, whether you go by the deep cut, over the hills and through the valleys, or turn from the dock-yard and skirt along the Praya, the scenery is varying and grand beyond description. The Happy Valley, which is the pride of the colony, is a vast amphitheatre, with racecourse and cricket-ground in its centre, and behind the grand stand are the English, Catholic, Jewish, Mahometan, and Parsee cemeteries, with their beautifully shaded walks, clumps of palms, and strange, luxurious tropical growths and blooms, with here and there a stately pile, or stone, to mark the resting-place of some member of the silent majority.

How full these cemeteries are ! It is only about fifty years since the white man unfurled his banner and took possession of the island, but in that time the " Happy Valley " has swallowed up her victims by hundreds and by thousands. The ride back to the city is delightful, but one becomes a little serious while pondering over the causes that have filled these cemeteries in so short a time.

So the monument originally stood in 'a gloomy spot, at the foot of the hill where begins the deep cut to the Happy Valley'. That was roughly where today's Queen's Rd East meets Morrison Hill Road. CORRECTION: We now think it stood in front of Wanchai market - see later comments below.

In the days when Morrison Hill was still a hill, the road from Wanchai over to Happy Valley passed through a deep cut in the hillside.

Further notes about the battle:

That ast reference also gives the location of Kuhlan Island as 'some sixty miles south-west of Macau'. I can't find it in Google Maps - does anyone know how the name the name of the island is spelled today?

I've had a play with Googleearth and there is an island exactly 60 miles SW of Macau called 乌猪洲 (Wu Zhuzhou). However, a bit closer (25 miles) to Macau on the same heading is an island called Gaolan Dao, which appears to be part of ZhuHai. The distance is totally out, but the name is a better match.

this interesting article from the hk institute of architects on wanchai market has a photo on the fourth page  that shows a monument - appears to be the one on the far left of your photo Mr B. what's that memorial about?

Phil & 80skid, great detective work on these, thanks!

A quick google for 'kuhlan gaolan' shows that, according to Solomon Bard, they are the same place.

That page from Bard's book also shows the photo mentioned by 80skid. It shows the Kuhlan monument, and Bard locates it at 'Morrison Hill Road, Happy Valley' - I'd read this page before, and followed it when I wrote above:

So the monument originally stood in 'a gloomy spot, at the foot of the hill where begins the deep cut to the Happy Valley'. That was roughly where today's Queen's Rd East meets Morrison Hill Road. In the days when Morrison Hill was still a hill, the road from Wanchai over to Happy Valley passed through a deep cut in the hillside.

However the HK Institute of Architects document places it in front of the Wanchai Market Building...

Going back to the 1898 quote above, they say the Kuhlan monument stands: "In a gloomy spot, at the foot of the hill where begins the deep cut to the Happy Valley,". The Wanchai Market location fits that description better, so I'll update the main text above.

The Kuhlan Memorial was removed from Wanchai to Happy Valley Cemetery in 1934.

In the same year, 'sketch plans for a replacement Wanchai Market were prepared of two stories with part basement and quarters for native staff. The ground floor contains 30 fish stalls and 1st floor 22 meat, 18 vegetable and 15 poultry stalls. The site, a portion of which was acquired form the Naval Authorities is at the junction of Queen's Road East and Wanchai Road'.

It would appear that the Kuhlan Memorial site gave way to the building of  Wanchai Market.



yep certainly looks like it: there is a triangular area shown on the two 19th century maps in the in the hkia link I sent. It's approxiately the area where the 1930s wanchai market was later built on - and can be clearly see in the photo of the monument with a raised curb.
It looks like the new building absorbed some of it, while the rest was cleared to widen Wanchai Road as it joined Queen's Road. (check out the 1940s map)

Be interesting to know when the monument was first placed there - ie if it was 1850s 

From 'The Illustrated London News', October 6th, 1855

The Hong Kong papers received by the last overland mail contained an account of a combined operation by British and American naval forces against a large piratical fleet near Kulan in which 8 seamen and marines were killed and 16 wounded. Captain Fellowes, of HMS Rattler', Lieutenant Orlando and several other officers were blown up in one of the captured junks but fortunately without much personal injury. The survivors were picked up by the Master's Mate of the 'Powhattan'.

The junk had an immense quantity of treasure onboard, amounting to $200,000 and the Chinese crew fought tooth and nail in hand-to-hand fighting after the Americans had gained its deck. One Chinese, despite being badly wounded, managed to get below and it was believed that it was he who blew-up the junk. 10 junks were destroyed, 5 of them carrying large guns - 32, 24 and 12 pounders. A 68-pounder was found in one of them. Another had no less than 21 guns mounted. They were all stoutly-built and differed in many respects from ordinary trading junks, obviously having being built for warfare. 2 lorchas and 7 junks that had been detained by the pirates were released but 2 others were
burned to prevent them falling into the hands of the pirates who escaped. The officers involved estimated that the number of guns taken was 200, large and small, and that the number of pirates involved was 1,000 with 500 being killed.

Further info can be viewed here:

Hello all,

I believe that there was never any monument in front of the present-day Wan Chai Market.  There were two monuments in Happy Valley.  One at the junction of Queen's Road East and Morrison Hill Road (near the present-day Queen Elizabeth Stadium), and another at the junction of Leighton Road and Wong Nai Chung Road (near the present-day Craigengower Cricket Club).  The photograph in Dr. Bard's book seems to show the latter, despite the caption.

If my memory does not fail me, the answer of which one is the Kuhlan monument and which is the HMS Vestal monument can be found in the appendix of G. B. Endacott's book "Fragrant Harbour".  Does anyone have a copy of that book?

Hello C,

Thanks for joining in. You wrote: "I believe that there was never any monument in front of the present-day Wan Chai Market.". If you look at the bottom of page 2 in the HKIA document, you can see a photo of the old Wanchai market building. Then at the top of Page 4 in the same document is a photo of the same building, with what looks like very much like the Kuhlan monument in the foreground.

This, together with the 1898 quote makes me think it was very likely the Kuhlan monument.

Moddsey, you wrote "The Kuhlan Memorial was removed from Wanchai to Happy Valley Cemetery in 1934." Do you still have the original source for that quote? I'm wondering if there is any chance it was moved to Happy Valley in 1934, but only to the cemetery in later years.

Dr. Bard arrived in HK in 1934. If the monument was moved to the 'Morrison Hill Road, Happy Valley' location at about the same time, he may well have believed it had always been there. That could explain the incorrect caption on the photo.

Hi C. If you click on this link here:

you'll see a thesis on both the old and 1930s "new" wanchai markets by the institute of architects. Using the pdf zoom function you can see the monument they show on the fourth page certainly appears to be the kuhlan obelisk, while the building behind is the old wanchai market building. So far as I know, the old market was located just on the other side of Wanchai Road of where the 1930s one was built.

I'm not sure how much room that leaves for doubt. I have no idea about the original locations of the other monuments though

Clippings from the China Mail, 8th Aug 1958. Page 2 mentions the 'beautified' Vestal monument:

Vestal Monument - clipping

The Kuhlan article it mentions on pg 10 is this one. Originally written in 1933, it describes the location of the Kuhlan monument as 'at Wanchai, situated by the sloping part of the road where Queen's Rd East runs past the naval Hospital'.

Kuhlan Monument - clipping

Hi there,

I remember there was another monument at Morrison Hill Road and Leighton Road, where the 'Golden Dragon' is located today.  It was relocated to Wong Nei Chung Gap in the 1970's.

Best Regards,


Mr. B thanks for raising the question.

Affter re-checking, the Kuhlan Memorial had moved from 'Wanchai to Happy Valley' in 1934 and not to the Cemetery as I had previously mentioned.

About other monuments in the Leighton Road and Morrison Hill Road area, I recall there was a monument previously located at the junction of Leighton Road and Wong Nei Chong Road. It is now located at the top of Wong Nei Chong Gap where the cross-roads meet to join Repulse Bay, Aberdeen and Parkview. I think the memorial had to do with the men and women of St. John's Ambulance who gave their lives during both world wars.

Hi there,

I have a faint impression that I have seen an old photograph showing the junction of Queen's Road East and Wong Nei Chong Road in the foreground and Morrison Hill Road and Leighton Road at the back and both junctions had had a monument of its own.  In the photo Mirroson Hill still exist.

I have also heard of a Morrison Monument which was located Wong Nei Chong Road and Leighton Road near the trees/tram stop right opposite the CCC before being removed to the Cemetry.  I could not recall seeing the Morrison Monument there when I was a kid, however.

Best Regards,


hi all. THis monument seems to turn up all over the place. The History Museum has a detailed description of the kuhlan/wanchai market photo in its City of Victoria exhibition. It mentions the monument by name and gives a brief summary of what it memorialises. It says the monument was moved to the junction of leighton road and wong nai chung road in the 1930s. it stayed there until the 1960s, when it was shifted to its current residence in the cemetary. So everyone is right, by the sounds of things.

I wonder if the decision to move it to the cemetary was sparked by riots - monuments commemorating attacks by westerners on chinese, pirates or not, were probably deemed unhelpful to the political climate - or by more mundane road planning matters.

Incidentally I recommend the Modern Metropolis exhibition on at the museum at the moment. It's a joint show with Shanghai about how the cities and their cultures developed under foreign control.

Thanks to all for the extra info.

T, I wonder if it's this Hedda Morrison photo that you remember? If you click on the large image and zoom in to 100%, you can see a monument at each end of the section of Morrison Hill Rd between the junctions with Queen's Rd East and Leighton Hill Road.

Hello everyone,

Thanks to mrb and 80sKid for correcting me about the Kuhlan monument in front of the old Wan Chai market.  I suppose this is the one at Leighton Road on the Hedda Morrison photograph?  The description in G.B. Endacott's Fragrant Harbour is still ambiguous about the locations:


"A small granite obelisk, situated at the junction of Queen's Road East, Wongneichong Road and Leighton Road, was erected in March 1847, by Captain Charles Talbot, the officers and crew of H.M.S. Vestal in memory of their shipmates who died whilst serving in the Far East.

"A second small granite obelisk, a short distance away at the junction of Morrison Hill Road and Leighton Road, was erected by the officers and crew of the U.S. frigate Powhatan and H.M. steam sloop Rattler in memory of their shipmates who fell in a combined boat attack on a fleet of piratical junks off Kuhlan on 11th August 1855."

80sKid, your theory about the political climate prompting the government to move the monuments make a lot of sense.  They don't want monuments to be desecrated like the Vicente Nicolau de Mesquita statue in Macau.

moddsey, I believe the St. John Ambulance Brigade ambulance has always been at Wong Nai Chung Gap since 1952.  For some reason I also seem to remember some mention of a monument at Leighton and Wong Nai Chung Roads (I am too young to see any of the monuments in the area).  Is there a third monument besides the Kuhlan and HMS Vestal?

Good work getting that info C. It's a bit confusing working out where all these junctions are: hopefully this aerial photo taken in 1975 will clear up some of the doubt. It's useful because the Canal Road flyover and Aberdeen tunnel hadn't been built yet, though you can see where buildings have been clear for it:

The Vestal monument was presumably located in the triangular area near the top of the photo, which splits queen's road as it emerges on to wong nai chung road and leighton road. One of the buildings next to it is presumably the one in the background of the clipping Mr B attached. The site now is much smaller and is just an inaccessible flower bed.

The second monument mentioned above at the junction of morrison hill road and leighton road would be where the golden dragon statue is now, in front of the scmp building. That site is obscured by the building in the photo. It's the bulky tall white one on the right and near the top.

The third site - where the kuhlan momument was moved to from the 1930s to 1960s - must be where leighton and wong nai chung road meet near the Craigengower cricket club. It's also smaller now, with a tram stop and pigeon feeding area. The tram splits that triangle in two where presumably it didn't before (when the trams ran the other way round the race course perhaps?)

Use google maps to compare the two images... Hope this helps!


Hi there,

If my memory did not fail me I could recall the monument engraved in Chinese still exist in the late 1960s as my school bus would go by it to Tin Lok Lane every weekday.  The Wong Nei Chung had not been covered yet as well.

Also in the Hedda Morrison's photo quoted by Mr B earlier today, the Happy Valley/Ngor Keng Kai Fong Association was an outstanding building just beside the Wong Nei Chung.

Best Regards,


Thanks to 80sKid and tngan for the info!

So besides the Kuhlan and HMS Vestal monuments, there is yet another monument with Chinese engravings at the location of the Golden Dragon?  Any idea what this is about?  From the looks of it on the Hedda Morrison photograph, it looks very much like the Kuhlan monument.

Hi there,

It was over 40 years ago and I could only recall the monument there had had Chinese engravings.  It has something to do with WWII and it was an obelisk.  I have the impression that it was removed to Wong Nei Chung Gap slightly before the Aberdeen Tunnel was built.  Also I could not recall there were any other monuments at Queen's Road East/Wong Nei Chung Road as well as Leighton Road/Wong Nei Chung Road in the 1960's.

Best Regards,


The City of Victoria photo booklet confirms the Kuhlan Memorial was removed from Wanchai Market to the junction of Leighton and Wong Nai Chung Roads in 1934.

I believe the photos below show the HMS Vestal Monument.


1910s HMS Vestal Monument


1920s HMS Vestal Monument

Another photo of the HMS Vestal Monument appears in the lower right hand corner:

Thanks for the extra info & photos. Here's another clipping, this one from the Hongkong Telegraph, July 6, 1934.

1934 Clipping re Kuhlan Monument relocation
It talks about the relocation of the Kuhlan monument, planned for later that year. It answers 80skid's question about how long the monument had stood in Wanchai. It says it was there for 79 years, so it would have been erected in 1855, soon after the incident it commemorates.

It also confirms the new location to be "a triangular piece of ground at the junction of Morrison Hill Road and Leighton Road, directly opposite the Police Recreation Club".

Here's a map summarising the locations:

  • A: Original location of Kuhlan Monument on corner of Wanchai Rd & Queen's Rd East
  • B: Original location of Vestal Monument at junction of Queen's Rd E, Morrison Hill Road & Wong Nai Chung Rd
  • C: Second location of Kuhlan Monument on junction of Morrison Hill Rd & Leighton Road
  • D: Present location of Vestal, Kuhlan, and Fronde monuments. (If you zoom in to the 'Satellite' view, you can see the three monuments and the shadows they cast)


1937 HMS Vestal Monument standing next to an overturned tree caused by the passage of a typhoon that hit Hong Kong on 1 September.

1937 HMS Vestal Monument

The following links show the location of the HMS Vestal Monument at the eastern end of Queen's Road East in the latter part of the 19th century.

In the old days funerals at the Colonial Cemetery used to start at Tin Lok Lane and proceed past the Vestal Monument to the cemetery.  Notices in the newspapers wouold always give the time of passing "the Monument", and that is where people would wait to join the funeral procession as it passed.

The three monuments immediately before their removal to the Colonial Cemetery were located as follows:

The Fronde Monument was located at the junction of Jordan Road and Gascoigne Road, on the corner immediately next to the Diocesan Girls' School.

The Vestal Monument was located at the eastern foot of what was Gap Road, at the junction of what are now known as Sports Road, Wong Nei Chong Road and Morrison Hill Road.

The Khulan Monument was located to the north-east of the Vestal Monument and faced the entrance to the Police Recreation Club, at the junction of Tin Lok Lane and what is now known as Morrison Hill Road.

The St John Ambulance Monument at Wong Nei Chong Gap was erected there and was not moved there from some other place. The choice of site was determined by the massacre there of a large number of St John Ambulance personnel serving in the Hong Kong Field Ambulance.

The three monuments in Happy Valley were removed because of traffic considerations, it being thought that they obstructed road changes to facilitate traffic movement. There were loud objections at the time, not because it was thought the monuments should not be moved, but because it was thought that their occupation of scarce grave sites in the Colonial Cemetery was totally unjustified.

2019 Monuments - Vestal, Kuhlan and Fronde
2019 Monuments - Vestal, Kuhlan and Fronde, by Moddsey

Hong Kong War Memorials from 1937 can be read here and here Scroll to page 11 of the HK Telegraph dated 6 and 13 November 1937 respectively.