In Fort Canning Singapore started by its founder Stamford Raffles on Bukit Larangan / Government Hill now Fort Canning in 1822.

It may be a surprise to most Singaporeans that the first Botanic Garden was started by Stamford Raffles in 1822 on Bukit Larangan, later known as Government Hill (Fort Canning).

Raffles instructed Farquhar, the Resident, that a Botanic and Experimental Garden be set up on Government Hill; an area of 48 acres was allotted for this purpose.

The Botanic and Experimental Garden was started on the north and north-east slopes of Fort Canning and included the present site of the National Museum, the National Library, the Armenian Church and the Anglo-Chinese School, Coleman Street.

In August 1819 after Raffles had returned to Bencoolen he sent to Farquhar 125 nutmeg plants, 1,000 nutmeg seeds and 450 clover plants and seeds to be planted in the allotted area.

The man Raffles appointed to supervise the Botanic and Experimental Garden was Dr Nathaniel Wallich, a Dane, born in Copenhagen.

Dr Wallich had served as a surgeon in Calcutta and had also been Superintendent of the Botanic Garden there. In Singapore Dr Wallich became a prominent resident. He served on the Land Allotment Committee in 1822. Mount Wallich (named after Dr Wallich) next to the present Ministry of National Development Building was cut down to provide the soil to reclaim what is today Raffles Place (Commercial Square), Cecil Street, Robinson Road and Shenton Way.

Raffles took a personal interest in the Botanic and Experimental Garden and on his visits to Singapore he looked after it from government House on Government Hill.

The Botanic and Experimental Garden, was a failure. It was abandoned after 30 June 1829. The main reason given was that it was not economical. It coast the settlement $60 per month (a large sum of money in early Singapore) to unkeep it.

For almost 30 years there was no Botanic Garden in Singapore until the present one was begun in 1859 in Napier Road. Eighty acres were set aside for the Garden which was officially opened to the public in 1874 by the Governor Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Clarke who presented two horned rhinoceroses. The garden also flourished as a zoo for 20 years when it was abandoned in 1905.

It was here that H.N. Ridley, the Director, planted the first rubber seeds that led to the foundation of the rubber industry of Malaya.