Native Boats, Kolkata, India


View of Native Boats on Hooghly, Calcutta
c.1910

Wikipedia Commons: Boats in West Bengal

“I was born on the banks of the Madhumati (a river in present-day Bangladesh),” said Biswas. “I am familiar with all the rivers of East Bengal. My father was a merchant and we used to own boats. As a child, I have seen boat races in East Bengal. If we were to step back in time by only a hundred years, in Bengal, for transport, for business, there was no option other than boats. You will find the term ‘nou-sadhan’ in many texts about Bengal.”

“This is riverine country,” said Biswas. “What we know and think of as Bengal is actually a large river delta.” Bhattacharyya explained further: “You will find different kinds of rivers in Bengal, from the shallow, rapid streams of North Bengal, to the Hooghly of Kolkata, with its slow and stately gait.”You will find different kinds of rivers in Bengal, from the shallow, rapid streams of North Bengal, to the Hooghly of Kolkata, with its slow and stately gait.” Each kind of river demands a specific boat. “If I were to go to a boat-maker today and ask him to make me a boat, the first question he would ask me is, on what river would the boat operate,” said Bhattacharyya. The dinghy, commonly seen at the ghats of Kolkata, works fine in the waters of the Hooghly, whose current is weak. “But it would be useless in North Bengal because a dinghy cannot travel against the current due to its shape.”
Quartz India: Inside a boat museum preserving eastern India’s disappearing river traditions

Rochor River, Singapore


The Rochor River, Singapore

No dating clues but about 1910.


Malay sampan and boys, Singapore. 

About 1910.

These two cards show the same part of the river (The buildings at the back on the left of the top card are the same as those on the right of the lower card.)

Rochor River is a canalised river in Kallang of the Central Region in Singapore. The river is about 0.8 km in length. Rochor River is a continuation of the Rochor Canal, and begins beneath Victoria Bridge and empties into the Kallang Basin.
Wikipedia

Before the development of land infrastructure, boats and river transport played the role in transportation of goods. Bumboats did not only ply the well-known Singapore River and the quays. They also plied other water bodies like the Kallang River, Rochor River and Rochor Canal for transport purposes. Rochor Canal is a continuation of a canal that begins from as far as the Bukit Timah area, its water source. Officially, only the section after the Kandang Kerbau Bridge is named Rochor Canal. It continues along the aptly named Rochor Canal Road and ends at Victoria Bridge, where it continues as Rochor River. It is one of five waterways that empties into the Marina Reservoir.

Rochor Canal gave rise to one of the earliest industries in Little India – cattle trade. The natural pasture fed by the waters of the Rochor Canal suited cattle trade. Many streets in Little India are named after this cattle trade legacy, such as Belilios Road (named after a prominent cattle trader), Buffalo Road, Desker Road (named after an abbatoir merchant), and Kerbau Road (kerbau means cattle in Malay). Kandang Kerbau means buffalo or cattle pen in Malay. The growth of cattle trade fuelled other industries. The first municipal incinerators were constructed off Jalan Besar and later, more municipal abbatoirs were built. Along the canal were rubber factories, ice works, and markets for used goods.
Rochor Canal as a Historic Waterway

Rochor River (modern photos and a map)