Kusu Island, like many of our Southern Islands, played its part in the history of the mainland Singapore.
From the Singapore infopedia website of the National Library ...
The earliest mention of Kusu Reef was in the 17th century. Dom Jose de Silva, Spanish Governor of the Philippines was believed to have run aground on March 1616 at Kusu Reef and thus the coral island had gained the name "Governor's Island" which was later adopted by the Singapore Straits which became known as the "Governor's Straits".
In 1806, the island gained the name "Goa Island" given by the East India Company hydrographer, James Horsburgh.
With the founding of Singapore, Daniel Ross, hydrographer to Stamford Raffles, selected the island in 1819 as a reference point for ships entering the new harbour. The earliest charting of the island is in Lt. Jackson's Chart of 1822. The signal flagstaff of the station manned by the Harbour Master's Department was set up on the little island when it was still known as Goa Island or colloquially, Pulo Tambakul.
The island was the burial site for immigrants who died in quarantine on St. John's and Lazarus Islands.
Kusu Island was originally largely made up of living reef. Submerged reefs are indicated by the dotted portions in the map below of P. Tembakul, one of the old names of Kusu Island.
How amazing the shores must have been then!
In 1900-1930, the temple on Kusu Island was surrounded by water at high tide. Kusu Island is also known as 'Turtle Island'. Some accounts say that the island originally comprised two portions which resembled a sea turtle with a larger part resembling the shell and a smaller portion the turtle's head emerging from the sea.
Kusu Island was originally 1.2 ha.
In 1975, there was massive reclamation "to join it with another coral outcrop, making a 8.5ha island resort".
This is what Kusu Island looks like today, with two swimming lagoons and jetties.
But corals are returning to Kusu, growing into the swimming lagoon...And outside the seawalls as well ...We have lost much reefs at Kusu Island, but there are still rich reefs there. You can see the reefs without having to dive or swim! Just join the Blue Water Volunteers in their Kusu Reefwalk.
More about Kusu Island