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Island House Conservation Studies Centre  
Island House Lane, Tai Po

How to apply

Island House Conservation Studies Centre 00190
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 1
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 2
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 3
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 4
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 5
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 6
Island House Conservation Studies Centre - 7

In 1905, the Island House was built on a small rocky outcrop known as Yuen Chau Tsai surrounded by the shallow headwaters of Tolo Harbour. The Lands Office decided in 1899 that Tai Po should be a place suitable for living, and that this would be the base for all New Territories Administration. Therefore, the government built a road to link Tai Po and Kowloon, and constructed suitable offices for the former residence of Secretary for the New Territories on a hilltop. They are some traditional colonial buildings overlooking the old Tai Po Market.

The building was constructed with red bricks covered with rouge cast plaster. Cement panels were included on the upper storey to imitate timber framing. This two-storey plastered building with open verandas is a typical example of the colonial architecture at the turn of the 20th century. In the past, it comprised 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a hall and a staircase, an office, a dining room and a drawing room. The drawing room was panelled to a height of 6 ft with China fir. A tower on the house contained a water tank and also a light to serve as a beacon for boats navigating the Tolo Channel.

It was later designated as an official residence. A total of 15 District Commissioners had resided in Island House since 1949. The last one of them was Mr. Akers-Jones (Sir David).

When Sir David left the house to become Chief Secretary in 1985, the premises remained vacant for a while. The rather isolated position of Island House meant it was no longer suitable as an official residence. The government assigned an entirely new role for the house. In 1986, it was passed to the custodianship of World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong as a Conservation Studies Centre. The building is a monument.

Wooded bank, English garden, lychee orchard, vines and climbers, shop handling WWF's products, teachers resource centre, school groups centre, public visitors centre, naturalists meetings centre, nature trail, animal conservation centre, etc

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