Joseph Conrad plaque
Public Art : Joseph Conrad plaque
Date Unveiled: The Joseph Conrad plaque was unveiled
by Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of Poland, on 24th February 2004.
Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski, a Pole by birth, British Master Mariner and a great English writer who made
Singapore and the whole of Southeast Asia better known to the world.
Joseph Conrad-Korzeniowski, born on the 3rd of December 1857 in Berdichiv (today's Ukraine, then under
Russian rule) in a Polish family, is one of the masters of modern English prose. Although English was
his third language, after Polish and French, he wrote in it such classic works as "Heart of Darkness"
(1899), "Lord Jim" (1900) and "Nostromo (1904).
The son of a Polish writer and patriotic leader, Conrad experienced political repression while in exile
with his parents in Russia. Orphaned at twelve, he left Poland for France when he was seventeen. For
four years he served in French merchant vessels. In 1878, he signed up with a British shop and started
to learn English. He became a British subject in 1886. As a seaman, later Master Mariner, he sailed
several times to Southeast Asia and Australia. Conrad made eight voyages to Singapore between March
1883 and March 1888. Singapore was his home-port for five months in 1887-88 while he served as first
mate in the Vidar, a steamboat that plied the trading routes of West Borneo and Celebes (now
Conrad's impressions of Singapore appear in several of his stories, notably "The End of the Tether"
(1902). At that time, all incoming vessels would have to report at the General Post Office (presently
the Fullerton Hotel) to collect and deliver mails. When Conrad's ships docked in Singapore, he would
have used the postal services of the Master Attendant's Marine Office at the General Post Office.
In 1896, Conrad settled permanently in England. He died in Canterbury on the 3rd of August 1924.
This plaque was officially unveiled by H.E. Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of the Republic of
Poland, on 24th February 2004.
Friends of Our Shores : The Joseph Conrad
plaque is part of the Friends to Our Shores series, a project by the National Heritage Board (NHB) of
Singapore, which commemorates eminent personalities from abroad who had a connection to Singapore, by erecting a
marker dedicated to the person. The series also includes markers and busts of Dr Jose Rizal , Deng Xiaoping , Jawaharlal
Nehru and Ho Chi Minh.