The four images presented in this item were snapped by my maternal uncle Lincoln Perera (also spelt “Pereira”) in the early 1930s. They were one part of a small set of pictures that came into my hands way back in London in the 1960s when Lincoln, a confirmed batchelor, passed away there.
They had no captions or dates. However, one image shows the Old Lighthouse at the south western corner-bastion. This edifice (see pic below) burnt down in 1936 and was eventually replaced by a lighthouse at the south eastern corner which still functions today.
All four images display some fisher folk from yesteryear plying their trade along the rocks on the western side of the Fort ramparts. These personnel were not necessarily residents within the Fort. They would have clambered in past the few rocks at sea/ground level the north western corner of the ramparts where the walled-in prison is also found .
I can vouch for the feasibility of their ‘operations’. I have clambered out of the Fort that way as a teenager. Between 1948 and 195960 my pater lived in a rented house at Middle Street not far from the Judges’ Bungalow ( a military camp for quite some time since). The Boys Bathing Place (see my Pic below) opposite the Judges Bungalow was my stamping ground—swimming snorkeling wandering with pals or alone in boys playtime mode.
Fishermen from outside the Fort used to pass along the rocks along the Fort rampart edges or fish at a spot just south of the Boys’ Bathing Place or along the big rock complex abutting the Fort yet further south where some of us used to indulge in thrilling (and risky) spray baths from waves used to dash themselves during the south-west monsoon season. “Us” here refers to a cluster of Fort youth encompassing my sister, Audrey, the brothers Vijay & Lakshman Wickremasinghe, Rabin Pullenayagam, Tony Perera with Trevor Roosmale-Cocq Elmo de Alwis and the Conderlags visiting from outside the fort. When Cynthia Perera joined us one of these exercises, it was a scream—that is, the rotund Cynthia screamed at high pitch because she was no swimmer and not a sea ‘urchin’ in the manner born like several of us.
Those were the days yeah!
But for the fishermen presented here, the sea was a partial source for their meagre living. We must thank Uncle Lincoln for capturing one aspect of their hard circumstances
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig, from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, of the lighthouse at Point de Galle in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Fiebig’s photographs of Ceylon, probably taken in 1852, are considered the earliest surviving photographic record of the island. Galle, on the south-western coast of the island, has a natural harbour and is one of the most ancient settlements of Sri Lanka, a port from pre-Christian times. It is protected by a promontory called the Rock or Galle Point. Galle was the main port of the island even though entrance to its harbour was dangerous because of submerged rocks and reefs, until supplanted in the 1870s after the construction of breakwaters in the development of Colombo’s harbour. The Portuguese arrived in the early 16th century and built a small fort here, but it was after Galle was captured by the Dutch in 1640 that it achieved its greatest prosperity. The English replaced the Dutch in 1796 but made few changes to the town and today it is the surviving Dutch architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries which lends Galle its charm. The lighthouse was built in 1840 and burnt down in 1936.
The present Galle Lighthouse… January 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by David Trattnig
photo by Michael Roberts
- “The Lighthouses of Sri Lanka, “ http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/lighthouse/lka.htm
- Joe Simpson:”Appreciating Galle in Its Quietness and Pastness,” 18 May 2017 https://thuppahis.com/2017/05/18/appreciating-galle-in-its-quietness-and-its-pastness/
- EFC Ludowyk: Those Long Afternoons