Celebrating 25 Years of Multi-Ethnic Conviviality: Old School Sri Lankans in Australia

Adam Raffel, whose title reads “The Ceylon Society of Australia 25th Anniversary Celebrations”

Adam Raffel, whose chosen title reads “The Ceylon Society of Australia 25th Aniversary Celebrations”

The Ceylon Society of Australia (CSA) held its 25th Anniversary celebrations on 28 August 2022 at the Pennant Hills Community Centre. The hall was decorated with balloons and banners celebrating 25 years of the CSA. All this was the tireless handiwork of Pauline Gunewardene, the President of the CSA, with the able assistance of all members of the CSA Committee.




There were approximately 80 people in attendance. Pauline presided over the formal proceedings. She highlighted the achievements of the CSA during its 25-year existence, acknowledging the contributions of all former CSA Presidents. A special mention was made of dearly departed CSA Past Presidents Tony Peries and Sunil de Silva, who served the Society with distinction and were affectionately re- membered by all attendees. Pauline then outlined the program for the evening and introduced each speaker.

The evening commenced with a video presentation given by Hugh Karunanayake, the Founder President of the CSA, who was unable to attend. There was a photo of him on screen with caption of name and dates of service and a very enjoyable YouTube interview by Hugh’s grandson prompting his grandfather to give a potted history of the early days of the CSA, replete with tales of the foundation members. Most importantly, Hugh mentioned the original purpose of the Society as a vehicle to disseminate and share information about the people, culture, history, and heritage of Ceylon.

Five Amigos

Harry de Sayrah OAM, as next senior former President, addressed the audience giving his recollections and memories of his time presiding over the CSA, followed by Thiru Arumugam another senior former President, who also shared his experiences with everyone. Thiru is a regular and prolific contributor to The Ceylankan sharing with the readers his considerable wealth of knowledge of a wide range of subjects from ancient temple architecture to radio and hydro engineering! Michael (Rohan) Sourjah, Founder Secretary of the CSA, addressed the gathering thanking everyone for keeping alive the ideals of the original founding members of the Society. Sumane Iyer, a former Editor of The Ceylankan was to address the gathering, but due to a sudden misadventure Sumane couldn’t attend and Pauline read out his speech to the audience. Hyacinth Jones, the wife of previous Editor Doug Jones, read out Doug’s speech for the occasion recalling 12 productive years as Editor of The Ceylankan. Unfortunately, Doug also could not make it to the function due to ill health.

One of the highlights of the evening was the cutting of the 25th Anniversary Cake, superbly made and decorated by Rosani Wahab – a magnificent work of art and a feast for the palate! Past Presidents, Harry de Sayrah OAM and Thiru Arumugam did the cake cutting honours. Everyone charged their glasses with wine, sparkling wine and soft drinks, and toasted the CSA for achieving the milestone of 25 years and for 25 more to come!




Once the formalities were complete everyone mingled and socialized; nibbling on tasty short eats, catered by Joyce Weinman, washed down with wine and soft drinks, generously donated by Amal Wahab. It was a joyful evening and a fitting tribute to the Silver Jubilee of the Ceylon Society of Australia thanks to the efforts of Pauline Gunewardene and the CSA Committee.

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One response to “Celebrating 25 Years of Multi-Ethnic Conviviality: Old School Sri Lankans in Australia

  1. An EMAIL COMMENT from Jitto Arulampalam in Melbourne, 21 November 2022:
    “What a remarkable achievement to nurture and promote our heritage. ……………… Thanks Michael, ….” …. Jitto

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