Category Archives: architects & architecture

From Galle Across Oceans: The Talented Joseph Family

An Introductory Note from Michael Roberts, 30 September 2020

This ramified tale begins with the wedding photograph sent to me my old playmate Adrienne Ranasinghe nee Conderlag displaying the elegant couple and entourage in front of the All Saints Church in the fort of Galle. This spark has set Joe Simpson, a Galle lover who taught at Richmond College for a while and is back in Canada now, off-and-running. He saw that the best man at the wedding was Louis Joseph and sent me an old article he had composed on the Joseph family. This essay is now adorning the Thuppahi web site as well.

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The Conderlag Wedding in Galle, 1932

The marriage ceremony at the All Saints’ Church in the Fort of Galle on the 17th February 1932 is a reminder of the signficant number of Burgher families who were born and bred in the southern districts of Sri Lanka stretching from Tangalle to Ambalangoda. Absorb these names: Labrooys, Bastiaensz, Ludowyk, Colin-Thome,  De Vos, Bartholomeusz, Austin, Joseph, Ephraums, Buultjens, etc etcetera.  My thanks to Adrienne Ranasinghe nee Conderlag for this memorable document.

Miriam Conderlag, Louis Joseph, Leonard Conderlag and his wife Kathleen Austin, Vivian Blaze, Pamela Roberts, Elma Austin [who subsequently married Eddie Joseph and lived in Hirimbura].

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Medieval Scenarios amidst Metropolitan Hustle-Bustle

Uditha Devapriya, in Daily Mirror, 19 September 2020, where the title is “Madapatha has hardly changed”

Every morning at 5.20, I wake up to the sound of distant drums followed by the chanting of pirith. I literally begin my day with a reminder of the impermanence of life. But then dawn breaks 10 minutes later, and by 5.45, what with the tooting of horns and the chirping of birds heralding the coming day, I can no longer hear the pirith as clearly.Kolamuna Walauwwa
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Colombo Port City via Chinese Alliance

News Item in Colombo Times, 18 September 2020, with this title “Colombo Port City … has attrcted 16 billion dollar investment ….”

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Colombo Port City Project will become the main source of income for the country and the project will generate more than 83,000 employment opportunities.

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The Rajapaksa Reshaping of the Sri Lankan Polity

Asanga Welikala and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne, in Groundviews, 25 August 2020, with this title “The Past and the Present in the (Re)Constitution of the State”  … 

The election of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in November 2019 marked the beginning of a new era of a Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist ascendancy in Sri Lanka. The Covid-19 pandemic provided an early opportunity for the government to establish an authoritarian governing style, helped by Parliament standing dissolved, and the Supreme Court’s refusal to subject the government to the constitution. In the delayed parliamentary election earlier in August, the government and its allies sought and obtained a two-thirds majority mandate.

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The Mahadevan Sisters and The Conviviality of Galle Fort

Tiffany Tang, year date unclear, …. posted at https://i-discoverasia.com/meet-two-interesting-locals-in-galle-fort/ … with this title “Meet Two Intersting Locals in Galle

Galle is a town of colour, texture and sensation totally unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. It is exotic, bursting with the scent of spices and salty winds, and vaguely familiar like a whimsical medieval European down unexpectedly deposited in the tropics” from a visitor’s travel journal in the 1980s. He stumbled upon this charming, ramshackle town shortly after it had been inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List. Now, almost 30 years down the road, many of the old crumbling mansions have been renovated into boutique hotels, but the cobblestone streets with pastel-coloured houses are still as picturesque as a street can possibly get.

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Ceylon Tea, Planting Clubs and Cricket over the Years

David Colin-Thome: “The History of Tea and Cricket in Sri Lanka,” at https://www.elanka.com.au/the-history-of-tea-and-cricket-in-sri-lanka-by-david-colin-thome-2/

“You will think I write a lot about the scenery, but if you saw it you would not think I said too much” – James Taylor (Pioneering tea planter describing Ceylon in a letter to his father in Scotland in 1858)

In Sri Lanka, the relevance of tea to the game of cricket extends further than that of a twenty-minute break that separates lunch and the end of a day’s play. And while tea to the Western world is but a tiny item in a crowded shopping trolley of groceries, in Sri Lanka, it is the trolley itself.

THE HISTORY OF TEA AND CRICKET IN SRI LANKA - BY David Colin Thome

Source: history of ceylon tea

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The Ubiquitous Banyan Tree and Galle Fort

Two ‘Monuments’ …. The VOC Crest and a Banyan Giant

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Galle Fort: Demography, 2018

The Population of Galle Fort in 2018

Muslims                    561

Sinhalas                     432

Tamils                          14

Malays                         02

Burghers                     02

Foreigners                  60 …… Total 1071        

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Moninna and Ranjit Goonewardena of 15 Parawa Street, Fort, Galle inscribed in Word Pictures by Coombe and Perry

The text is Chapter 7 in Juliet Coombe and Daisy Perry’s absorbing Around the Galle Fort in 80 Lives alas presented here without Coombe’s imposing camera work … so that readers have to make do with one family snap and my amateur ‘flourishes’

Behind the unassuming door of Number 15, Parawa Street lies a unique collection of family antiques that have been passed down through five generation of the Goonewardena family. The door opens and the visitor feels an immediate allure as their eyes are met by dozens of quirky, individual treasures.  The most striking feature is the collection of animal horns that are mounted on the walls around the entrance room – the antlers of a stag, the giant, thick, curving horns of wild buffalo and the small tusks of wild buffalo and the small tusks of a wild boar.  Both the Sri Lankan jungle and the country’s colonial past seem to be emblemized in these trophies that Mr, Goonewardena’s gran father was given as a gift when he was working in a public works department in Batticaloa. In the 1950s Queen Elizabeth awarded him a medal for his public service but unfortunately he died before he could receive it.

Moninna, Dilum, Piyum and Ranjit at their very best

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