Category Archives: S. Thomas College

St. Thomas’ College: A Wide-ranging History of the ‘School by the Sea’

David Sansoni, whose preferred title is “STC – an unauthorised history of Lanka’s greatest Public School”

Richard Simon’s ‘history of Lanka’s greatest public school’, is an epic poem!
Epic, in its reach; poetic, in its lyricism, this towering, magnificent opus is a pearl, of both history and literature. “STC” touches the soul and core, of historophile, linguaphile and bibliophile; Christian, Lankan and, above all, Thomian.


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The Cricketer Athletes of Ceylon: 1940 and Thereabouts

Michael Roberts

The Janashakthi Book of Sri Lanka Cricket 1832-1996, edited by SS Perera for the Janashakthi organisation of the Schaffter family (Colombo, 1999) has an invaluable photograph within page 206 of the Athletes who represented Ceylon in “what was then an annual contest” (p. 205). This shot has been ‘rekindled’ for digital presentation by David Sansoni of Sydney.

 

 

 

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Leslie de Saram and Aubrey Martensz: Straddling Ceylon & the British Empir

Hugh Karunanayake, in The Ceylankan, Journal of the Ceylon Society of Australia, No 100, vol 25/4, November 2022, where the title reads “Two Acclaimed Lawyers who migrated from Ceylon During the Days of the ‘White Australia’ Immigration Policies” … with the highlighting here being an imposition by The Editor, Thuppahi

The names Leslie de Saram and Aubrey Martensz are not likely to evoke sentiment of any kind from contemporary Sri Lankans. They were two outstanding lawyers who not only dominated legal practice and legal education, but also were very influential members of the profession and of Colombo’s social scene. Both de Saram and Martensz were at various times partners of the well-known legal firm FJ and G De Saram, founded by Leslie de Saram’s grandfather, FJ de Saram Senior, in 1841.

FJ De Saram (Snr) was the grandson of Maha Mudaliyar Christtofel de Saram the son of Johan Henriques de Saram who was only 14 years old when taken to England by Governor Maitland, handpicked from among the leading “native” families as suitable for higher studies. That headstart created a dynasty of lawyers.

Leslie De Saram 

JA Martensz

 

 

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The Captivating “Story of Sri Lankan Cricket” by Nicholas Brookes

Martin Chandler:…. in CricketWeb, 14 August 2022, reviewing Nicholas Brookes: An Island’s Eleven: The Story of Sri Lankan Cricket, The History Press, 2022, 535 pp, Rating: 4.5 stars …. with highlighting emphasis imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

In the final sentence of his preface Nicholas Brookes expresses the view; For as much as I’ve tried to ‘tell the story of Sri Lankan cricket’, this work is merely a starting point. This is, I presume, a reference to the paucity of existing literature on Sri Lankan cricket rather than an attempt to downplay his own contribution to that particularly genre. It is inevitably unfortunate and disappointing that, to date, none of Muttiah Muralitharan, Arjuna Ranatunga, Samantha Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara or Rangan Herath have been persuaded to write an autobiography, but the game in Sri Lanka does at least now have a comprehensive history, and one I hope might become the touchstone for similar histories of the game in Ireland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

The full Sri Lankan training squad in Colombo with the bus taking them to Nuwara Eliya for acclimatization & training prior to the journey to England for the 1975 World Cup  with Asst Manager Neil Perera standing on the left and Trainer Raja Wickremasinghe and Manager KMT Perera standing on the right

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Bertie Wijesinghe: An Appreciation in 2015

Mevan Pieris, an essay presented in The Sunday Times on 24  May 2015 with this title:  “Bertie Wijesinghe: 95 Not Out”

R.B. Wijesinghe, son of former Trinity cricketer Alexander Wijesinghe and of his wife Beatrice Gunasekera, is the oldest living Thomian cricketer whose 95th birthday falls on 24th May 2015. RBW, known to all as Bertie, entered the great school by the sea in 1926 when Warden MacPherson was about to hand over the reins to Reginald de Saram, and where his elder brother Alex was already studying.

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Facing the ‘Music’ at Cricket with David Ponniah …. for S. Thomas’ College

Ajit Jayasekera, …. in a post from Sydney: https://www.stcobasydney.org/articles/ajit-jayasekeras-fond-recollection-of-david-ponniah

Dr. David Arijunan Ponniah, Warden S.Thomas’ College, my friend, colleague and partner. I have been inundated with requests for speeches, articles and insights into my association with this magnificent cricketer and scholar, from the day he took over as the Warden of our great school. At least now, when some young Thomian stops me on the street and asks “hey, old man, what did you do at S.Thomas’?” I can proudly say, “I batted with David Ponniah”!

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The Senanayakes at STC, at Cricket and in Politics in Ceylon

Michael Roberts

In seeking details relating to DS Senanayake’s career at S. Thomas’ College after I received a copy of his school-leaving character reference from Warden Stone,[1] I received a fascinating note from Mevan Pieris[2] about young DS Senanayake’s school career and his cricketing ‘achievements’ at the big match against Royal.

“Indeed, a valuable item [referring to Warden Stone’s certificate]. At least a certified photocopy of it should be maintained at the College Library and at the National Archives, especially since he was known as Kele John who could not pass any examinations and was in what was called the Commercial Class of STC. No doubt he was physically strong and tough and would have been an ideal dormitory prefect to keep the guys quiet. ”

 ‘By the sea’ at Mutwal looking at Colombo Harbour — scenic paintng from O’Brien the 1860s

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Warden Stone’s School-leaving Endorsement of Young DS Senanayake

Michael Roberts

Chandra Schaffter discovered a short note of commendation provided as a school leaving certificate in 1902 by Warden Stone[i] of S. Thomas College at Mutwal to young DS Senanayake. Apparently, DS had been “irreproachable” in his schooldays and had even been a dormitory prefect. Such a school-leaving certificate[ii] would not have been unique; but it is one of those historical artefacts that is so common that they merge into the wastelands of mundane taken-for-granted facts ………….. and then disappear from sight.

 

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Warden Billimoria’s Letter to Old Thomians, 3 July 2021

 

Dear Fellow Thomians,

Fraternal greetings from the School by the Sea.

As we start the second half of 2021 still in a situation where S. Thomas’, together with all schools in Sri Lanka, remains closed, I thought I should write to you to keep you informed of how things are going at the moment, so you will have accurate and up to date information about the state of things for your various alumni groups.

Sad Realities of 2020 …. tcmloba.com/newsroom/news/Wardens-Letter-to-Old-Boys—July-2021.dz

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Constantine’s Coaching Spell in Ceylon in 1953: Assorted Notes

Michael Roberts

 Following my decision to present the accounts of the Australian cricket team’s whistle-stop match in Ceylon in March 1953 as presented in Crosscurrents,[1] I ventured on a search for more data on Learie Constantine’s stint as a coach in the island. Several friends and acquaintances have responded in fruitful ways. So, what you will see here is a compendium that is the product of several hands: titbits that are as enticing as revealing.

 

In the manner typical to him, my Aloysian schoolmate KK De Silva receives pride of place because he has pointed to an entry in Ferguson’s Directory which pinpoints Learie Constantine’s arrival in Ceylon on the 4thJanuary 1953 to assume his tasks as cricket coach. KK’s data, as well as titbits from many others, indicate that his tasks were not confined to the leading club cricketers, but extended to some schools and included visits to Galle and Kandy. It is these reports that are assembled here. The picture, nevertheless,is incomplete. Continue reading

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