Kingswood College


Kandy had its good share of Burghers, some of whom did very well in their studies and later in their professions. Most of them were well-known and shone in their respective professions. In the medical field there were a few good doctors doing private practice with each of them having a good practice.

The two foremost doctors were Drs. Anthonisz and Winn with their dispensary on Pavilion Street, with Mrs. McGill being their matron. Dr. Frewin too had his dispensary on the same street. Later Dr. Roy Peterson set up his dispensary on Peradeniya Road, near Girls’ High School. All these doctors enjoyed a good practice.

Barbara Sansoni, the renowned artist, designer and entrepreneur was also born in Kandy.

There were a few Burgher lawyers too. Mr. Eric Dunstan Taylor, who lived in Ampitiya was a good proctor (when the legal profession was divided into advocates and proctors). He had his Law Firm with his cousin, Melville Justin Taylor. His son, Dunstan and daughter Christine both gained admission to the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya. John Henry Eaton was a well-known advocate, Thomas Edwin Beven, was also a well-known proctor in Kandy,

The University of Ceylon had a few reputed Burgher teachers such as Mr. WJF La Brooy, Fr. (Dr.) Pinto (both in European History), Dr. Ian Vanden Driesen (Economics), who married his student, Cynthia de Soysa and migrated to Australia where he became an Associate Professor in the University of Western Australia. When the Faculty of Engineering was established in Peradeniya, Prof. EOE Pereira was the Dean and later he succeeded Sir Nicholas Attygalle as the Vice-Chancellor.

Prior to these teachers there was the famous Prof. EFC Ludowyke, who was the first Professor of English in the university and first Dean of the Faculty of Arts. He was an inspiration of the English theatre on campus and an author of a number of books. It was Prof. HA Passe who succeeded Prof. Ludowyke as the Prof. of English. He had written several books and was a keen tennis player, his wife also joining in. With the establishment of the Faculty of Science in Peradeniya, well known Burghers became Professors in the Faculty, such as Prof. Hilary Cruz.

Kingswood College had as its founder Principal, Mr. LE Blaze’, who was the Principal from 04 May 1881(the day the school was started) to 1923 for 32 years, where he established all the traditions which are followed even at present. Mr. OL Gibbon was the Principal from 1929 to 1937.

Rev. FAJ Utting who took over in 1937 continued till 1942. Mr. DEA Schockman left Kingswood and was the founder Principal of Thurstan College (first known as Government Senior School), where he introduced the House system, prefects, scouting, cadeting and literary associations as in his former school.

In addition to the principals, there were Burgher teachers at Kingswood. The first trained lady teacher was Ms. AC Blaze’ from 1916 to 1918 with her forte being music. Later, when I was in school, we had Miss Clements in charge of the Lower Kindergarten, Miss Thorpe the Upper Kindergarten and Ms. Muriel Elias, the Second Standard. We also had Ms. Joyce Da Silva in the First Form.

The Burgher masters were Mr. Anton Blacker who took the physics lessons in the Upper School, Mr. Arthur Macgill who was in charge of the handicrafts section and Mr. Jansz who took geography in the University Entrance class, and Ivor Colin-Thome. Mr. Lutersz was the Vice Principal in the fifties. The Assistant Matron of the hostel was Ms. Kreltshiem.

Girls’ High School had Mrs. Labrooy, the wife of the lecturer in the university, as its principal for a few years. Mrs. McGill was the matron.

There were a number of Burgher teachers in the other schools in Kandy, especially at Trinity College, St. Anthony’s College, St, Sylvester’s College and Good Shepherd Convent.

There were many Burgher boys at Kingswood, some of whom excelled in sports and extra-curricular activities. In respect of sports, the most outstanding sportsman produced by Kingswood was Freddie White, who was at one time the best hockey goalie in Asia. Derrick Harvie had the distinction of representing Sri Lanka in hockey while still a schoolboy.

Derrick Schokman, Tony Martinesz, Kenneth Kellart, Vernon Lane, Quintus de Zylva , Augustine and Owen Mottau were outstanding cricketers, whilst Quintus de Zylva also captained the College hockey team and Derrick succeeded him the following year. Desmond Cramer was an outstanding athlete. Quintus and his elder brother, Maurice, entered the university, Maurice to the Science Faculty and Quintus to the Medical Faculty.

Quintus’ family had three sisters, all of whom attended Girls’ High School (GHS), with the youngest Audrey passing out as a doctor. William Edward Barber was the first person under 21 to called to the bar from Gray’s Inn. Cyril Charles Barber, Thomas Harold Cox, Victor Arden Forster, Gerald Percival Keuneman, Craig Phillip Ondaatjie, Jack Van Sanden and Dr. Richard Willougby Willenberg were students in the early days of Kingswood.

Kingswood had a number of brothers. Elmo and Aubrey Elias and their cousins, Brian and his younger brother (all of them were in the hostel). There were the Harvies, Stanley(who entered the university), Derrick, Clifford, Franklin, Winston and Buster. They had two sisters who attended GHS. The Martinez brothers were Tony, who was a cricketer, then Rex and Elmo, who was my classmate till he left college early.

My Burgher classmates were Derrick Harvie, Elmo, Frederick de Silva, Robert Gogerly, Ashley Gibson, Ronald Hodgson, Dennis Cox, Jeffrey Mullholland, Windsor Lockart( whose elder brother was Desmond). The only Burgher girl in our class for a short period was Amy Ludovici, whose brother Lawrence was one class above us.

GHS, Kandy too had a number of Burgher girls. Of course the most famous of them was Jean Solomons Arasanayagam, the daughter of Daniel Solomons and and Charlotte Camille Janzs, who was an internationally renowned creative writer best known for her poetry. She graduated from the University of Peradeniya and obtained her Master’s degree from the University of Strathclyde. While she won several prizes for her writing, the most prestigious being the Gratien Prize. Maureen Elhart, Lindsay sisters, Dawn and Margaret and the De Zylva sisters , Carmen, Maureen and Audrey (who passed out as a doctor from the Colombo Medical Faculty), Anne Marguerite Gunasekera (nee Blaze’), Pippa Wilson and the two Harvie sisters.

Kandy Convent too had a number of Burgher girls during the 1950s. Of them, Cyntha de Soysa, Valerie Jaimon, Marie Phillips, Carmen Rangala, Merna Schrader and Christine Taylor gained admission to the university. Florence Maud Baptist and Phyllis Drieberg were two of the earliest students at the Convent.

Trinity College too had a number of Burgher boys in the fifties, such as Keegal, Janz, Garth, Jacotine, Rodney Wood, Ralph Calendar, Furlong, Howie, Frederick Prins, Henricus, Brohier, Kenneth Hill, Solomons, Geddes, Van Langenberg, Bolling, Basil La Brooy, Cecil Balmond, William Alexander Blake(captain of boxing), Errol Warne, Goerge de Hoedt, Edward Wilhelm Buultjens, Christopher Drieberg, James Gerard Paulusz, Frederick Lorenz Ferdinands, Darley Ingleton, Dr. Terence Jansen, Rodney Jonklaas, Dr. Lorenz Arthur Prins, Dr. Anton Raymond (had to leave the Kandy Hospital as patients did not come to him as they were scared of his family name), Eustace Rulach and Charles James Staples.

Of the sportsmen, Trinity’s most famous sportsman was Duncan White, the 1948 Olympic Silver Medalist. The cricketers I remember are Errol Fernando, Eric Roles, while in rugger they had Wilhelm Balthazar, David and Rodney Frank, Edward Bartholomeusz, Eric Roles, Ken De Joedt, Irwin Howie and Glenn Van Langenburgh.

Trinity had produced two outstanding Burgher painters in George Keyt and David Paynter.

St. Anthon’y College also boasted of very good cricketers. Jack Anderson held the record for the highest score for a long time. Ronnie Stevens, who was ACM Lafir’s opening partner, followed. Later it was the Joseph brothers, Stephen and Michael who played in the team captained by Ranjith Doranegama. Dunstan Taylor gained admission to Peradeniya before his sister. Lt. Col. Godfrey Balthazaar, Rev. Fr. Dom Dunstan Barsenbach, R ev. Fr. Dom John Berenger, George Denlow, Christopher Johann Drieberg, Fr. Lawrence Hyde, Maurice Joachim (a very good rugger player), Jack Edward Robertson, Jim Rogers, Eric Dunstan Taylor and Melville Justin Taylor(cousins who had their Law Firm) and Robert Wright.

St Sylvester’s too had a few well-known Burgher boys. Raymond, Bolten and Malcolm Bulner, were boxers and RJ Victor Melder.

Like Jean Arasanayagam, Kandy could boast of another person in the literary arena. That is Carl Muller, who wrote those interesting and humorous novels such as “Jam fruit Tree”, Yakada Yaka, etc. He had an unfortunate time in three schools and finally ended up in Royal College, from where he joined the Navy as a signalman.

Unfortunately, with the change in the official language of the country, most of these Burghers migrated Down Under and did very well in their adopted country making Sri Lanka proud. Sadly, Sri Lanka’s loss was Australia’s gain.