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1  GENERAL / Reminiscing / Sri Pada from Alton - a glorious sight!! on: November 26, 2016, 11:40:40 PM
One evening I was leaving Alton, and on the road after the factory and before the estate entrance, when I looked up and saw a beautiful sight: there in front of me stood the peak silhouetted against the dark sky with a red glow; and like an inverted  jewelled necklace the lights to the summit with those of the temple area at the top forming jewelled pendant. I rushed back home, grabbed my camera and took a colour photograph before the magic was lost. It worked, but was a little blurred and I had the slide for decades until someone handled it with jammy fingers necessitating its eventual destruction.
2  GENERAL / Planting Practices / Re: Extra short plucking rounds. on: July 27, 2016, 10:10:01 PM
A few days ago, some sixty two years after I did this type of plucking, I did a calculation of the cost of doing this but the state of my eighty two year old brain did not allow me to complete the exercise! However, it did seem to me hat, if this policy were to be introduced over a division or an estate it would involve extra labour without necessarily involving and increase in C.O.P. as there would be an increase in yield and a decrease in stalk extraction, wastage etc.
3  GENERAL / Contemporary / The Radella Club - The phoenix rises from the flames! on: May 26, 2012, 11:50:38 PM
Here is an article that shows club in recent times accompanied by an article.

4  SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES / Historical research & queries / Re: The Bracegirdle Incident on: May 05, 2011, 07:04:00 AM
Sri Lanka’s Independence and the Bracegirdle incident

Vinod MOONESINGHE, 30 April 2011
As the working people of Sri Lanka prepare to celebrate another May Day to defend our hard-won freedom, it behoves us to go back 74 years, to May Day 1937 which was a crucial one in the struggle of Sri Lanka for independence from the British Empire
On May 1, 1937, thousands of workers paraded through the streets of Colombo demanding the deportation of Governor Sir Reginald Stubbs and the sacking of Inspector General of Police Banks. The prestige of the colonial regime was in tatters and the Empire looked vulnerable in this country for the first time since 1815.

A May Day rally in the past.
Although it is fashionable in certain circles to be nostalgic for ‘The Good old Days’ when Sri Lanka was a colony, the country was in fact in the grip of an evil empire based on racism. Sri Lanka had one of the poorest indigenous populations in the world, with mortality indices lower than those of India.
Here, as in other colonies the indigenous inhabitants were treated like second-class citizens in their own land.
As late as 1942, the British Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Layton, was able with impunity to call Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke, the Commissioner of Civil Defence a ‘black bastard’.
Second World War
Before the Second World War, the British Raj was considered impregnable and independence for this island seemed like a dream. It was in this situation that, in 1936 Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle, a 24-year old Anglo-Australian came to Sri Lanka to become a ‘creeper’ on Relugas tea estate in Madulkelle.
The planters were almost all white in those days and formed a privileged minority in the estate areas, living in bungalows with many servants and with their own ‘whites only’ clubs.
It was in this atmosphere that Bracegirdle began taking an active part in the independence movement. He was soon sacked, but remained in the island as an agitator.
On April 3, 1937, a meeting was held in Nawalapitiya, addressed by Mrs Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya of the Indian Congress Socialist Party, who was touring the island. Bracegirdle rose to address the gathering and was greeted with loud applause and shouts of ‘Samy, Samy’.
The effect of a white man speaking out against the White Raj was electric - it spelled ruin for the imperialist system on the island.

Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle
The planters got Stubbs to deport Bracegirdle.
On April 22, Bracegirdle was given 48 hours to leave Sri Lanka.
He went into hiding and the Colonial authorities were unable to find him - which did nothing for its prestige.
The vaunted Police force created by the notorious IGP Dowbiggin scoured the countryside, but was unable to apprehend Bracegirdle.
Robert Gunawardena, later to become MP for Kotte, was responsible for hiding Bracegirdle, taking him from Colombo to Lunugala and thence to a cave behind Relugas estate.
A week later Robert picked Bracegirdle up from Relugas and took him back to a house near the Grandpass Police Station.
A few days later, on getting a tip-off, Robert moved Bracegirdle again, to a plantation bungalow in Koratota, Kaduwela (now a boutique hotel).
Here, Bracegirdle gave an interview to a reporter for the Daily News, who had been driven there blindfolded.
On May Day, placards were carried which said ‘We want Bracegirdle - Deport Stubbs’, ‘Banks Out’ and ‘Withdraw the slave proclamation’ (the deportation order).
On May 5 a motion was debated in the State Council to censure Governor Stubbs for having made the deportation order. A resolution was passed which demanded the removal of Stubbs and the withdrawal of the deportation order on Bracegirdle.
Habeas Corpus
The motion was passed by 34 votes to 7. Later that day a rally took place on Galle Face in support of Bracegirdle, which was attended by 50,000 people.
Among the speakers were SWRD Bandaranaike and DM Rajapaksa, the uncle of our current President. Robert Gunawardena went to Koratota and drove Bracegirdle to Galle Face. The latter bounded out of the car, ran to the platform and proceeded to make a speech. The Police were powerless to arrest him amidst the massive crowd.
By this time a writ of Habeas Corpus had been prepared. The case was called before a bench of three Supreme Court judges and on May 18 the court ruled that Bracegirdle could not be deported for exercising his right to free speech. Bracegirdle later returned to Britain of his own accord.
However the effects of his actions were to last long after he had gone. The seeming invincibility of the colonial regime was shown up. Furthermore, as Philip Gunawardena, one of the masterminds behind the State Council motion said, all the nation’s political forces were united on this issue against the colonial authorities.
Dominion status
The Bracegirdle issue had set the ball rolling in the process that was to culminate in the complete independence of Sri Lanka. In 1943, the Ceylon National Congress called for complete independence and in 1945 the State Council passed the Free Lanka Bill.
In 1948 the British granted us Dominion status. In 1957 all the British military bases were removed and in 1972 Parliament passed a Constitution that broke all the previous servile ties to Britain. Bracegirdle, who made such a large contribution to the initiation of this process, died in England on June 22, 1999. Sadly, he never did return to this island.

5  GENERAL / Reminiscing / Re: Estate planter is country’s unsung hero on: February 15, 2011, 12:59:32 AM
Well said R. Dahanayake and very true! Makes me pleased that I was a planter once.  Smiley
6  GENERAL / Reminiscing / Man's injustice to man! on: February 15, 2011, 12:51:25 AM
This incident occurred in either Kahawatta or Upcot and comes to you second hand.

Towards the end of a “party” at an SD’s bungalow something occurred to annoy a very tall, red haired planter who stormed out of the house, got on his motorbike, started it, put it into gear and left . . . . . . . Well, it was his intention to leave but he did not. Instead, his bike revved madly but did not budge - much to his astonishment (and the glee of those at the party inside).
The planter’s exit must have been planned because the rear wheel of his bike had been removed and the bike propped up on bricks so that the rear was off the ground though apparently normal.
7  SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES / Historical research & queries / Re: The Bracegirdle Incident on: January 18, 2011, 07:19:07 AM
A remarkable man, one with the courage of his convictions.
8  SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES / Historical research & queries / Re: Cuthbert George Wilder Clogstoun posted by Roy Clogstoun on: November 02, 2010, 05:49:15 AM
Dear Roy,
I have just had advice from the editor of The History of Ceylon Tea about your enquiry re-posted, it would seem, from 2006.
Clogstoun is an unusual name and because of that I can say that I am pretty sure I have not encountered it in my travels through the annals of this history. There is an outside chance that he may have been mentioned in one or more of the old photographs which date back in the HOCT albums to the 1840s if my memory serves me correctly. There are not many with captions but who knows? . . . .. you may strike it lucky.
We now have to rely on old fellows like myself who started planting c.1950. Compare that with 1870!!
All the best,
9  NEWS FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB (GOOGLE ALERTS) / Ceylon Tea / Re: Sri Lanka's tea industry a model to the world - Athukorala on: October 30, 2010, 06:29:41 AM
Thank you Jonathan for your efforts here!
10  NEWS FROM THE WORLD WIDE WEB (GOOGLE ALERTS) / Ceylon Tea / Re: Regional Plantation Companies show higher productivity on: October 30, 2010, 06:29:09 AM
Thank you Jonathan for your efforts here!
11  GENERAL / History of Ceylon Tea website / Bogawana Manager's bungalow photos. on: October 12, 2010, 06:26:52 AM
Firstly, my thanks to Jonathan for the photographs. Secondly, it is a great pleasure to see a bungalow and garden so well maintained and obviously tastefully and knowledgeably planted. Someone knows his or her horticulture!!
I was particularly taken by the similarity of the plant species growing in the garden: they are the same as grow well where I am, some 1300ft [c.390m] above sea level only a few kilometres from the Eastern seaboard of Australia. The climate in both places is almost identical!
12  SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES / Historical research & queries / Re: Heirarchy on tea estates and other matters on: September 17, 2010, 06:28:26 AM
Alan, regarding this, "to 6 months every 4 years and then two months every 4 years if i remember correctly.", on reflection the second part should read ' 4 months every two years irrespective of whether service was upcountry or low country'.
13  SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES / Historical research & queries / Re: Sri Lanka will on: September 04, 2010, 06:32:36 AM
Since no expert has advised you all I can suggest is that you contact the appropriate Government department, although which that will be I cannot say. Ministry of Justice? The Government Trustee? Try a search under Sri Lanka Government.
All the best,
My fee is half the proceeds  Grin
14  SEARCH & RESEARCH QUERIES / Historical research & queries / Re: Heirarchy on tea estates and other matters on: September 04, 2010, 06:27:49 AM
Hello Alan,
Unfortunately, the answers to all but questions are variable according to circumstances. However, I will illustrate this in my answers.
1 & 2. The assistant was called sinna dorai: "sinna" being the Tamil for small (and "periya" being the Tamil name for big.) By the way, we took "dorai" to mean master but I cannot vouch for the correctness of that assumption.
3. Age did not come into it as planters were taken on at various ages and whether the planter qualified for overseas furlough - in later circumstances the accurate term to use - depended on one or more of the following depending on the Company and/or Agency employing him:
3 (a) Whether he was a national or non-national. In some companies this did not matter, as in the case of The Ceylon Tea Plantations Co., Ltd. and its sister company.
3 (b)  Whether the planter served in the low-country or up-country. For instance, in the CTP, in the 1950s  it was 6 months every 5 years if the former and 8 months every 6 years if the latter. This changed, one assumes, after air travel became commonplace, to 6 months every 4 years and then two months every 4 years if i remember correctly. There were many adjustments up to the time I left in 1969. Added to all this was the barrier put in place by the Government, which was short of foreign exchange, on nationals who qualified for overseas leave.
3 (c) I believe i am correct in saying that, in some companies or agencies, ad hoc decisions were made in regard to individual nationals who were felt to have earned such leave.
4. I seem to recall this being the case in some companies in the early fifties.
5. Generally speaking, I believe it was the owners agent but I am aware, as stated in my monograph here, that, when The CTP and the CPTE were given to Geo. Steuart & Co. to manage certain conditions were stipulated that made a determination in this regard impossible.

Feel free to ask more questions if this reply has created confusion!
15  GENERAL / Reminiscing / Forres bungalow and the hazard of inebriated neighbours! on: August 25, 2010, 06:34:04 AM
The Forres  PD's bungalow was situated some 100 metres down a steep slope below one of the few, sharp, hairpin bends on the road to the Moray estate SD's division and bungalow.
On one occasion in about 1961 the Moray SD and his wife, long time friends of mine, had had dinner with us on Forres. As was to be expected, the Moray SD got considerably inebriated.
Not long afterwards, though after we had retired to bed, our bungalow watcher knocked on our window to announce that the Moray Dorai was having trouble negotiating the bend above the bungalow and could roll down into the bungalow. My recollection is that I had a good chuckle and said, 'Everything will be alright; just keep watch and let me know if anything happens.' So much for good friends! Grin
Normally, to reach the bend in question would have taken just a few minutes so something, apart from the change of drivers from one inebriated to one almost completely inexperienced, had taken place after they left the Forres bungalow.
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