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 on: May 26, 2012, 11:50:38 PM 
Started by Ian Gardner - Last post by Ian Gardner
Here is an article that shows club in recent times accompanied by an article.


 on: May 05, 2011, 07:04:00 AM 
Started by alan fewster - Last post by Ian Gardner
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.

 on: February 15, 2011, 12:59:32 AM 
Started by HOCT - Last post by Ian Gardner
Well said R. Dahanayake and very true! Makes me pleased that I was a planter once.  Smiley

 on: February 15, 2011, 12:51:25 AM 
Started by Ian Gardner - Last post by Ian Gardner
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.

 on: February 10, 2011, 06:03:34 AM 
Started by David Colin-Thomé (Editor) - Last post by David Colin-Thomé (Editor)
Tales from the Thotum – The Dark Side
The sylvan surroundings, bracing climate and majestic mesmerizing landscapes of the tea estates in the plantation districts of Sri Lanka are an inspiration to the poet, artist, and philosopher. But beneath this facade of nature at her very best, lie tales of dark secrets and murder most foul, four of which I shall set down in this article. The first, and perhaps best known was “The Whitehouse Murder” which took place in 1949.

Mr. Bruce Whitehouse was the Superintendent of Madampe Group, Rakwana in the Ratnapura district. Every month he would travel to Colombo to collect the staff/labourers wages. On these trips he would follow a set routine.

Having collected the wages from the National & Grindlays Bank, he would visit the Colombo Swimming Club for drinks and sometimes lunch, after which he would drive back to Ratnapura. Mrs. Whitehouse usually accompanied him on these trips. Unknown to Mr. Whitehouse, his trips to Colombo and back were meticulously charted and studied by none other than the kingpin of the underworld in Colombo at the time – a veritable Al Capone of the day – the notorious and much feared "Laathara Baas ". This worthy gentleman was responsible for many crimes, murder included, and had fallen foul of the law on several occasions, but thanks to a slick lawyer, he always evaded being put away for life. "Laathara Baas" and his cronies were particularly interested in the trips Whitehouse made to Colombo and back due to the large sum of money he carried on the return trip. The criminal network was so well organised that they knew the exact day he would leave the estate. It transpired later that he was even followed to Ratnapura on a few occasions by a car which kept its distance, in order to ensure that the murderous plan these thugs had in mind would succeed when it was eventually carried out.

On that fateful day, true to form Whitehouse followed the script."Humourous" is a word I do not care to use considering the events to follow, but into this drama comes the humble Tomato! Mr. Whitehouse had a fondness for tomatoes, and sometimes during these visits he would go to the Pettah market and purchase a sack or two of the best tomatoes to take back to his bungalow. On the day in question he did just that, and three sacks of tomatoes were placed in the boot side by side with the bags of cash. Now it happened that the bags of tomatoes bore a close resemblance to the bags of cash stacked side by side, and this odd mix played an important part in this sordid tale as would be seen later. So Chris, take another sip of Merlot and steel yourself for the action down the track, or in this case, along the Colombo – Ratnapura Road.

As usual on this day Whitehouse was followed to the bank, to his club, and then to the Pettah market; and from there to Ratnapura. In the vehicle trailing him were "Laathara Baas" himself and three of his hoodlums with one intention – to waylay the car at a designated spot, and steal the cash. Unaware that they were being followed, Mr. and Mrs. Whitehouse drove on, until at a sharp curve near the old bridge on the Ratnapura road a vehicle suddenly overtook theirs and blocked the road. Mr. Whitehouse slammed on the brakes, and before he could even begin to think, "Laathara Baas" and two of his sidekicks, fully armed and masked, thrust a gun in his face demanding that he handover the cash. If they thought that Whitehouse was an easy target, they thought wrong.

To their surprise he put up a defiant struggle, attempting to grapple with the thugs. It was three against one, and proved futile. Incensed at being thwarted, the thugs responded in the manner best known to them – they shot Mr. Whitehouse at point blank range, and while his horrified wife watched on, opened the boot and took four bags of cash, making a quick getaway. Not quite, in their haste, thinking that the gunshot would by now attract some unwelcome attention, they had taken two bags of tomatoes along with two bags of cash, leaving the rest of the bags in the boot. Mrs. Whitehouse meanwhile – full marks to this gallant lady – got behind the wheel and cradling her mortally wounded husband in her lap drove the car to the Palmgarden Estate factory from where they attempted to get medical attention which was to no avail because Mr. Whitehouse died soon after. The full force of the law, and the best detectives worked on the case, and after about three weeks, "Laathara Baas"and his henchmen were arrested. Following a trial which gripped the nation, "Laathara Baas" and his cronies went the way that all "good" criminals go. He and three of them were hung at the Welikade jail, while one got a life sentence and died in prison.

To this day, the bend in the road where this gruesome murder was committed is known as "Thakkali Wanguwa" (Tomato Bend). I have seen it and in fact on one occasion stopped awhile at this bend attempting to visualise in my mind’s eye the horrible events as they happened that awful day in 1949. Unfortunately not many are aware of this spot because the last book on this murder went out of print over fifty years ago, and with the passage of time events like this tend to be shrouded in the dark mists of memory.
In 1941 the Nuwara Eliya district was rocked by one of the most brutal murders which belied the bucolic charm of mountains valleys hills and dales, and life in those salubrious climes. I refer to the murder of Mr. George Pope, the Superintendent of Stellenberg Group, Uda Pussellewa (there is an indirect link to Carolina Group which I shall mention at the end of this episode). Mr. Pope was ever the strict disciplinarian and as tough as they came. He managed the estate with an iron fist, and woe betide anybody who stepped out of line. During this period, trade unions were formed on many plantations, and one day a group of labourers met him and requested permission to form a trade union on Stellenberg. Not only was their request refused, but they were soundly berated and threatened with dire consequences as far as their employment on the estate was concerned, if they persisted with this demand. Dismayed at the manner of the refusal in what seemed to them a reasonable request, and angered by the manner in which they were addressed, the labourers held the matter in abeyance, and for a while life on Stellenberg went on.

Mr. Pope used to visit the Superintendent of Le Vallon Group, Pupuressa at least twice a month for dinner, and the latter would return the visit. He had a standing order that whenever he returned to the estate late at night, the tea maker on night duty or the factory officer had to telephone his bungalow and inform the bungalow appu to keep the garage doors open no sooner he passed the factory. On the night in question, Mr. Pope went over for the usual dinner rendezvous, and left very late. Driving along the road to his bungalow, a fair distance before the factory, the headlights of his car picked out some obstruction on the road which made it impossible for him  to pass. It turned out to be the trunk of a tree, and if – there's always an IF in cases like this – he had fined tuned his antenna it would have told him that something was not quite right. Call it bravery or foolhardiness, but he stopped the car, went up to the tree trunk and attempted to dislodge it giving him just enough room to pass. The labourers who had laid this trap were hiding in the tea bushes armed with pruning knives. No sooner did he reach the trunk and attempt to move it, they attacked him in a fury of pent up anger with the pruning knives, holding nothing back. On that dark lonely road, in the dead of night he was literally hacked to pieces not by one, but by six men who fled the scene having committed this dastardly deed. George Pope lay on that road of death, the flesh ripped from his body, his life blood slowly draining away.

Meanwhile the bungalow appu, anxious that 'The Master' had still not returned as it was now almost 1.00am, telephoned the factory and expressed his concern to the tea maker, Mr. Ludowyke. Alarmed at this phone call, Mr. Ludowyke organised a band of labourers and armed with "pandans" to light their way, went along the road leading out of the estate. Imagine their horror at finding Mr. Pope in a pool of blood breathing his last. The labourers cleared the road and Mr. Ludowyke drove the car to the factory, the dying Mr. Pope by his side. He summoned the dispenser and then arranged for the wounded man to be taken to hospital. To no avail. Having tenuously clung to life, Mr. Pope breathed his last in a scene straight out of hell. Events took a quick turn after this. The Police were informed, and I don’t know about the wheels of justice grinding slowly because in this case the opposite was true.

They came to Stellenberg with all speed and in the early hours of the morning commenced their inquiries. Fate lent them a helping hand almost immediately because at the scene of the murder they found a door key to a line room. At muster that morning, six labourers were missing and could not be found anywhere, including the would be union leader, Ramasamy Weeraswamy. Pieces of the jigsaw began falling into place when the key found at the scene fitted the door to his line room. He and the other five now the chief suspects had absconded. The police then threw all their rescources into a search which encompassed most of the plantations in the area and before long, one by one, the five suspects were arrested – except for the union leader. He evaded the law for almost five months and seemed to have vanished.

The Police had by then printed 'Wanted' posters of the man for distribution, which were circulated as far as Kandy. There is a lesson to be learned here. Never take anything or anybody for granted, least of all the humble barber with his scissors, comb and machine in his dingy saloon, unlike the fancy hairdressing saloons and boutiques of today. One such barber among many ran a small barber shop in Kandy with his assistant. One morning a scruffy looking character sauntered in looking the worse for wear requesting a haircut and shave. His unkempt hair and beard did not concern the barber for that was his trade. What he noted was the filthy state of the man’s shirt and sarong. He proceeded with the shave first, and then began the haircut. And this is where Alfred Hitchcock could relate, or rather depict what followed with his sense of the dramatic like a scene in one of his classic movies, leaving the viewers biting their nails, and digging into their arm rests, in jaw dropping suspense.

As he began cutting this customers hair, the face before him in the mirror accelerated his heartbeat as if he was walking a treadmill. Because, in the drawer of his little table at the back of the saloon there was a poster of the 'Wanted' man handed out by the police sometime ago. At the time of distribution the suspect’s hair was not long and resembled the face in the mirror before him! Full credit to Captain Cool for not flinching or losing his nerve at this discovery. Politely telling his unsuspecting client that he had to answer a call of nature, he asked his assistant to continue where he had left off, went to his room, checked the poster, and having scrutinisd it once more went to the tailors shop next door and used their telephone to inform the police. Five heavily armed constables led by an Inspector made their way to the saloon, and the wanted man – the union leader, Ramasamy Weeraswamy – meekly surrendered, realising that escape this time was impossible. The long search of five months had ended. The case was heard by one of the finest Judges of the time, Justice Soertsz. Five of the accused, the union leader included were sentenced to be hung and kept their date with the hangman. The other accused was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment when it was conclusively proved that he had no direct link to the murder, but had aided and abetted the accused in plotting Mr. Pope’s murder. One of the names of the accused was Iyan Perumal Velaithen. I cannot recall the others after all this time.

And here's the “Carolina connection”; the Superintendent who succeeded George Pope was Arthur Doudney. Twenty years later he became Dad's boss on Carolina Group. And George Pope, before he took charge of Stellenberg was Superintendent of Watawala Estate, Watawala, the estate after Carolina, on the road to Hatton. And there this story ends.

Kenilworth Estate, Ginigathena can be reached from the Nawalapitiya – Hatton Road, or travelling from Colombo, on the Yatiyantota – Hatton Road. On any of these roads, it is the first estate before Carolina Group. In the late thirties, the Superintendent was Mr. Roberts. Over a period of time after some careful scrutiny of the books, Mr. Roberts found that the chief clerk had misappropriated funds from the office to the tune of Rs. 2000. He summoned the man to his office who when confronted with the evidence, made a full confession. In normal circumstances this would have warranted an instant dismissal, but Mr. Roberts decided to give his chief clerk another chance to wipe the slate clean. He set a deadline, giving him a period of one month to return the money by a certain day, if the money was not returned, the police would be informed. It was a magnanimous gesture, one to which the culprit readily agreed.

Came the designated day and Mr. Roberts entered his office, summoning the chief clerk expecting the money to be returned. Unknown to him, this man had hidden the estate gun, fully loaded behind the office door. No sooner had Mr. Roberts entered and taken his seat at his desk, the clerk in a flash took the gun from behind the door and shot Mr. Roberts dead. The clerk then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The Managers bungalow was close to the factory and Mrs. Roberts hearing the gunshots thought that a pig was being shot at the estate farm which happened to be in the vicinity. That was the tragic end of a kindly Superintendent who paid the price for his act of kindness in giving another human being a chance to redeem himself.

Finally, there was the murder of the chief clerk, and the teamaker, both on the same night on Galboda Group, Galboda in 1954; Galboda was just past Mt. Jean. A young lad who had just left Ananda College having passed his exams, boarded the train from Colombo Fort, and after the arduous journey alighted at Galboda station and made his way to the office. Somasiri had secured the position of junior clerk and was to commence work the next day. He settled in well and for a time showed much promise. But soon the chief clerk began to play some practical jokes on him and before long the situation got right out of hand and most of the office staff had a laugh at his expense. On occasion the teamaker joined him. The lad bore this all in silent resignation, not wishing to retaliate in any manner lest he risked losing his job.

One night the teamaker had a dinner party at his house and invited the chief clerk, and some office staff, including young Somasiri. Their aim was to ply him with liquor and amuse themselves. Somasiri being one of the staff could not refuse the invitation, and accepted. Unknown to anyone, he had gone to the estate blacksmith a few days before, and requested him to make a knife which he said he needed for his kitchen. This transpired in the inquest which followed, and it was remarked how strange it was that the blacksmith did not have the least suspicion or doubts about Somasiri's unusual request. On that fateful night, liquor flowed freely and before long the fun began with young Somasiri the whipping boy. He bided his time until his patience ran out. The chief clerk was the first victim. Pulling out the knife concealed inside his jersey (or jumper) he stabbed the chief clerk through the chest with such force that it went right through the man’s chest, and through the rear of the cane chair on which he was seated, according to eyewitness evidence at the trial. The teamaker was next. Retrieving the knife from the chief clerks mangled chest, he plunged it with full force into the teamakers stomach. You are talking of a youth of 21 years against men in their forties. In the prime of his youth, fed by flames of rage, these liquor sodden men did not stand a chance. Most of those present fled in fear, and Somasisri stood beside the bodies and would not let anyone near. Nobody could approach him as he kept brandishing the blood soaked knife threatening anybody who tried with a similar fate.

Meanwhile, Mr. David Murray, the Superintendent of Galboda was notified. He made his way to the scene and on seeing his boss, Somarisi calmed down. Mr. Murray gently and tactfully spoke to him, and convinced him to lay down the knife, and before long, thanks to David Murray the situation was brought under control. The police then arrived, and when the case went to trial the accused was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. Many witnesses testified in his favour highlighting the treatment he had received at the hands of the deceased. This evidence was what saved him from the gallows, and the Defence had a strong case. It was remarked during the trial that such behaviour by grown up mature men such as the deceased, towards a novice starting out on life’s road was inconceivable. I was ten years old at the time and can still remember recoiling in horror when this case was discussed by Dad & Mum with some visitors. News of this murder spread through the plantations, and must have been the topic of conversation in front of many a blazing fire in the halls of a faraway estate bungalow, on a cold misty night.
Many years ago I found myself in the Ratnapura cemetery. As is my wont, I proceeded to read the epitaphs on the tombstones until I came across one I have never forgotten. It read “Sacred to the memory of H.G. Ross, shot and fatally wounded on Galbodde Group, Ratnapura, 17th April 1937”. All my efforts at finding out the details of this murder were unsuccessful.
Who knows if in the dead of night on an estate somewhere, one still hears the plaintive voices of these victims mingled with the howling wind as they appear in a ghostly re-enactment of these tragic events of long ago…

Bernard Vancuylenburg

 on: February 10, 2011, 04:39:14 AM 
Started by HOCT - Last post by HOCT
Estate planter is country’s unsung hero
For decades, in pre and post-Independence Sri Lanka, tea and rubber have been the country’s main foreign exchange earners. Unlike other industries, more than 85 percent of the raw materials for tea and rubber production are made locally, which means comparatively low costs to the State.
Tea and rubber are highly worker-intensive, involving clear-cut direction and execution for productivity and quality. How is this productivity and quality maintained? It does not happen automatically. It happens through meticulous direction and execution.
It is here that the role of the “planter” comes into full force. The planter combines the energies of men, material and machinery (the “Three M’s”), in the fullest sense. The planter’s management of the Three M’s is what produces Sri Lanka’s wonder beverage – tea, and its high-quality natural rubber.

A planter is the prime contributor to Sri Lanka’s growth. He is a self-starter and motivator. It is he who drives the workforce – to grow, produce and process, and often under very trying conditions.

The planter must have a rigorous and intensive training in field work, cultivation, harvesting, scientific applications (fertilisers, etc.), manufacturing, pay-rolls, and the managing of information systems. A planter is a jack of all trades and a multi-tasker. He is the complete industry man.

He administers an estate with a large resident workforce. He has to look after their welfare, which includes housing, co-operative societies, medical attention and facilities, and so on. A planter has to be a teacher, a school principal, a father, a brother, a technician, a doctor, a co-op manager, a district secretary, a custodian, and finally a leader. He must look after and guide a resident population of a couple of thousand people, most of whom lack a basic education and social status. These are the people who have laboured to give our country a “brand identity”.

Sadly, few in the tea and rubber business appreciate the contribution of the planter. His work includes growing, producing and processing, and also marketing – all buzz-words in the corporate world. These days the talk is of revenue derived from the tea and rubber industries, value addition, and the ethical branding of teas. Our vision is to make Sri Lanka one of the world’s “tea hubs.”

Let us not forget the eminent planters of yesteryear, who served the country at corporate and national levels. People like Ken Balendra, of John Keells, and Cubby Wijethunga, of Nestles, took their companies to ever greater heights. One should not forget the late Ranjan Wijeratne, who spearheaded the move to crush terrorism in the South. Today, Nishantha Wickramasinghe heads the national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines. All these people were once planters. Our estate workers are the critical factor in Sri Lanka’s tea-rubber success story. Sadly, planters today are not given the credit due to them as drivers of economic growth. This failure to recognise their contribution is especially sad in the light of the country’s rapid development.

I urge all estate planters and estate planter-related bodies to make the planters’ presence felt by the nation. The planters are the people behind the “Sri Lankan brand and identity.”

R. Dahanayake, Former planter

 on: February 06, 2011, 06:11:12 PM 
Started by Jean - Last post by Shiyam Mohamed (Sameen)
I left planting after almost 8 years for pastures new in 1999. . I’m Shiyam Mohamed Sameen and I’m currently living in London, England with my family.The time I spend in the plantations are the best memories and I cherish every bit of it. I would like to make contact with the ex and current planters across the globe. Please feel to contact me.

I came across this postings quite by accident and I was thrilled to share some of my memories from the time at this wonderful place. After completing my time as a “Creeper” I was posted to Theresia Estate on my first appointment. Killarney was part of the division of Theresia which I was give to manage. I still remember the Superintendent who drove me in his jeep from the main office to my division to show me the bungalow, which I will be living. I saw this beautiful bungalow amidst the thick forest appear and it was simply amazing. I was waiting for the jeep to stop and expected to be shown the bungalow. But the jeep carried on down the hill and stopped at a much small cottage like structure. It was such a disappointment after seeing the magnificent Killarney big bungalow. The year was  1992 which was the year all the state plantations were privatised and I have been told the company has plans to make it as a holiday bungalow for directors.  Once this plan was shelved in few months I was asked to move into the Killarney bungalow which I did not hesitate.

The place has been neglected as it has not been lived in for quite along time. It took me over a years to get the lawn re-planted and get the surrounding cleaned up. I discovered this new route to the entry into the front porch of the bungalow via the forest. There was so much more work required to get the place up to the former glory, however it was an eternal struggle to get any funds particularly from the new owners.

When I was living there the stuffed birds and horns and photographs of Kelly  was still there. The old office room still had old the old books and records running back to early days.

I did not experience of any ghost in the bungalow, the only thing I was worried about was that there was this massive tree very close the bungalow which was tied with a thick metal cable to the rock close by. My bed was in its path if it is to ever came down, and would have taken the whole bungalow with it.

I was intrigued about this place and always wanted to know the history of this place. I left Killarney and moved to the adjoining Kirkowald Estate in 1995.

Michael, I wish you all the very best in your project and there is no doubt that it will be an excellent read.

 on: January 18, 2011, 07:19:07 AM 
Started by alan fewster - Last post by Ian Gardner
A remarkable man, one with the courage of his convictions.

 on: January 05, 2011, 05:13:09 AM 
Started by alan fewster - Last post by HOCT

Mark Bracegirdle
A polymath who stood against imperialism

Wesley S Muthiah
The Guardian, Friday 16 July 1999 01.28 BST
Article history

In 1936, Mark Bracegirdle, who has died of a stroke aged 86, arrived in Ceylon from Australia, and for seven months worked on the Reluges estate, Madulkelle, as an apprentice tea planter. The workforce was Indian Tamil; their hours were long, their wages low, their living conditions shocking - and they were illiterate.

Bracegirdle was openly sympathetic to the workers. So his employers booked him on a return steamer to Australia; but Bracegirdle would not go. Instead, he joined the Lanka Sama Samaja party (equal society party) and denounced conditions on the plantations.

The governor, Sir Reginald Stubbs, responded by invoking an order-in-council to force Bracegirdle to quit the island. Again, he would not go. So the governor ordered his arrest, pending deportation. A storm of protest ensued and Bracegirdle went underground. In May 1937, he addressed a 50,000-strong protest meeting in Colombo, although soon afterwards the police detained him.

Meanwhile, the state council pointed out that the governor had acted unconstitutionally and the colonial supreme court ruled that Bracegirdle had been illegally detained and must be released.

Thus did he become a key figure in the anti-imperialist movement, focusing attention within the country's educated classes on the need to end colonial rule. The case highlighted such issues as freedom of the individual, the role of the judiciary, the power of the governor and the rights of workers.

Bracegirdle came from a family of artists. His mother, Ina, was a suffragette, who had studied at the Slade school of art and was a member of the Independent Labour party. In 1928 Bracegirdle emigrated to Australia with his mother and brother. He joined the young Communist league in Sydney and during the depression worked on outback sheep farms, where he developed what became a lifelong friendship with Cynthia Reed, who later married the artist Sidney Nolan.

After the conclusion of the Bracegirdle case, he returned to England, and in 1939 married Mary Vinden, a young nurse and member of the Communist party. A wartime conscientious objector, he was involved in clandestine refugee work, helping to smuggle Jewish women out of Berlin. After the war, he qualified as an engineer and settled in Gloucestershire, where he developed friendships with Rutland Boughton, the composer, and Wogan Phillips, later Lord Phillips. A committed Labour party member, he was also an Aldermaston marcher.

In the 1970s, Bracegirdle worked as transport manager for the Zambian flying doctor service. He ended his career lecturing in engineering at North London polytechnic.

Bracegirdle knew about fungi, the history of Chinese script, Darwinism, the history of science, Marxism, Roman glass, ornithology, farming, art, design, aviation, beekeeping, Aboriginal history - and cookery. In retirement, he worked voluntarily for the extra-mural department of archaeology at London university.

His sharp, inquiring mind and sense of humour never deserted him. Days before he died, rendered speechless by a stroke, he was still writing down ideas for inventions, inquiring about the war in Kosovo and checking how his grandchildren had done in their exams.

He leaves three daughters, a son and five grandchildren.

• Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle, anti-colonialist, born September 10, 1912; died June 22, 1999


 on: November 04, 2010, 02:53:44 AM 
Started by HOCT - Last post by HOCT
Green tea extracts plus vitamin D may boost bone health
2 November 2010
By Nathan Gray

Related topics: Research, Antioxidants, carotenoids, Vitamins & premixes, Bone & joint health

Combining green tea polyphenols and a form of vitamin D called alfacalcidol may boost bone structure and strength, according to a new study in mice.

The new research in mice suggests that supplementation with either green tea polyphenols or alfacalcidol (1-alpha-OH-vitamin D3) may reverse damage to bones caused by lipopolysaccharide induced chronic inflammation, while combining the ingredients may sustain bone micro-architecture and strength, according to new findings published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

According to the authors, led by Dr Chwan-Li Shen from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, the study also shows that the improvement in bone micro-architecture and quality along with the down-regulation bone TNF-alpha expression mechanism further corroborate the anti-inflammatory role of green tea polyphenols and 1-alpha-OH-vitamin D3 (alfacalcidol) in skeletal health – which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Bone loss

Chronic inflammation has been associated with progression of bone loss and micro- architecture deterioration through oxidative stress and excessive production of pro-inflammatory molecules such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha).

Various anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as green tea, alfacalcidol, and soy isoflavones have been suggested suppress TNF-alpha expression.

The researchers noted that certain compounds suggested to inhibit inflammation via suppressing TNF-alpha expression, may have therapeutic value in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation-induced bone loss.

In particular green tea (Camellia sinensis), has been suggested to have a wide range of effects on animal and human health due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It has been reported in previous studies to have beneficial effects in various inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, collagen-induced arthritis and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced gingival inflammation.

The new study investigated the effects of green tea polyphenols and alfacalcidol on bone microstructure and strength along with possible mechanisms in rats with chronic inflammation.

Damage reversal
The researchers reported that both extracted green tea polyphenols and alfacalcidol supplementations reversed LPS-induced changes in bone structure, whilst a combination of both was shown to sustain bone micro-architecture and strength.

In addition green tea polyphenol extract and alfacalcidol were also found to significantly improve femoral strength, and significantly suppress expression of TNF-alpha.

The authors also noted significant interactions in bone mass and strength, the number of bone cells called osteoclasts (cells that break down bone) in leg bone.

The researchers concluded that present study demonstrates that alfacalcidol administration, green tea polyphenol supplementation and a combination of both significantly down-regulated TNF-alpha expression induced by chronic lipopolysaccharide stimulation.

They stated that the protective impact of green tea polyphenols and alfacalcidol in bone micro-architecture during chronic inflammation may be due to the suppression of TNF-alpha.

According to the authors, the study also shows that the improvement in bone micro-architecture and quality along with the down-regulation bone TNF-alpha expression mechanism further corroborate the anti-inflammatory role of green tea polyphenols and 1-alpha-OH-vitamin D3 (alfacalcidol) in skeletal health – which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

They noted that such protective effects on bone micro- architceture are consistent with other antioxidants, for example, soy isoflavones or dried plum polyphenols using the same model of bone deterioration.

Shen and colleagues added that future studies “should address the mechanistic profiles to clarify the preventive role of green tea polyphenol and alfacalcidol in process of bone re-modeling [in] chronic inflammation.”

Source: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.05.007
“Protective actions of green tea polyphenols and alfacalcidol on bone microstructure in female rats with chronic inflammation”
Authors: C.L. Shen, J.K. Yeh, C. Samathanam, J.J. Cao, B.J. Stoecker, R.Y. Dagda, M.C. Chyu, J.S. Wang

Source: Nutraingredients.com http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Green-tea-extracts-plus-vitamin-D-may-boost-bone-health

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