About the author  ⁄ eLanka admin

‘How to Be Happy’

1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.
2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.
3. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.
4. You can’t please everybody. Don’t let criticism worry you.
5. Don’t let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.
6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.
7. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.
8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.
9. Have many interests. If you can’t travel, read about new places.
10. Don’t hold post-mortems. Don’t spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don’t be one who never gets over things.
11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.
12. Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.’

Attributed to Robert Lewis Stevenson



Read More →


First-time female highest-paid CEO in Australia is with Lankan roots

Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is the highest paid CEO in Australia, the first woman ever to top the AFR’s CEO pay survey.

According to a report in the Business Insider (www.businessinsider.com.au), Wikramanayake earns more than $ 18 million, followed by Goodman CEO Gregory Goodman – $ 12.8 million, and CSL CEO Paul Perreault – $ 11.7 million. Wikramanayake was also named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women. As per Wikipedia, she was born in England, where her Sri Lankan father was a doctor. She attended a State school in London before the family moved to Australia.

Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake

Business Insider said it’s no surprise Macquarie’s CEO is making bank, but this time it’s different.

Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake is the highest-paid chief executive in Australia – becoming the first woman to take the title position – according to The Australian Financial Review’s latest CEO pay survey.

Wikramanayake topped the latest list with a reported pay of more than $ 18 million, according to the survey, conducted by data company OpenDirector. It ranks the 50 highest-paid CEOs in the country, using figures based on the total pay listed in annual reports.

Wikramanayake was one of four women on the list including Coca-Cola Amatil CEO Alison Watkins ($ 4.1 million), Mirvac Group CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz ($ 4.8 million), and Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines ($ 5 million).

Wikramanayake was announced as Managing Director and CEO of Macquarie Group back in July 2018, taking over from Nicholas Moore. She made history at the time by becoming Macquarie’s first female CEO.

Starting at the investment bank – known informally as the ‘millionaires’ factory’ – in 1987, Wikramanayake ascended in rank to head up Macquarie’s asset management division in 2008 and eventually CEO. During her time, Wikramanayake has worked in nine cities across six continents and established Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

In 2019, Wikramanayake was named one of Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ internationally. According to Fortune, Wikramanayake focused on climate change this year, becoming one of a handful of CEOs to be named as a commissioner of the World Bank’s Global Commission on Adaptation. The initiative, which counts Bill Gates and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon among its list of commissioners, aims to ramp up action to fight climate change.

Only five CEOs earned over $ 10 million in the AFR’s CEO pay list. Following Wikramanayake’s more than $ 18 million pay was property company Goodman CEO Gregory Goodman ($ 12.8 million), biotech company CSL CEO Paul Perreault ($ 11.7 million), Treasury Wine Estate CEO Michael Clarke ($ 11.4 million) and BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie ($ 10.5 million).

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce ranked 18th on the list at $ 6.6 million, a 14.7% decrease from the year before.

Earlier this year the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) revealed the 10 highest-paid CEOs in the ASX200 listed companies in the 2018 financial year. The ACSI list, however, looked at the ‘realised pay’ – the value of cash and equity received – with Qantas boss Alan Joyce topping the list at the time at $ 23.9 million. (www.businessinsider.com.au/macquarie-group-ceo-shemara-wikramanayake-highest-paid-ceo-australia-new-worth-2019-11)

Read More →


MURDER AT MIDNIGHT – By Bernard VanCuylenburg

In May 1941, the Nuwaraeliya district was rocked by the news of the dastardly murder of the Superintendent on Stellenberg Estate Pupuressa, Mr.George Pope. In an article which I wrote about ten years ago titled “Tales from the Thotum” I wrote about this crime in detail. I subsequently changed the title to “Marked for Murder”. His murder, the quick work by the police in arresting the accused, and the subsequent trial which followed which was heard by one of the most eminent judges of the time Justice Soertsz, made its way into criminal records as one of the most dramatic and brutal murders of the time.

Seventy seven years later, the aftermath of this crime still casts a dark shadow particularly on Stellenberg estate, and its memory lives on in the minds of some retired labourers of an older generation as I discovered recently. In September in the course of a visit to Sri Lanka I was privileged to enjoy the hospitality of an old Anthonian Sebastian Retty and his wife, in their home in the beautiful hamlet of Panwilatenna not far from Gampola. In terms of picture book natural beauty, Panwilatenna remains a hidden secret “far from the madding crowd” of commercial tourism. This area is blessed with stunning scenery and breathtaking scenic vistas where every prospect pleases. Mesmerizing mountain views are yours to enjoy if you care to put on your walking shoes and go where the road takes you……The area is dotted with small private tea holdings, charming little villages, desolate valleys, and undulating hills covered in a mantle of dark green forests.Here nature is at her pristine best.

Please pardon the digression, but into this story on the trail of a murder, a stone monument close to the home of my hosts compels me to introduce a historical note which goes back to the reign of King Rajasinghe the 2nd. This stone monument reads : HERE LIVED (AD 1657 – 1670) ROBERT KNOX, JOHN LOVELAND, JOHN BERRY AND WILLIAM DAY. For the record, Robert Knox an English sea captain arrived in Ceylon on the 19th of November 1659 in the good ship “Anne”. The ship was impounded by King Rajasinghe the 2nd, King of Kandy at the time, and Knox along with 16 of the crew were taken captive.

They were treated leniently but forbidden to leave the kingdom. After 19 years of captivity Knox and a companion Stephen Rutland made a daring escape to the Dutch fort in Arippu. The Dutch treated them generously and sent them to Batavia (present day Djakarta) from where they were put aboard an English ship the “Celeste” which took them to England. They arrived in London in September 1680. That was “The Great Escape” of the time ! On a poetic note, I am compelled to add that this monument an important historical landmark, stands in splendid solitude and isolation amidst picture postcard scenic splendour, bearing testimony to the fact that these intrepid Englishman once lived here.

A walk along a mountain track specially in the late afternoon when the landscape is bathed in sunsets golden glow is spiritual. The three main towns in the vicinity of Panwilatenna are Galaha, Pupuressa and Gampola. Nuwaraeliya is about three hours away. There are many tea plantations in the area, and one held special interest for me and that is Stellenberg Estate. I first heard of the “Pope Murder Case” from my Dad as a child. When my brother sister and I came home for the holidays from boarding school, one of our favourite pastimes was listening to Dad relate stories after dinner. Story telling was an art in which he excelled, and he had a flair for the dramatic. The stillness of a lonely estate bungalow at night created an atmosphere of suspense, and when he told us a “ghost story” or any tale with a tinge of mystery, the characters in the story really came to life ! As a senior student at St. Anthony’s College Kandy boarded in “The Journey’s End”, I read about this murder story in the Sunday supplement of “The Observer”, but could not cut it out for keeps as the paper had to be shared with my fellow boarders !

Now seventy seven years after this gruesome murder, here I was virtually a stones throw away from the scene of the crime. One morning, Sebastian took me to Stellenberg and along the scenic route to the estate I became determined to ” to get under the skin” of this story horrible as it was. It was a beautiful sunny day, but as we turned off to the estate from the main road, dark thoughts filled my mind at the realization that this was the same road that George Pope took that fateful night when he was killed. It suddenly occurred to me that I had some unfinished business – for want of a better phrase – to finish. Having written about this case and even receiving an acknowledgement from a veteran planter in the UK who was conversant with the story when it was first published, I wanted to “see” for myself the actual events as they happened on that fateful night 77 years ago.

Contrary to some estates which pre nationalisation were managed by the Agency Houses, Stellenberg to her credit seems to be in good hands judging by the fields which were neat and in very good condition. Conversely, some estates in the area I saw prior to this visit, would break the heart of any planter who had worked on Company managed estates. One large estate a showpiece in its heyday, had been completely abandoned after nationalisation, when a tyrannical Superintendent was forcibly driven out of the estate by a disgruntled labour force ! It is still there in ruins with grass, weeds and undergrowth flourishing where tea bushes once held sway. Only the factory still stands – a dilapidated wreck. But I digress……..

The road we travelled on Stellenberg leading to the factory and the Superintendent’s bungalow is a drivers nightmare, in contrast to the tea fields. This is characteristic of most estate roads today, due to lack of maintenance. My first stop was the factory. This was the factory to which George Pope was taken, after a search party organized by the tea maker Mr.Lodewyke found him mortally wounded by his car. In fact it was a worker on the night shift named Cassim who led the search party as instructed by Mr.Lodewyke. He found George Pope bleeding to death lying by his car at the spot where his car was waylaid that fateful night. The six assassins had done their deadly work, hacking him to death with pruning knives. Cassim broke all speed records running back to the factory to inform Mr. Lodewyke of the gruesome find. The latter then telephoned Mr.Shand, the Superintendent on the adjoining estate Delta Group, who in turn contacted the police. Whenever he left the estate in the evening usually to his club, or to visit a fellow SD for dinner, George Pope instructed the tea maker that on passing the factory on his return, the latter was to telephone his bungalow and ask the Appu to keep the garage doors open. On the evening of the 9th May 1941 he left to have dinner with the Superintendent of another estate in the vicinity. That night when he was unusually late, Mr.Lodewyke fearing something was amiss, organized a search party.

At the factory I was fortunate to meet an elderly labourer – and still more lucky to have Sebastian with me as his Tamil was more fluent than mine ! When this labourer was asked if he knew about the “Dorai” on this estate who was murdered long ago, he told us he heard about it from some labourers – now in their late eighties whose fathers had worked under Mr.Pope. He directed us to the exact spot on the road round a curve where the ambush was laid, not far from the factory. Two trees were placed across the road, while the murderers under cover of darkness hid in the tea bushes. When Mr.Pope stepped out of the car attempting to move the obstacles, they struck with pent up rage and deadly force.

Sebastian and I went to the spot, and in my minds eye I could visualize Mr.Pope negotiating his way on the narrow road at night, then slowing down at the bend in the road, finally stopping to move the obstacles in his path. I always harboured some questions regarding this murder and found the answer here. First, how was it that Mr.Pope did not fine tune his antenna to the sensitivities of the situation – relations between labour and management were very strained and tenuous to say the least – did he not suspect that this could be a deadly trap ? If that were so, why did he not reverse down the road to flee the scene until he came to a spot where he could turn around and go back to where he came from, thus avoiding returning to the estate that night ? At least, he could have reversed and driven to the bungalow of the Superintendent on Delta estate adjoining Stellenberg, Mr.Shand. He knew Mr.Shand and could have stayed the night in his bungalow.

Hindsight is always easy and the trouble with hindsight is that one projects one’s thoughts to another time frame – to another time and place – whilst living in the present !! My questions were answered in an instant ! Studying the crime scene I surmised that even if he reversed, he could not accelerate downhill at speed as the road was very narrow. This was not a main road. IF he reversed, his murderers could have easily overtaken him on foot and their deadly intent would have given them wings. It was apparent that they had chosen the spot for ambush with meticulous care. George Pope was driving uphill, he had to slow down at the curve, and they were hiding in tea bushes by the road from which they could practically reach out and grab him the moment he stepped out of his car. Whichever way one looked at this, it certainly was a deadly ambush and murder at midnight. Visualizing the murder in my mind I experienced a chill although it was a day of glorious sunshine. There is a powerful form of energy here which should not be taken for granted. The most sensible thing is to always be aware of the need for caution in a spiritual sense, and make sure that one does nothing to upset the balance.

From the murder scene we headed for the Superintendents bungalow. The latter was away, and we were greeted by his Appu. He belonged to a younger generation, had heard about the murder, but could not tell us much about it. The once beautiful bungalow and the gardens were badly in need of maintenance. It still retained its colonial charm as most Superintendents bungalows do, but when maintenance is absent an air of dilapidation sets in and becomes visible. I felt a a sinister aura about this bungalow in the context of the horrible murder of its one time occupant. There is nothing so sad as to see a lovely garden, in this case what once would have been a lovely “English Country Garden” surrendering to weeds despite the beautiful roses in bloom. We could not enter the bungalow in the Superintendent’s absence, but as I stood at the entrance to the hall it occurred to me that it was through this door that George Pope left his home for the last time on the evening of the 9th May 1941 not dreaming he would never return. I wandered about the garden, keeping sight of the bungalow with my camera working overtime and my thoughts racing back to that night in 1941 – the night of the long knives, to quote the title of a film. In this case it was the night of the pruning knives. The Appu then pointed us to some labourers quarters in the distance informing us that there were two who could give us more information on the Pope murder case.

Little did I realize that within the next hour I would come face to face with two of the assailants of George Pope, Weeraswamy, and Velaithen, the letter of thanks which they wrote to the presiding Judge who heard the case Justice Soertsz, and to their defence lawyer thanking them for hearing the case, – all in print of course. This letter ended with the slogan “Long live the Sangam !” (The Union). An English translation accompanied the letter originally written in Tamil.  An inquisitive crowd surrounded us and when Sebastian introduced me as someone writing about this murder, they became very eager to help. In a short while we were introduced to two labourers whose fathers had worked on Stellenberg at the time of the murder. Better still, one of them had a full page newspaper clipping of the murder in Tamil, with the photographs which I referred to in the previous paragraph. At last – I could “see” two of the assailants. I read their letter of thanksgiving to Justice Soertsz.

But although I can read Tamil it was Sebastian who elicited all the information I needed. Justice Soertsz looked very distinguished and regal in his robes. The only photograph missing I thought sadly, was the victim – George Pope himself. Of course there was no chance of photocopying this news sheet, so I did the next best thing – I photographed the photographs in the newspaper ! Of interest were two photographs of George Pope’s car, based on a police reconstruction of the crime scene. One photograph clearly showed the car stopped in front of the two sturdy trees (not big, but big enough to create an obstacle) the way the victim saw them. The second was a photo of the car some distance away from the scene accentuating the curve in the road which compelled George Pope to reduce speed. I could not help but notice that the road we were on, now in shambles, looked in excellent condition with not a pothole in sight in the black and white photographs of Mr.Pope’s time, which were taken soon after the murder.

We spent over five hours on Stellenberg that morning and I came away emotionally drained. The macabre events that transpired that night in 1941 played over and over in my mind to the extent that I had in some way “relived” this murder in all its brutality. There were six accused. They were Weerasamy, Velaithen, Iyaan Perumal, Rengasamy, Sinne Muniyandy, and Marimuttu Velaithen. The 1st and 2nd accused, Weerasamy and Velaithen were sentenced to death by hanging. They appealed the death sentence to the Supreme Court, which was denied. Weerasamy was hung at the Welikade jail on February the 27th 1942, and Velaithen followed him the next day. The rest received a sentence of life imprisonment. Mr.Pope who had been Superintendent on Stellenberg estate since 1938 was buried in the Anglican cemetery in Pussellewa. I surmised his body would have been so badly mutilated that sending a corpse by sea all the way to England even under refrigeration would have been improbable. With an ache in my heart I realized that in this sordid story there is no mention of family. The thought that he died all alone apart from the gruesome manner of his death still fills me with sadness.


I have been asked many times for my opinion on life after death. Call it ” The Other Side”, “The Spirit World”, or “Life after Life”, I firmly believe that life continues in other dimensions. I have also been asked if I believe in “Hauntings”. My answer is in the affirmative. There are reasons why spirits become earthbound, and those reasons are mostly unhappy. A person who has lived a rich and fulfilling life is not likely to be earthbound. The low vibrations of negative emotion are what binds a spirit to the earth plain – one reason why ghost stories are full of sadness and despair. It is well known that Queen Catherine Howard the fifth wife of King Henry the 8th, still walks the halls of Hampton Court Palace screaming in terror and pleading for mercy from her ex husband King Henry. In fact The Readers Digest in one of its editions a few years ago published this story in an article titled “The Haunted Castles of Britain”.

The ‘Supernatural’ and everything associated with it is is too complex a topic for “discussion” in this article. But in my readings on the Supernatural I found that more and more scientists are convinced that accounts of “life after life” merit serious study and research. A few years ago Doctor Raymond Moody in his book “Life After Life” detailed over one hundred cases of life beyond the grave. Soon after the publication of Doctor Moody’s book, the sensation hungry press and television media gave it wide publicity.
Anyone who puts forward an idea that is contrary to all scientific views and long established beliefs is a suitable target for ridicule. The good Doctor was no exception, and he had his detractors.A  firestorm of discussions and debates on life after death followed. This resulted in many Doctors, Psychiatrists and spiritual leaders launching independent investigations to review the data in Doctor Moody’s book. They were surprised to find – and more surprisingly reached the unanimous conclusion that the Doctor’s observations and the cases he mentioned in his book were verified and confirmed – namely, that upon a person’s death existence does not cease, but on the contrary the soul continues to hear, to think and to feel…….If you want the stimulus of unexplained phenomena and a theory to fit them and cause you to think, this provocative book should fit the bill.

I spent an entire day at Hampton Court Palace on a visit to England a few years ago. I visited the passage where the haunting which I mentioned takes place, and asked two police officers who were rostered to work the night shift at the palace about the veracity of this story. I expected a flippant answer with words like “Do not believe everything you read” “We have never seen anything” even “Poppycock !” – in fact any answer in the negative. Their reply to my question really gave me food for thought. – Quote ” We have seen this spectre so many times that we dont take notice anymore !!”. The world knows that Queen Ann Boleyn the second wife of King Henry the 8th sometimes walks the Tower of London. There have also been sightings of the luckless Queen in the gardens of her childhood home, Hever Castle in Kent on the anniversary of her death. Sightings which have been well documented. I was asked if there were any hauntings on Stellenberg estate. I never ventured to ask anybody . This was the last subject I wished to discuss as I felt it was too sensitive. Most estate folk are very superstitious and I did not wish to open the floodgates because by this time I was drained of all emotional energy.

But who knows ? Perhaps in the dead of night when the world sleeps, on this lonely estate one still hears the plaintive voices of the protagonists of this murder, mingled with the howling wind as they in a ghostly re-enactment play out the tragic events of that dreadful night seventy seven years ago……The night has a thousand eyes…..

I remember seeing a tombstone in a small cemetery not far from Balangoda many years ago. It read “Sacred to the memory of Mr.H.G.Ross – fatally shot at Galbodda Estate Ratnapura in May 1937”. My attempts to obtain information on this murder always drew a blank.

In conclusion, my heartfelt thanks are due to the following, without whose help writing this article would have proved an uphill task :

Old Anthonian Sebastian Retty and his wife for their hospitality, specially to Sebastian for taking time off despite a busy work schedule to take me to Stellenberg Estate and help me in my inquiries there.

Victor Melder for providing me with relevant information from his well stocked library which filled in many blanks, thus making my task easier.

Norman Thompson, whose geographical knowledge of the tea plantations of Ceylon is phenomenal. He shared this knowledge with me not once, but many times before.

To them I owe a debt of gratitude.
Bernard Van Cuyenburg

Bernard VanCuylenburg.

Murder at night

Murder at night

Murder at night

Read More →



For a country that is still a baby, history-wise, it is amazing that so many inventors have surfaced, and still continue to do so, in many areas of this great brown island continent.  

The first “invention” to catch my eye was the rotary clothes-line, featured in the backyard of many homes. these were unheard of, in Ceylon, where dhobies used to manually collect all the “dirty clothes”, take them away (after mum had made a written list of everything collected), to check that nothing was missing when the dhobie-man brought them back, spotless, ironed, & ready to wear, after the next lot went out. only the very affluent folk had washing machines, dryers etc., and we were anything but.!!  i still remember the dhoby quarters in Ceylon, which we used to visit when we needed something urgently. out, would come the item/s needed, and the dhoby would move over to a large wooden table, ironing boards were unheard of, pull out this huge steel iron, open it up and reload the contraption with smouldering hot coconut shells and iron the garments swiftly, charging us an extra rupee or two, for this additional service. 

Here, in Australia, we didn’t have any dhobies, but Mum did all the washing in a second-hand washing machine, then carting the lot out, to the rotary clothes hoist, hung them out to dry, brought them in, herself, ironed those that needed to be ironed, with a nifty little electric iron, and folded the rest.

So much for the new-fangled clothes hoist, but let us now go on with many more iconic Inventions of Australia.

Desmond Kelly

Desmond Kelly
(Editor-in-Chief)  eLanka.

Some  Iconic Australian Inventions

Iconic Australian inventions

We take a look back at the inventions invented by Aussies.



The didgeridoo can arguably be classified as the first Australian invention, and is still prominently used today. 

The wind instrument was developed by Indigenous Australians around 1000 to 1500 years ago. Playing the didgeridoo involves a complex breathing technique called circular breathing – breathing through the nose and breathing out of the mouth at the same time. 

Traditionally, only males and can play the didgeridoo during ceremonial events.

Australian Rules Football (1858)

An iconic Australian sport, Aussie Rules has been played since June 1858 and was originally established as a means to keep cricketers fit during the winter.

In 2002, the Australian Football International Cup began with the tournament being held every three years. Australia, however, cannot participate. 

Brennan Torpedo (1874)

Brennan Torpedo (1874)

Invented by Louis Brennan in 1874 and patented in 1877, the Brennan Torpedo was propelled by two rotating propellors that were spun by rapidly pulling out wires from drums wound inside. 

It is often claimed as the world’s first guided missile.

Notepad (1902)

Notepad (1902)

Tasmanian J.A. Birchall was the first person to bind loose sheets of paper together and sold them as the first notepad. 

Birchall’s innovation involved cutting sheets in half, backing them with cardboard and gluing them together at the top.

Feature Film (1906)

Feature Film (1906)

Heralded as the world’s first full-length feature film, ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’ traces the life of bushranger Ned Kelly. 

Written and directed by Charles Tait, the film ran for more than an hour, which was the longest time that a film had run during this era.

The movie premiered in Melbourne on December 26, 1906.

The Box Kite (1893)

The Box Kite (1893)

The box kite was developed by Irish-born Australian Lawrence Hargrave in 1893, which aided greatly in the development of powered-flight. 

On November 12, 1894, Hargrave was able to lift himself 16 feet off the ground after tying four box kites together. 

Hargrave was given a place in Australia history after he was engraved on the 20-dollar note from 1966 to 1994.

When one thinks of Australia, one turns to our national spread. 

Made from yeast extract, Vegemite has been causing rosy cheeks since 1922. 

In 1928, Vegemite changed its name to Parwill to compete with Marmite. The slogan went: “If Ma mite then Pa will”. It changed the name back to Vegemite in 1935. 

It was the first product to be scanned at checkout in 1984.

When one thinks of Australia, one turns to our national spread.   Made from yeast extract, Vegemite has been causing rosy cheeks since 1922.   In 1928, Vegemite changed its name to Parwill to compete with Marmite. The slogan went: "If Ma mite then Pa will". It changed the name back to Vegemite in 1935.   It was the first product to be scanned at checkout in 1984.

The Electronic Pacemaker was developed by Dr Mark Lidwill and Edgar H Booth in 1926. 

The original device plugged into a ‘lightning point’ and an insulated needled was plunged into the heart. 

The device was used in 1928 to revive a stillborn baby in Sydney. 

The pacemaker was used a launching pad for insertable and modern pacemakers.

Speedo swim brief (1929)

Speedo swim brief (1929)

The Speedo swim brief (also known as the budgie smuggler, banana hammock and togs) made its debut in 1929 and is still covering the privates of male beachgoers to this day. 

It is also the swimwear of choice of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (pictured).

Clapperboard (1930)

Clapperboard (1930)

The clapperboard was invented by F. W. Thring in Melbourne, Australia. 

The original design of the clapper involved two sticks hinged together.

Surf-life saving reels (1906)

Lester Ormsby is credited as the inventor of the surf life-saving reel which was demonstrated at Bondi Beach on December 23, 1906.

The Ute (1934)

The Ute (1934)

The Coupé utility vehicle – commonly known the ‘The Ute’ was designed by Lewis Brandt of the Ford Motor Company in Geelong. 

The idea for the Ute came from a farmer’s wife who wanted a vehicle that could take her ‘to take her ‘to church on Sundays and pigs to market on Mondays’.

The first Ute rolled off the production line in 1934.

Zinc Cream (1940)

Nothing screams Aussie more than zinc cream plastered across your nose. 

The sunscreen, which contains zinc oxide, was developed by Fauldings pharmaceutical company in 1940.

Hills Hoist (1945)

Hills Hoist (1945)

Manufactured in Adelaide by Lance Hill in 1945, the Hill Hoist is a common sight in most Australian backyards. 

The idea for the original design arose from Hill’s wife wanting an inexpensive replacement to line she had been using to dry her clothes.

The hoist can also be used to as rotating monkey bars and can be used to play ‘Goon of Fortune’.

Stainless steel braces (1956)

Stainless steel braces (1956)

Western Australian orthodontist Percy Begg started devising a new technique for repositioning teeth in the 1940s. 

When his use of stainless steel was introduced in 1956, he became an international sensation as the use of lightwire eliminated the need for head gear.

Black box flight recorder (1958)

Black box flight recorder (1958)

The ‘black box’ flight recorder was invented by Dr David Warren in Melbourne.

It was used to capture a plane’s readings and to record crew members’ conversations to determine what issues a plane ran into in the event of a crash.

Ultrasound (1961)

The work of Australian Department of Health researchers David Robinson and George Kossoff has been credited with the development of the first ultrasound in 1961. 

The first images of an unborn child were seen in 1962 at the Royal Hospital for Women.

Boxed wine (1965)

Boxed wine (1965)

The epitome of Australian classiness, boxed wine, also known as goon, was invented by Thomas Angove in 1965.

While it was less expensive and more environmentally friendly than it’s bottled-cousin, boxed wine has been criticised for its cheapness and a means for alcoholics to get drunk on a budget. 

In certain circumstances, the goon bag can also be used as a temporary substitute to a pillow.

Sarich Orbital engine (1972)

Sarich Orbital engine (1972)

The Sarich Orbital engine is an internal combustion engine that had no high-speed contact with engine walls. 

The engine never made it into production as it was prone to overheating, however the processes developed for the engine can be seen in other orbital engines. 

It was created by Ralph Sarich in 1972.

Tim Tam (1964)

Tim Tam (1964)

Created by Ian Norris, the Tim Tam was first introduced on February 16, 1964.

The name for chocolate biscuit was the work of Ross Arnott, who decided the name of the 1958 Kentucky Derby winner would be a good name for a biscuit line.

Cochlear implant (1978)

Cochlear implant (1978)

Dr Graeme Clark helped research and developed a means for deaf individuals to hear after the invention of the Cochlear implant, also known as the bionic ear. 

The first bionic ear recipient was Rod Saunders who lost his hearing at the age of 46. 

In 2008, Clark announced that he was developing a “hi fi” implant that would help users perceive music and different voices in noisy rooms.

Dual flush toilet (1980)

Dual flush toilet (1980)

Bruce Thompson can be thanked for combining two of Australians favourite things – using the dunny and saving money. 

The invention of the dual flush toilet system has been estimated to save households 320,000 litres of water every year.

IVF Embryo freezing (1983)

IVF Embryo freezing (1983)

Researchers from Monash University and the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne perfected the ‘freeze-thaw’ in-vitro fertilisation technique in 1983, which allowed the freezing of an embryo, thawing it and implant it.

The first frozen embryo baby was born in Melbourne on March 28, 1984.

Polymer banknote (1988)

The Polymer bankote was developed as a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Australia, CSIRO and the University of Melbourne as a means of preventing forgery.

Australia fully switched over from paper currency in 1996.

Multi-focal contact lens (1992)

Multi-focal contact lens (1992)

The multi-focal contact lens was invented by Queensland optical scientist Stephen Newman. 

This particular type of contact lens work in the same way at bifocal glasses, which helps people focus on multiple distances through the same lens.

Spray-on skin (1992)

Spray-on skin (1992)

Spray-on skin was developed by Dr Fiona Wood as a means of treating burns victims.

The technique shortened the time to produce skin cells to cover a burn from 10 days to five. 

Dr Wood was named Australian of the Year in 2005.

Wi-Fi (1992)

Wi-Fi (1992)

Wi-Fi’s origins can be attributed to the work of CSIRO scientist John O’Sullivan (pictured) which was the by-product of a failed experiment. 

The findings were then patented and used as Wi-Fi method to ‘unsmear’ signals. 

The CSIRO has since won numerous patent-infringement lawsuits.

Scramjet (2002)

Scramjet (2002)

University of Queensland’s HyShot team sent a scramjet into the atmosphere on a test flight, which was a world first. 

A scramjet operates at speeds five times the speed of sound.

Cervical Cancer vaccine (2006)

Cervical Cancer vaccine (2006)

Developed by Professor Ian Frazer, the cervical cancer vaccine was developed to prevention strains of HPV, which was causes a significant number of cervical cancers.

Professor Frazer’s research led to the vaccine to be distributed widely in 2006. He began working on the vaccine in 1991.


Read More →



Now, that the elections in Sri Lanka are over,, we can go on with matters that mean so much more to people of our vintage, like Max Gerreyn (who sent this to me), says, here are a couple in their 90’s doing what most of us did, before we hit 50. I am more than pleased to “post” on eLanka, especially for our readers, and thank Max for this unbelievable video, which I am sure everyone will enjoy.

Desmond Kelly

Desmond Kelly.

Read More →

Pride and Talent – Oscar E V Fernando

Oscar Fernando

Talent! The special skill, aptitude or ability,
That can touch the conscience: may end in eventual vanity.
Vanity caused human race to fall from paradise.
Vanity it is that dulls man’s talent in so sudden a surprise.

The disciples asked-who among-st us is first?
With all wise leanings on love and charity, they had a thirst
To test their own human pride for want of humility.
But alas, God’s priority is to test one’s humble ability.

Fame finds its way to those with latent talent.
Talent is God given-fame is man given.
Be grateful to humankind for fame so gladly lent.
Behold! With ingratitude-mankind from Paradise was indeed driven.

Conceit! Self given was the first onslaught by the eager Ego.
Eating the apple, they earned that doomed downfall.
Ego it is that causes conceit to follow,
The talented to its sad end; and human race to its destined fall.

Oscar E V Fernando

Read More →

A Peerless Pearl – By Aubrey Joachim

Aubrey Joachim

Sydney’s Sri Lankan social happenings require a ‘What’s On’ magazine of its own. Every weekend sees multiple events – dances, parties, foodie events and the like. However, last weekend saw one of the best ever Sri Lankan social events.

An year in the planning ‘Peerless Pearl’ will certainly set Sri Lankan tongues wagging and social media on fire. The gala 30th anniversary dance of the Old Josephians’ Association of New South Wales was a cut above any event seen in Sydney for many years. The president of the Association Chrys Fernando and his dance committee worked tirelessly and meticulously over 12 months to put on a show-piece event at the fantastic Events Hornsby Showroom – Hornsby RSL.

The theme ‘Peerless Pearl’ was conceptualised and developed by Old Joe Kumar Fernando and his creative art director partner Liza Mortier who worked off the second stanza of the Josephian anthem – “Where the peerless pearl of Indies, Hides its glow on ocean’s breast , White and Blue is nature’s setting , To the gem she loves the best”. The Hornby Showroom was transformed into a sea of blue and white. Arriving guests walked into the foyer hosting a massive blue oyster shell caressing a pearl where their photos were taken. The men had a pearl pinned on to their lapels and the ladies a pearl adornment for their wrists. They then entered into the spacious well-manicured ballroom where the blue and white pearl theme sat as table décor.

Old Joes NSW1 Old Joes NSW

The dance floor at the foot of the stage doubled up as a cocktails and canape’s area including tall cocktail tables. Old Josephian Duleep Fernando – an accomplished pianist all the way from Sri Lanka kept the guests entertained from the stroke of 6 until formal commencement of proceedings at 6.45. Following the opening remarks by the MC a well compiled video tracing the history of St. Joseph’s College from its 1896 beginnings until the present was projected on the three giant screens in the hall.

At the stroke of 7 DJ Shehan set the evening’s entertainment in motion. He would do two more sessions during the evening. The live band was Desmond de Silva and the Impressions who certainly created an impression with their well-chosen repertoire of melodies over their three sessions. Between 7 and the midnight close there was almost constant music for dancing and the large dance floor was almost always packed. A twenty minute dinner time slot saw Duleep Fernando on piano and Liza Mortier’s vocal talent combine to provide some extra ordinary cabaret style entertainment. Just before dinner the 92 Old Joes in attendance proudly sporting their old school ties sang the College anthem with gusto, passion and feeling.

The three course sit down meal was excellent with choices provided and drinks of all colours and alcoholic strengths flowed freely through the evening. All guests were included in the door prize draw where over $6,000 in prizes were given away – including a 9 day travel package to Sri Lanka courtesy of Old Joe Alex Fernando of Travel Glen in Melbourne and a return air ticket Melbourne / Colombo / Melbourne donated by Sri Lankan Airlines.

The entire event ran impeccably to timing from the start until the stroke of midnight. In his President’s address just before entree’s were served Chrys Fernando thanked all those who contributed to the success of the event including the guests whose numbers had to be limited to 400 in order to allow for spacious intermingling. Above all, as products of a great Catholic institution Chrys reminded us all that the success of the event as is anything in life must be attributed to the Lord Jesus Christ.

As the MC mentioned at the commencement “We do not do it often, but when we do it – we do it well”. Peerless Pearl will be etched in the memory of the 400 attendees for many years to come.

eLanka’s Neil Jayasekera provided live feeds from the event and video clips and photos will be available shortly. – Click here for several video clips of this great event!

Read More →



Cliff Foenander was one of Sri Lanka’s great musicians. He was King of the ‘crooners’ in 1950s and 1960s Ceylon. Foenander had a passion for music and he was determined to succeed in life. He reached the dizzy heights of stardom – not only in Sri Lanka but right across South and South East Asia, and even the United States of America.

Sri Lanka remember’s Cliff Foenander he passed away in Australia. Recently, thanks to You Tube there has been a real revival of music connected with Sri Lanka’s first international star, Cliff Foenander. Thousands have logged on to youtube to hear The Fabulous Echoes. The whole history of The Fabulous Echoes is also on You Tube. The Fabulous Echoes featured Bert Sagum, Tony Ruivivar, Terry Lucido, Stan Robertson, Danny Ruivivar and Cliff Foenander.Foenander was a pioneer – one of his earliest hits was ‘Butterfly in the Rain’ composed by the great singer/songwriter Nimal Mendis. Radio Ceylon, the oldest radio station in South Asia discovered Cliff Foenander. The legendary Radio Ceylon announcers Vernon Corea, Tim Horshington, Livy Wijemanne, Jimmy Bharucha, promoted his music throughout the late 1950s and 1960s on the airwaves of the radio station. Radio Ceylon was ‘King of the Airwaves’ in South Asia and Cliff Foenander’s music was played to the huge audience on the Indian sub-continent. He had a succession of number one hits in South Asia as a result of the exposure on Radio Ceylon.

Foenander’s big break came along when he joined one of the hottest acts in Hong Kong, ‘The Fabulous Echoes.’ They had a massive hit with ‘A Little Bit of Soap’ in 1964 released on Diamond Records – they enjoyed 25 weeks in the Number one position in the Hong Kong Charts. ‘A Little Bit of Soap’ was a huge hit in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, The Philippines and Sri Lanka.

Cliff Foenander and The Fabulous Echoes had a string of hits, among them – ‘Dancing on The Moon,’ ‘Sukiyaki,’ ‘Cry,’ ‘Another Saturday Night,’ ‘Another Romance,’ ‘I know,’ ‘The Wedding,’ ‘Skip to My Lou, ‘Sunshine,’ ‘Way Back When,’ ‘Mashed Potato,’ ‘It Won’t be Long,’ ‘Day By Day,’ ‘This Land is My Land.’

As a result of their huge hit ‘A Little Bit of Soap’ among a string of hits in South East Asia, The Fabulous Echoes were invited to play Las Vegas. Cliff Foenander and the group were playing with the greats – The ‘rat pack,’ Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior who were performing in Las Vegas at the time in the early 1960s – they performed with Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Pat Boone among a whole host of stars.

One evening Cliff Foenander sang a song to a lady in the audience, she like The Fabulous Echoes so much that she told her husband. He happened to be the great Ed Sullivan who also liked their style and sound. He signed them up for two shows and Ceylon’s Cliff Foenander was seen by an audience of 45 million viewers. Foenander was at the very top with the Fabulous Echoes. They were a hit in Las Vegas.

Cliff Foenander died of lung cancer in 2000 in Australia. Born in 1934, he was 66 years old.

Read More →

A man worth being with is one…- by ― Shannon L. Alder

A man worth being with is one…….

That never lies to you
Is kind to people that have hurt him
A person that respects another’s life
That has manners and shows people respect
That goes out of his way to help people
That feels every person, no matter how difficult, deserves compassion
Who believes you are the most beautiful person he has ever met
Who brags about your accomplishments with pride
Who talks to you about anything and everything because no bad news will make him love you less
That is a peacemaker
That will see you through illness
Who keeps his promises
Who doesn’t blame others, but finds the good in them
That raises you up and motivates you to reach for the stars
That doesn’t need fame, money or anything materialistic to be happy
That is gentle and patient with children
Who won’t let you lie to yourself; he tells you what you need to hear, in order to help you grow
Who lives what he says he believes in
Who doesn’t hold a grudge or hold onto the past
Who doesn’t ask his family members to deliberately hurt people that have hurt him
Who will run with your dreams
That makes you laugh at the world and yourself
Who forgives and is quick to apologize
Who doesn’t betray you by having inappropriate conversations with other women
Who doesn’t react when he is angry, decides when he is sad or keep promises he doesn’t plan to keep
Who takes his children’s spiritual life very seriously and teaches by example
Who never seeks revenge or would ever put another person down
Who communicates to solve problems
Who doesn’t play games or passive aggressively ignores people to hurt them
Who is real and doesn’t pretend to be something he is not
Who has the power to free you from yourself through his positive outlook
Who has a deep respect for women and treats them like a daughter of God
Who doesn’t have an ego or believes he is better than anyone
Who is labeled constantly by people as the nicest person they have ever met
Who works hard to provide for the family
Who doesn’t feel the need to drink alcohol to have a good time, smoke or do drugs
Who doesn’t have to hang out a bar with his friends, but would rather spend his time with his family
Who is morally free from sin
Who sees your potential to be great
Who doesn’t think a woman’s place has to be in the home; he supports your life mission, where ever that takes you
Who is a gentleman
Who is honest and lives with integrity
Who never discusses your private business with anyone
Who will protect his family
Who forgives, forgets, repairs and restores

When you find a man that possesses these traits then all the little things you don’t have in common don’t matter. This is the type of man worth being grateful for.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Read More →