Dr harold Gunatillake

Why Melbourne is called, “Little Ceylon” – By Dr harold Gunatillake-FRCS,FICS,FIACS,AM(Sing),MB,BS (Cey) – Health editor

“Hoppers described as the love-child of a crepe & crumpet. It has become a very popular street food in Sri Lanka, in big towns and rural areas. It is now considered as a special ‘super staple food’

When Australia opened doors for Southern Asians in the late fifties and early sixties, it was a great opportunity for most Sri Lankans to migrate to Australia, those who disliked SWRD’s “Sinhala only within 24 hour policy” This gave a great impetus specially for the burgher community then, contributing to the good of the country, excelling on sports, athletics, trade, law enforcement, and so on, to leave her shores for greener pastures in Australia, and the loss this enterprising community is felt, even today in that developing country.

Melbourne was the place preferred by many Migrants at the time, whilst a few professionals and others settled down in Sydney. Today, if you walk along the streets of Springvale in the city of Dandenong, Glen Waverley, Noble Park, Broadmeadows, no matter which way you turn, you are bound to “bump-into” a Sri Lankan with a warm smile and a greeting of, “Hello Machang, how are you?”

The Sri Lankan food industry in Melbourne is flourishing like no other; both Sydney and Brisbane run a poor second. In Sydney, to enjoy treats like hoppers you need to travel many miles, there is one place called the ‘Blue Elephant” in Pennant Hills, where you need to give them prior notice. There are a few food caterers for home parties making hoppers on a circular device where at least ten hoppers could be cooked in one go. There is one lady by the name of “Kumarika” fairly famous, catering hoppers cooked on the spot for home parties, in Sydney.

Ask Dallas Achilles a talented musician, settled down in Melbourne for many decades, about Sri Lankan restaurants. He would say, “Those living in close proximity to Clayton are blessed with an abundance of restaurants specialising in Sri Lankan Cuisine.” His favourite spots are Walawwa Restaurant, Café Ceylon, Kites, Merqury Inn, Fab and Cake Point, La Festiva under new management serving a variety of Sri Lankan and International Cuisine, Merqury Inn may have got their spelling wrong: It should read “Mercury”.

Sri Lankans love Pizzas just like the way they love hoppers. Visit La Festiva in Springvale, they serve the best special Sri Lankan flavoured Gourmet Pizza, and for their dishes like Ambul Thiyal, Chicken devilled, Curry chicken and potatoes and Lamb Korma.

Then there is the “Corlam Kitchen in Glen Waverley for lunch. They serve a special Awadhi Dum biriyani, also called “Pukka”. Breathe in the aroma of this princely mutton biryani, cooked the royal Awadhi style, a perfect delicious meal for your lunch or dinner feast with your family and friends.
This “spot” is available for birthday parties, celebrations, Graduations, weddings and Anniversaries, etc. The Chef’s special at Corlam kitchen is “Chilli Crabs” only a few other restaurants, if any, serve this spicy dish.


Dallas would recommend ‘The Fab Curry & Pizza in Centre Road in Bentleigh for hoppers and pizzas. This is a rather little “shop” at the far end of Bentleigh’s Centre Road, and primarily a “take away” Business. It is fairly rare to see a combination- Sri Lankan Shop/Restaurant which serves both “Hoppers” and also a “Combination Curry Pizza”When you visit this little place, you are always welcomed by a friendly Sri Lankan lady while being overpowered, at the same time with the enticing aroma of exotic spices.

Dallas says that they serve 5 hoppers, an egg hopper and a bowl of chicken, beef or fish curry with sambol for $9. There are very good reviews on this Fab Curry & Pizza joint, and a worthwhile spot for a delightful tasty cuisine experience.

Waitress at ‘Walawwa”

Café Ceylon in Centre Road, Clarinda is another eatery. On their “Menu” they feature Roti, Parata, Pittu with curry, wafer and Masala Thosai with fish, beef, chicken and vegetable curries. Vegans would love to patronise this joint.
The nearby restaurants are- Champion in Clayton, Clayton Fish, Merqury Inn, Clayton and Kites in Clayton.

“Walawwa”- ‘The Bungalow’ at Sandown Regency, Noble Park
This is a favourite “Eatery”, says Dallas. The best street foods of Sri Lanka are served here, at best prices in Melbourne for $ 25, and you could enjoy all you can eat. They have a dinner buffet with live music and entertainment. They have “Set Meals” too, beginning with “Starters” and snacks, soups, Main dishes like savoury rice, curry pasta with small pieces of roti stir fried with spicy vegetables and cheese, Chicken seafood and deserts. They recently organised a Baila Masala Boogie Night with live music on one Saturday

The Walawwa

There are many other restaurants owned and run by Sri Lankans in Melbourne. Ask Dallas- he will direct you.
Dallas mentions a good Hopper Eatery next door to “Curry & Chips” It is called “Yamu” owned by Upali.

There are many other “Eateries” by Sri Lankan chefs other areas of Melbourne and outskirts, not visited to write about.

Sydney as was mentioned earlier, boasts just a few Sri Lankan eateries and not within close proximity of each other, although they DO have more Chinese Restaurants than Melbourne.

Is it any wonder then, that Melbourne has been “nicknamed” Little Ceylon”?

What about Sydney Sri Lankan restaurants?

Sydney is also flourishing with Sri Lankan spicy food restaurants, focused to certain suburbs, such as Toongabbie, Seven Hills, Blacktown, Parramatta, where most of the recent Sri Lankan migrants live.
Sri Lankans from all over Sydney make that long drive to these treat outlets, during weekends for a hearty spicy meal, to bring back memories of the foods cooked by their mothers and archies, at home.


Inauguration of the “Kukula”
Restaurant in Parramatta.

Restaurant in Toongabbie, suburb of

Restaurant named “Dish” owned by Manjula in Sydney- promotion at Don Moore Community Centre, Carlingford

Amma Restaurant in Toongabbie

Indu-Lankan restaurant in Seven Hills, Sydney

Thank you, Dallas, your information is appreciated.
Thanks Desmond Kelly for proof reading

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Dr.Harold Gunatillake’s 90th Birthday party

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Agnes Thambynayagam
Dr Harold Gunatillake is a humanitarian who tirelessly publishes Health and Views publication every week and circulates to nearly six thousand Sri Lankan expatriates who live all over the world. I came to know Doctor Harold in April 2013 when a Sri Lankan forwarded me Harold’s Health and Views publication. The publication not only carried health…
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About the author: Historian, Former the author of the book, The Gentiles, ….. at Author, The Gentiles, A History of Sri Lanka
• Studies at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK
• Studied South Asian History at University of Oxford
• Went to Holy Family Convent Collegiate School, Jaffna, Sri Lanka
• Goes to Holy Family Convent, Jaffna
• Lives in Sugar Land, Texas
• From Jaffna Town, Sri Lanka
• Married to Michael Thambynayagam

90 years ago, we did see a small star in the distant horizon
Sighted off on the South of Sunny Ceylon
And as the years passed the Star grew in stature and did brighten
It now reaches its azimuth to indicate its’ highest at Noon
During its’ traverse we have seen a spread of warmth and human alleviation
At the hands of a qualified and capable surgeon
With dexterous hands and much tender application
And with continued concern and feelings humane
The spread of human feelings has covered much ground
From the small area it did command
To spread into a wider area as it moved closer to its’ azimuth and at Noon
When the spread of his well-intended advice on health reaches many around
Yes! It is the birthday of Dr. Harold, as he reaches 4 score years and ten
A lifetime of serving the Nation
And marches on with his good work; be it Health News or Video
Much to the healthy lifestyles of all those who crave for good information
Noor Rahim (Canada)

As you reach 90 you reach the azimuth
The spread of your experiences and knowledge does reach
A wider circle of friends & acquaintances far and wide
Keeping us laymen/folks well versed in matters of hygiene & health
Propagating the message of “Health is Wealth”
In information that is easy to decipher and fetch
With the hidden of “Those who treat themselves have a Fool for a doctor” as such
One is amazed at the way you put across your message so forthright
We pray that the Good Lord will give you the strength
To keep us educated in health no matter what age or class or creed
For indeed you cast no barrier to access your vast humanitarian stealth
Our grateful thanks is all we can extend for all you do without retrench
Many Happy Returns of the Day & Prayers for God’s Blessing Always.
Noor Rahim 7th December 2019.


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DR HAROLD GUNATILLAKE – By – Agnes Thambynayagam

Dr Harold Gunatillake is a humanitarian who tirelessly publishes Health and Views publication every week and circulates to nearly six thousand Sri Lankan expatriates who live all over the world. I came to know Doctor Harold in April 2013 when a Sri Lankan forwarded me Harold’s Health and Views publication. The publication not only carried health advice but also news about Sri Lankans who were affected by civil war. There was a story about Jaffna where I grew up and studied in the issue that I first received. We became friends when I started sending my comments to Harold on his publication.

Harold was born on December 7, 1929 at Hapugala in the suburb of Galle, Sri Lanka. He is two years younger than my mother in law and eight years younger than my mother. So, initially, I started calling him uncle Harold. He wrote to me, ‘Agnes, please call me Harold’. Harold is a Sinhalese from southern Sri Lanka and I’m a Tamil from northern Sri Lanka. Even though I never spoke Sinhala language, the modern technology with email service in English language made us to become good friends.

Harold has been helping the underprivileged children in Sri Lanka. He once carried solar powered lamps to illuminate the area where women and children lived in small huts in the forests of Kilinochchi. He continuously campaigns through his publication to raise awareness for the need to care for people who are destitute.

Harold’s father’s ambition and hard work set an example for Harold to work hard on his studies. His parents moved to Kandy when Harold was four years old. Harold went to Dharmarajah College, Kandy for primary school and Ananda College, Colombo for secondary school. His determination and hard work took him to Medical College at the University of Colombo in 1950.

Harold met the seventeen-year-old beauty Queen Irangani Sirimanne who had finished High school at the Bishop’s College, at a friend’s birthday party in Colombo. He was a third-year medical student at that time. Irangani was a model for Kirthi Karunaratne, the pioneer dress designer in the fifties. Harold and Irangani fell in love and started courting. He successfully passed his MBBS exam in 1956. Harold married his sweetheart Irangani on May 1st, 1958 at Mt Lavinia Hotel, Colombo. Their precious only son Hiran was born on May 20, 1959 in Hiniduma, Galle where Harold started working. They sent Hiran to St. Thomas College, Kollupitiya for early education when the family moved to Colombo.

Harold’s wife Irangani was elected as the Royal Queen at the Colombo Royal College Ball in 1962 at the presence of the Honorable Minister of Finance Dr. N.M. Perera. Her prize was a trip to Bombay. Harold joined his beautiful wife Irangani on that trip. Irangani was asked to sing for Radio India during their trip. Harold was very proud to see his wife singing ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘Danny Boy’ for Radio India. His relentless and continuous support for his wife to participate in modeling and beauty pageants made crowning of Irangani became a routine event in Colombo at Grand Oriental and Galle Face Hotels.

Harold and Irangani moved to London with their son Hiran in 1965 when Harold won a scholarship to do further studies on surgery. In 1967, the Ceylon Tea cooperation in London bestowed Irangani with the title of ‘Ceylon Tea Queen’, a title that elevated her esteemed standing in Sri Lanka to an even higher level. While Harold was focused in his studies, Irangani became a symbol of her country internationally. Irangani Sirimanne Gunatillake represented the Ceylon Tea Cooperation in London at its centenary celebrations in Glasgow, Scotland where she met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and Her Majesty Queen Mother. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II spent about half an hour talking to Irangani about Sri Lanka.

Harold completed his studies and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), United Kingdom in 1968. Their son Hiran finished his primary education at Carshalton primary school in England. The family returned to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1969; Harold was appointed general Surgeon at Colombo General Hospital and Badulla. Hiran was back at St. Thomas College, Colombo.

The Gunatillake family migrated to Singapore in 1972 where Harold worked as Senior Registrar in Surgery. In many occasions, Harold and Irangani were the guests of then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. One of Harold’s proudest moments in life was to see his wife dance with Lee Chin Koon, the father of the legendary Lee Kuan Yew. The family migrated to Australia in 1974. Catastrophic tragedy struck in December 1975. Sadly, they lost their precious sixteen-year-old son at a motorcar accident along with two other teenagers. Hiran was a back-seat passenger.

Harold and Irangani, now married for 62 years, spend the twilight of their life together in Sydney, Australia. Harold enjoys publishing the Health and Views news online every week, which has a readership of over six thousand. Harold and his wife, the former beauty queen Irangani, an epitome of “enormous capacity” to love and give, have changed the lives of so many in need in Sri Lanka: both in the South and the North. They are an inspiration to all of us.

May God shower this remarkable couple with blessing for many more years! Happy 90th Birthday Harold! Michael and I love you and Irangani very much. Our prayers and best wishes are with you while you celebrate your ninetieth birthday with friends.

A very happy Birthday Harold! from all at eLanka!

Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake Harold Gunatillake

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Watch the Video – Ceylon Society of Australia (Sydney chapter) – Dinner and social at the Pennant Hills – 30th November 2019 – Filmed by Harold Gunatillake

This is a film taken at the Ceylon Society of Australia Dinner and social at the Pennant Hills, Community centre, Sydney. Over 200 members participated.

This video is all about the CEYLON SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA (Sydney) Dinner and Social event on 30th November 2019.

Venue: Pennant Hills Community Centre.

A very relaxed enjoyable evening for over 200 members and guests

The participants had all the time to chit chat and have a laugh, and the buffet dinner was exquisite provided by “Dish”

Music was provided by Roger Menzies.

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Food Experience-By Harold Gunatillake


Memorable patronage on Sunday for Spicy Sri Lankan
cuisine at the newly opened restaurant in
Toongabbie, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, named
A great culinary experience.
Do make a visit.
Easy street parking on Sundays.

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Do Sri Lankans & others living in tropical countries need calcium and vitamin D supplements? – by Harold Gunatillake

If you suffer from Osteoporosis, common cause of chronic aches & pain as you age,see your doctor. He or she will do bone density nuclear studies and Bone Mineral Densitometry (DEXA).

Website: www.doctorharold.com

There is no need for any healthy active person to take calcium supplements daily, because you take enough in your milk and other dairy products, leafy greens, seafood, legumes, dried fruits, tofu and various foods that are fortified with calcium.

This is because taking calcium supplements lacks the effectiveness to prevent fractures in old people.

Taking daily calcium supplements may produce constipation.

Professor Ian Reid and Associate Professor Mark Boland of University of Auckland once wrote that calcium supplements were not needed in healthy individuals, nor were they required in most people being treated for

vitamin D supplements


On the other hand, vitamin D supplements help in the prevention of osteo-malacia (softening of bones), especially those who are not exposed to direct sunlight.

For bone weakness without taking calcium supplements, you may start taking bisphosphonates, romosozumab that inhibits bone resorption and stimulate bone formation.

Professor Reid seem to think that calcium and vitamin D supplements may be used in conjunction with the above drugs for osteoporosis.

Do dark pigmented people like Asians and Sri Lankans get enough sunlight to make vitamin D as much as the non-pigmented people?

Pigment melanin seem to reduce the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to exposure to the sun. Furthermore, Sri Lankans and other Asians in the tropical belts, avoid being in the sun due to high degree of humidity and heat which makes exposure very uncomfortable. They do not believe in the traditional sunbathing as the non-pigment individuals.

This vitamin is also called “sunshine vitamin” because it’s manufactured in our skin in response to direct sunlight. It is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it gets absorbed through the gut in the presence of fatty foods.

It is known that vitamin D insufficiency is more prevalent among African Americans. They do not achieve optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH)) concentrations primarily due to the thick melanin layer in the basal layers of the outer skin (epidermis). In Sri Lanka, Rodrigo et. al. has reported that 56% of the premenopausal women have vitamin D level less than 35 nmols/L in the Southern coastal belts of the country.

A survey done by Meyer HE, Holvik K, Lofthus CM and Tennakoon SU, observed that Sri Lankans in Norway had substantially lower levels of s-25(OH) serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D than in a group in Kandy, further the levels among Sri Lankans in Kandy was lowest during the months of August and September after the SW monsoon rains, when there is very little sunlight due to the heavy clouds.

In the developed countries like Australia, the doctors seem to request for blood vitamin D levels routinely, when checking for lipids and other biochemical investigations. However, in Asian countries including Sri Lanka, such routine tests are not done for obvious reason, being the cost factor.

Knowing one’s vitamin D level is important as enough levels keep you healthy preventing many diseases. It maintains strong bones. Lower levels of vitamin D is found in people who fractures their weight bearing bones with the slight slip and fall.

The incidence of such fractures, especially the neck of the femur is quite common among the elderly people in Sri Lanka, and they have pins(Smith Peterson) inserted to strengthen those bones, at a very high cost to the patients and the government if you are a public individual not having funds to enter the private hospitals.

Lower vitamin D levels seems to be present among those people suffering from depression.

Vitamin D boosts weight loss and required for normal growth and development of bones and teeth.

It regulates the calcium and phosphorus absorption through your gut. What this means is that lack of dietary vitamin D may prevent absorption of calcium in your gut. Your body gets its vitamin D from your food, supplements and through the skin exposure to the direct sunlight.

Vitamin D also boosts your immune system and prevents the risk of developing certain diseases. A large-scale meta-analysis using more than 10,000 participants concludes that vitamin D supplementation may help to prevent a major cause of global death from acute respiratory infections, by boosting the immune system.

The other benefits are- reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, heart disease and help to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu during flu epidemics, so frequent in Sri Lanka.

Scientists have done research on the role of vitamin D on the prevention of colorectal cancer and the results are promising. It is also observed that taking higher levels of vitamin D is linked with a lower chance of getting the disease.

It is also observed that intake of vitamin D supplements and diet may protect against breast cancer and improves markers of prostate cancer.

The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency includes:

General tiredness, aches and pains in your joints. Difficulty in climbing steps. Bone and muscle pain and cramps.

If you have any of the above symptoms, do not neglect and say just “old age”, check your blood vitamin D level. Levels below 30 nmol/L of serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) may need vitamin D supplements.

Taking excess of vitamin D being fat soluble may accumulate in your liver and may produce toxicity. Vitamin D levels above 100ng/ml (250 nmol/L) are potentially harmful.

Bottom line:
People in Sri Lanka though being in a “sunshine country” and other migrated dark skin people including Sri Lankans in other countries, should check their vitamin D levels annually.

There is no necessity to take daily calcium supplements, dietary calcium is enough for daily requirement.

Hope this article was useful.

Ref: Calcium and vitamin D -InSight+ -Issue 45/18 Nov 2019

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