Trevine Rodrigo


T20 World Cup

women’s champions Australia

Defending women’s champions Australia will be hard to beat

Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga will lead Sri Lanka’s fortunes.

Multicultural flavour will be the ICC focus for the T20 World Cup in Australia – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE



Australia’s edition of the T20 World Cup will deliver a cricketing feast laced with multicultural flavour promises ICC CEO Nick Hockley at a briefing to the Sri Lankan involvement at the Grand on Princess in Mulgrave, Melbourne recently.

Speaking exclusively to the Lanka Times in Melbourne and Elanka community website in Australia Hockley says there will be a heavy emphasis on multiculturism and a projected attempt to lure all communities in Australia to get involved in this exciting event which is expected to have at least a billion viewers around the world.

All venues around Australia hosting World Cup games will be set up in a carnival like atmosphere in and around the grounds with Food stalls and large screen TV’s set up outside venues for those who choose to remain outside the main arena similar to when the Cricket World Cup was staged in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

The T20 World Cup is currently touring Australia to get the nation fully involved and promotional activities have been organized in schools and other institutions involved in the game.

The unexpected distraction which has engulfed Australia due to the raging bushfires around the country will no doubt have an impact on the World Cup, but the ICC believes it will also help fans from cricketing nations around the world to rally in support by their attendance which will help in many ways towards the recovery of the stricken parts of the country.

The ICC for their part will be heavily involved in supporting initiatives orchestrated by Cricket Australia and through its association with UNICEF towards the bushfire crisis says Max Abbot, Media and communications Manager of the ICC T20 World Cup 2020.

The latest edition will see a separation of the men’s and women’s competitions in an ICC attempt to give equal reverence to the two competitions unlike in the past where the women’s competition was an undercard to the men’s event.

“We have seen a dramatic interest in the women’s game and have decided to have separate competitions to establish an equal footing and following among fans”, said Hockley. The ICC initiative is bound to meet with success while giving fans a break from a monotonous attendance at both events simultaneously.

The Women’s World Cup kicks off on February 21 with hosts and defending champion Australia led by Meg Lanning taking on India at Sydney Showground Stadium. The star-studded Aussies with fantastic talent in their ranks in Ellyse Perry, Alyssa Healey skipper Lanning and the rest look firm favourites to go back to back at home.

The men’s T20 World cup begins in October 18 with the qualifying tournament for two spots with the top rung who have made it to the final stage.

Former World T20 Cup champion Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have slid to the bottom rung and need to top their group to make it to the main stage of the World Cup. They will be pitted against Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Scotland, Oman and the Netherlands.

From a Sri Lankan perspective it is unquestionable that their fortunes have been tempered by bad administration rather than lack of talent and ability.

The appointment of former Pakistan, Australian and South African coach Mickey Arthur as head coach replacing the controversially sacked Chandika Hathurusinghe after much turmoil at the last cricket World Cup will infuse much needed stability in the direction of the islanders fortunes as they regather their focus for the important tournament.

Sri Lanka on song, are no pushover to any nation and they will naturally be intent on regaining their lost mojo which has depressed their fans globally.

If there was a concern about their resurgence, it lies in the continued persistence with Lasith Malinga as Skipper of the side. While there is no doubt of his ability with the ball even in his twilight years, his decision making has been questionable up to the last venture in India where they were comprehensively thrashed in the three-match series.

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Humbled Sri Lankans need to re-group before the World Cup – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE


Sri Lanka endured a torturous tour to Australia during a brief three T20 stint, but left with lessons learned for the upcoming World Cup in the same format in October next year down under.

While eyebrows may have been raised at the fiddling of the squad which lacked sufficient experience due the hardline stance taken by the administrators who decided to overlook some obvious choices who opted out of the tour to Pakistan fearing their safety, it gave some youngsters the opportunity to be exposed to Australian conditions if they are needed when the main event comes around.

The team that arrived here was packed with the squad that whitewashed the world number one ranked Pakistanis at home 3-0 in what was regarded as a sensational achievement, but seen by many as a reciprocal “thank you” from the hosts for the brave Sri Lankans who undertook the first ever tour since the near massacre of the team in Lahore which led to all teams in the world refusing to tour the country.

Lasith Malinga stood out with his solo effort at gaining some respect from the Australians who have had little success against the Sri Lankans in this format for a considerable period. They took the opportunity on offer with no remorse reducing the Sri Lankans to a sorry sight in all three encounters before sending them packing after a 3-nil rout.

The high riding Aussies, fresh from a memorable Ashes triumph have turned their flagging fortunes around on the back of consecutive successes against England, Sri Lanka and are in the process of dismantling a talented Pakistani outfit as the Summer approaches.

After the turmoil of the World Cup where the Lankans were in complete disarray with the sacking of the coach and other officials who were thought to be responsible for their poor showing, they travelled to Australia with a stand in coach in Rumesh Ratnayake while the hunt for a replacement was on.

Former Pakistani coach Mickey Arthur who also took the reins of Australia and South Africa is reported to be installed as the next coach and this is seen a positive towards steadying the ship that is veering off course.

Sri Lanka who have won the T20 World Cup during the era of the Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillekeratne Dilshan and some other outstanding superstars have currently dwindled to a position where they have to qualify to make it to the upper level in the World Cup in Australia. Upwards and onwards is the only course left for them and it only needs proper direction to get them back on track.

Their fans around the globe wait with bated breath to see where Mickey Arthur can take them in his short stint at the helm before the World Cup.



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Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John’s Nugegoda – Photos thanks to Trevine Rodrigo

The bands were Rock this Country from Sri Lanka and Esric Jackson and No Limit

Click here or on the photos below to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page.

Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda Country and Western night at at Gaelic Park in Keysborough organized by Bertie Ekanaike and the OBA of St. John's Nugegoda

Click here or on the photos above to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page.

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All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick
All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick2

All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

Trevine-RodrigoThe All Blacks will for the first time in a long spell venture into the unknown in Japan for the latest edition of the William Web Ellis World Cup as the gap between themselves and the rest have narrowed comprehensively to make it within reach of a handful of nations.

Kieran Reid’s men are on a mission for a hat-trick of conquests after Richie McCaw led the Blacks to memorable triumphs at the last two editions, the last in England over the Wallabies.

For decades the All Blacks have gone to World Cup’s with a clear gap ahead of all nations and favourites to win the event. But in many episodes, they fell short usurped by the French on two occasions before the final.

New Zealand have been the most consistently ranked number one team since the introduction of IRB World Rankings, having held the number one ranking for more than 85 percent of the time during this period. South Africa and England make up the remainder.

The All Blacks have fittingly won the event on the most number of occasions (3), the last two and in 1987, followed by arch rivals the Wallabies and the Springboks two apiece and England once. The record clearly indicates the Southern Hemisphere dominance of the World Cup with the Englishmen being the solitary success story for the Northerners.

Wales will lead the Northern Hemisphere challenge as the most successful team in recent months. But the French have had a penchant for delivering the unexpected when they compete in the World Cup. Ask the All Blacks and they will readily testify to this.

The World Cup in Japan the first ever held in Asia sees the top twenty teams in the world go head to head to showcase their own brand of rugby in an event that will be watched by millions of viewers worldwide.

To see the styles of the Russians, Georgia, Fiji, Uruguay, USA, Canada, Namibia and Italy will be a feature as they strive to stamp their class on the world stage. On form there should be a few upsets but the teams that have shown class and consistency are expected to rise to the top come crunch time.

Wales, Australia, South Africa, Ireland and England loom as the strongest challengers in Japan as the All Blacks strive to stay ahead of the closing pack.

It will no doubt be a titanic episode this time round and indications after the kickoff where the host nation knocked off the Russians in the tournament opener 30-10 shows Asia stepping up to the plate to challenge the might of the dominant nations.

 All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick

All Blacks dominance will be tested as they chase hat-trick2

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Darren de Vos 30 and living it up – Photos thanks to Trevine Rodrigo: Melbourne

Click here or on the photos below to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page


Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos Darren de Vos


Click here or on the photos above to view the full album of photos on eLanka Facebook page

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David Young honoured by Sri Lankan President – By TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE with Johann Dias Jayasinha

david young award

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena presented Australian doctor David Young with the country’s second highest Honour conferred to non-nationals, ‘The Sri Lanka Ranjana’, at the annual National Awards Ceremony held at the Bandaranayake Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) on August 19.

Dr. David Young needs little introduction in Australia and now Sri Lanka for his selfless deeds to help those with joint problems or others in need of proper medical equipment and training in the field of Orthopaedic surgery in which he is one of the leading specialists in

David has a special place in his heart for Sri Lanka after his initial introduction to the island nation through a picture postcard he received from his grandfather in 1970.

His Fascination for Sri Lanka and its need for expertise in his chosen field soon had him introduced to Sri Lanka’s cricket team that won the World Cup in 1996 through then coach Sri Lankan born Australian Dav Whatmore.

David Young has since made numerous visits to the Island since then on mercy missions including being instrumental in lecturing and offering specialist advice to local orthopaedic professionals.

His indefatigable efforts to bring Sri Lanka up to international standards in the orthopaedic field saw him initiate a project which raised US $3 million which was given to the Sri Lankan govcernment to set up an Accident and Emergency Trauma treatment unit in Batticloa. This was soon after thee dreaded Tsunami hit Sri Lanka among other countries losing thousands of lives.

David Young led a team of volounteers to Sri Lanka in 2004 after receiving an SOS from Sri Lanka spin great Mutthiah Muralidaran soon after the Tsunami hit the island nation.He worked alongside locals in less than ideal conditions and in a tension filled situation due to the conflict at the time between the LTTE and the Sri Lanka government forces.

He ended up in Batticaloa and worked at the Teaching Hospital in less than ideal conditions. He was complimentary of the staff who had worked non-stop for days but was appalled at the lack of resources, instruments and equipment to treat the injured.It was then that he pledged to return and help build a modern state of the art accident and emergency trauma treatment unit at the Batticaloa Hospital.

Cricket stars including Mutthiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena,Angelo Matthews, Rangana Herath and Lasith Malinga were among the numerous sports people that sought orthopaedic treatment and care from David Young. He gave them his
attention often without charge as he did for a number of other sports people, rugby players, athletes and sports men and women from the less prominent sports.

‘The Sri Lanka Ranjana’ is the second-highest Honour conferred to non-nationals and this year the award was presented to three personalities. They are Dr. Cumaraswamy Sivathasan, Dr. David Alexander Young and Prof. Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran.

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Dimuth Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunaratne

If motivation comes from within, it should not be activated by the misfortune of others as Sri Lanka’s cricketing fortunes appear to indicate. The sacking of the coach and the installation of a new leader appears to have done just that judging by the sudden dominance of an ordinary looking line up that struggled against all-comers till now.

installation of a new leader appears to have done just that judging by the sudden dominance of an ordinary looking line up that struggled against all-comers till now.

Rising like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes of a horrendous past few months, Sri Lanka under new skipper Dimuth Karunaratne have discovered a new confidence which has turned things around and brought with it unprecedented success.

Following up on a better than expected World Cup performance, the Lankans have shown dramatic improvement and a newfound mindset which saw them merciless in crushing Bangladesh 3-0 in the one-day series in Colombo. The Bangladeshis have proved that they
are no pushovers in the modern environment and the hiding they received is an indication of Sri Lanka’s growing maturity despite the constant chopping and changing of the squad.

Following up on the success against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have now grabbed a 1-0 lead in the World Test Championship with a comprehensive 6-wicket win over the high riding New Zealanders. That gives Karunaratne a 100 per cent Test captaincy record with three
consecutive wins following the team’s success in South Africa.

Diehard fans have been scratching their heads wondering what happened so quickly to turn things around. Surely it cannot be just the change in the Captain. And they are now functioning without a Coach after Chandika Hathurusinghe was given his marching orders
following a mediocre return for a handsome paycheck and high expectation.

Many feel that Hathurusinghe was a victim of circumstance and some pig headed members of the team who did not like his coaching style who then proceeded to orchestrate his failure and removal. Such is Sri Lanka’s style historically, that only in chaos and confusion
can they perform at unexpected levels. This was confirmed to me many years ago by a star member of the past who said to me. “Trying to make Sri Lanka perform under a structured process is almost impossible. There will always be personality clashes and divided opinion as they wade through a pool of confrontation”.

Dimuth Karunaratne has emerged as the man for a crisis picking up the pieces of a fragmented set up and cautiously exploring the avenues open to him. He openly admits drawing on the experience of the seniors in the squad before tinkering it to his own plans.

It’s obviously working for him and the team as they build towards an era similar to the one
commandeered by the likes of Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara, Mutthiah muralidaran, Sanath Jayasuriya, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga and many others.

The Test in Galle against the Kiwis was a low scoring affair with Sri Lanka succumbing to New Zealand tweaker Ajaz Patel who grabbed 5 for 89 to restrict them to 267 after New Zealand were bundled out for 249 falling to the wiles of Akila Dhananjaya 5 for 80 and
seamer Suranga Lakmal 4 for 29.

New Zealand fought back to get 285 in their second stint leaving Sri Lanka an imposing target of 266 on a quickly deteriorating wicket. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne led from the front and with Lahiru Thirimanne cautiously negotiated a century opening stand to lay the
platform for a memorable run chase which resulted in a six-wicket victory. Karunaratne was fittingly named man-of-the-match.

“I had a positive approach to this innings,” Karunaratne said. “We were watching the batsmen that did make runs, and we noted how they went about it. After the ball became a bit softer it became easier to bat, and then it was a case of using your feet to the spinners. We had a plan to do that, and we knew that whoever got a start needed to go big. Both myself and Thirimanne were able to do that. We batted well yesterday, and this morning we added a good 30 runs to that partnership. We set ourselves little targets and broke the chase down.”

“Keeping New Zealand to around 250 in the first innings was a big thing. We made sure that for the shots that are easy to hit – shots with the spin for example – were covered off by fielders on the boundary. If a bowler bowled a bad ball, we needed that to cost only one run, because that’s a big advantage. There was a good chance bowler would deliver good balls, because the pitch was taking turn, but in the meantime, we needed the bad balls not to cost us. It was really important that we didn’t let them get away from us at any stage.”
The makeup of the current squad boasts of some outstanding emerging talent in the likes of Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Lasith Embuldeniya, Akila Dhananjaya, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Mendis and Lahiru Kumara to name a few.

The future appears to be back on track for Sri Lanka and the hope is that less meddling by the administrators will enable them to climb back to the status of respect they once commanded

Their visit to Australia this summer for a T20 series is now much looked forward to.

• Ross Taylor86 (132)
• Henry Nicholls42 (78)
• Suranga Lakmal4/29 (15.2)
• Akila Dananjaya5/80 (30)

• Niroshan Dickwella61 (109)
• Kusal Mendis53 (89)
• William Somerville3/83 (22.2)
• Ajaz Patel5/89 (33)

• BJ Watling77 (173)
• Tom Latham45 (81)
• Dhananjaya de Silva3/25 (12)
• Lasith Embuldeniya4/99 (37)

SRI LANKA 268/4(86.1 OVERS)
• Dimuth Karunaratne122 (243)
• Lahiru Thirimanne64 (163)
• Tim Southee1/33 (12)
• Trent Boult1/34 (9.1)

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Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga in action for the last time


Much improved Sri Lanka exit before semis – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE

England grabbed the World Cup in controversial manner after an epic final against a plucky New Zealand and debate will rage into the next episode about the fairness of the competition rules which crowned them champions for the very first time.

After scores were tied at the end of the England innings and tied again after the super over it seemed a travesty of justice that the number of boundaries scored by the two sides ultimately decided a winner. To make matters worse one boundary by a deflected default in the crucial stages.

All in all, it was a wonderful competition highlighted by some close encounters and apart from quickly emerging Afghanistan, there was little to choose from the other competing teams which augurs well for the sport on a global level.

The ICC must be chaffed at the tremendous response it received for the tournament which registered record interest from around the world. Billions of viewers took in this World Cup which saw some titanic contests the only downside proving to be the unseasonal rain which caused the abandonment of some crucial games.

Pre-tournament favourites, Australia, India and hosts England cruised through to the semis but my dark horse to win the tournament New Zealand, scrambled through to the final four before stunning India in the semi-final to have a second crack at glory after being undone by Australia in the last episode. Sadly, it was not to be once more for Kane Williamson’s men who did everything but win a nail-biting final.

Sri Lanka under Dimuth Karunaratne showed glimpses of fight before being bundled out before the World Cup semifinal but dispelled all the doom and gloom predicted by their detractors prior to the tournament.

Amidst the usual turmoil that is now customary in Sri Lanka cricket, they went into the important event half baked and seemingly not expected to beat anyone according to the experts outside the boundary.

Yet, the returned home with three wins, two no results washed out by unseasonal rain and losses to Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India, two of them winnable if they capitalized on early ascendency.

On reflection now, Sri Lanka had the rare distinction of knocking off the eventual World champion England in a stunning upset while also claiming wins over Afghanistan and the West Indies. They missed out on the semis by 3 points ending sixth ahead of South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. England lost three games falling to Pakistan, Australia and Sri Lanka before storming into the semis.

Under Dimuth Karunaratne whose selection to lead came under fire from critics who stereotyped him a Test cricketer only, he went on to prove many wrong, heading the batting averages at the outset before failing in the last few games. What he gave the team was stability at the top and clever leadership drawing from the experience of the senior players in the squad before executing his plans. He also helped heal the division between certain members in the team.

Sr Lanka will also rue some poor selections to the squad which would definitely have benefitted with the inclusion of Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, the latter for his experience although out of form, perhaps Dhanushka Gunatillake and a better all-rounder than Thisara Perera who had a horrid run.

Sri Lanka fans are hopeful that a more settled line-up will travel to Australia this summer and are in anticipation that they will produce a better showing than the last time they toured here.







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Sandra Jackson – Memories are made of this – FROM TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE


If memories are measured by those hurriedly departing this world for heavenly refuge, the consequence from the untimely demise of Sandra Jackson has not registered this yet in the hearts, minds and perspective of many. A year has lapsed, and many of us are yet in shock and denial that the Queen of Sri Lanka’s music scene in Australia has left us forever, and baffling as it is, she’s left a void that will sadly, never be filled.

Yes, its already a year since Sandra Jackson took her earthly presence away from this world to join the choir of angels in Heaven but her memory lingers on although the reality and her lack of physical presence is now slowly sinking in.

The much-loved singer/ entertainer left a lingering image of a larrikin performer for her sexy overtures and flamboyance on stage, enhanced by a powerful and well-balanced voice that was often likened to legendary Tina Turner for her sassy delivery.

On that fateful day, June 29, 2018 the life of a marvelous personality, not just a musician, came to a tragic end leaving behind a distraught hubby, Esric, daughters Candice and Tatum son-0in-laws Toufic and Richard, and grandchildren Mischa, Cruz, Makai and Brooklyn and countless friends who were unprepared for the events that unfolded so quickly.

Although ailing with pulmonary Fibrosis for a while, the extent and potential outcome of Sandra’s illness was not fully comprehended by her family due to the brave front put up by her to shield them from worry and distress.

Undoubtedly the best in her multi-faceted vocal delivery, Sandra left an indelible mark not just on the music scene here and in many other countries, but on her fellow musicians whom she pushed and encouraged to excellence, which was an integral part of her own makeup, which she was fiercely proud of in her own outstanding ability. Yet, her demeanor was one of simplicity, empathy and humility and the self-confidence she exuded was almost infectious.
Much like her carefully thought out, and meticulously executed magical performances on stage, Sandra Jackson exited it similarly, on her own terms, leaving everyone oblivious to the pain and suffering she was enduring in silence as she battled through those final years with pulmonary fibrosis which was slowly but surely eroding her health before finally taking her away from her doting family and countless friends.

Gone, but will never be forgotten, Sandra Jackson has left behind a rich legacy, especially in music, with daughters Candice and Tatum, (and granddaughter Mischa), proving to be as talented as their proud mum.

Together with Esric, her husband of forty-three years, they juggled a fabulous musical career spanning over four decades and bringing up two beautiful daughters who not only blossomed with their good looks, but not surprisingly complemented it with a similar ability in music to their parents.

Her musical journey began with the Pioneers in Sri Lanka where, as a budding talent she announced herself in no uncertain terms. The band which included husband Esric and included legends such as Raj Dissanayake (Band leader) went places in the Sri Lanka music scene until she migrated to Australia. It wasn’t long after that their romance blossomed, and they eventually wed in Australia.

In Australia, Sandra, Grant Smith and Esric formed one of the best bands in Melbourne, ‘Replay 6’. The band was fortunate to have had multiple contracts at some of the leading venues in Melbourne such as the Swagman whereby they supported local and overseas artistes including “The Village People”, “Dr. Hook”, “Smokey”, Gloria Loring, with a 32-piece orchestra, Marcia Hines, Ricky May, Jade Hurley and Kahmal to name a few.

Throughout the band’s illustrious career they had a wide array of talented musicians which included Grant Smith, Jesse Jansz, Arnold Joseph, Gordon Gunn, Chris Mant, Cameron Colombage, David Trower, Lindsay Guillemain, Dallas Achilles, Derek Stewart, Horace Walker, to name a few. The current set up with later members Alex Sonny Boy Cajili , Darrel Jansz, Fernand Poupinel De Valence, Pamela David and Enrico Hipolito have picked up the mantel and plan to carry on with the band for Sandra who was so loved and was an integral part of. There is also the band ‘No Limit’ consisting of Ryan Watts, Angelo Vardon, Ryan Vardon, Jordan Vardon, Whitney Pereira and Cameron Colombege who Sandra adopted a few years ago to complement Esric and her love for country music. There are few outfits around that can perform at the level of this young and very talented setup.

The band she and Esric commandeered for many decades have performed alongside some of the best musicians in the world and. The legends Sandra and Esric have rubbed shoulders with are too numerous to mention during a fabulous team-oriented career in which they complemented each other for nearly 50 years. There are few top venues in Melbourne that they have not performed in.

Esric and Sandra have recorded many CD’s ensuring that their fabulous musical talent lives on. Sandra’s CD, ‘At Last’ dedicated to the memory of her mum Esther, dad Rex and sister Rebecca shows off her wonderful talent encouraged by Esric and recorded by highly professional Stan Azzopardi of Premier sound recording studios. In it she also acknowledges Rob Foenander, Desmond De Silva, Cameron Colombege, Esric and daughters Candice and Tatum for their part in making the CD a massive hit.

If there was a sadness about the timing of her passing, it was leaving this world without seeing her grandkids develop. Her whole world revolved around them and her depression at leaving them as the end neared was ever so obvious. She was a responsible family focused wife and mum and a fiercely loyal friend outside of her musical profession. And a consummate professional at other matters.

Anne and I have shared some wonderful times with Sandra and Esric and although our friendship does not stretch as far as many others, the bond we had and the fun times we enjoyed travelling overseas together will live in our memories forever. Like so many others, we also belonged to that ‘phone conversation club’ Sandra shared with Heather Jordan, Michael and Suzette Prins, Audrey and Brinsley Rosairo, Mazar and Melanie Rauff, Adrian and Monica Jordan, Desmond and Phyllis De Silva, Ruwanal and Philomena and several others making her time management skills better than most outside her numerous other activities.

The tribute to Sandra organized by Esric will see a galaxy of some of the best musicians from here in Australia and some travelling from Sri Lanka who have been an integral part of her musical journey, many voluntarily offering to perform as a mark of respect to one so dear that has left an indelible mark on the music industry. And there are some such as legendary Desmond Kelly who sent his heartfelt condolences and asked to be excused due to his inability to attend because of his current limited physical activity. Des had known Sandra since she was a little girl and in fact knew her family hailing from the cooler climes of Diyatalawa in Sri Lanka.

Among the massive lineup of musician who have volunteered their time for the night to pay tribute to Sandra are Willie Rezel from England, Donald Peiries, Benjy Ranabahu,and Marlon Amarasekera from the band Mirage in Sri Lanka, Dalreen Suby, Shafi from the band Gravity, Melantha Perera from Riversheen School of music in Sri Lanka, Desmond De Silva from Sydney, Malcolm De Kauwe from Perth, and from Melbourne, Chris Mant from Cloud 9, Cameron Colombege from No Limit, Andrea Marr, Rob Foenander, Kerrigan Labrooy, Dallas Achilles, David and Tilarni Senn, Des White, Derrick J, Lozaine Paul, Kelvin and Vanessa Speldewinde, Conrad De Silva, Eddie James, Shehera Rodrigo, Ash and Allison Jayasina, Elmo Wells Jansz, Raj Dassanayake and daughter Tatum.

Tributes from family and friends.

From daughters Candice, and Tatum;

When the time came to say goodbye to mum, we tried to express how much we loved her through lumpy throats and streams of tears. We told her that we thought she was the best mum ever, to which she replied, “I know I am”. In that moment we all giggled, and upon reflection, that in a nutshell was the nature of our relationship- immense love, fierce loyalty and a tad bit of silliness all rolled into just over 30 years.
In the grand scheme of life, being adored by your mother for a little over 30 years may not seem like much. But the sheer fact that we had Mum as our mother means that we were blessed beyond our wildest dreams.

Mum accomplished so many wonderful things in her short 64 years, however, there was never a doubt that we were, by far, her greatest achievement. She always made us feel safe no matter where we were at different times of our lives growing up. She was our rock and taught5 us everything we know from parenting to cooking, to how to tell a good lie so that Dad would not pick up on us being out so late at night.

Having lost a parent herself in her early twenties, Mum always told us that when the time came and she was no longer here, it would be tough, but life goes on. She didn’t however tell us how tough it would be. Not a day goes by where we do not think of her or share stories with her precious grandkids. She lived and breathed her family and that was the only thing that mattered to her. To many of you, she was the rock star on stage but to us she was just a loving mum that would have done anything to still be here with us.

One year has passed and it still feels like she is going to walk back through the door with groceries in her hand or a new outfit to wear on stage, talking about something random. We know that she will never leave us because she promised to watch over us and keep us safe. This is a bittersweet day because it is a day the heavens gained an angel, but also a day where we both lost our best friend. Holding onto her hand as she took her final breath and passed away so peacefully with us by her side, leaves a feeling of comfort in our hearts. Our precious mum left this earth knowing that she was very much loved and will never be forgotten.

A reproduction of most of Sandra’s Eulogy compiled by grandson Damian Jordan;

On behalf of my mother, Heather Jordan, I have the privilege and absolute honour of saying a few words about her best friend and my Godmother, Sandra Jackson. As we are still coming to terms with Sandra’s sudden passing.

At 10 years of age, Sandra arrived at Presbyterian Girls school in Sri Lanka where she instantly formed a special friendship with my mum through their mutual love of Athletics and Netball. This was the beginning of many visits back and forth from each other’s houses and plenty of fun times together, getting up to all sorts of mischief. I’m told that right from a very young age, Sandra had a very special gift as a profound connector of people. This was an innate quality and when I look around now, it couldn’t be more obvious. There are many different co-horts of communities here, whether it be through music or various circles of friends thus showcasing Sandra’s ability to bring people together and her immense popularity.

Sandra migrated to Australia in 1974, one year after mum had arrived to marry Roger Jordan and they continues their close friendship in Australia. Sandra was chosen as a bridesmaid at mum’s wedding and once Esric married Sandra, the four of them were inseparable did absolutely everything together with numerous interstate trips, especially to Sydney. It was common for the four of them on Sandra’a instigation, to act on impulse and suddenly decide to go on a road trip with no planning in advance, such was their carefree nature and zest for life in their younger years.

Once all of us kids were born, both families would continually visit each other’s houses and loved to party together. The Jackson residence became a welcoming and comforting place for all the kids to muck around and share countless memories that will never be forgotten.

Our families would go to every dance, not just to support Sandra, Esric and the entire band, but mainly because we loved to hear her beautiful singing. She was an entertainer and known by all for her Tina Turner voice that put a smile on everyone’s face and for being life of the party. She was also quirky, witty and even wore a fake bum when performing at a dance one night to make her bum look bigger. The fake bum was a very short lived experiment, as, believe it or not , Sandra accidentally dropped it down the toilet. Sher had a great sense of humour and enjoyed a good laugh even sometimes at her own expense.

Sandra was a very caring person and never once missed mum’s birthday, regardless of whether mum was having a party. Sandra would call mum mostly every night for a long chat (even during the footy show much to mum’s dismay), and they would tell each other absolutely everything and talk for hours.
Even over the last couple of days whilst Sandra became extremely ill, she was insistent on knowing how mum was getting home and making sure she was safe, typifying her selflessness and how much she cared for others. Sandra loved talking to mum about Candice and Tatum and then, in the years later, her beautiful grandkids. She was always showing pictures on her phone of her kids and grandkids and was an incredibly proud mother and grandmother that loved nothing more than spending quality time with her family. Her sense of humour, generosity and family-oriented approach to life has left an indelible mark on all of us.

I’d like to finish off by reading directly from what my mumhas written about her best mate:

“You fought hard to keep going for everyone and our only comfort is knowing that you are finally free and surrounded by all our love. I will miss hearing your voice on the other end of the line and our long chats at night. Sandra, it is a great privilege to call you my best friend and I will cherish all our memories and will miss you every single day”.

From Desmond Kelly;

She was someone I knew as a “toddler” in Diyatalawa, living with her mum and dad, Rex Rode, who was a member of the Royal Ceylon Airforce, and a good friend of mine.

Like so many others, Sandra and her family migrated to Australia, and because of work commitments we lost touch until, much later, I heard that Sandra was now involved in “Showbiz and had formed her own band, Replay 6.

Sandra then married Esric Jackson, and not much later, Sandra and Replay 6 became one of the best-known bands in Melbourne.
To Esric and and all the rest of the family, on behalf of eLanka, and the Lanka Times, I send our deepest sympathy.

Goodbye, Sandra Jackson. May the good Lord bless and keep you. All your many friends will miss you, especially “on stage”. Rest in peace now.
Desmond Kelly.

From David Trower:

“Music was Sandra’s passion and drove her as an individual, molding her identity. Sandra’s immediate and extended family were her life’s dedication, her pride and her joy.

Her Passion and involvement with music included her family and friends and made her “Complete”. Sandra always loved her clothes and shoes and looking her best. She never lost her smile and gentle loving demeanor – even through the thickest life threw at her.

She never changed or faltered as an individual- she always remained the same caring, empathetic, gentle, softly spoken and lovely person.

In all the 40 plus years I had known Sandra, she never had a bad word to say about anybody.

Sandra was a big part of my life and had always been there for me and my family when times were challenging. We shared so much of our musical journey that included and broadened our circle of friends and fun we had along the way.

Sandra your legacy lives on in all of us. I will never forget you.

Rest in Peace”.

From Beverly De Neise (in New York);

Dearest Sandy,
I always thought I would look back on our friendship and laugh, but I never thought I would look back on our friendship and cry- on this first anniversary of your death.

I always thought we would grow old together – I really did, you and me, in our old age, laughing and talking about the good old days growing up in Sri Lanka, but that was not to be. I still remember the little girl who came to school in the 5th grade- with your father, Uncle Rex, who looked so much younger than mine. Yes, I have known you from 5th grade.

As the years passed, we became good friends. For a short while you lived down the same lane as me, and I would visit you and I almost became a daughter to your wonderful parents. Your mum, always so beautiful and stylish too. I was good friends with your uncles and aunties, especially uncle Brian, aunty Anne.

Sport, especially netball, bound us together, where you were the Goal shoot, and I was Goal attack all those years on the school team. Then later, you were the games Captain of Tweed House and me of DE Clerk House and boy they were stiff, yet friendly competition. I still remember those wool Gollywogs we used to make as mascots – yours in Red for Tweed House and mine in pale Blue for De Clerk. I hope you are looking down and smiling as you read this.
Singing also bound us together. I will never forget, “Red river Valley”, “The lightening express”, Swanee river” among the many songs we would sing in harmony during our school breaks surrounded by our classmates. I still remember “Elasto” Radio show finals where we came second, as though it was yesterday.

Then Australia beckoned and you married your Knight in shining armour, Esric, who I called “Aiya”, and I was your bridesmaid. I will always be grateful for your friendship and your generosity- I was at your house every weekend, before and after you married, where your mum used to conjure up amazing breakfasts for us, with a smile-always welcoming me like a daughter. I remember enjoying my 21st birthday party at your house. Those were the good old days.

In Australia- those night Netball tournaments where you were the big organizer were so much fun. And then I left for the USA. You would think that the miles that separated us would sever our friendship, but we never lost touch. In all those 28 years of being apart, we still managed to keep our friendship going, even though telephone calls expensive. There was no free WhatsApp then.

I was always scared to tell you that I liked Love cake and Rich cake at Christmas time, because I would find it on my doorstep the next week.

And just six months before you passed away, you came to New York and we had so much fun, buying makeup at Sephora, shopping and having dinner at Sigiri, and we laughed and laughed, and you promised to come back the following year. Little did I know that when we said goodbye, it would be the last time I would see you. You were gone before I knew it, my dear friend. Kind, gentle, Sandy who never had a bad word for anyone. So sad.
I hope you are running free with the wild horses in Heaven and one day I promise, we will meet and laugh again.

Au revoir my friend.


From Desmond and Phyllis De Silva:

“We consider Esric and Sandy as family. We became very close to them each time we visit Melbourne and enjoyed their warm hospitality. Sandy’s warm smile was ever present the moment we walked in the door. We had a close and silent understanding between each other. We even had a key to the front door… and we still do.

“Sandy’s bubbly and easy nature was quickly demonstrated to me when I was introduced to both Esric and herself 16 years ago at the Airport in Auckland, New Zealand. They were with Des to meet me off a flight and to be introduced”.

We clicked immediately and I will never forget that day! Des went off to practice and Esric, Sandy and I went to check out the shops in the city. Esric had hired a car and off we went with Sandy the Navigator! What a hoot. We had no Google maps back then. Sandy had a map which she spread out wide in the front seat and peered at it as she gave Esric instructions. I sat at the back watching her turn the map right way up then upside down! Never worrying for a moment how distracting it was for the driver. This went on for a couple of hours as we became hopelessly lost. Ever cool Esric managed to keep his cool as we drove in circles with Sandy promising that she had ‘got it right this time’, only to find us passing and repassing the same landscape! We finally decided to flag down a taxi and pay him to lead us back to the hotel!

Since that day Sandy and I bonded and our bond with each other became so close that we considered each other sisters. I had so much joy going shopping with Sandy! We enjoyed our late night chats and we shared many confidences. She knew she could count on me as I always knew I could count on her.
“Sandy was strong and feisty. She was fiercely loyal and protective. Sandy was a true professional. She was a delight to work with…I really enjoyed being on stage with her… her support and sense of fun was always refreshing as she sang with a gifted voice”, says Des.

She was hardworking, loving and had a cheeky sense of humour. She was a winner- she played to win and yet although she bravely fought every step of the way, she lost her final battle.

We have found it difficult to accept her loss. “Our Sandy girl” will always stay close in our hearts”.

From Cameron Colombege;

In 24 years of knowing Sandra and Esric as a member of the band Replay 6 my respect and love for them as friend and family has been unshaken.

Sandra Jackson was undoubtedly a unique talent among Sri Lanka’s wide array of limitless female vocalists and in my experience rated as one of the best I have ever heard. She had a powerful yet well balanced style that stood out from the rest and was much loved in the music industry for her encouraging and giving ways.

My cherished memories of Sandra were her selflessness, particularly when hosting visiting bands from Sri Lanka, always giving up the limelight to them and choosing to remain in the background in a supporting role. Many top bands will testify to this. She had a heart of gold.

To me and my family our friendship with Sandra and Esric did not stop as just band members, we bonded more like a family and Sandra’s warm hospitality quickly springs to mind where after gigs or practices she would whip up a meal or Kiribath and curries to feed the band.

I was privileged to sing duets with her and what bonded us together was the rare trip to Sri Lanka in 2012 where Replay 6 was invited to bring in the New Year at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo by General Manager Sampath Siriwardene alongside resident band Mirage.

I will miss Sandra Jackson, a wonderful loving person, and a true friend who made music a joy to be part of during my time with Replay 6.

From Grant Smith;

Having known Sandra for 40 years was to have to know one of life’s treasures, a truly loving person and one of the kindest ever.

Sandra was always a happy and fun person to be around and without a cross word to be said about anyone. Sandra loved and was truly loved by everyone that knew her.

And as we all know Sandra was an amazing singer who just loved to put on a new outfit to perform and perform, she did with all her heart and soul. What a voice.

We had some amazing fun times working together with Esric, over 20 years of wonderful memories.

And to top it all, a wonderful mother, wife and exceptional cook to boot.

Thanks for the wonderful memories Sandra.

Gone, way, way, way too soon.

Love from Grant.

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showgrounds – Video and Photos thanks to Trevine Rodrigo

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showgrounds. Several federal and local Labor MP,s and Dandenong Councillors attended the celebrations.

 Click here or on the photos below to view the full album on eLanka Facebook page
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews makes a surprise appearance at the Sinhalese New Year Celebrations at the Dandenong Showground

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