Dharmaraja College OBA Australia
This is a summary of Drarmaraja College history.
Dharmaraja College, Kandy a premier Buddhist school in the country, celebrated its 119th anniversary on June 30, 2006. Tracing her roots, it may have been the good fortune of Buddhist education and karmic forces that attracted the great Col. Henry Steel Olcott to the island in 1886. The school started due to the efforts of Col. Henry Steel Olcott, the founder of the Theosophical Society in the country, in an abondoned Bana Salawa in the premises of the Natha devalya, with a Buddhist, Andiris de Silva as Headmaster with eight boys followed by D.B. Jayathilake (later Sir Don Baron) as the forst principle who began building it up. The growth of Dharmaraja over these 119 years is phenomenal. Today her student population stands at 5000 with a staff of 160.
Sir Don Baron jayathilake was succeeded by three courageous and devoted foreigners, Harry Bambury, Wilton Hack (after brief break with C.S. Rajarathnam a Tamil advocate) and K.F. Billimoria. However, it was K.F. Billimoria, a parsee gentleman from Bombay with roots in Iran, who blazed the trail for Dharmaraja. He acquired the 37 acre hill top (now 55 acre) presently called ‘Lake View’, to build the infrastructure for a new Dharmaraja. The immaculate planner and an illustrious builder Billimoria set his priorities thus,
1. New building to accomodate the collegiate section.
2. A swimming pool.
3. Provision of electricity to the complex.
4. Providing a hostel for boaders.
5. Play ground.
What stands out is the memory that Dharmaraja did have a swimming pool way back in 1929 or earlier.
Now how many public schools can boast of such a facility!
History of Dharmaraja College Old Boys’ Association in Melbourne – Australia
Our old boys union in Melbourne was formed in December 1990, with blessing of Ven. Gangodawila Soma thero. The chief guest at the occasion was Mr. Keerthi Pasquel who was on a performing tour in Melbourne, at the time. Being an OBU of a prominent Buddhist school in Kandy, Sri Lanka, our main aim was to help the ‘alma mater’, but we realised that the people in Sri Lanka needs help as well, specially in health matters. The association was first formed by 15 Rajans getting together and Mr. Thilak Wijewardene was elected as the first president. At the beginning, the meetings were merely confined to get togethers, since most of our members were students, who were paying for their studies and doing part time jobs to pay for their studies and day to day expenses.
However, in 1996 a request from the Government Hospital, Kandy, changed our course. We were requested a Pulse oxy meter for the hospital. We decide to comply with this request and we screened “Gamperaliya”, and were able to find the necessary funds. The project was named “Suwasewa Project”. Since then funds were raised through public appeals, musical shows, food fairs, dinner dances etc to send medicine, hospital equipment, surgical instruments, beds and tables, dialysis machines and pulse-oxy meters to varous hospitals in Sri Lanka.