Mrs. Merlyn Rose Chandrasena – An Appreciation – By Dr. Nimal Chandrasena

Mrs. Merlyn Rose Chandrasena – An Appreciation – By Dr. Nimal Chandrasena 

. Merlyn Rose Chandrasena

Mrs. Merlyn Rose Chandrasena, of 11 Flagstone Grove, Bella Vista, passed away on the 27th of October, 2023, peacefully, at the Adventist Aged Care facility at Kings Langley. She was 95 years and three months old. Merlyn was married to Jasenthu Patabendi (J.P.) Chandrasena, Chief Draughtsman, at the time of his retirement from the Survey Department in Sri Lanka.

She was the mother of Sarath (U.K.), Indira (Sydney) and Nimal (Perth) and Mother-in-Law to Chandra, Prasad and Dilsiri. Merlyn leaves behind six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Merlyn was known to be a generous and kind-hearted person, who has helped many relatives, friends and the elderly in their moments of need. Her generosity, over decades, is well-known, especially at Panadura, where she lived until 1987. She was a devoted Buddhist who lived by Buddhist principles. She also donated generously during the early establishment of the Buddhist Temple at Schofields, in Sydney, and continued these donations for more than 20 years.

Merlyn was born at Ambalangoda as the third child of a family of five children. Her father – John Simon Jayasuriya, from Nupe, Matara, was a Post Master. Her mother was Dona Rosina De Silva, from Kathaluwa, Ahangama. Merlyn was a sister of the renowned Sri Lankan educationist J. E. Jayasuriya, whose mathematics books – Veeja Ganithaya, Ganitha Navodaya and Seegra Jyamithiya – are well known. Growing up in Ceylon, Merlyn attended several schools, including Sri Sumangala Girls School at Panadura and the Presbyterian Girls School at Dehiwela.

Merlyn is also best remembered at Panadura as one of the first ladies to drive a car, way back in 1962. She drove the family car, a Morris Minor. In those days, there were not many cars around and driving was not common for ladies. Many people, including shop owners at the Panadura township still talk about Merlyn as the “Osariya-wearing” Lady who drove her children to school.

People in Panadura also remember her for the all-round artisan and craftswoman she was. She was exceptionally skilled at many handcrafts– “Beeralu” Lacemaking; basket-weaving; knitting and sewing – skills that she willingly taught to her relatives and friends.

Merlyn immigrated to Australia in 1994 and spent the last three decades of her life in Sydney. She frequently visited Sri Lanka to attend to the needs of her close relatives and extended family.

In the last 15 years, while being at Nell Slade Respite Centre, in Glenhaven, and at Adventist Aged Care, in Kings Langley, she knitted several hundreds of teddy bears and donated them to Westmead and other children’s hospitals. The Teddy’s are a lasting legacy that she will leave behind; They are all over NSW. Her generosity with the Teddy Bears have been formally acknowledged by the Hospitals with several letters and certificates of appreciation.

Merlyn Rose Chandrasena.2Merlyn laid the foundation for the charitable work that her children carry forward in helping the needy. She was “selfless” in that regard, donating profusely, and following the principles of Buddhism. As a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Merlyn will be sadly missed by the family.

May she rest in peace and attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Merlyn’s funeral will be held at the Garden Chapel at the Castlebrook Cemetery, Rouse Hill, on 31 October 2023 at 2:00 p.m.

No Gifts or Flowers are required.

Instead, please keep Merlyn in your thoughts.

If you wish to make a charitable donation on behalf of her memory, please do so and keep the family informed. Among her favourite charities are the Fred Hollows Foundation and Diabetes Australia.

Please feel free to contact Nimal  (details below) if you have any thoughts or memories of Merlyn.


Contributed by:

Dr. Nimal Chandrasena (

Mobile: 0408 279 604

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