Dr. Wijayananda Dahanayake – Galle’s most flamboyant son


Great sons of Galle Part III

Born on October 22, 1902, he was the twin son of Muhandiram Dionysius Sepala Panditha Dahanayake. He was named Wijayananda after the Wijayananda Vihara in Weliwatta, Galle, where Col. H. S. Olcott first observed the five precepts.

His learned father was the chief lay disciple of this Vihara. The eminent astrologer Karo Gurunnanse, who read Dahanayake’s horoscope had predicted that one day he would rule the country. With Ceylon under the British Raj at the time, and with no independence in sight, it was treated as a far fetched prediction.

He was educated at Richmond College, Galle and later at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. The born fighter that he was, he one day created a rumpus, while lunch was being served, when Warden Stone sternly said, “Dahanayake! the next train to Galle is at 4.30.”

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Please scroll down for the Sir John Kotelawala article below the Desmond Kelly article…



“PETERITES AROUND THE WORLD” – Appointment of Desmond Kelly, an old Peterite, as Administrator on the Forum



Desmond Kelly








This was a recent Article sent in to the “Captain” of S.L.S. eLanka on 1st Oct., 2020.

Interesting, to say the least.

Hi Neil, (Jayasekera), 

I believe that Desmond Kelly is the Editor of eLanka, Main Website for all Lankan Australians, and now the Special Website for all Lankan Britishers as well. 

We are happy & proud to announce that we have decided to appoint Desmond, also an old Peterite, as Administrator on our Forum

“Peterites Around The World”, with immediate effect. The reasons for this appointment are varied. 

Firstly, we believe that due respect has to be shown to all Peterites & others who are now in the twilight years of life. Secondly, as an advisor to younger generations of Peterites who are the hope of our future, & thirdly, last, but by no means least, is the fact that Desmond Kelly has had quite a full and satisfying life so far, himself. During his early teens, he was recognized as a vocalist at St. Peter’s College, and sang regularly in the Choir, even learning all the Latin Hymns sung each day at Benediction. In addition, he became a leading character with the Music, Art & Drama Society at College. 

          He left College & home, to join an English Circus Troup, touring the Island at the time, then later, joined Radio Ceylon and started to write his own musical compositions, one of which was the first local English song accepted by the huge Philip’s Corporation of the Netherlands, from where the very famous Blue Diamonds duo, were sent on contract to Ceylon to perform their own show. Desmond was their guest-star. Later, when television was being introduced into Ceylon, he was again, the 1st local Artiste to be featured on T,V, with his hit of that era, called Dreamworld.

          Later still, Desmond Kelly joined the Royal Ceylon Navy, then becoming known as the Singing Sailor, leaving the Navy after eight years, to migrate to Australia. He then continued his Showbiz career on a part-time 

basis, did recordings both in English & Sinhala, finally retiring from stage & screen, to continue, on an honorary basis, the roles of both an Editor-in-Chief of eLanka & now an Administrator for his ex- Alma-Mater. 

          We are very proud to include him on our Forum, where his knowledge & skills, especially in music, will be a great advantage to all ex-Peterites, everywhere.

Desmond Kelly is a proud ex-Peterite who has brought honour to our great School, St. Peter’s College. We wish him the best, and blessings in his new position as an Administrator in our globally popular Forum for Peterites, everywhere.

Thank you, truly,

                                   Sunanda Jayasekera


                            “Peterites around the World”.

eLanka wishes Desmond all the very best and thank him for the continuous support to eLanka too!


Address by the Right Honourable Sir John Kotelawala, K.B.E., M.P.,
Prime Minister of Ceylon, at the Distribution of Prizes,
S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, Saturday, 31 st July,1954

(image source: wikipedia )


When I played for Royal against S. Thomas’ many years ago my intention, which was shared by my team-mates, was to give the Thomians a good drubbing, and, if that was not possible, at least to give them a test of endurance. Much as I value the opportunity which I now have of presiding at your Prize Distribution, I shall endeavor to do neither this afternoon. I mist congratulate the Warden on his Report, which illustrates what opportunities school like S. Thomas’ have of continuing to play a leading part in the training of our youth and the moulding of their character.

    I am glad that the Warden’s Report did not follow the usual pattern of Principals’ Report on such occasions, when the Government’s policy on education is taken up for microscopic examination and dissection. Our policy on education was born of the county’s needs, and does not claim to be a perfect solution to the Problem that confronts us of providing the best possible education for the rising generation without cost to the parents. Now that we have Free Education we have 6,561 schools and 1,570,000 school going children. Our high standard of Literacy, no doubt, enabled us to obtain our freedom at an earlier date than we otherwise might have, and in an atmosphere of calm. Peace, and quiet, Since then , however, various problems have cropped  up like little mushrooms, and one hears it said that  education in the mother-tongue is likely to put the clock of political progress 50 years back, and that the next generation will see the ugly monster of communalism rear its head amongst us, The problem of taking education to the masses and giving equal opportunities to the sons of rich and poor parents alike could not have been tackled unless children were given instruction in the only language they knew, which was their mother-tongue.

    We have two major linguistic groups in this country and education has, therefore, to be conducted in both these languages. But education in one language does not necessarily mean that people must not learn the other language, or cease to enjoy the obvious benefits which the knowledge of the English language brings with it in science and cultural subjects. One must not under-estimate the role of language in a child’s life during his formative years, or forget that language is a child’s chief means of making social contacts and influencing others. In actual use, language plays an important role in thinking and the solving of problems. Bi-lingualism, and even tri-lingualism, should therefore be encouraged as far as possible, if the communal harmony which we pride ourselves in having today, is to be preserved for the future; because, unless we understand the other man’s language and talk to him in his mother-tongue we would have failed to reach his innermost thoughts and have merely succeeded in creating a barrier between ourselves and our neighbours. I would welcome, therefore, every opportunity a Sinhalese takes of learning Tamil, and vice versa.

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