SRI LANKA NEWS (MAY  2020) – Compiled by Victor Melder

INTRODUCTION As of 2010, there were 45,159 Sri Lankans living in the US. Substantial immigration began in the 1990s when many fled the violence of the Sri Lankan Civil War. The majority of Sri Lankan-Americans live in the vicinity of either New York City (where there’s a Little Sri Lanka on Staten Island), central New Jersey, or Los Angeles.

Victor Meldor

Sri Lanka’s merchandize export earnings fell by 41.9 percent, in March 2020, as the spread of COVID-19, in the country, disrupted the production of merchandise, the Export Development Board said. According to the monthly exports statistics, the year-on-year export earnings fell to US$ 646 million from US$ 1.112 billion, recorded in March 2019. The apparel sector, being the largest contributor, has shown a 41 percent decline during the month of March 2020, compared to the same month, in the previous year. Some of the other sectors that have recorded a significant decline, during the same period, include Tea (-22%), Rubber Products (-15.7%), Coconut products (-14.2%), Spices (-36.5%), fruits and vegetable products (-17.4%), fish and fisheries products (-29%), etc. However, analysis at disaggregate level on Coconut Milk Powder, Defatted Coconut, certain Coconut Kernel Products, Coconut Shell Charcoal, Essential Oils, Oleoresins, Ginger, Lemon, Melon and Papaya, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Processed Food, Rice, Green Gram, Lentils, Organic Chemicals, Electrical Transformers, Boat Building, Petroleum Products etc. show a positive growth, during March 2020, compared to March 2019. Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman, Prabhash Subasinghe, notes that even though there is a decline in exports, during the month of March 2020, such a decline is expected due to the global economic and trading environment. With the release of March 2020 data, the country’s foreign exchange earnings show an overall decline of 19 percent, during January-March 2020, in comparison to the same period, in 2019, reaching US$ 3.382 billion from US$ 4.176 billion respectively, recording a 32 percent achievement, against the annual revised target of US$ 10.750 billion for the year 2020. Merchandise export earnings have recorded US$ 2.577 billion during Jan- March 2020, compared to 3.116 billion last year. Estimates in the services exports of ICT/ BPM, Construction, Financial services, Logistics and Wellness Tourism sectors show overall revenue of US$ 805 million during the period compared to US$ 1.060 billion last year. When looking at the disaggregate level of products, even though some of the major sectors show a decline in earnings, certain other sectors show a positive growth during the period under consideration. The following graph shows some sectors with negative growth, the EDB said. (Daily Island, 1.5.2020)

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    A MEMORY OF MURDER By Bernard vanCuylenburg


From serial killers to celebrity victims, sensational murder cases tend to grab one’s collective imagination and just wont let go. In the past I wrote some articles about famous murder cases of English planters on the tea estates. The first was about the murder of Mr.John Frank Whitehouse, the Superintendent on Madampe Group Ratnapura in 1949 in the article titled “Tales from the Thotum”. The second, was the article “Murder at Midnight” which was about the murder of Mr.George Pope the Superintendent on Stellenberg Estate Pupuressa in 1941, and the third, “Murder around the Bend” was regarding  the murder of a young  Superintendent on Talgaswella Estate, Galle, Mr.Roger Blumer in 1939. In the first story titled TALES FROM THE THOTUM, I also briefly dealt with the murder of Mr.Geoffreys, the Superintendent on Kenilworth Estate Ginigathena by his chief clerk I believe in the late thirties. The title of this article was later changed to “Marked for Murder”.

The tragic incidents depicted in this article are similar to those in the article “Murder around the Bend”. Robbery was the only motive for the murder of Mr.Roger Blumer on Talgaswella estate, and the murder depicted in this article. They were both killed while returning to their respective estates with the labourers wages. Turn back the hands of time to the year 1851, the year when a young Assistant Superintendent on Galantenna Estate Galaha, Mr.E.A.Morgan was returning to the estate on horse back with the cooly pay, the phrase used in the lingua franca of the plantations for ‘Labourers Wages’, and was waylaid and murdered en route.

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MURDER AT MIDNIGHT – By Bernard VanCuylenburg

In May 1941, the Nuwaraeliya district was rocked by the news of the dastardly murder of the Superintendent on Stellenberg Estate Pupuressa, Mr.George Pope. In an article which I wrote about ten years ago titled “Tales from the Thotum” I wrote about this crime in detail. I subsequently changed the title to “Marked for Murder”. His murder, the quick work by the police in arresting the accused, and the subsequent trial which followed which was heard by one of the most eminent judges of the time Justice Soertsz, made its way into criminal records as one of the most dramatic and brutal murders of the time.

Seventy seven years later, the aftermath of this crime still casts a dark shadow particularly on Stellenberg estate, and its memory lives on in the minds of some retired labourers of an older generation as I discovered recently. In September in the course of a visit to Sri Lanka I was privileged to enjoy the hospitality of an old Anthonian Sebastian Retty and his wife, in their home in the beautiful hamlet of Panwilatenna not far from Gampola. In terms of picture book natural beauty, Panwilatenna remains a hidden secret “far from the madding crowd” of commercial tourism. This area is blessed with stunning scenery and breathtaking scenic vistas where every prospect pleases. Mesmerizing mountain views are yours to enjoy if you care to put on your walking shoes and go where the road takes you……The area is dotted with small private tea holdings, charming little villages, desolate valleys, and undulating hills covered in a mantle of dark green forests.Here nature is at her pristine best.

Please pardon the digression, but into this story on the trail of a murder, a stone monument close to the home of my hosts compels me to introduce a historical note which goes back to the reign of King Rajasinghe the 2nd. This stone monument reads : HERE LIVED (AD 1657 – 1670) ROBERT KNOX, JOHN LOVELAND, JOHN BERRY AND WILLIAM DAY. For the record, Robert Knox an English sea captain arrived in Ceylon on the 19th of November 1659 in the good ship “Anne”. The ship was impounded by King Rajasinghe the 2nd, King of Kandy at the time, and Knox along with 16 of the crew were taken captive.

They were treated leniently but forbidden to leave the kingdom. After 19 years of captivity Knox and a companion Stephen Rutland made a daring escape to the Dutch fort in Arippu. The Dutch treated them generously and sent them to Batavia (present day Djakarta) from where they were put aboard an English ship the “Celeste” which took them to England. They arrived in London in September 1680. That was “The Great Escape” of the time ! On a poetic note, I am compelled to add that this monument an important historical landmark, stands in splendid solitude and isolation amidst picture postcard scenic splendour, bearing testimony to the fact that these intrepid Englishman once lived here.

A walk along a mountain track specially in the late afternoon when the landscape is bathed in sunsets golden glow is spiritual. The three main towns in the vicinity of Panwilatenna are Galaha, Pupuressa and Gampola. Nuwaraeliya is about three hours away. There are many tea plantations in the area, and one held special interest for me and that is Stellenberg Estate. I first heard of the “Pope Murder Case” from my Dad as a child. When my brother sister and I came home for the holidays from boarding school, one of our favourite pastimes was listening to Dad relate stories after dinner. Story telling was an art in which he excelled, and he had a flair for the dramatic. The stillness of a lonely estate bungalow at night created an atmosphere of suspense, and when he told us a “ghost story” or any tale with a tinge of mystery, the characters in the story really came to life ! As a senior student at St. Anthony’s College Kandy boarded in “The Journey’s End”, I read about this murder story in the Sunday supplement of “The Observer”, but could not cut it out for keeps as the paper had to be shared with my fellow boarders !

Now seventy seven years after this gruesome murder, here I was virtually a stones throw away from the scene of the crime. One morning, Sebastian took me to Stellenberg and along the scenic route to the estate I became determined to ” to get under the skin” of this story horrible as it was. It was a beautiful sunny day, but as we turned off to the estate from the main road, dark thoughts filled my mind at the realization that this was the same road that George Pope took that fateful night when he was killed. It suddenly occurred to me that I had some unfinished business – for want of a better phrase – to finish. Having written about this case and even receiving an acknowledgement from a veteran planter in the UK who was conversant with the story when it was first published, I wanted to “see” for myself the actual events as they happened on that fateful night 77 years ago.

Contrary to some estates which pre nationalisation were managed by the Agency Houses, Stellenberg to her credit seems to be in good hands judging by the fields which were neat and in very good condition. Conversely, some estates in the area I saw prior to this visit, would break the heart of any planter who had worked on Company managed estates. One large estate a showpiece in its heyday, had been completely abandoned after nationalisation, when a tyrannical Superintendent was forcibly driven out of the estate by a disgruntled labour force ! It is still there in ruins with grass, weeds and undergrowth flourishing where tea bushes once held sway. Only the factory still stands – a dilapidated wreck. But I digress……..

The road we travelled on Stellenberg leading to the factory and the Superintendent’s bungalow is a drivers nightmare, in contrast to the tea fields. This is characteristic of most estate roads today, due to lack of maintenance. My first stop was the factory. This was the factory to which George Pope was taken, after a search party organized by the tea maker Mr.Lodewyke found him mortally wounded by his car. In fact it was a worker on the night shift named Cassim who led the search party as instructed by Mr.Lodewyke. He found George Pope bleeding to death lying by his car at the spot where his car was waylaid that fateful night. The six assassins had done their deadly work, hacking him to death with pruning knives. Cassim broke all speed records running back to the factory to inform Mr. Lodewyke of the gruesome find. The latter then telephoned Mr.Shand, the Superintendent on the adjoining estate Delta Group, who in turn contacted the police. Whenever he left the estate in the evening usually to his club, or to visit a fellow SD for dinner, George Pope instructed the tea maker that on passing the factory on his return, the latter was to telephone his bungalow and ask the Appu to keep the garage doors open. On the evening of the 9th May 1941 he left to have dinner with the Superintendent of another estate in the vicinity. That night when he was unusually late, Mr.Lodewyke fearing something was amiss, organized a search party.

At the factory I was fortunate to meet an elderly labourer – and still more lucky to have Sebastian with me as his Tamil was more fluent than mine ! When this labourer was asked if he knew about the “Dorai” on this estate who was murdered long ago, he told us he heard about it from some labourers – now in their late eighties whose fathers had worked under Mr.Pope. He directed us to the exact spot on the road round a curve where the ambush was laid, not far from the factory. Two trees were placed across the road, while the murderers under cover of darkness hid in the tea bushes. When Mr.Pope stepped out of the car attempting to move the obstacles, they struck with pent up rage and deadly force.

Sebastian and I went to the spot, and in my minds eye I could visualize Mr.Pope negotiating his way on the narrow road at night, then slowing down at the bend in the road, finally stopping to move the obstacles in his path. I always harboured some questions regarding this murder and found the answer here. First, how was it that Mr.Pope did not fine tune his antenna to the sensitivities of the situation – relations between labour and management were very strained and tenuous to say the least – did he not suspect that this could be a deadly trap ? If that were so, why did he not reverse down the road to flee the scene until he came to a spot where he could turn around and go back to where he came from, thus avoiding returning to the estate that night ? At least, he could have reversed and driven to the bungalow of the Superintendent on Delta estate adjoining Stellenberg, Mr.Shand. He knew Mr.Shand and could have stayed the night in his bungalow.

Hindsight is always easy and the trouble with hindsight is that one projects one’s thoughts to another time frame – to another time and place – whilst living in the present !! My questions were answered in an instant ! Studying the crime scene I surmised that even if he reversed, he could not accelerate downhill at speed as the road was very narrow. This was not a main road. IF he reversed, his murderers could have easily overtaken him on foot and their deadly intent would have given them wings. It was apparent that they had chosen the spot for ambush with meticulous care. George Pope was driving uphill, he had to slow down at the curve, and they were hiding in tea bushes by the road from which they could practically reach out and grab him the moment he stepped out of his car. Whichever way one looked at this, it certainly was a deadly ambush and murder at midnight. Visualizing the murder in my mind I experienced a chill although it was a day of glorious sunshine. There is a powerful form of energy here which should not be taken for granted. The most sensible thing is to always be aware of the need for caution in a spiritual sense, and make sure that one does nothing to upset the balance.

From the murder scene we headed for the Superintendents bungalow. The latter was away, and we were greeted by his Appu. He belonged to a younger generation, had heard about the murder, but could not tell us much about it. The once beautiful bungalow and the gardens were badly in need of maintenance. It still retained its colonial charm as most Superintendents bungalows do, but when maintenance is absent an air of dilapidation sets in and becomes visible. I felt a a sinister aura about this bungalow in the context of the horrible murder of its one time occupant. There is nothing so sad as to see a lovely garden, in this case what once would have been a lovely “English Country Garden” surrendering to weeds despite the beautiful roses in bloom. We could not enter the bungalow in the Superintendent’s absence, but as I stood at the entrance to the hall it occurred to me that it was through this door that George Pope left his home for the last time on the evening of the 9th May 1941 not dreaming he would never return. I wandered about the garden, keeping sight of the bungalow with my camera working overtime and my thoughts racing back to that night in 1941 – the night of the long knives, to quote the title of a film. In this case it was the night of the pruning knives. The Appu then pointed us to some labourers quarters in the distance informing us that there were two who could give us more information on the Pope murder case.

Little did I realize that within the next hour I would come face to face with two of the assailants of George Pope, Weeraswamy, and Velaithen, the letter of thanks which they wrote to the presiding Judge who heard the case Justice Soertsz, and to their defence lawyer thanking them for hearing the case, – all in print of course. This letter ended with the slogan “Long live the Sangam !” (The Union). An English translation accompanied the letter originally written in Tamil.  An inquisitive crowd surrounded us and when Sebastian introduced me as someone writing about this murder, they became very eager to help. In a short while we were introduced to two labourers whose fathers had worked on Stellenberg at the time of the murder. Better still, one of them had a full page newspaper clipping of the murder in Tamil, with the photographs which I referred to in the previous paragraph. At last – I could “see” two of the assailants. I read their letter of thanksgiving to Justice Soertsz.

But although I can read Tamil it was Sebastian who elicited all the information I needed. Justice Soertsz looked very distinguished and regal in his robes. The only photograph missing I thought sadly, was the victim – George Pope himself. Of course there was no chance of photocopying this news sheet, so I did the next best thing – I photographed the photographs in the newspaper ! Of interest were two photographs of George Pope’s car, based on a police reconstruction of the crime scene. One photograph clearly showed the car stopped in front of the two sturdy trees (not big, but big enough to create an obstacle) the way the victim saw them. The second was a photo of the car some distance away from the scene accentuating the curve in the road which compelled George Pope to reduce speed. I could not help but notice that the road we were on, now in shambles, looked in excellent condition with not a pothole in sight in the black and white photographs of Mr.Pope’s time, which were taken soon after the murder.

We spent over five hours on Stellenberg that morning and I came away emotionally drained. The macabre events that transpired that night in 1941 played over and over in my mind to the extent that I had in some way “relived” this murder in all its brutality. There were six accused. They were Weerasamy, Velaithen, Iyaan Perumal, Rengasamy, Sinne Muniyandy, and Marimuttu Velaithen. The 1st and 2nd accused, Weerasamy and Velaithen were sentenced to death by hanging. They appealed the death sentence to the Supreme Court, which was denied. Weerasamy was hung at the Welikade jail on February the 27th 1942, and Velaithen followed him the next day. The rest received a sentence of life imprisonment. Mr.Pope who had been Superintendent on Stellenberg estate since 1938 was buried in the Anglican cemetery in Pussellewa. I surmised his body would have been so badly mutilated that sending a corpse by sea all the way to England even under refrigeration would have been improbable. With an ache in my heart I realized that in this sordid story there is no mention of family. The thought that he died all alone apart from the gruesome manner of his death still fills me with sadness.


I have been asked many times for my opinion on life after death. Call it ” The Other Side”, “The Spirit World”, or “Life after Life”, I firmly believe that life continues in other dimensions. I have also been asked if I believe in “Hauntings”. My answer is in the affirmative. There are reasons why spirits become earthbound, and those reasons are mostly unhappy. A person who has lived a rich and fulfilling life is not likely to be earthbound. The low vibrations of negative emotion are what binds a spirit to the earth plain – one reason why ghost stories are full of sadness and despair. It is well known that Queen Catherine Howard the fifth wife of King Henry the 8th, still walks the halls of Hampton Court Palace screaming in terror and pleading for mercy from her ex husband King Henry. In fact The Readers Digest in one of its editions a few years ago published this story in an article titled “The Haunted Castles of Britain”.

The ‘Supernatural’ and everything associated with it is is too complex a topic for “discussion” in this article. But in my readings on the Supernatural I found that more and more scientists are convinced that accounts of “life after life” merit serious study and research. A few years ago Doctor Raymond Moody in his book “Life After Life” detailed over one hundred cases of life beyond the grave. Soon after the publication of Doctor Moody’s book, the sensation hungry press and television media gave it wide publicity.
Anyone who puts forward an idea that is contrary to all scientific views and long established beliefs is a suitable target for ridicule. The good Doctor was no exception, and he had his detractors.A  firestorm of discussions and debates on life after death followed. This resulted in many Doctors, Psychiatrists and spiritual leaders launching independent investigations to review the data in Doctor Moody’s book. They were surprised to find – and more surprisingly reached the unanimous conclusion that the Doctor’s observations and the cases he mentioned in his book were verified and confirmed – namely, that upon a person’s death existence does not cease, but on the contrary the soul continues to hear, to think and to feel…….If you want the stimulus of unexplained phenomena and a theory to fit them and cause you to think, this provocative book should fit the bill.

I spent an entire day at Hampton Court Palace on a visit to England a few years ago. I visited the passage where the haunting which I mentioned takes place, and asked two police officers who were rostered to work the night shift at the palace about the veracity of this story. I expected a flippant answer with words like “Do not believe everything you read” “We have never seen anything” even “Poppycock !” – in fact any answer in the negative. Their reply to my question really gave me food for thought. – Quote ” We have seen this spectre so many times that we dont take notice anymore !!”. The world knows that Queen Ann Boleyn the second wife of King Henry the 8th sometimes walks the Tower of London. There have also been sightings of the luckless Queen in the gardens of her childhood home, Hever Castle in Kent on the anniversary of her death. Sightings which have been well documented. I was asked if there were any hauntings on Stellenberg estate. I never ventured to ask anybody . This was the last subject I wished to discuss as I felt it was too sensitive. Most estate folk are very superstitious and I did not wish to open the floodgates because by this time I was drained of all emotional energy.

But who knows ? Perhaps in the dead of night when the world sleeps, on this lonely estate one still hears the plaintive voices of the protagonists of this murder, mingled with the howling wind as they in a ghostly re-enactment play out the tragic events of that dreadful night seventy seven years ago……The night has a thousand eyes…..

I remember seeing a tombstone in a small cemetery not far from Balangoda many years ago. It read “Sacred to the memory of Mr.H.G.Ross – fatally shot at Galbodda Estate Ratnapura in May 1937”. My attempts to obtain information on this murder always drew a blank.

In conclusion, my heartfelt thanks are due to the following, without whose help writing this article would have proved an uphill task :

Old Anthonian Sebastian Retty and his wife for their hospitality, specially to Sebastian for taking time off despite a busy work schedule to take me to Stellenberg Estate and help me in my inquiries there.

Victor Melder for providing me with relevant information from his well stocked library which filled in many blanks, thus making my task easier.

Norman Thompson, whose geographical knowledge of the tea plantations of Ceylon is phenomenal. He shared this knowledge with me not once, but many times before.

To them I owe a debt of gratitude.
Bernard Van Cuyenburg

Bernard VanCuylenburg.

Murder at nightMurder at night

Murder at night



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Compiled by Victor Melder
(E & O.E.)
(OCTOBER  2019)

VAN STARREX – HANS ANTON, son of late Mr Hans Andreas Van Starrex and Gertrud Therese Van Starrex, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 1.10.2019)

JURIANSZ – LORENZO (SHANNON), aged 21 years, tragically in Melbourne. (Contributed)

AMBROSE – ANTHONY  (TONY), in Melbourne (Contributed)

PIETERSZ- KENNETH  (KENNY), in Melbourne. (Contributed)

MARCELINE – MARK, husband of Sonia, father of Dina, Anil, Nirmali, Zaneta and Sanayi, grandfather of Ashani, Nicolai, Camila, Marco and Marianna, great grandfather of Troy. Brother of Hedy and the late Frances, Greg, Annette, Bertha, Bernie, Billy and Hilary, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 2.10, 2019)  

FOENANDER – OLGA  (nee Gerreyn), daughter of the late Joe & Nita Gerreyn. Wife of Gordon (Weenie), mother of Karen Foenander and Denise Greep, grandmother of Jake Greep. Sister of the late Crosby, Annesley, Flo, Doreen, Lucien, Genevieve, Rita, Stelmond, Trixie and of Phyllis, late Lawrence (Lolly), Christy, Marie and late Henry, in the UK. (Daily Island, 8.10.2019)

FERNANDOPULLE – JENNIFER, wife of Bernard Sri Rajan. Daughter of Hyacinth and Joseph Holsinger, sister of Jacynth and the late Ian (Kinky) Mendis, Travice & Celine, Monty & Wendy, Bernard & Pauline, Janice & the late Iggy Paiva, sister-in-law of Nihal, Neville, Mahen and Praksah, in Sydney, On October 11, 2019 (Contributed & Sunday Observer, 13.10.2019)) 

PARSONS – HYACINTH, wife of Eric Parsons (dec), mother of Dennis (Aust), Jean (Aust), Romauld (Aust), Ralson (Aust), mother-in-law of Lorna Cole (Aust), Andrew Balfour (Aust), Liya (Aust) and Sharma (Aust), grandmother of 7, great grand Mother of 9. Daughter of Collin & Beatrice Nunna Alvis (dec), sister of Olga Peries (dec), Elmo Alvis (Can) dec, Merril, Anton, Myrtle (SL) and Gladys De Silva (Australia), in Melbourne. (Daily News 10.10.2019)

FRANCKE – RITA MAUREEN (nee Melder), wife of late Elmo Francke, mother of Collin, late Beverley and of Kevin, mother-in-law of Anne and Anouk, grandmother of Anya, Cian, Kieran, Keanu and Kiera. Daughter of late Felix and Greta Melder, sister of late Juby & Aloy, Lorna, Anette, Dawn & late John (Cuckoo), in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 10.10.2019)  

CALLANDER – HELEN MONICA, wife of Ralph, mother of Marina. Daughter of the late Hubert and Connie Congreve. Sister of the late Duncan and of Cynthia and Kenneth, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 15.10.2019)

DELAMOTTE – MARIE, friend to Joe (dec), Zalie, Dowson, Tanya and family for 40 years, in Perth. (The West Australian, 12.10.2019)

DEVADASON – DR INDRAN, father and father-in-law of Jeyanthi & Dushan and Inbam & Lashitha, grandfather of Benjamin, Sonya, Nathan, Rebekah, Ranisha, Chrishan, Sitara and Haran, in Perth, on October 8, 2019. (The West Australian, 15.10.2019) 

CASPERSZ – DAWN RITA (nee Weinman), wife of  Trevine (dec), mother of Sharon, Charlene, Tracy, Donella, Jeremy and Tamara and their partners. Grandmother of 13, great grandmother of 10, in Perth, on October 12, 2019. (The West Australian, 15.10.2019)

DE SILVA – SUNALINI (LINA), wife of late Dr D.P.K.M. De Silva (Metta), mother of Dr Chinthaka and Dr Ramela, mother-in-law of Sharmela and Mahesh, grandmother of Shehan, Shamil and Shanya, in Perth, WA. (Daily Island, 16.10.2019)

WILLIAMS – MERLE, daughter of the late Capt. Hendrick Mariampillai Williams and V.H.A.Rosaline, sister of the late Mary, Emily, Bernard, Emil and Anton, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 16.10.2019) 

SIMMONS – GERTRUDE (MONA), nee Coenraad, wife of late B.M.T. (Ben) Simmons, mother of Sherwood, Randolph (Aust), Bernadine Soertsz and Sandra Vanderlaan, mother-in-law of Indrani, Bernadette Darrell Soertsz and Ashley Vanderlaan, grandmother of Geraldine, Janine, Rozanne, Bernard, Diana, Ryan, Bradley and Stefan, great grandmother of Rihanna, Monique, Shahilyah, Shaniece, Shania, Amelia and David.

Sister of Olga Ekanayake and the late Ralph, Vere, Victoreen and Rex, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 18.10.2019)

SCHOKMAN – FELIX, husband of Mala Schokman, father of Ashan Schokman, grandfather of Swetha, Marissa, Nicole, Miron and Joel. Brother of Concey Janz and Sydney Francios Schokman, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News 19.10.2019)

DIAZ – PATRICIA OLIVE, wife of late Hamilton (Bonnie), mother of Hamilton, Patrina, Keith, grandmother of Anslem, Haidy, Haily, Adele , Kimberly and Yaniah, great grandmother of Aaron, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 19.10.2019)

KRONEMBERG – DR HARRY AM, partner of Robyn, father of Ruth Ann (dec) and partner David, Coralie and partner Luke and Hugh. Grandfather of Clare, Yanni, Heather, Mischa, Alex, Lucien, Luca and Sam, great grandfather of Jasper, Odette, Elvira, Jude and Rufus, in Perth, on October 11, 2019, aged 93 years. (The West Australian, 19.10.2019) 

DAVIOT – CARL, husband of Shirley, father of Stephen and partner Lea, Bev and Phil and Mark. Grandfather of Jay and Radi, Stacey and Robin, Renee and Ryan, Matt and Brooke, Todd and Jake, great grandfather of Darcie, Ashton, Max, Elvie and Hunter, in Perth. (The West Australian, 21.10.2019)

SIMONSZ – ANTHONY TYRONE (TYRONE), husband of Paulette, father and father-in-law of Nigel and Kimber, grandfather of  Zachary and Allison. Brother to Cody, Suzie, Rosie, Arlene (dec), Maurice (dec) and Penny (dec), in Brisbane, on October 13, aged 77, years. (The Courier Mail, 21.10.2019)

MANT – WALTER EDWARD, husband of Leila, father of Tina, Bradley and Jay, father-in-law of Ross. Grandfather of Shantia and Pearl, in Brisbane, on October 18, 2019, aged 77 years. (The Courier Mail, 21.10.2019)

JANSZ – MONICA (BUDDY) nee Feltman, wife of late J. E. H (Joe) Jansz, mother of Rienze, late Trevine, late Randolph, Berny (Aust), Judy, Shane (USA) and Remo, mother-in-law of Audrey, Indranie, late Waldo, Hillery, Nadira and Indu. Sister of late Olga Jansen and late Shirley Feltman, in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 22.10.2019)

MOLDRICH – JOSEPH LISTER ALLISON, (24 April 1946 – 17 October 2019), Son of Benjamin Augustus Moldrich & Constance Magdalene Holmes (both dec). Husband of Camille, nee Willenberg (dec), father of Merc, Mallory, Marvin and Mellany and their partners Abbie, Cassanra & Martina. Grandfather of Ethan, Coen, Zachry and Caleb. Brother of late Chalice (Syd), Christopher (UK), Royce and Travis (Qld),  in Sydney. (Sydney Morning Herald, 23.10.2019 & Contributed)

CRAMER – IRENE, wife of late Joseph (Joe) Cramer, mother of late Brian, mother-in-law of Rani, grandmother of Lenny, Adrian, Jacqueline, Rinnety and Darrel, great grandmother of Andrea, Keith, Spencer, Sondra, Marlon, Daphne and Jayden, in Sri Lanka, aged 103 years. (Daily News, 24.10.2019)

WILLEMBERG – TRAVIS, husband of the late Barbara, father of Brandon and Tamaris, in California, USA, aged 88 years. (Contributed)

EDMONDS – GEORGE CECIL WILLIAM, husband of Betty (dec), father & father-in-law of Robert & Gail, Stephen & Patricia and Peter and Jonathan, grandfather of Anthony &Renee, great grandfather of Aila and Kade, on October 10, 2019, aged 94 years, in Sydney (Sydney Morning Herald, 25.10.2019)

MILLS – DR BENJAMIN AMIRTHANAYAGAM, (3.4.1927 – 22.10.2019), husband of Leelawathy Pathmaranee Mills, father of Ravi & Dr Ruth, Anusha & Dr Binojan, Selvan and Dr Tiasha, grandfather of Dr Nilani, Priyanka, Jesuran, Jaden and Zale, in Sydney, aged 92 years. (Sydney Morning Herald, 25.10.2019)

DE SILVA – KARUNA (nee Siriwardena), wife of Chandana De Silva, mother of Priyani Bond, Kumari De Silva and Anjali (Kemp) De Silva,

in Sydney, Australia. (Daily News, 29.10.2019)

FREDERICKS – MELVYN ANTHONY, husband, brother, father, father-in-law, grandfather and great grandfather, in Perth, on October 19, 2019, aged 76 years – Esther, Sylvia, Nigel, Mark, Neil, Martyn, Michelle, Angela, Rebecca, Dustin, Jeremy, Amanda, Elijah, Bryce, Kaleb and

Max. (The West Australian, 30.10.2019)

VANHEER – DAVE J., husband of Minola Vanheer, father of Ivana. Son of the late Clarence Vanheer, the late Therese and Kingsley Kanangara, son-in-law of late Monty and Ayesha Janiel. Brother and brother-in-law of Valerie & Jorge (USA), Anslem & Romaine (Aus), Ophelia (Aus), Susan & Raj, Dilshan & Chamica (Aus), in Sri Lanka. (Daily News, 30.10.2019)

INCH – MABEL (DOTTIE), wife of late Herbert Inch, mother of Leonard and Milroy (Can), mother-in-law of Christine and Sabrina (Can), grandmother of Andre (NZ), late Sean (Can) and Shane (Can), great grandmother of Jarryd (NZ). – 50/4, Gunasinghe Gardens, Tennekumbara, Kandy, Sri Lanka. (Daily News 30.10.2019) 

Note: All spelling of names as taken from Sri Lankan newspapers

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                               ACQUISITIONS   FOR  THE  MONTH  OF  OCTOBER  2019


  1. Ivor Beven, ‘Fieldview’ and Beyond  by Joanne Russo, 2017

(Donated by Michael Roosmale-Cocq, Elanora, Qld)

  1. Kachchativu: and the Maritime Boundary of Sri Lanka by W. T. Jayasinghe, 2003

 (Donated H. E:  W.P.S.Prasanna Gamage, Sri Lanka Ambassador to Vietnam)

  1. The Empire’s Other Anzacs, The Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps, by Lieutenant Colonel Neil. C. Smith, AM, 2014



  • “Thorathuru”, News Magazine, Sri Lanka Association of New South Wales Inc , 2019 First Half issue
  • Newsletter of the Ceylonese Welfare Organisation Inc (CWO), Vol 37, Issue 4, October 2019.



  1. Article – “Dutch Burghers & Portuguese Mechanics: Eurasian Ethnicity in Sri Lanka by Dennis B. McGilvray

(Comparative Studies in Society & History 24 (2): 235-263, April 1982)


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SRI LANKA NEWS – (AUGUST 2019) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor - eLanka

Non Infectious Diseases (NIDs) claim the lives of more than 100,000 persons in Sri Lanka annually. Of the 103,500 deaths reported, 10,000 succumbed due to diabetes, Health Ministry statistics indicates. Of adults in the country, 23.7% suffer from high blood cholesterol and/or are under medication for the disease. In terms of gender, 19.1% of adult males and 28.4% of female adults suffer from the condition, new research has revealed. Of those in the 40-69 age group, 9% face a 30% risk of being prone to heart diseases. Of the total adult population in the country, more than 90% suffer from at least one critical element of non contagious diseases, it has further come to light. Of this number, 73.5% suffer from one to two NIDs related critical factors, while 18.3% have three to five such elements, according to the new research. Heart diseases have been identified as the No. 1 killer in terms of NIDs in Sri Lanka, with 30% of the total deaths reported from hospitals, the Health Ministry said. The major major causes of NIDs are smoking, consumption of alcohol, consuming unhygienic food and lack of exercise, it noted. (Sunday Island, 4.8.2019)

Life has changed for those from Kilinochchi, Badulla, Moneragala and Batticaloa thanks to the water harvesting project of the Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum (LRWHF) which is nearing completion. The three-year project to provide safe disaster-resilient drinking water to floods and drought prone areas in the island commenced in 2016. The project also sought to provide more efficient disaster-resilient water supplies to vulnerable communities, strengthen the capacity of disaster-prone communities and institutionalization of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policies and practices related to flood and drought management. The project is funded by the USAID. While nearly 17,900 people from 391 households in the Kilinochchi, Badulla, and Moneragala Districts have been blessed with safe drinking water by the LRWHF’s project, 48 schools and ten medical clinics have been installed with RWH units. In terms of storage facility and capacity, 8,000 litre capacity storage tanks are promoted for domestic use while, 10,000 to 16,000 litre capacity tanks are promoted for hospitals and 30,000 litre capacity for schools. A domestic RWH tank in the dry zone which receives less than 900 mm annual rainfall can meet the daily water demand of 60-70 litres for cooking and drinking, during the driest days off a small roof (50 m2) catchment. The project is providing safe drinking water and promoting sanitation facilities among 4200 families from 25 Grama Niladhari Divisions in five Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Batticaloa. Pure drinking water facilities are also provided for 54 government schools, benefitting around 10000 students.. Only 30% of the households in the entire Batticaloa District have piped water connections and many of them cannot afford water connections. (Daily Island, 10.8.2019)

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