“THE GOOD TIMES” by Des Kelly

Again, in the 1950’s, what a decade that was !.

Donavan Andree, by far, the very best “Entrepreneur”that our little Country ever had, brought out “Artistes”, “Bands”, “Groups”, “The Ice Follies”, “Circuses”, even “Wrestlers” from around the World, was “still going”, with the help of Elmo Andree, a close relative, his own son Malcolm, & a band of trusted employees, among whom was an Uncle of this writer, Roy Demmer, who was his right-hand man at the Casino in Havelock Park, which Donavan owned & ran.

In addition, he had started “The 3 Club” Complex in Bambalapitiya, described more correctly, I suppose, as an all-time “Carnival-Complex”, where, on about 3 nights a week, “Housey-Housey”  also called “Bingo”, was regularly attended by the folk in Bambalapitiya, especially the ladies who loved to play the game. Around the Carnival-ground, were at least another dozen little enclosures where one could try to win a bit of money by what I would term, “small-time gambling”, interesting little games to lose the “little money you had.

Even at the young age of around sixteen I worked for this man, who became like a father-figure to all of us “wannabe- entertainers”. I cannot think of too many “show-biz names” who didn’t make their “mark”, without the help of Donavan.

All of us were happy to work for him because he treated us, the ones he chose, as the “Stars”, we were hoping to be, someday. One demand he made, from the “Singers” like “your’s truly” was, that whenever he attended a concert with a “lady-friend”(and he had many), I had to sing one of his favourite songs, “Ain’t Misbehavin”, my good pal, Denis Roberts, a superb “Sinatra-Style” Vocalist had to sing “To each, his own” (Ink-spots-style), Cliff Foenander, Bill Forbes, & many other “top” entertainers, also had to be ready to “warble” one of Donavan”s favourites, whenever he was around. All of the female “Stars” & “Stars to be” were also involved with Donavan Andree, but he knew how to “treat a lady”, & I can honestly say that there were no “sexual- harassment” claims against him. In the 50’s, that particular claim was unheard of, anyway.

At around the same time, there was another “Showman”

coming into the picture. His name was Mubarak Thaha. There would have been no doubt in his mind, that he could not “match” Donavan in the “Show-biz Stakes”, but he was going to give it a damn good try, anyway. He started by owning & running a night-club called the “Atlanta”.

There was absolutely no disloyalty involved. Donavan was fully aware that some of us “needed” that extra money, and as long as it d8d not interfere with his schedule, as far as he was concerned, we could “work” for anyone. I well remember that Cliff Foenander, a top entertainer & the best “front-man” that any band in Ceylon, at the time, could ever have, worked regularly for Mubarak as a ” Compere”. Cliff, who was another “special friend”, had a “voice” of liquid-gold, easily, one of the best voices in Ceylon, who went on to “entertain” the World with the “Fabulous Echoes”, but died, far too young, in Melbourne. (God bless you, Cliff).

Another superb singer was my pal Denis Roberts. Suffice to say, that if you closed your eyes, it was Frank Sinatra, you were hearing. Denis also passed-on, a few years ago, but I will never ever forget this guy, a true friend, who would now be entertaining the angels in heaven, I feel sure. We cannot forget many others (both male & female), and especially, as far as I am concerned, Bill Forbes, in England, now, a singer who “wowed” them everywhere he went. Bill & this writer are still alive & kicking, thank God. I don’t know about Bill, but many Lankans think that Desmond Kelly, poor bugger, has died. I have worked out why they have arrived at this sad conclusion. Firstly, there are about eight Desmond Kelly’s living in Dandenong, Melbourne, alone. There were nine, altogether, one was a horse-trainer, until one of his “charges” kicked him, unfortunately, in the head, and then there were eight.

For all the members & readers of eLanka , the “good times” will continue in part 2 of this true story, where Mubarak Thaha “produced” his big stage show, named “Myombe”, naturally, with Arsenio Alexander & his partner Manuela Sanchez coming up to entertain you.

See you next time. Ladies & Gentlemen, “Those WERE the good times.






Desmond Kelly
Star of eLanka

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“THE SPACE RACE” by Des Kelly

Not very long after President Trump had declared that Australia would be excused from any tariffs on both steel &

“aloominum” (as pronounced in the States), I find that up to

200.000 pensioners will be targeted, by the Labour Government, (if it comes into power after the next election), to “dip into their pockets”, & fork out money they haven’t got!. Bill, with Australia rapidly becoming an “ageing” population, right now, YOU have Buckley & Nunn’s chance of Governing, when you make statements like that. Buckley had only a little “Hope”, Nunns have only a few “Good Habits” & most Pensioners have absolutely no “Cash” to hand over.

Bob Hope will, hopefully,  be happy, (bless his Soul),The “Flying Nunns”, will be “flying low”& Johnny Cash will be most ecstatic about it all (May he rest in peace).

He (President Trump) has still not decided on the date, time & venue of his “meeting” with the little Rocket Man,  has obviously had a bit of an argument with his “Secretary of State, probably about that very matter, and, sadly, Rex Tillerson has been “dumped by Trump”. The F.B.I. is now aware that there are only about 20 “Staff”in the top echelon of the White House, but now the C.I.A. is represented, with Mike Pompeo taking over as the new  Secretary of State, U.S.A. We wish you well, Mike.

What has all this got to do with “the space race” Des.?,

Well, make certain that your parachute cord will work properly, first, & I’ll tell you.  EVERYBODY who  is ANYBODY is “firing rockets” all over the place. The “Rocket-man” of North Korea, started the latest craze, now “P.P.” President Putin has “put-in” his claim, “P.P.P.” Permanent President Ping, has a few that no-one knows anything about, BUT, to come out “trumps”, like he usually does, President Trump now wants to form a “SPACE-FORCE”. What is a bloody  Space Force ?, you ask me. I am 82 years of age, come July, 2018. This is still four months & two days off (2/7/2018).

I hope I make it, because everyone around me is “killing me off”, for example, a very good friend from Canada, Dyland Modder & his wife Christine, who always pay me a “welcome visit” whenever they set foot in Australia, came in to see me the day before yesterday. We had a good chat, reliving some memories of “the good old days”, and they left, hoping to see me again, next year. That did not come to pass, because Dyland “rang” me a few minutes ago, telling me that they were “at lunch” with a few “Burgher-Buggers”, possibly, when their “hosts” started playing some music of old Ceylonese favourites like Bill Forbes & Cliff Foenander.

Dyland then asked them to play some of “my music”, and was told that they left out “Dream-World”, as a mark of respect because they heard that this poor bugger Desmond Kelly had died, just recently. “Cannot be”, said Dyland, “I only saw him “the-day-before-yesterday”. Christine just sat there, looking shocked.She could not believe that she, Christine Modder was the last one to take a photograph of her husband, Dyland,(top-Peterite,a handsome”kukula” & very wealthy as well), with absolutely, the most famous Singer,

Songwriter, Composer, Ukelele-player, Guitarist, Key-boardist

Bongo & Tabla- percussionist, Poet, International Journalist,

Author, Editor & “Editor-in-Chief” of what you are reading right now, but so poor, that his buddy Denis Roberts once told him, “Desmond, if we had a bit of ham, we could have a ham-sandwich, IF we had the bread”.

One of my “strong points is “Tact”. I just HATE to brag about anything, However, because I am also a famous “Writer” I can write down all this rubbish. Thank you for putting up with it .Go on, go on, folks, make a bloody “comment” & see if I care.!!

Now, before I digress any further, let me come back to President Trump’s “Space-Force”. In Ceylon, I was in the “Senior-Force”(Royal Ceylon Navy), the Army was a Force to be reckoned-with, but was still 2nd in line. Then, there was the Royal Ceylon Air-Force, the “Gentlemen” of the “Forces” who had little else to do, but look pretty in their uniforms, simply because they did not have a “special areoplane”, where we, in the Navy had a MINESWEEPER, for crying out loud.!, a former British Minesweeper, the ” Flying-Fish” that was mineswept over to the Ceylon Navy after World War 2.

SHE could take any Sea, tossed and turned, made everyone sea-sick, but still floated like a cork, all the way from Ceylon to England, for “spare parts”. How could I ever forget H.M.Cy.s. VIjaya, (but that is another story).

As we all know, there are many “structures”, in place, in Space, a “Space-Station” has been floating around there for quite a while, now. Besides “Rocket-Man”, other rockets have been up to the moon & back. No problem. President Trump will be able to “thump” a few more structures in place, in Space, BUT, a Space-Force ?, I hope that I live to see the day when an Army of Marines march, as they do, in outer space. What is going to keep them all up there ?.

Anyway, President Trump, may the “Forces” be with you.

Just before I go away, into “space”  or anywhere, let me remind all the sensible people who are members, and those who read eLanka, on-line, that I am still very much alive, my telephone number at home is 03-8-759-1932, please also listen to a beautiful song by an Irishman, Daniel O’Donnell, specially chosen by me, as a reminder to you. The song ?

“Even if it’s only for a minute”(would you call & say “hello” ?

The “space” song for President Trump, above, of course,

The “telephone” song for “yours truly, below. Enjoy them.




Desmond Kelly.

Star of eLanka.



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Marvellous. The little “Rocket-man”(branded by Donald Trump), & the “Lunatic”(branded by Kim, bung,) “may” meet in May, this year, to parlay about “fizzling-fireworks” in general. Talking about rocket-men & lunatics, just goes to show what a “crazy” World we live in right now. 

There he was, firing rocket after rocket, across South Korea, across Japan, into the seas around (luckily), UNTIL the “Sanctions” started arriving. The “Rocket-Man” wasn’t worried, one bit. Help kept coming, thru the back door, & the man with the funny hair-cut, kept “firing” once more, while the U.N.watched & waited, wondering what the hell to do next. 

     Then, comes this sudden turnaround. Reminded me of another “firework” from my younger days, in Ceylon, the “Catherine-wheel”. They keep spinning around, until they “fizzle-out”. It seemed to me that “Sanctions” against North Korea were as useless as “tits”(teats) on a bull”, BUT, when “Sanctions” begin to result in “Starvation” to the people, it “Starts’s” to get the necessary result, I suppose. 

     Braggarts, from wherever, mean very little to me. To put it in a more refined manner, “All wind & no faeces”, whatever it is, results in only “big talk” & “little action”, and so it has been, with the “Rocket-Man”. It is no secret that he has been spreading the “big talk” around, threatening everybody about his W.O.M.D. Then the Catherine wheel turns, the Winter Olympics begin, Rocket-Man starts to feel “cold”, his people start to feel, not only cold, but hungry, as well, & so, let’s forget the “squalking” & start “talking”. 

     President Trump does love a full “lunar-moon”, but that is as far as it goes. He did not get the “office” he holds, for nix.

He may decide to meet Kim Jong Un in May, this year, “maybe”. He may decide not to meet him in May, but, come what may, he may decide to meet him, perhaps in May, 2019

However, let us not get too hopeful. Many things could happen between March & May, this year. Still, perhaps they will both “march to the meeting in May”.

     The long & the short of this story is that, what is happening now between N & S.Korea, America, China& the United Nations, as a whole, is HUGELY POLITICAL. It is certainly not as “cut & dry” as it seems. The “meeting”, if & when it does take place, should be in a neutral Country, as far away from both America & Korea, as possible.

Security measures, otherwise, are going to be almost too much to handle. Whatever happens, at this planned meeting, if it DOES stop the threat of Nuclear war, it will all be worth it. I know next to nothing about Australian Politics, even LESS about Politics in general & I usually, write about the subject, simply to give my readers a bit of a laugh, because, other than it being a “back-stabbing”, dirty game, Politics is also a very “funny” one, & you only have to go as far as Canberra, to see the funny side of it. Getting back to the “fizzling-finality” of this story, 

     I would not trust our fat little Rocket-man as far as I could throw him. Everything about him is false. The toothy smile, the sweet talk, the non-nuclear strategy is, to use an Aussie term, all BULLDUST. However, we have to be fair, here. NEITHER America OR North Korea will EVER give up their nuclear arsenals totally. The only hope is that a certain BUTTON will not be pushed in by either Country, starting THE WAR that will really be the one to END ALL OTHERS.

Desmond Kelly

 Star of eLanka


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“STUFF-EM, EGG-HEADS” by Des Kelly

They are “at it”, again, these so-called egg-Producers, (and I am not talking about the poor “chooks”, here), I am talking about the Companies that “shut” these helpless little birds in cages for the sole purpose of collecting their eggs and making profits from them, not giving a damn about what these miserable hens have to go through, to provide these eggs.

I write it, and I mean it. Human beings do need eggs as part of their daily diet(hopefully), many cannot afford to buy them, some cannot eat them, and personally, I do not touch eggs that are not “free-range”. Hens, who are “caged-up” with barely room to move their small bodies, not even enough room to spread their wings, as birds like to do, their little heads poking out of an aperture, solely for the purpose of pecking for their food right below them, then laying their eggs, under the most difficult circumstances, simply because someone wants to make some monetary benefits from them, is a CRIME, as far as I am concerned.

No-one can tell me that a “free-range” chicken farm isn’t a much better & safer place, infection-wise, for both hens and ducks to produce wholesome eggs. To even try to compare “free-range” & the “caged” variety of eggs is ridiculous to the extreme. If ever any reader of eLanka is able to tell me, for example, that an ordinary caged-chook egg, on sale at Supermarkets around, at only slighter lower prices, is better as a whole, (egg), i take back everything I have written, but, speaking again, on a personal basis, I eat only free-range eggs, & to prove it even further, my son Doug.,brings me eggs sometimes, laid by chooks running free in his backyard & to me, they would have to be the freshest, best-tasting eggs that I am very lucky to consume.

Being a poet(of sorts), I have decided to put into verse, the subject of this “story” In addition, “music-clips” are added, & because I have never been the sexist-type, I am also featuring the Lankan “hit” song by the La-Bambas, called “Cock-a-doodle-do”, because without them “Cocks”, generally called “Roosters”, there wouldn’t be any bloody eggs to eat at all.  So much for the “same-sex” theory. Please read my story folks, read & memorize the “poem”, enjoy the music and look closely at the background of the Lankan song. IF these “hens” wouldn’t be happier in the beautiful surroundings, of the Ceylon backyard, together with their “cocks” to “doodle-do” them, (if you have a dirty mind, that’s your fault), what I really meant, was simply to

“CROW to them”, then I would be a “Monkey’s Uncle”

My poem, getting serious, is not very complicated.
























Desmond Kelly

Star of eLanka


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Once again, we arrive at another “cross-road” in sunny Australia. Our “Medical-people”, Doctors, Specialists etc., have been “doing very well”, thank you, for nearly all of fifty six years I have been resident in Melbourne.  Right from the very start, I have had “private insurance” covering myself & my family. Insurance is one of those things that is totally necessary, here in Australia, because in a Land where unfortunately, fires, storms, & floods seem to take their toll on a regular basis, one would be in big trouble, if they had no insurance “cover”. You buy your first car, do not have what is termed “Comprehensive” Cover, chances are that you run into the next Mercedes Benz, on the road, only to pay for it’s repairs, for the rest of your natural life!.

You needed Insurance for the “contents”in your home.

You needed bloody insurance on your HOME, before you took out insurance on it’s contents. You needed special insurance on your jewellery, & smaller items that a thief could more easily carry out, when he found that the “Safe” in your home was too heavy for him to lug away.

You then needed “Life Insurance”, so your family could carry on if you suddenly passed away, from desperation of having to pay so much Insurance. You needed ” Work-Cover

Insurance” in case you could not go to work, for any reason.

You needed “Travel Insurance” before you could move from Dandenong to Springvale, which ironically is, where the Botanical Necropolis is situated, so beautiful, that people are just dying to go there. Finally, even to go there, in a respectable manner you needed “Funeral Insurance”.

It has just become a “habit” for people like myself. Doesn’t sound like “too much” until, as I have just done, you put it all down “in writing”. Speaking for myself, as I always do, (right at the moment, I speak TO myself, & then get a bit worried when I find that I am also REPLYING myself), I have been in Australia now, for 56 years, worked, consistently for

44 of them, leaving out Federal taxes, paid for  so many Insurance policies, getting absolutely NOTHING back for the thousands of dollars paid, I thought that because the pen will always be mightier than the sword, I would categorise all my spending, because, when my dear readers of eLanka read this (hopefully) they will realize that many of them have been through exactly the same expenditure and be as shocked about it, as I was.

Finally, realizing that I am almost at the end of my tether, I am fully aware that, as an old invalid pensioner (boo-hoo), where “Medicare” could & would look after me, I still pay for Private Medical Insurance, and most of these “Companies” “charge like wounded bulls”, Please do not ask me why.

In 56 years I have been hospitalised (briefly), just 3 times, I have “seen” only 2 “Specialists”, have no time for “Dentists”

Possess only about three (whole) teeth, to which I am very attached, and now, rather regret the fact that I will need a further lifetime in which to make use of all the Specialists I have listed below.! With everything they have already got,

The Medical Profession speaks out on a Financial “Bail-out” Package.

The “Allergists” voted to “Scratch-it”,whenever & wherever,

but the ” Dermatologists” were warned not to make “Rash-moves”, the “Gastroenterologists” had this “Gut-feeling” about it, but the “Neurologists” thought the Administration

had a “lot of “Nerve”& the “Obstetricians” felt they were all

“Labouring” under a “Misconception”.The “Ophthalmologist”

considered the idea “Short-sighted” but the “Pathologist” yelled “Over my dead body”& the “Paediatrician” simply said

“Oh, grow-up”.The “Psychiatrist” said “this is all “Madness”, but the “Radiologists” could see “Right through it”.

Then. the “Surgeons” decided to ” Wash their hands” off the whole thing, but the “Internists” thought it was a bitter pill to swallow. The “Plastic-Surgeon” said.”this puts a “Whole new face” on the matter., & while the “Podiatrist” thought that this was “A step forward”, the “Urologist” thought that the scheme “Wouldn’t hold water”. The “Anaesthesiologist” felt the whole thing was “A gas”, but the “Cardioligists” did not have ” The heart” to say “no”. In the ultimate end however,

The “Proctologists” left the decision to the “Arseholes” in Canberra.”OH, GOODNESS, GRACIOUS, ME” !!.






Desmond Kelly

Star of eLanka

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“THE SIGIRIYA-STORY” (Bernard VanCuylenberg’s Trilogy) – By Des Kelly

     Quite certainly, the most comprehensive, interesting, and “must read”, final trilogy of The Rock Fortress of an ancient Royal family of old Ceylon, King Dhatusena, elder son, Prince Moggallana1(by an unnamed Royal Consort), & younger son Prince Kasyapa1(by an unnamed non royal concubine & there were many of them, half his luck), BUT still, another “Royal Family” where there was quite a lot of unnecessary “bickering” going on. Prince Moggallana was the rightful heir to the “Dhatusena-throne”, but not if Prince Kasyapa could help it, oh no, HE had his eyes on it, too.

     To add to all this, King Dhatusena had a daughter as well.

For some reason, the “names” of these females in Lankan history seem to be of no consequence, they were there, only for the purpose of “bonking”, cooking, cleaning & having babies. Anyway, King Dhatusena’s daughter (?), was married to his sister’s son. She didn’t matter, but he was the General of the “Dhatusena-Army” & his name was Migara. Following still another “Royal-argument” between his sister & daughter

King Dhatusena ordered his sister (?), to be executed. They did not “muck-around” in the old days. Mubarak was not too pleased, however. & got around Prince Kasyapa to do away with the “old-man” & take the throne for his own. Kasyapa took the hint & imprisoned his father. Migara was not satisfied. He told Kas. that his dad had a huge treasure-trove hidden away somewhere and Prince Kasyapa “coaxed” his dad into showing him where the treasure was.

King Dhatusena should have stuck to building Irrigation tanks. He had built 18 of them, but he then took his bloody disrespectful son to a waterway called the Kalaweva,  scooped up a handful of water and said to Kasyapa,”here it is, putha (son),  this is your treasure”. Prince Kasyapa had a fit (of rage) & had his father then murdered by either burying him alive in a bund at Kalaweva itself, or entombing him alive in a wall, somewhere. With a son like that, who needs enemies?. He (Kasyapa),then, by default, became King Kasyapa.

     In the meanwhile Moggallana, the man who should have been King, fled the scene, to build up an army & recapture the throne & do to Kasyapa what Kasyapa had done to Dhatusena, However this was not going to be easy, as sly King Kasyapa took his family, soldiers, concubines $ all, & built his mansion & City atop this huge rock called Sigiriya. This way, Moggallana’s army could be “reduced” one by one, as they climbed up this steep precipitous rock to try to get to King Kasyapa & throw him bodily, off it. 

     “THE SIGIRIYA-STORY”(Bernard VanCuylenberg’s Trilogy) is simply a generalization of my story within the superb “Sagas of Sigiriya, as written by Bernard, under the separate title of “The King, the Charioteer, and the Gatekeeper”written especially for our eLanka readers. I have read it, enjoyed his own inimitable style of writing, & invite all of you to share my pleasure of “the VanCuylenberg way of having his say”.

Thank you Bernard & thank you, Neil, for your presentation of all our “efforts”. Finally, I am no relation of his, unfortunately, but King Dhatusena was also known by the name of DASENKELI, who ruled Sri Lanka from 455-473, (a bloody long time ago). Yes, it was Dasenkelli, not,

desmond kelly







Desmond Kelly,
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I really don’t know who he is, where the interview was done, when it was done, who organized it, or who the interviewer was. However, he reminds me of so many Lankan/Aussies who are around at the moment.

All I know for a fact is, that this guy is a very funny chap.

He has come in for a serious “talk” about the Anglo-Indian

culture, how they dress, what they eat, how they “play”, to whom they pray, etc., etc., The “Interviewer” was a young, presumably, Indian lass, who probably did some fine interviews until this guy suddenly appeared.

Then, the bloody interview began. The reason why I think he ended up in Australia is because of the famous Aussie “epithet”, the word that usually “turns-up” in the bloody middle of a sentence, in the case of this “A.I.”, somewhere IN every sentence, he brought it into the conversation as though it was to be completely “out of style” by next week.

Wasn’t long before the young Interviewer couldn’t interview him anymore. She was laughing so much, at one juncture, she almost fell out of her chair convulsing with uncontrollable mirth. He was a very good actor, too. He could not understand why she was bloody laughing so much. Personally, I enjoyed his “act”. It also brought back some golden memories to me, of a good pal of mine, back in Ceylon, a ‘Signalman” in the Royal Ceylon Navy. His name was Denis Roberts. Seems like a long while ago, but I well remember that I lost count of the number of times both Den.& myself were “punished” via the many “defaulters’ Parades” we attended for simply laughing at our Sinhala Navy guys trying to bark out commands on the parade grounds, in English. For “HALT” Cook-Steward Haramanis yelled out ” Ah, Ah, isstop”. Denis & I started laughing, which would have gone unnoticed by Chief Petty Officer Robertson, our drill instructor, if Denis Roberts did not collapse right down to the stone floor of the parade ground, laughing his head off. I was not so bad, simply laughing, but then I looked at Denis, rolling on the floor, couldn’t help it, & joined him, and C.P.O.Robertson saw us & told us “well you think Haramanis was funny do you ?, get UP!!, grab your rifle, hold it over your friggin heads and run around the parade ground until you DROP!, then we’ll see what’s funny “

This certainly stopped us both laughing.

Back to our Anglo-Indian friend. Hopefully, you good folk will see the video and if you cannot get a good laugh out of this one, there’s certainly something bloody wrong with you.

“Smile, & the World smiles with you, cry, & you cry alone”.







Desmond Kelly

Star of eLanka



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Everywhere one looks, thru the “Periscope of life”, trouble abounds. Humans are now contemplating reaching out thru “the black-hole” to find another Planet, on which to start new waves of trouble. Earth is steadily becoming too small, and, too weak to stop all the hazards that confront us daily.

In Australia, however, nothing seems to concern the folk who follow eLanka with grim determination. It was only the plastic-condom that has prevented our dear Lankan/Aussies from manufacturing MORE Aussies, thereby increasing the “sales” of much more plastic furniture for indoor, but mainly outdoor use.

These simple bits of furniture have caused lots of problems, especially for the male gender. I am not going to “spoil it” for you, still I love Aussie humour, the subtle type, where one has to think deeply about what it’s all about.

So, here goes my preference of the “Perils of Plastic”, including “Perfect Poetry” by a Pathetic-Poet, of Perth, I think. Please watch it and laugh, the perils and pathos may mean that you might need a Paramedic to help you stop.

Here we go.     “THE PERILS OF PLASTIC”, Especially for :-

Lankan/Aussies, everywhere.






Desmond Kelly

Star of eLanka




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Formerly known as Colpetty, also zoned as Colombo 3, was an old “haunt” especially with the old Arrack tavern, directly opposite to the only competitor, as far as Milk-shakes were concerned, a Milk-bar of sorts, where they sold milk-shakes that were very much more expensive (Aleric’s shakes were half the price, I remember, but just as good).

     The Arrack Tavern was another subject, altogether.

Run by Sinhalese people,, the two main “drawcards” were Arrack & Toddy. As this article is primarily for Lankan/ Aussies, plus Lankans now residing around the World, I do not have to elaborate on the “nicities” of the above, suffice to say that they were a big part of most of us in Ceylon (at the time).

     Memories of Kollupitiya, however, have to do with the magnificent residences of this Surburb, not only the big and famous Mansions, but also little “places” like Number 26, I think it was, Sea Avenue, Colpetty, where lived my Aunt Ouida, Uncle Roy & 3 daughters, two of whom have passed-on, to better things. I also remember that it was here in Sea Avenue, that I first learned to ride a bicycle, which belonged to Cousin Vilma, smashed it up badly, crashing continually into a brick wall at the bottom of the Avenue. 

     Memories like these are everlasting. It did not matter if you were rich or poor, so here are a few more “Memories of Kollupitiya, folks, once called “Colpetty”. Hope you enjoy reading about them and hope you also enjoy the special music, I have picked or you







Desmond Kelly

 Star of eLanka


Mansions of Kollupitiya, Colombo in the early twentieth century

Unknown author, unknown date, ………. a composition entitled “Homes of Kollupitiya”

Alfred House: Charles Henry de Soysa built on the land where Bagatalle was, an  enormous mansion named “Alfred House” when the privilege of feastingthe future King of England, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred when he visited the Island in 1870.
Arncliff: House of Archdeacon Boyd at Boyd Place Kollupitiya. Now a part of Bishops’ College.
Big Bagatelle: Charles Henry de Soysa, the only son of Jenuis de Soysa Dissanayake, Mudaliyar of the Governors Gate was a public man of the first degree, in that he was one who devoted his energy and wealth on the people. He purchased numerous properties in Colombo for business investment and residential purposes retaining his roots in Moratuwa and Panadura.  Among them were C.E. Layards’ “Bagatalle” in Kollupitiya. This house was one of the earliest residences built in Kollupitiya in 1840’s. Mr. C. E. Layard (1784 -1864), son of Rev. Charles Peter Layard, the Dean of Bristol, held varied administrative posts in the Ceylon Civil Service posts in the Ceylon Civil Service over a period of 35 years. After his death in 1864, the house and property passed on to C. H. de Soysa. The land owned by Layard was almost 400 acres in extent and the garden surrounding the bungalow was quite large and extended up to the present Galle Road .Broomhill: Home of R. L. de Fonseka Peiris at Green Path, Kollupitiya.

 Calverly House verandah in its heyday –courtesy of Rohan De Soysa

Calverly: Home of Advocate Frederick Dornhost at Turret Road, built in 1867. Now Buddhist Ladies’ College established by Mohandas de Mel.
Carlton Lodge: The home of Carlton Corea was constructed on the grounds of Turret House at Turret Road. It was once occupied by the Burmese Ambassador
in Ceylon, H. E. Boon watt. His wife was shot and killed in this house by the Ambassador over a clandestine affair she had. It is now the home of the Capri Club.
Canela Villa: : Home of Alistair Ferguson, former proprietor of the Ceylon Observer Newspaper and founder of Ferguson Ceylon Directory. It was a spacious single storeyed house at Turret Road with extensive grounds. Later
known as “Savitri” and was the home of C. E. A. Dias a prominent
Clare: The house in Flower Road in which Earnest de Silva lived and which was named after his old college at Cambridge , is now the Russian Embassy.
College House: Home of A.J.R. de Soysa at Thurstan Road formerly known as “Regina Walauwa”. Now part of the Colombo University.
Ebor House: House of Archdeacon Mathew at Green Path.
Elscourt Manor: ‘Elscourt Manor’, down Turret Road, owned by Henry A Peiris, landed proprietor, was the home of the Orient Club. The club was subsequently moved to its present location at Racecourse Avenue. The Manor was also a recreation center for service personnel during WWII. Elscourt was demolished in the 1950’s. Two eminent surgeons, Dr P R Anthonisz and Dr M V P Peiris, built their homes on the grounds of this property. On March 24, 1965, the leader of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi, S J V Chelvanayakam and Dudley Senanayake, the leader of the United National Party, met, together with their party delegates, S M Rasamanickam, A Amirthalingham, Dr E M V Naganathan, V Navaratnam and
M Tiruchelvam (ITAK), at the house of the UNP stalwart, Dr M V P Peiris down Turret Road, Colombo. Dudley Senanayake, the leader of the party, along with J R Jayewardene, V A Sugathadasa and Esmond Wickremasinhe, represented the United National Party. In 1929 Elscourt, a magnificent building on turret Road opposite the Victoria Park, one time The Colombo Club, was gifted to the Bishops College, Colombo, a leading girls school, by Mrs. Charles Peiris (nee Maud de Mel).By 1936 there were 153 pupils and the buildings needed expansion. Elscourt was the site of World Fair I organized in 1937 by the past pupils of Bishop’s College. Elscourt was sold and the fundsraised from the sale of Elscourt were now available for the purchasein June 1937 of Arncliffe, a large house adjoining Bishop’s College.In August 1937 Arncliffe was renamed Peiris House in tribute to the generous benefactress, Mrs. Maud Peiris. And Peiris House was declared open by the Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott.
Fairlight: The single storeyed home of lawyer Felix de Silva at Turret Road , Kollupitiya.Fincastle: House of Henry A Peiris Landed Proprietor, at Turret Road. A palatial building, original owned by Jeronis Pieris. Fincastle was later theoffice of the Lady Lochore fund. Residence and Stores of H. Bastian Fernando Plumbgo Merchant at Green Path, Kollupitiya. Later occupied by the Italian Chancery.
Firdousi: Home of Dr. Rustemjee at Turret Road . During the Second world War the Science Laboratory of Royal College was here. Later this house was
brought by Mr. Eric Soysa.
Framjee House: This old house at Station Road Kollupitiya is now part of Methodist College
Gitanjali: Home of Deva Surasena, son of James Pieris built on “Rippleworth Grounds” in 1948 at Alwis Place.
Glen Abar; The house occupied by A. J. R. de Soysa before “Lakshmigiri” wasbuilt, is now the area covered by Glenaber Place , Thurstan Road .
Icicle Hall: Once the residence of the Chief Justice. Later UNP Headquarters “Sri Kotha” at Galle Road Kollupitiya.
Isabel Court: House of N. D. P. Silva, plumbago Merchant. Earlier known as “Wiesbaden” on Galle Road, Kollupitiya Junction. The oldest Chinese
Restaurant in Kollupitiya. “Lotus” operated from here for a long time. The building is now demolished.

Kew Lodge: House of Archdeacon Mathew at Green Path.
Lakshmi Giri: The elaborately ornamented bungalow of A. J. R. de Soysa at Thurstan Road .
Muirburn: Naina-Marikar was resident at No 43, New Moor Street, Colombo, and in 1900 he purchased a palatial bungalow, that contained a large garden,
at Turret Road called “Muirburn”. Within this compound he built another shop called Victoria Drapery Stores. He also worked as an indenting agent and imported large stocks of goods from Europe to be disposed of wholesale to other big merchants in Ceylon. He sold on credit and his stock in trade was valued at several hundreds of
thousand Rupees. Naina-Marikar made a donation towards the construction of the Wesley College building at baseline Road, Colombo
Mumtaz Mahal: Previous 0fficial residence of the Speaker of Parliament at Galle Road Kolupitiya. Was owned by M A M Hussein.
Newlands: Home of Arthur Alwis over hundred years ago. Alwis Place was named after Arthur Alwis, a well known resident of Kollupitiya. Newlands extended from Turret Road to Powatte area. Arthur Alwis was a member for the Kollupitiya Ward in the Colombo Muncipal Council.
Notherton: The home of Charles Mathew Fernando eminent lawyer, who led the prosecution in the famous Attygalle murder case. This house was
guarded during that time. The house was situated opposite the Fountain House Turret Road/Union Place corner. Queens Road: The house bordering Queens Road on Thurstan Road was owned by T.H.A. de Soysa and named ” Regina” (now College House”). Thename Regina (meaning Queen) and the British happily named the
adjoining road as Queens Road.
Rheinland: Edwin Lionel Frederick de Soysa’s House and Stables at Kollupitiya built in 1905. Earlier occupied by a German businessman.
Rippleworth: Homes of Sir James Peiris, the legislator and pioneer social reformist, built in 1901 at Turret Road . It was the scene of many
conferences when the reform movement was at its height during Colonial days. After the death of Sir James in 1930,his son Leonard lived in
this house till death. Devar Suriya Sena the younger son lived in a separate house adjoining .
Roshanara: Home of N. K. Chosky leading Civil Lawyer of the time at Turret Road .
Rotunda: Home of Canon Dias Bandaranaike of Rotunda Gardens, Kollupitiya.
Sigiriya: The home of Dr.Solomon Fernando a highly respected medical
practitioner, at Bagatelle Road , Kollupitiya.
Sravasti: The Colombo residence of W. A. de Silva, one of the most elegant and largest residences of Ceylon. Wilmot Arthur de Silva was a widely
known man of scholarly pursuits and philanthropic inclination. Sravasti, the mansion built on the lines of a Tuscany Villa and
completed in 1913, was Dr. Silva’s gift to posterity. A freedom fighter of the day, it was here that he entertained such men of
history as Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore and Lord Donougmore. Today it serves as a hostel for Members of Parliament. It
is situated at Edinburgh Crescent .
Srimethipaya: Sir Earnest de Silva’s Colombo Residence. The quiet philanthropist built this house around 1910 at Flower Road and the road is now
happily named Sir Earnest. The house is now the office of the Prime Minister.

St. Kevins: Home of Mudliyar S.R. de Fonseka, a highly respected government
official at Kollupitiya.

St. Leonards:Sir James Pieris owned this house which was previously occupied by District Judge G. S. Schneider at Flower Road .

St Thomas Prep School: The junior wing of St. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia is located here and it is on this area that the offices of the Voice of America oncestood. Galle Mahal: the oldest house on Galle Road, built sometime in the 1850’s, is situated next door. The school was founded on May 17, 1938, by the Rev William Thomas Keble, an eminent educationist, scholar, author, and a great lover of Ceylon. The school is an Anglican private fee levying educational institution and one of the foremost in the island. It is located in pleasant healthy surroundings at a former spacious seaside residence named ‘Fortrose’, opposite the Bishops House. Fortrose was once occupied by George Vanderspaar. Many elegant coconut trees and a sprawling Kottan (Almond) tree line its front facing the Galle Road.

Sudasana: At the intersection with General’ Lake Road which bisected Turret Road was the house of Sir Gerard Wijekoon. First President of the Senate.

The Firs: St, Bridgets Convent Girls School was first initiated by Reverend Dr. T. A. Melizan (the then Archbishop of Colombo), within a rented house down Turret Road known as ‘The Firs’. This was the beginning of the majestic school that stands today, bringing back happy memories to all those who mingled amidst its walls. Bought over from the late Mr. Harry Pieris the ‘spacious’ and ‘sprawling’ bungalow was considered the ideal home. ‘The Firs’ had a long verandah, which served as the school hall and each of the larger room was converted as classroom. In a room on the east was situated the Chapel, which is said to have had a resplendent altar, illuminated by candles.

Visakha Vidyalaya, one of the premier Buddhist girls school in Colombo, was started under the name of “Buddhist Girls’ College” in a house called “The Firs” at Turret Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was moved to its present premises at Vajira Road, Bambalapitiya (Colombo 4) on the 21st of November 1927 and named “Visakha Vidyalaya” by Lady Herbert Stanley, the wife of the then Governor of Ceylon. From humblebeginnings, Visakha Vidyalaya has risen to the position of the most sought after school for girls in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it is the only girls’ school identified amongst the first National Schools in the Island. Home of Henry A Pieris gifted to St. Bridgets Convent.

The Synagogue: The house occupied for many years by Peter de Saram, a Retired Korale Mudaliyar at Galle Road (Sea-Side) Kollupitiya.

The Tent: Owned by Henry A. Pieris. A single storey house with a large garden at Green Path. Now the hostel of the Girl’s Friendly Society.

Turret House: Built by the well known Company Director, F. W. Bois at Turret Road . Later, the town residence of Col. T. G. Jayawardene. His sons-in-law
Carlton Corea and Fairlie Wijemanne built their houses on the grounds of Turret House. During the second World War, ‘Turret House’ on Turret Road was the
home of the Upper School of Royal College, Colombo, and Carlton Lodge (the Capri Club) housed the Lower School. The office of the Principal and the administration section were housed at Sudassana, the home of Sir Gerard Wijekoon, which was located on the opposite side of Turret Road. The science laboratory was located at Firdousi, also on the same (left) side of the street facing East. School assembly was held in the open air on the spacious grounds of Turret House.
Vaijayantha: Home of E. W. Jayawardene Q. C. Later occupied by the Chinese Ambassador. During the second world War was the headquarters of Radio
SEAC. This house was situated on Park Road leading from Turret Road towards Slave Island .

Villa Istanbul Residence of Macan Markar on Galle Road , Kollupittiya.
Villa Venezia: Sir Marcus Fernando built this house like a Venetian ‘palazze’ in Queens Road and resided for sometime. Now demolished.
Vimal Villa: Residence of D. D. Pedris at Alfred Place , a popular place businessman and keen Buddhist.
Kollupitiya Mini Zoo – A mini zoo had been in operation at “IXORA” Green Path, now the residence of the Wijewardenes. This was earlier
owned by Hagen Bech who was the originator of the Dehiwela Zoo. The animals were later transferred to Dehiwela.
Residence of the Indian High Commissioner – A splendid mansion located at Thurstan Road which had a mini zoo (deer park ) within its
compounds. The place was previously occupied by the Manager, Imperial Bank of India and owned by T H A de Soysa. The rear garden extended
all the way up to Bagatelle Road on the west.

Kollupitiya Stables: Clifford Road housed the stables and horse riding school. Many prominent personalities, including the first post independent Prime Minister, the Hon D S Senanayake, were trained by Dick Wijesinghe, the famous trainer and jockey who lived down Hudson Road , at these stables. The first floor of St Michaels building was also occupied by several jockeys of that era.

Mehdi Hussein, the well known horse trainer, who trained some of the best horses in Ceylon, viz Kunjilata, Mohan Tara, & Cotton Hall, also had his stables at the far end of Alwis Place.

US Chancery – The old US Embassy building at Galle Face, occupied by the offices of USAID now, was the residence of D R Wijewardene, the founder of Lake House newspapers. It was then called ‘Rickman House’. After him, it was remodeled and renamed to ‘Sri Ramya’. The famous Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, stayed in this house when he brought a troupe of Bengali dancers to Ceylon in the 1920’s.

Mati Park – The present day Stanley Jansz Stadium, by the Beira Lake, was then called ‘ Mati Park ‘ meaning ‘Clay Park’, on account of its clay soil. It was then owned by a hairy man called ‘Mail Bass’ meaning ‘Hairy’. This man used to cut grass and sell it for a living. The grounds were also used for horse riding.

Bird Hunter – In the vicinity of Mati Park was the Beira Lake. On the island in the middle of this lake a man named Dias aka ‘Masappu Aiya’, who was an avid bird hunter lived there.

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“MANNY” by Des Kelly

Often, as this mad World rushes by, we tend to forget proud examples of “Personalities” who made our Country of Ceylon,(now Sri Lanka) very PROUD!.indeed.

E.C.T. (Manny) Candappa was one of these “Special Personalities”..

Manny was born in Ceylon in 1930, & “The kind spirit of the inky way”, as he was also known, died, in 2016, aged 86. I consider myself privileged to have known him personally, when both of us lived in Dandenong North, Melbourne.

For my readers of eLanka, & especially our Lankan/ Aussies, I hope you remember that, through no fault of our own, most of us were “blessed” with 3 (THREE) Christian names, followed by our Surname. Please do not ask me why, but there wasn’t anything we could do to stop our parents’ decision on this matter.

Emmanuel Christopher Thomas (Manny) was one of Ceylon’s most eminent & proficient personages who wielded a pen as newspaperman, author, playwright & broadcaster for more than 65 years.

As I remember, Manny also loved good music.. He was one of the most popular “scribes” at Lake House, Colombo, for fifty long years before migrating to Melbourne with his wife Yvonne & their 4 children.

Here, too, he became a well-known writer & editor of some of the most prestigious newspapers in Melbourne. Manny Candappa was indeed, one of the most exceptional “journos” in both Ceylon & his adopted Motherland, & when I visited him for the last time, I was so very touched when, after reliving many precious memories, he handed me his little book called “The First Born” & other poems, a book that I will cherish. Obviously, like me, Manny was also the “first-born”, a “poem” I am proud to publish on eLanka, together with a “video-clip” that fits this particular article.
I do not need to name the “Artiste” singing the song.

Just like Manny Candappa & someone, who is striving to emulate HIS superb writing, both of us loved the Country we were born in, & finally, this “story” is my dedication to a man we should never ever forget.

Manny Candappa, this is for you.
“The First Born” (by E.C.T. Candappa)
“I have walked this street at dawn, & have not known it,
I have walked this street at night, & have not known it,
That I have been a part of all the millions who have passed this street before me & the generations who will walk this way, when I shall walk no more, will have me by their side.
So, when the sky withdrew to overwhelm me,
I grew.less & less in time, & the crowded City,
was a lonely, gusty, place, & the wind & I were one”.
Beautiful sentiments from a great “writer”.







Desmond Kelly
Star of eLanka

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