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Trinity College, Kandy - 132 n.o.

by M.B. Dassanayake

The swimming pool at Trinity College - a jewel in Kandy’s crown

The last Principal W.R. Breckenridge, (who was a student of Trinity College, Kandy from 1945-1957) relinquished duties as Principal at the end of December, 2003, and was succeeded by Roderick Gilbert.

The installation of the new Principal took place at the Trinity College Chapel on 17th January, 2004, by Right Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe, Bishop of Kurunegala.

The Rev. Joan Ireland Jones, M.A., came to Sri Lanka in 1857 and started a school in the wooded slopes of Udawattekelle. He called it the (Kandy Collegiate School). He left in 1860, and the school was closed down in 1863. Thereafter, representations were made by the people of Kandy to the Church Missionary Society to re-open the school.

Their efforts were rewarded, when on January 17th, 1872, (exactly on the day the 18th Principal assumed duties), the school was re-opened with Rev. Richard Collin, M.A., as Principal.

On that date there were four buildings; the original Mission House, the old hall which stood till 1953, where the Frazer Block stands today, the Holy Trinity Church (Oakley's Church) which stood till 1939 when it was pulled down making way for the new Hall, and a single-floored dormitory where Napier House now stands.

The first prize-giving was held in 1872. Due to lack of accommodation in 1874, the Rev. R. Collins built a hall in the vicinity of Alison House. It was subsequently named Collins Hall.

The motto 'Respice Finem', was coined and Crest of the College was designed in 1873. The Crest depicted a Lion, Adam's Peak and the Rising Sun.

The school was re-named 'Trinity College', possible in honour of its founder, the Rev. J. Ireland Jones who hailed from Trinity College, Dublin. The College crest was altered in 1878 - Adam's Peak and the Sun were replaced by a palmyrah tree. Having served the College for six years, Rev. Collins left in 1878.

His place was taken by Rev. John G. Garrett, M.A., in 1878. The Rev. Dr. E. Noel Hodge took over the school in 1886 and left in 1889.

The C.M.S., then sent Rev. E.J. Perry, M.A., to serve as Principal. For the first time Trinity College had an experienced teacher as Principal. A life so full of promise came to a sad end when he was accidently shot by one of his beloved pupils at Bintenne.

He was buried at Mahaiyawa Cemetery. The Perry Memorial Hall was built in 1890. Rev. H.P. Napier Clavering, M.A., came to take the place of Rev. Perry in 1890.

The Cadet Corps was formed in 1890 by Rev. J.W. Fall, the Vice-Principal. In 1896 the College took on dark green, old gold and chocolate brown as the College colours.

The Rev. H.P. Napier-Clavering was not only a good builder, but he also put Trinity on its feet.

In spite of lean years that Trinity had after his departure in 1900, his work had laid the foundation for Rev. A.G. Frazer to give Trinity its present standing. Between 1900 and 1904 Trinity had six Principals - one permanent and five acting. He was so gentle and so lenient that he found it difficult to control the boys.

Rev. A.G. Frazer came to Trinity in 1904. It is to him, if to any one person, that Trinity owes its present standing. He, with his dedicated staff, some of whom he personally brought from England, transformed the little school in Kandy to one of the leading Colleges in the Island.

Trinity was famous not only in Sri Lanka but was well-known in many other parts of the world - there were students from Uganda, Buram, India, Siam etc. who had their education at Trinity.

The appointment of C.E. Simithraarachchi B.Sc, as Principal in 1943 broke fresh ground. He was the first Ceylonese and the first Old Boy to be the Principal of Trinity. He joined Trinity in Standard 4, steadily rose up the ranks to be Senior Prefect, Captain of Cricket, Ryde Gold Medallist, Teacher, House Master, Vice-Principal and finally Principal.

The only other person who seems to have come anywhere near this record is Hilary Abeyaratne, student, Senior Prefect, Cricket Lion, Ryde Gold Medallist, Teacher and finally Vice-Principal. He settled down in Australia. Following him Trinity had another English Principal Norman S. Walter, MA, who came in 1952. He was an enthusiastic builder and achieved much during his stay of five years.

Cedric J. Oorloff, BA, took over the reigns of Principalship from Walter in May 1957.

Oorloff is an Old Royalist but taught at Trinity during Campbell era before joining the Ceylon Civil Service. He was Principal of Wesley College, Colombo before coming to Trinity. Boxing as a sport was discontinued in 1961 and a new farm at Pallekelle was acquired in 1965.

When Oorloff retired in 1968, Lionel Fernando, BA, took over and left Trinity in August, 1977.

Era of prosperity

Rev. Dr. W.G. Wickremasinghe was principal from 1979 to 1988. During his tenure of office the Swimming Pool was constructed in 1985, Asgiriya grounds was converted to an International Cricket Stadium with the whole-hearted co-operation and support from late Gamini Dissanayake, another distinguished Old Boy of Trinity and established an Agricultural Institute at Pallekelle.

Thereafter, Lieutenant Colonel Leonard de Alwis took over office on 1st January, 1989.

The period under review there was tremendous improvement to the school in education, sports, buildings, playgrounds and discipline etc.

The performance at public examinations was excellent. Information Technology (Computer Science) introduced to the School, Computer Laboratory established, Computer Club formed.

Celebrated the following events

1. Trinity College, Kandy - 100 years of Cadeting - 1990 (1890-1990)

A route March was done by the Cadet Platoon from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya in 1990.

2. Trinity/Royal Cricket Centenary, 1992.

3. 50th Bradby Shield Rugger Encounter between Trinity and Royal, 1994.

4. Centenary celebrations of Trinity College, Old Boys Association 1993.

125th Anniversary Celebrations of Trinity College, 1997 (1872-1997).

Cultural activities

1. Trinity College National Drum and Dance Troup reached its heights achieving International and National recognition. The troup participated in international festivals in the UK, and Sweden in 1992 and 1998 respectively and winning numerous awards. All cultural activities of the school developed.

2. Menikdena Archaeological Project at Dambulla. Trinity College, Kandy is the first school to be involved in an archaeological project of this magnitude in the country. The students are involved in the restoration and maintenance of cultural works and the arboretum.

3. All sports activities of the school developed.

International tours

1. Trinity College rugby team went to Australia in 1996 to take part in the World School Rugby Tournament in Sydney.

2. Basketball team toured Malaysia.

3. Trinity College National Drum and Dance Troup took part in the international festivals in the United Kingdom and Sweden in 1992 and 1998 respectively.

Buildings and construction

1. Multi-storey building.

2. School archives.

3. Library auditorium.

4. Administration block.

5. Rugger stadium at Pallekelle.

6. Indoor cricket nets.

The Trinity College Old Boys' Association and its branches in Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Kelani Valey and Kurunegala have been active in their support of the College and their keen interest in the progress of the College has been a source of encouragement.

The College Board of Governors which determines the policy of the College and guides its destiny ensures the contemporary relevance of its educational goals.

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