Everyday Lankan History

Wolvendaal Church

Wolvendaal Church This church in Pettah, Colombo is still a functioning Protestant church. Built in 1749 by the Dutch it was then the central base of the Dutch Reformed Church. Anthony Gomez saw his life drastically change in this church, when he asked the elders to take him on as a lecturer in the church. […]

Wattala (school)

Wattala (School) The school of Wattala was located near current day Wattala. It was where the ferry crossed the river to ‘Pas Betaal’. In Wattala lived many people of the Hunu caste, but also Salagama and Goyigama, who were connected to this school. Francina Farnando grew up in the Wattala area around 1758. Read her […]


Wattala Currently the area just across the Kelani river from Colombo, where the Hamilton Canal towards Negombo is situated. In the Dutch period, this area was connected with the Colombo area through a ferry, called ‘Pas Betaal’. It was close to the other ‘Pas Mutuaal’ and ‘Grote Pass’ – current area of Grand Pass. Close […]

Negombo (Dutch Church)

Negombo Dutch church The Dutch Reformed Church did not only build churches in Colombo and Galle, but also in forts like Negombo. Aside from fort churches, there were also schools and churches outside of the forts, in the villages around the city. These were meant for the local population, but the buildings do not exist […]


Negombo Large port town just north of Colombo. Historically this port had attracted many traders from the entire Indian Ocean World. Its subsequently diverse population was governed during colonial times from Negombo fort, which still exists today in the form of Negombo’s prison. The parents of Francina Farnando were living in Negombo before they moved to Hunupitiya, where […]

Mutwal, Pas Matuaal

Mutwal, pas matuaal A location near current Muthuwella, north of the Colombo harbour. In the 18th century it was the location of a ferry to the small island in the Kelani river mouth, called ‘Pas Matuaal’. The Dutch Reformed school was located at current-day Pradeepa Hall. Today it is a busy suburb of Colombo. Francina […]

Kelani River

Kelani River Largest river in the southwestern province, in the 18th century up to today used for transport of products towards the harbour of Colombo. The river flows from the Sri Pada mountain range towards the sea, through Colombo.  There were several places where one could take the ferry to cross this massive body of […]

Kandy (Kingdom of)

Kandy (kingdom of) The contemporary city in Sri Lanka’s central highlands still reminds its inhabitants and visitors of the Kingdom which seated there in the past. The Royal Palace and the Sri Dalada Maligawa temple are relics of the Kandyan Kingdom which endured from the late 15th century all the way up to the 19th […]

Kollupitaya, Colombo

Kollupitaya, Colombo Present-day Kollupitiya is a significantly urbanised neighbourhood in Colombo, south of the fort-area. Historically, it was a village that was specifically known for its arrack distilleries and some of the first cinnamon plantations created in Sri Lanka in the late eighteenth century. This village is the birthplace of Anthony Gomez, a young man […]

Hunupitaya (near Watalla)

Hunupitaya (near watalla) This area is located north of Colombo, in Wattala, across the Kelani river towards Negombo. It is near the current Hunupitiya railway station. In the 18th century this is where predominantly the Hunu caste, lime burners, lived. This was the home village of Francina Farnando, where she was born in 1738 along […]