Hill Club, Nuwara Eliya
We next visited Galle and stayed at the Lighthouse Hotel and eventually got as far as Mt Lavinia and stayed a night at the Mt Lavinia Hotel and visited St Thomas’ College. We finished our tour at the Oberoi Hotel in Colombo for much earned rest of a few days.
A Dinner at my Aunt Christobel and Uncle Godwin Don Carolis’ home in Colombo then brought the biggest surprise that I was to get in my life. My cousin Christopher Don Carolis advised me that he had recently started communicating with a distant cousin named Richard Rowlands who was born in India and who now lived in Kent, England. We later, continued the conversation at the Colombo Rowing Club where he filled me in with the details of his latest discovery.
It turned out that Richard’s Grand-father and our Grand-father were half brothers and there was a generation of Rowlands’ in India, who were descendants of James Henry Rowlands who left Ceylon in 1886 for Ootacumund in South India, just after the birth of our Grand-father Arthur Percival Rowlands in 1885.
I got to thinking that it was such a pity that we had not been given the opportunity to meet these relatives and get to know them, their personalities, their likes and dislikes and to get some understanding of the lives they may have led. I then decided to put together this family documentary from information that I gathered from talking to relatives and various publications on Internet websites, Public Libraries and various books.
When my son Christopher, who was also born in Australia and I took some of my Father’s ashes for burial in his Mother’s grave in Colombo in 2003, I took the opportunity to continue my research into the Rowlands family when I was in Sri Lanka and have continued to date, using the data from Richard Rowlands and others.
This is not a documentary about colonialism, but happens to fall into the time period after Europeans arrived in Ceylon. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction. I have placed our relatives in the period of the events that would have taken place during their lifetime to try and understand how the events of the day may have experienced and shaped their lives and the relationships they may have had with the people they may have mixed with on a day to day basis. To a large extent their lives and the antecedents of their spouses provide the cultural mix of our fore-bears and may help explain why the Rowlands’ of today are the people we are.
I am proud of my Sri Lankan heritage and that the Rowlands’ of Ceylon and India are descended from people of many races and cultures.
I do not pretend to be a writer and therefore the words in this documentary are not all mine but also those of the several authors that I have used to bring it all together in some chronological order to try and show the changes that took place in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) after the arrival of Europeans in the Sixteenth Century and the events of the Nineteenth Century, after the arrival of the first Rowlands’ in Ceylon.
I hope that my children and other relatives find this documentary useful for them to get some understanding of the times that our fore-fathers and mothers lived in.
The first part concludes at the death of Richard William Rowlands. The second part of this story is the Twentieth Century and will include the experiences of the next generations of the Rowlands’ of India and Ceylon and the migration of some of the families to Australia and England and other distant shores.
This is only the start of the story of the Rowlands’ of Ceylon, there are a more stories waiting to be told.
I apologise if I have made any historical errors and would appreciate the comments of anyone who wishes to advise me of any corrections.
Any other descendants of the extended Rowlands’ family are welcome to contact me on email@example.com and I will endevour to incorporate the stories of their relatives in this document, if they so desire.