Cecil Rowlands used his work experience with the British Admiralty, working in the Cold Rooms of ships of the British Navy and Commercial fleets was given a recommendation by the Commanding Officer that obtained him a Membership of the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers, that was to stand him in good stead when he migrated to Australia in 1961.
In 1771 Freemasonry was introduced to Ceylon with the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Holland of Fidelity in Colombo. After the British take-over, Sir Alexander Johnston was appointed Provincial Grand Master by the Grand Lodge of England in 1810.
British Admirality Letter of Recommendation
In 1929, in Ceylon there were the following 8 Lodges subject to the Grand Lodge of England;
· St John’s Lodge No: 454 EC, Warranted in 1838,
· St George Lodge No: 2170 EC, Warranted 1886,
· Adam’s Peak Lodge No: 2656 EC, Warranted 1887,
· The Grant Lodge No: 2862 EC, Warranted 1901,
· Duke of Connaught Lodge No: 2940 EC, Warranted 1902,
· The Nuwara Eliya Lodge No: 2991 EC, Warranted 1903,
· Kurunegala Lodge No: 3629 EC, Warranted 1912,
· Orion Lodge No: 5130 EC, Warranted 1929,
and the following 3 subject to that of Ireland.
Sphinx Lodge No: 107 IC, Warranted 1861,
Leinster Lodge No: 115 IC, Warranted 1868,
Dimbulla Lodge No: 298 IC, Warranted 1874,
And the following subject to that of Scotland.
Certificate of The American Society of Refrigeration Engineers
Lodge Bonnie Doon No: 1832 SC, Warranted 1877,
Lodge Bonnie Doon No: 611 of the Scottish Constitution was consecrated on the 5th November 1877. It is the only Scottish Lodge in Sri Lanka. The regalia of Lodge Bonnie Doon is the Royal Stuart Tartan No: 4 surrounded by Gold Lace. It is reasonably certain that the name of the Lodge is taken from the works of the late poet laureate Brother Robert Burns. The river Doon flows through Ayshire and is part of the climax of the poem “Tom O’ Shanter”. Burns makes even more specific reference to this in the song “Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonnie Doon”. To confirm this further the logo of the Lodge appears to be the Bridge of the River Doon, made famous by Burns in “Tom O’ Shanter”.
Since then a further further 2 Lodges have been formed.
· Robert Coleridge Scott Lodge No: 7784 EC, Warranted 1961,
· Kumaranayagam Lodge No: 7784 EC, Warranted 2005,
· Serendib Lodge No: 905 IC, Warranted 1990,
· St Andrew’s Lodge No: 1832 SC, Warranted 2006.
At their formation, the members of these Lodges were mainly Planters and people working with the Industry. Both A.P.R and his son Cecil Wilford Rowlands were Freemasons. Cecil (nicknamed “Podgy Rowlands) was a member of the Bonnie Doon Lodge until his departure for Australia in 1961.
Charles Godwin and Christobel Don Carolis' Wedding Group
On 27th February 1946, Christobel Rachel Rowlands married Charles Godwin Don Carolis at St Paul’s Church, Kinsey Road, Colombo.
Christobel Don Carolis recalls a story she was told about the engineering prowess of her father A.P.Rowlands. Apparently during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ceylon in 1954, an urgent call went out to A.P.R, who was present at the reception in Colombo that day, that his services were required to bring back to life one of the Rolls Royce cars that were being used for the Royal Entourage. He diagnosed the problem and had the car running again before the reception finished and none of the guests or the Royal Couple were any the wiser.
Queen Elizabeth II in Sri Lanka in 1954
Life continued as normal and as Ed recalls in his “Recollections of living in Sri Lanka”, a second son, Adelai Percival Rowlands was born on 20th April 1952.
After the race riots of 1958, many burgher families were given the opportunity to migrate to countries such as England, Canada, United States of America and Australia. The family of Cecil and May Rowlands were no exception and plans were put in place to move to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as May’s sister Bertha and her family had migrated there earlier. This was during the days of the “White Australia” Policy and a genealogy was required to show that we were descended from European Ancestors and fulfilled the requirements of the Australian Government Regulations of the time. A Genealogy prepared by Mr Altendorf was submitted to the Australian High Commissioner in Colombo and an interview with Mr Roden Cutler (later Sir Roden Cutler, Governor of New South Wales), the Australian High Commissioner at the time was arranged, for which all members of the family turned up, all spick and span.
Travel Visa’s were received for Ed Rowlands to travel alone to attend Melbourne University, with letters of accommodation from Percy and Bertha Kalenberg who lived at Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria. The rest of the family would follow later.
Cecil Rowlands’ membership of the American Society of Refrigeration Engineers, his work experience at Rowlands Limited Refrigeration Department that imported the Frigidaire Brand from The United States of America, his own refrigeration business and his friends in the Freemans Lodge obtained him a position with General Motors Holden Frigidaire Division in Dandenong in Melbourne, Australia.
Farewell Portrait of Rowlands Family at 16 Palmyrah Avenue in 1960.
Cecil and May Rowlands, together with Muriel, Marie and Percy left for Australia on the P & O “Canberra” in October 1960.