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History of Ceylon Tea is an industry-service project by Dilmah. Click HERE to read more.
3oth November 2022


  • It's Christmas time - Wisdom in the Leaf
  • Irrepressible Julia Margaret Cameron by George Braine
  • In Memoriam -  Derek Wickremasinghe by Anura Gunasekera
  • Photo Album of the Month - Drayton Estate, Kotagala
  • Contributor Photo Album of the Month - Hemannath Wickremesooriya
  • Down Memory Lane - Palamcotta Estate 1872
  • Historical Events in 1880
  • Tea Radio by Dilmah


"The Sri Lankan tea academia, tea enthusiasts and the tea community at large, would no doubt consider it a rare privilege to have an opportunity to enrich their tea libraries with an authentic, Sri Lankan home grown publication on the art of tea. When such a volume contains an abundance of practical and technical learnings, most of which if left unrecorded could very well be lost forever to the erosion of time, it takes on an even more important and meaningful connotation in terms of its value."

"It is evident from the contributions, that certain authors have provided multiple works of exceedingly well researched writings. These are papers that excel as valuable insights, some of which are almost scholastic in nature. The readers of the book will count themselves fortunate, to be enriched by that generation of tea inspired knowledge. It is of little doubt that part of the legacy of these contributors, will be indelibly entrenched within the annals of this book. Therefore, this publication would serve as
one prime medium, through which the pearls of wisdom associated with and within the tea leaf, are transferred to subsequent generations of tea afficionados." Graeme Tissera - Senior Tea Professional
Click HERE to read the full Review

"And what is truly remarkable is that information which might appear rather dry and academic in an ordinary textbook is brought to life on these pages through the clever use of typeface, page layout, the division of the text into manageable paragraphs, and illustrations that bring the story to life. Some are clear manageable charts and tables, some are lovely sepia or black and white photographs from bygone days, while others are more recent, beautiful, brightly-coloured shots that show tea pickers on the estates, stunning landscapes, gently undulating fields of tea that sweep across the Sri Lankan countryside and closeups of tea processing inside the factories."
Jane Pettigrew - Tea Historian, Writer & Consultant
Click HERE to read the full Review
Published in 2020, this 336-page, hard-cover book is an extensive collection on Ceylon Tea production, by expert and experienced contributors from the plantation and scientific communities. This book is a mix of easy-to-read information sprinkled with technical data and contemporary and historical photography. From field to office, and from creeper to plantation manager, it is an A-Z manual on tea planting, which anyone remotely connected to the tea industry past and present would find absorbing. Indeed, it would make an ideal Christmas gift! The proceeds from the sale of each book go to the MJF Foundation’s Vocational Training Scholarships for Plantation Youth.

Australian consumers please click HERE

Others, please click HERE


Julia Margaret Cameron
Lord Tennyson, photographed by Julia Margaret Cameron



By George Braine

Some years ago, my sister, brother-in-law and I drove to the Dimbula area, visiting Anglican churches and graveyards looking for evidence of our ancestors. At the quaint St. Mary’s church at Bogawantalawa, we found the grave my grand uncle, Frank Wyndham Becher Braine, who had died on March 9, 1879, at only 11 months. We may have been the first family members to visit his grave in more than a hundred years.

That graveyard is also the resting place of a husband and wife, Charles Hay, and Julia Margaret Cameron. Julia, during and after her lifetime, has been described as “indefatigable”, “a centripetal force”, “a bully”, “queenly”, “a one-woman empire”, “infernal”, “hot to handle”, “omnipresent”, “a tigress”. She was “impatient and restive”, for whom “a single lifetime wasn’t enough”. Who was this remarkable Victorian? Why is she buried at Bogawantalawa?

Julia was born in Calcutta, in 1815, one of seven daughters of James Pattle of the Indian Civil Service. They belonged to the Anglo-Indian upper class and were all sent to France - their mother Adeline Marie was of the French aristocracy – for their education. The sisters were well accomplished and known for their “charm, wit, and beauty”, and “unconventional behavior and dress”: they conversed among themselves in Hindustani, even in England. They served curry. They all married well, four spouses being fellow Anglo-Indians in the civil service and military.

Julia lived at various times in England, France, back in India, South Africa, in India again, on the Isle of Wight, and finally in Ceylon. Travel to Cape Town in 1835 was for her health, after recovering from serious illnesses. Charles Hay Cameron, a distinguished legal scholar from Calcutta, was also in Cape Town, perhaps after a severe bout of malaria. They met and married back in Calcutta in 1838. Charles was twenty years her senior. Together, they raised eleven children, five of their own and the rest adopted.

Click HERE to read the full article


Standing (L-R) - Asoka & Amitha Herat, Malini & Anura Gunasekera
Seated - Manel & Derek Wickremasinghe


By Anura Gunasekera

In the latter part of 1971, whilst I was on Eskdale Estate, Kandapola, I received a letter from the estate agents, George Steuart & Co, transferring me to Chapelton Division of Kotiyagala, Bogawantalawa. My wife Malini and I were delighted at this unexpected directive as, at that time, Chapelton was a coveted Assistant Manager’s billet in the Standard Tea Company. Two weeks later, to our great disappointment, a second letter from the agents advised me of the cancellation of the move to Chapelton and, instead, confirmed my transfer to Sheen Group, Pundaluoya.

The sense of anti-climax was for twofold reasons. Firstly, the cancellation of the Chapelton transfer deprived me of an unexpected professional reward; secondly, the move to Sheen would bring me under Derek Wickremasinghe, then an estate superintendent with a well-earned reputation as a formidable disciplinarian and a very difficult master to please. However, In retrospect, as explained later in this writing, I came to the conclusion that the move to Sheen was the best thing that happened to me, professionally.
Derek Wickremasinghe’s entry to planting was, by his own account, unplanned and fortuitous. He had first schooled at St. Thomas’, Matale, and then moved to Trinity College, Kandy. He had been in Napier house and recalls sharing dormitory space with Maurice Hermon, later to become a well-known planter, himself. Leaving school in 1952, he had applied to the then Royal Ceylon Air Force, for a trainee pilot position. Subsequent to several interviews and evaluations, which included a flying aptitude test, for which he had been taken up in to air by one Flight Lieutenant Underhill, he and one Len Rajapakse had tied for first place, as provisional candidates for training at Cranwell, UK. At that time the Royal Ceylon Air Force Commander had been Grp Cpt Bladon.

To Derek’s consternation, his father had refused to give consent to Derek’s career as a pilot. Apparently, Gordon Burrows, famous Trinity teacher, had visited the Wickremasinghe home and done his best to change Wickremasinghe Snr’s mind, but to no avail. Burrows’ argument, that even British Royalty sent their progeny to Cranwell, had failed to move the elder Wickremasinghe.

Click HERE to read the full article.


Drayton Estate, Kotagala - Manager's Bungalow

Click HERE to view the album.


Hemannath Wickremesooriya

Click HERE to view the album


Photo of Palamcotta Estate, Rakwana taken in 1872. Sent in by Jack Wehner whose wife's great-grandfather David Mitchell owned the property at the time.

In Ceylon

  • Manufacture of first tea rolling machine by John Walker & Co. (Above is a generic photo of an old roller)

From around the Globe

  • Thomas Edison patents electric incandescent lamp.
  • The first electric streetlight is installed in Wabash, Indiana.
  • The first successful shipment of frozen mutton from Australia arrives in London, aboard the SS Strathleven.
  • Australian police capture bank robber Ned Kelly, after a gun battle at Glenrowan, Victoria.
  • The first cash register is patented by James and John Ritty of Dayton, Ohio.
  • Cologne Cathedral is completed, after construction began in 1248, 632 years earlier.
  • Building of Panama Canal begins.
  • British Parliament officially adopts Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
  • Best selling American novel "Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ" by soldier Lew Wallace is published.


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