St. Thomas' College, Matara

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Coordinates: 6°3′10.37″N 80°12′17.01″E / 6.0528806°N 80.2047250°E / 6.0528806; 80.2047250

St. Thomas' College, Matara
St. Thomas' College crest.jpg

MottoPerseverando Vinces
(Perseverance conquers all)
Established10 March 1844
FounderRev Fr. N. J. Ondatjee
PrincipalW. B. Piyathissa
GradesPrimary to G.C.E. (A/L)
Age6 to 19
Enrollmentover 4000
Colour(s)Chocolate and Light Blue         
AffiliationAnglican (one of the first Anglican Missionaries in Sri Lanka)

St. Thomas' College is a government primary and secondary school for boys in Matara, Sri Lanka which is located in the heart of Matara city. The College was initially founded as a private Anglican school by Christian Missionary Society of England (founded by one of the first Anglican Missionaries in Sri Lanka, Rev. Fr. N. J. Ondatjee) [1] in Wellamadama, Dondra, Sri Lanka in 1844. It presently has over 4000 enrolled students studying from primary level to secondary level education.


St. Thomas' College Matara was founded by the Christian Missionary Society of England in 1844. The main concern of the various missionary bodies in Sri Lanka during the early period of British rule was the determination to give their students a sound English education. As a result of this St. Thomas' School later to become a secondary school in 1914 as St. Thomas' College commenced in a bungalow in the village of Wellamadama, the current location of the University of Ruhuna.

The school was founded by one of the first Anglican Missionaries in Sri Lanka, Rev. Fr. N. J. Ondatjee in 1844 with a few students and three teachers.

In the year 1960 St. Thomas' College was vested in the Government after a long period of missionary control. K. B. Jayasuriya became the first principal under Government administration.

The J. E. M. Fernando, K. B. Jayasuriya and E. A. de L. W. Samarasinghe reactivated the college's old boys association, which was defunct after its inauguration by S. J. Gunasekeram in 1934. B. D. Jayasekera designed the college flag and the crest in the early part of the 20th century.

Kumaratunga Munidasa taught Sinhala language and literature at the school. He once expressed his enthusiasm for his alma-mater by writing the following phrase in his book, Kiyawana Nuwana, which is used as a text book in the school in the second form: "Among countries one which resembles the Island of Sri Lanka and among its cities, one which in Sri Lanka to Matara and among its schools, one which could stimulates St. Thomas' who will be able to emulate."

The school is one of the oldest cricket playing school in the island and plays the St. Thomas'–St. Servatius Cricket Encounter with St. Servatius' College. This is the second oldest cricket encounter in the island, also known as the "Battle of the Blues" or Battle of the Ruhunu. St. Thomas' College also introduced scouting and cadeting to Matara.

Past principals[edit]

  • Rev. N. J. Ondatjee
  • Rev. A. Dias Abeysinghe
  • Rev. J. S. Lyle
  • Rev. F. H. De Winton
  • Rev. F. D. Edirisinghe
  • Clement La-brooy
  • A. W. Wijesinghe
  • J. W. Bultjens
  • R. C. Reginold
  • L. A. Arndt
  • S. J. Gunasekeram
  • J. C. Handy
  • M. S. Soloman
  • Rev. C. C. P. Arulpragasam
  • Rev. R. V. L. Pereira
  • J. E. M. Fernando
  • K. B. Jayasuriya
  • E. A. De L. W. Samarasinghe
  • B. G. Sisira
  • Ratnasiri Suraweera
  • W. B. Piyathissa

College Anthem[edit]

Our School is old in story

Her record fair as long

So, young and old and hoary,

Come join in rousing song!

Hurrah, again hurra-ah,

Hurrah, while still we say

Saint Thomas’ for ever,

Saint Thomas' for aye!

We boast not of our merit

All credit we disclaim,

Our pride is we inherit

A fair untarnished name.

We’ll endeavour to maintain it,

while deed and word proclaim

Saint Thomas' for ever

Saint Thomas' for aye!

In playing field and class room

Our heads we’ll carry high,

We’ll yield no shred of honour

In loss or victory,

Then "Vinces" be our motto

"Perseverando" cry

Saint Thomas’ forever

Saint Thomas’ for aye!


Saint Thomas‘ we uphold her honour everywhere

Let east or west or north attest

That we are Thomians ture!

Whatever our estate

We unite to celebrate

The Chocolate and Light Blue!

Saint Thomas’ she is our proudest fondest boast

Our Hearts o ‘erfiow, our spirits glow

With pride and loyalty!

Her faithful children we,

Strong in unity

Until one day we prove the Pride of Lanka!

The school song was composed by L. A. Arndt, a former principal (1931 - 1933)

College houses[edit]

College houses' names and colours:

  • Bulljans : Red     
  • Dias : Blue     
  • Ondatjee : Yellow     
  • Edirisinghe : Green     


St. Thomas'–St. Servatius Cricket Encounter[edit]

St. Thomas-St. Servatius Cricket Encounter (known as Battle of the Blues (Matara) or Battle of the Ruhunu) is the annual school cricket match played between St. Thomas' College, Matara and St. Servatius' College played since 1900.This is the second oldest cricket encounter in the island which has won the hearts of the common people not only in Matara but even the rural folks of the deep south. People from all parts of the southern province rush to witness this big match every year which is popularly known as the Battle of the Ruhunu of Ruhuna. and also second Battle of the Blues in the Sri Lanka. It is second only to the Royal-Thomian annual cricket encounter. The match has been played as a 3 day game since 2000, which was the centenary match.

Thomas - Rahula Football Encounter[edit]

The annual Thomas-Rahula Football Encounter' or "Battle of Golden Ensigns" football Match is played between St. Thomas' College, Matara and Rahula College. It is one of the first annual inter-school football matches in Sri Lanka.

Clubs and societies[edit]

  • Health Club
  • Green Hands Club
  • Board of Prefects
  • Debating Society
  • Buddhist Society
  • Birds Club
  • Social Services Association
  • Muslim Majlis
  • Science Association
  • Red Cross Unit
  • Cadetting
  • Commerce Society
  • English Literary Unit
  • Media Unit
  • Road Safety Association
  • Western Band
  • First Aid Unit

Notable alumni[edit]

List of alumni of St. Thomas' College, Matara;

Name Year/degree Notability Reference
Madihe Pannaseeha Thero Buddhist monk (head Amarapura sect 1969–2003)
Kumaratunga Munidasa linguist, poet, author, journalist
Cyril de Zoysa President of the Senate of Ceylon (1960–1965), industrialist, philanthropist
Jabez Gnanapragasam Anglican Bishop of Colombo (1987–1992)
Chandrasiri Gajadeera member Parliament Matara (1994–2001, 2004–present)
Senerat Gunewardene member State Council of Ceylon (1936–1947), member Parliament Gampola (1947–1948)
Indika de Saram international cricket player (1999–2000)
Prabath Nissanka international cricket player (2001–2003)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]