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St. Thomas' College, Matara

Coordinates: 5°56′54″N 80°32′38″E / 5.94833°N 80.54389°E / 5.94833; 80.54389
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St. Thomas' College

Coordinates5°56′54″N 80°32′38″E / 5.94833°N 80.54389°E / 5.94833; 80.54389
TypeGovernment public school
MottoPerseverando Vinces (Perseverance conquers all)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
Established10 March 1844; 180 years ago (1844-03-10)
FounderN. J. Ondatjee
PrincipalP. A. Weerakkody
GradesPrimary to GCE A/L
Age6 to 19
Colour(s)Chocolate brown and light blue   
Song"Saint Thomas' forever"[1]
RivalSt. Servatius College, Matara, Rahula College, Matara Richmond College, Galle
AffiliationAnglican Church of Ceylon (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. The college was initially founded in 1844 as a private Anglican school by Rev. Fr. N. J. Ondatjee, a missionary of the Christian Missionary Society of England,[2] in Wellamadama, Dondra. It presently has over 3,600+ enrolled students studying primary to secondary education.


St. Thomas' College 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 in Ceylon was providing English education. As a result of this, St. Thomas' School later became 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. [citation needed]

The school was founded by one of the first Anglican missionaries, Rev. Fr. N. J. Ondatjee, in 1844 with a few students and three teachers. Odantjee was later succeeded by others, including Kumaratunga Munidasa, who promoted Sinhala language and literature. In 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. 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 20th century.[2]

The Buddhist shrine room constructed at the college premises by the Old Boys Association in 1999 was inaugurated by Madihe Pannaseeha Thero, a Buddhist priest and also a past student of the college.[citation needed]

The school is one of the oldest cricket-playing schools in the island and plays St. Thomas'–St. Servatius Cricket Encounter with St. Servatius' College. This is the second oldest cricket encounter in the island, also known as the Southern Battle of the Blues or Battle of the Ruhunu. [citation needed]

Past principals[edit]

  • N. J. Ondatjee (1844–1848)
  • Abraham Dias Abeysinghe (1848–1852)
  • John Stevensen Lyle (1852 –1854)
  • F. H. De Winton (1854–1856)
  • Fedrick Dias Edirisinghe (1856–1858)
  • Quancy Adams (1858 – 1860)
  • Clement La–brooy (1860–1865)
  • A. W. Wijesinghe (1865–1866)
  • W.E.Ferdinando (1866–1872)
  • R.O. Macalam (1872–1878)
  • F.K. Dency (1878–1884)
  • J. W. Bultjens (1884–1890)
  • R. C. Reginold (1890–1896)
  • L. A. Arndt (1896–1902)
  • S. J. Gunasekeram (1902 – 1903)
  • C.P. Fernando (1903–1910)
  • J. C. Handy (1910–1915)
  • M. S. Solomon (1915–1925)
  • P.S.Adams (1925–1934)
  • C. C. P. Arulpragasam (1934–1944)
  • R. V. L. Pereira (1944–1952)
  • J. E. M. Fernando (1952–1959)

Government Principals

  • K. B. Jayasuriya (1960–1975)
  • E. A. De L. W. Samarasinghe (1975–1985)
  • B. G. Sisira (1985–1999)
  • Ratnasiri Suraweera (1999–2011)
  • W. B. Piyathissa (2011–2021)
  • T. L. Dayashantha (2021–2022 )
  • P. A. Weerakkodi (2022–)

College anthem[edit]

The school song was composed by Leonard Archibald Arndt (1889–1955), the school's principal between 1931 and 1933.[citation needed]

College houses[edit]

There are four student houses in the college, named after four past principals. They are:

  • Bultjens : Red  
  • Dias  : Blue  
  • Ondatjee : Yellow  
  • Edirisinhe : Green  



The St. Thomas-St. Servatius Cricket Encounter, also known as Battle of the Blues or Battle of the Ruhunu, is the annual school cricket match played between St. Thomas' College, Matara and St. Servatius' College since 1900. This is the second oldest cricket encounter on the island. [citation needed] The match has been played as a 3-day game since 2000, which was the centenary match.[citation needed]


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. [citation needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

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

Name Notability Reference
Senerat Gunewardene Ceylon's first Permanent Representative to United Nations, member Parliament Gampola (1947–1948) and Ceylon's High Commissioner to United Kingdom (1961–1963) [3]
Justin Wijayawardhene Member Parliament Matara (1960) Founding member of the United National Party
Badi-ud-din Mahmud Member Parliament Matara (1963–1977) and Minister of Education (1970–1977)
Chandrasiri Gajadeera Member Parliament Matara (1994–2001, 2004–2019)
Weerasumana Weerasinghe Member Parliament Matara (2019–present)
Public Services
Madihe Pannaseeha Thero Buddhist monk (head Amarapura sect 1969–2003)
Cyril de Zoysa President of the Senate of Ceylon (1960–1965), industrialist, philanthropist
Jabez Gnanapragasam Anglican Bishop of Colombo (1987–1992)
P. B. Illangasinghe Sri Lankan notary public and musicologist
Kumaratunga Munidasa linguist, poet, author, journalist
Desmond de Silva Singer [4]
Tissa Nagodavithana Film preservationist
Indika de Saram International cricket player (1999–2000)
Prabath Nissanka International cricket player (2001–2003)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "School Song". Thomians' Science Society. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  2. ^ a b de Silva, Kamal (10 March 2004). "S. Thomas' College Matara is 160". The Daily News. Archived from the original on 18 February 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Our Heritage – How the Soviet Union kept on vetoing". The Sunday Times. 14 December 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  4. ^ memes127en (9 January 2022). "Desmond de Silva dead and obituary, Legendary singer Desmond de Silva passes away". MRandom News. Retrieved 13 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]