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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

LINDSAY MEMORIAL SCHOOL

This is an excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

The KGF Boys’ School was established in 1900, by the John Taylor and Sons Company, to cater to the educational needs of the European and Anglo-Indian children, who were earlier tutored at home or “home schooled” by Nannies and Governesses brought in by the British Officers from the UK. These Home teachers or Governesses could impart only basic education to their wards, while other aspects of a proper school education were missing. A Primary School was first started in the year 1900 at Nandydroog Mine. It was known as the Kolar Gold Fields Boys School, Oorigaum. Subsequently it was upgraded to a Middle School and later into a High School. Eventually, the students appeared for the Lower Cambridge and Senior Cambridge Examinations. Later on when the school became a Government run institution the students appeared for the SSLC Exams.

The KGF Boy’s School continued to function in the original school premises since its inception. In the 1970s when the number of students increased considerably, the School building in Nandydroog Mine was unable to accommodate all the students. A decision was then taken to bifurcate the School into two entities.


The Junior School for Standards 1 to 7 functioned at the same premises in Nandydroog Mine and came to be known as The Parkinson Memorial School after Mrs Parkinson who was the Head Mistress from mid 1920s to the late 1940s.

The High School was shifted to a huge bungalow in Mysore Mine. This bungalow was earlier the residence of Mr J.K. Lindsey who was a former Managing Director of the Mines during the days of the John Taylor and Sons Company. It was a huge beautiful stone bungalow with a wrought Iron Stair case and solid carved stone pillars surrounded by about one and half acres of land This Bungalow could accommodate classes 8 to 10 and was renamed as The Lindsay Memorial High School after him.



However, after a few years, the High School was again shifted back to the old school premises in Nandydroog Mine. The beautiful old bungalow that housed the High School lay abandoned for some time till it became the office of the SC ST Association in Mysore Mine.

It now lies in shambles. The walls are crumbling and the doors and windows have been plundered for firewood. The wrought iron stair way was dismantled and no one knows who stole it. The whole building has been vandalized and only the stone structure remains as a grim reminder of the erstwhile school which used to hum with the voices of a thousand little boys.





Saturday, May 14, 2011

Micheal F Lavelle - the first prospector for gold in KGF

Had a very interesting and enjoyable evening as the guest author at the ibrowse Book club meeting at the Catholic Club. Thanks to Marianne for inviting me. I was very happy meeting all the members and especially Jacky Colaco and her Clan. The interaction on Lavelle Road and Oorgaum house in particular was very interesting and enlighte...ning. Jacky's grand parents Mr and Mrs P G D'souza bought Oorgaum house from Mr M F Lavelle, the first prospector for gold in KGF in the early 1900's.

Mr. Michael F.Lavelle was the first prospector for gold in the KGF Region in the 1850s. He later sold off his Mining License to the Kolar Concessionaires Soft Corporation and he returned to his residence at Bangalore Cantonment. His successful achievements in gold mining in Kolar and his subsequent affluence made him very popular among the English Residents at Bangalore. The British Commandant of the Bangalore Cantonment honoured him by naming the road where he lived as ‘Lavelle Road’. He also renamed his house as “Oorgaum House” after his first shaft that he sank in Urigaum, KGF as a reminder of his good fortune. Lavelle Road is still in existence even today. However, many residents of Bangalore in general and Lavelle Road in particular, are unaware of the interesting history of Lavelle Road!!! Just like KGF, the history of Lavelle Road will one day sink into oblivion. 
Mr. and Mrs P G D'souza bought Oorgaum house from Mr M F Lavelle, in the early 1900's. The whole property of 3 acres was later divided among the 17 children of Mr and Mrs P G D'souza and the place is known as D'souza Layout. The apartments built on the property is named Oorgaum house.



This is a photograph of Mr Michael F Lavelle's Bungalow named OORGAUM HOUSE which was bought by the D'souza family. THIS PHOTOGRAPH WAS SHARED BY JACKY COLACO, THE GRAND DAUGHTER OF MR P G D'SOUZA
For those who do not know who Mr Lavelle is and how he's connected to KGF, here is a small explanation:
 THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK - KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE
In 1850, an Irish Soldier, named Michael F. Lavelle, from Bangalore Cantonment, who had recently retired from the British Army, heard about these native mines in a place named Kolar some distance from Bangalore. Michael F. Lavelle had served in the regiment that fought against Tippu Sultan in Srirangapatnam, near Mysore. Since he had nothing better to do, as he had retired from active military duty, he decided to explore the Kolar region and see for himself if the information was true. It is said that he traveled by Bullock Cart from his residence in Bangalore Cantonment to the present day KGF. He was accompanied by his trusted Man Friday. It took him almost a fortnight to traverse the distance of around 60 miles to KGF.
When he reached the place, he was pleasantly surprised to see that the rumours were indeed true. He found old mining equipment and abandoned pits that went down several feet all over the area.
He explored the entire area thoroughly with the help of the local people and acquainted himself with the workings in the abandoned mining pits. He was now fully convinced that the place was a Gold Mine (no pun intended) and that he could make his fortune in this place. He decided therefore to hunt for gold and other precious metals himself. Accordingly, he applied to the Mysore British Government and obtained exclusive prospecting rights from them for mining coal and other metals in 1873 for a period of 20 years. He began mining operations by sinking his first shaft near Urigaum (Oorgaum).
However, even though Mr. M F Lavelle, was successful in mining a little amount of gold, he did not strike as much gold as he had anticipated. He also didn’t have enough money to mine intensively. He then cleverly decided to sell his mining rights for a good sum, as he was the only person who possessed the exclusive rights to mine it. The news spread as he had intended and though many personalities and consortiums contacted him, the offers he received were not up to his expectations.




The following year, a small Syndicate known as the Kolar Concessionaires Soft Corporation and Arbuthnot Company of Madras, heard of Mr. Lavelle’s activities and approached him to sell his mining license to them.



Mr. Lavelle took this opportunity and negotiated with them, for quite a good amount. After obtaining the approval of the Mysore British Government, he transferred all his rights and concessions to this Syndicate known as the Kolar Concessionaries formed by Major General G. de la Poer Beresford and some of his friends.
Mr. Michael F.Lavelle was now a rich man with all the money he got for the sale of his Mining License from the Kolar Concessionaires Soft Corporation and he returned to his residence at Bangalore Cantonment. His successful achievements in gold mining in Kolar and his subsequent affluence made him very popular among the English Residents at Bangalore.
The British Commandant of the Bangalore Cantonment honoured him by naming the road where he lived as ‘Lavelle Road’. He also renamed his house as “Oorgaum House” after his first shaft that he sank in Urigaum, KGF as a reminder of his good fortune. Lavelle Road is still in existence even today. However, many residents of Bangalore in general and Lavelle Road in particular, are unaware of the interesting history of Lavelle Road!!! Just like KGF, the history of Lavelle Road will one day sink into oblivion.