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Wednesday, November 13, 2013


When we were kids growing up in KGF, we didn't have fancy water filters or refrigerators to store bottles of water for Drinking Water in those days. Our drinking water was always stored in a Mud Pot which was placed on a special stand in a corner of the Dining Room. Here is a picture of one such mud drinking water pot.

The water stored in these earthen / mud pots was alsways cool and sweet and had a lovely earthy taste. This cool water was filled into glass jugs and placed on the side board, with a set of tumblers for us to use whenever we felt thirsty.
There was also another type of mud goglet that was also very handy and in much use in the old days. We also had these mud goglets at home, which were much smaller than the water pots and could be carried easily. In fact in those days, many people carried these goglets along with them on train journeys.
Here is a picture of this old earthen drinking water goglet below

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The KGF Mining Rescue Team was considered to be the best mining rescue team in the whole country in the olden days and the team won many awards and citations. This is the picture of the Rescue Team which won the Barraclough Challenge Shield in the All India Mines Rescue Competition in 1955.

There were several instances of tragic and fatal accidents inside the mines that left many workers physically handicapped and incapacitated. Several times, there was loss of lives due to the Rock Bursts or Air Blasts. The Rock Bursts during the 1920s and 30s and the massive Rock Burst in 1952, claimed many lives as quite a few miners were buried alive.

When the Air Blasts occurred under ground, several miners would get trapped inside the tunnels and die due to suffocation and injuries. The passages and tunnels get blocked due to landslides.
The John Taylor and Sons Company formed a dedicated rescue team which would immediately get into action to rescue workers trapped underground due to mining accidents and disasters such as rock bursts, fires, explosions, cave-ins, flooding of the mines etc. The KGF Mining Rescue Team was thus established in 1923. The Rescue Station was housed in a building quite close to the Oorgaum Station Railway crossing a short distance away from the Nandydroog Mine Offices.
The Rescue Team was always on call 24 x 7, to attend to any emergencies both underground and on the surface. The team was well versed in all rescue procedures and specially trained to rescue miners trapped underground with minimum time loss. They were fully trained in rendering timely First Aid and in the use of the Proto Safety equipment, SABC Breathing sets etc, especially when the miners were suffocated due to lack of oxygen on account of landfalls, fire, smoke, toxic mine gases, etc.
The KGF Rescue Team was soon considered to be the best mining rescue team in the country and won many awards and citations. A picture of the team which won the Barraclough Challenge Shield in the All India Mines Rescue Competition in 1955 is appended hereto.

Friday, September 27, 2013




For those Foot Ball Fans especially supporters of the Chelsea Football Club, here is some Trivia about Desmond Leonard Dolding (13 December 1922 – 23 November 1954) an English footballer and cricketer who was born in our very own Kolar Gold Fields.
The English Football Giant, Chelsea Football Club had the distinction of having four Indian born Football players including a player who was born in Kolar Gold Fields who have represented their club during the yesteryears. Len Dolding was born in Kolar Gold Fields and played 27 games For Chelsea Football Club in the three years after the Second World War.
Born on 13th December 1922 in Nandydroog Mine, KGF, South India, Len Dolding served as a
bomb-aimer in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was a fine footballer playing as a winger for Chelsea Football Club (27 league appearances in 1946 - 1948) and Norwich City (12 appearances.
He was also a Cricketer and played for MCC for about seven years as a right-arm leg-break bowler. He was the 12th Man for the England Team in the Lord's Test of 1949. Sadly, he died at the age of 32 years  in a Car Accident on 23rd November 1954 in Wembley UK.  The Football and Cricket Scene lost one of their most talented Footballers and Cricketers.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


This article from the Deccan Herald on the 13th September is quite humourous. It also high lights how versatile and willy our KGF locals are when it comes to suiting their own convenience.
On the jouney back to Marikuppam, there are invariably 4 or 5 unscheduled stops  caused by pulling the alarm chain in the train when the train reaches a certain locality or area. These passengers get "dropped" right at their doorsteps. Once the train stops, these "train stoppers" or "alarm chain pullers" just jump off the train, then very kindly pull the string to reset the chain and let the train carry on to its destination Marikuppam. The "Fine" for unauthorised stoppage of trains by pulling the Alarm Chain is Rs.1000/- but since the Chain pullers escape under cover of darkness, the Railway Protection Force is deprived of a nice fat amount!
I'm sharing the article below

Thursday, September 12, 2013


The Anglo-Indian Community in KGF had quite an active social life in the early days of KGF. They loved having parties and get togethers. Card games, Bridge and Whist Sessions were a regular past time in their homes when 3 or 4 families got together. Card Sessions and Whist Drives were also regularly arranged in the Clubs and Associations. They were all passionately fond of music and dancing.
Almost every person was musically inclined, and they played a variety of instruments. The English Grand Piano was the prized possession in many homes besides a number of musical instruments such as guitars, banjos, drums etc. Many of them were proud owners of a 2 band Radio and a gramophone or Radiogram. Records of old favorites such as ‘O Sol Mio’, ‘Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread’, etc, were very popular in those days.
They had a number of Rhymes and Ditties that they sang at parties and get-togethers. Any occasion warranted a party with much sing-song and dance. Parties at home were jolly, riotous affairs with everybody lustily singing old-time favorites such as ‘Roll Out the Barrel’, ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’, ‘She’ll be coming down the Mountain’, ‘Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree’, ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’, etc, accompanied by someone on the piano or Guitar or banjo. There would be much clapping of hands, stamping of feet and beating of pots and pans to keep time. The singing got lustier as the party wore on with the amount of booze being consumed. Their spirits rose higher as ‘the spirits’ went in!!!
Country Music was also a hot Anglo-Indian favorite besides Rock and Roll and Jazz. Most Anglo-Indian children grew up listening to these country songs on the radio or the lucky few who owned records and LPs played them on their gramophones or Radiograms. Popular Country songs in those days were ‘You’re the reason our kids are so ugly’, ‘All my Exs’ live in Texas’, ‘Cotton fields’, ‘She got the ring and I got the finger’, ‘Who’s gonna take the garbage out when I’m gone’, ‘At the Gas station of love, I got the self-service pump’ etc, etc.
Some of the Anglo-Indian boys looked and dressed like the popular film stars of that time such as Clark Gable and later like Elvis and Cliff Richards, sporting the same hair styles and side locks, while the girls resembled the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Doris Day and other Holly wood actresses with their distinctive features and fair skins. Jam Sessions, Pound parties, Go-Go Dances, Socials and Cultural Evenings were regularly organized, and there
was no dearth of entertainment for the Community in KGF in the 1940s to 60s. Sadly the KGF of today is very different to those wonderful times.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Jon Manley keeps in touch with me occasionally and shares a lot of interesting and amusing incidents that he remembers of his childhood in KGF during the 1950s. I’m sharing one such incident below. This will give the readers an insight into the life of the people in KGF in the days of the John Taylor and Sons Company.

Hi Bridget,
 I recalled the other day this story my mother told of a dinner party my parents gave, for around a dozen guests. It must have been around 1950, and thought you might find it amusing.
Dinner parties in those days were very 'swank' affairs. The men all wore tuxedos and black ties, and the women all gowns. Our butler Anthony would have been in his finest starched uniform, and would have worn a fine turban sporting some amazing decoration in the front, and a drinks waiter would have been hired from the club for the night, us children put to bed and told not to make a sound. I don't recall the menu but suspect it would have been something like iced cucumber soup, followed by roast beef and baked vegetables, and one of those delightful Indian sweets for dessert. Wine would have been on offer with coffee and liquors.
I don't recall names, but will put in a few of people around at the time who would have attended my parent’s dinner parties. During one of these Dinner Parties, a Mrs. Boadhurst said to my mother, "Molly those candlesticks you have as a table centerpiece look just like the ones my brother Albert gave Stan and me as a wedding present", Then Mrs. Connie Walker said, "Molly, those salt and pepper shakers are just like some we bought years ago in London", a Mrs. Stella Dunlop then said, "That carvery set reminds me of one we have which is just like it", and so the conversation went. My mother was most embarrassed, as she had never seen any of these items before herself.
The Butler Anthony was summoned into the room, and asked if he could throw any light on how these items had come to be on our table. He replied, "Yes Madam, I knew you wanted to impress, so I got Mrs. Broadhurst's and Mrs. Walker's and Mrs. Dunlop's butlers, to contribute towards the evening, with what fine pieces of table-ware they had. Don't worry they will all be returned first thing in the morning, and no one would normally have been any the wiser". My mother was shocked to hear this. Never the less, our butler Anthony was told that this practice had to stop forthwith, and in future any borrowing would be done only through her, direct to the lady of the other house. I dare say everyone had a good laugh, and a fine evening was had by all.
Nice to have heard from you Bridget,
Kind regards
Jon Manley

Monday, August 12, 2013


I have lots of fond memories of the Shandy Day in KGF. When we were young we would accompany my dad to the Market in Robertsonpet as a treat on Sundays. The Market was named as Mahatma Gandhi Market. Sunday was ‘Shandy Day’ and the market was always filled with people. Traders would come in from all the nearby villages to sell their produce. Everything was quite cheap in those days. My dad would buy fresh vegetables and fruit required for the week and we would help to carry the bags.

 The sights and smells and the hustle and bustle of the market as soon as one stepped in was so exciting. It was a joy to see the mounds of fresh vegetables, fruits, bags of pulses, grains, sugar sweets, fried savouries, etc besides shops selling Plastic toys and games for just a couple of Rupees. Choosing what toy to buy with our pocket money of Two Rupees was quite a decision and we had to weigh the merits of a plastic or paper windmill against a spinning top or plastic gun.
After the vegetable and grocery shopping was over, our next stop would be at Aleem Bakery or Omar Bakery for cool drinks and hot chicken or vegetable puffs. (I don’t think they made somasas as in those days) We’d then buy buns and coconut biscuits and muffins to take home. The coconut muffins in Omar’s Bakery were especially nice as the muffins were filled with sweet, juicy coconut shavings and the outer pastry would just melt in our mouths!! The sponge cakes and Fairy cakes too were light and delicious.
Jewel Coffee Powder Centre was just next to Aleem Bakery and my dad usually stopped there to buy the week’s requirement of coffee powder and tea leaves. The smell of fresh,  just roasted coffee beans was just heaven!! With our bags laden with all the stuff that we bought in town, we’d take a jatka ride back to our house in Nandydroog Mine. It was time to wait for another week before we went to the Market again.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I have some very vivid childhood  memories of the ‘Aadi Karthigai or Adi Kirthigai’ Festival  or the KAVADI Festival in KGF
The Aadi Karthigai or Adi Kirthigai Festival was celebrated very grandly by the Tamilian Population in KGF during Tamil Hindu month of ‘Aadi’.  Aadi Karthigai is celebrated on Kirthigai Nakshatra day of the Tamil Calendar which is mid July to mid August. This festival  honours Lord Murga who is also known as Lord Subramanya.The Community venerated Lord Murgan in a big temple in Thiruthini, which is a place in Tamil   Nadu. The beautiful temple of Lord Muruga at Tiruttani is around 84 kilometers from Chennai. Every year they would go on pilgrimage  to this temple in Thirutanni to fulfill their vows.
The devotees who made a vow to carry the ‘kavadi’ were dressed in yellow or ochre clothes and  had to carry a heavy York balanced on their shoulders filled with flowers and other items required for performing the Puja. Sometimes they pierced their cheeks and bodies with long metal skewers and smeared their bodies with Turmeric, Vermilion and Ash. The kavadi itself is a physical burden through which the devotees implore Lord Murga for help and to grant their intentions. The kavadi consists of two semicircular pieces of wood or steel which are bent and attached to a cross structure that can be balanced on the shoulders of the devotee, decorated with flowers, peacock feathers, etc. The Kavadis are quite heavy and some can weigh up to 30 kg. The preparations for this ritual start before the festival. The devotees purge themselves of all mental and physical impurities. They have to follow a strict vegetarian diet and fast on the day they offer the puja. Many of them bathe in cold water during this period and shave their heads on the Aadi Kirithigai Day

In my childhood days, I remember that special trains were arranged by the Railways besides a fleet of Government and private buses to enable the devotees from KGF who were performing the ‘KAVADI’ to travel from KGF to Thiruthini. The same trains and buses would also bring them back to KGF.

The streets of KGF especially around the Workers Colonies would be vibrant and colourful during this period with special prayers being offered to the diety in the Pandals erected at every corner. Loud speakers blaring devotional songs to the Lord and mass feeding were common. Just before it was time to board the special trains or buses to take them to Thiruthini, huge processions of devotees carrying the kavadis preceded by a group of persons beating drums and followed by throngs of people would wend their way to the 4 Railway stations of KGF and the bus stops. The sight of the devotees carrying the heavy kavadis and the followers in the procession uttering the sacred words "Haro Hara!" as they marched and danced in time to the drum beats was a sight to behold. One had to see it to believe it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


For some real Nostalgia this time I'm posting all the old pieces of furniture that were so much part of our homes in KGF in the old days - Huge Teak wardrobes, Teak wood Four Poster Beds, Sofas and Recliners, Dressing Tables and Chest of Drawers, wooden Laundry Boxes, etc were some indispensible items of furniture in almost every home in KGF. Besides all these pieces of furniture, most homes had a Planter’s Chair. This was a reclining wood and cane chair with arms that could be extended. The man of the house or the grand father would be the privileged one to recline on it and relax. This comfortable piece of furniture was generally kept in the verandah so that the person reclining in it would be able to watch the world go by

A meat safe was a compulsory piece of furniture in Anglo-Indian homes in the olden days and every family a couple of them. The Meat Safes were wooden storage cupboards with wire mesh on all four sides. The cooked food and milk was usually stored in them to keep fresh over night  as there were no refrigerators at that time. The ‘Meat Safe or Food Safe’ was also quite necessary to protect the food from cats and mice as well. The Meat Safe is now a part of history as it is rarely seen in homes these days.

Another kitchen appendage that has also disappeared with the older generation is the ‘Wooden Provision or Ration Box / Chest which occupied pride of place in the passage just outside the kitchen door. This Provision Chest / Box  was about 5 feet in height and 4 feet in breadth and housed tins of the various provisions and condiments that were required for Anglo-Indian cooking.  It was divided into many compartments for rice, and dry provisions such as Dhal / Lentils, Red Chillies, Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, spices, jaggery, etc. While these ingredients / provisions, gave out their own unique smells, a combination of all of them together was just heavenly. The smell from my Nana’s Provision Box still lingers in my mind even after all these years!!

In the old days, their kitchens were warm and cozy places, with a pot of stew or soup always on the hob so that a meal was always ready to be served to anyone who dropped in. Most of the Anglo-Indian ladies in KGF were excellent cooks and were adept in baking a variety of cakes and pastries. The enticing aromas of food cooking on the hobs and cakes baking in the ovens were always part of an Anglo-Indian Home.

Monday, July 15, 2013


In the 1970s when the number of students increased considerably, the KGF Boy’s 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 or BGML BOY’S HIGH SCHOOL was shifted to a huge bungalow in Mysore Mine / Marikuppam . 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.


The high standard of education imparted in the KGF Boy’s School was maintained right through the years ever since the inception of the School and is evident from this Extract from a School Inspection Report  by the Joint D.P.I. dated 14th August 1982, which is appended hereto:

However, after a few years, the High School was again shifted back to the old school premises in Nandydroog Mine (The Parkinson Memorial Premises). 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.

Mr. Lindsay’s Bungalow which housed the Lindsay Memorial School,  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.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The Supreme Court on Tuesday 9th July 2013, approved the Central Government of India's Decision to invite Global Tenders for restarting the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd at Kolar Gold Fields which was shut down more than a decade ago. The Compnay who wins the tender would have to settle all the pending dues including paying the workers their gratuity and other dues.
Tuesday's Supreme Court Direction is the culmination of a prolonged Court Battle which is a victory for the workers.
This is the News Item in the Deccan Herald about the Supreme Court Order on the reopening of the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, KGF. A rainbow has appeared on the KGF horizon. Let us all hope and pray for good times to come especially for the workers.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013


The Monsoon season was the season of heavy rains followed by  Rainbows in KGF. The Monsoon season or the Rainy Season in KGF began in the first week of June and continued till the beginning of September. I personally felt as a child that it was the best season of the year and it certainly was not to be wasted indoors. I always felt that it was a very special season of the year with the sight of the rainbow after the rains. The Monsoon rains made   everything fresh and green which brought a new life everywhere.

The first rains of the season made a welcome change after the long summer months and brought smiles of joy on everyone’s faces. The smell of the dry earth getting drenched with the first drops of rain was so intoxicating. All the streets and roads which were dusty during the summer months were washed clean and the fresh tender green leaves on all the trees seem to smile and enjoy the rain.

The monsoon season also bought out the Thunder Lillies in the garden – pink, yellow, white and mauve. Every time the thunder lilies bloomed, it was sure to rain that day!!! The big Fire Ball lilies also made their appearance around the same time. These huge Balls comprising tiny red flowers bloomed in a bunch like a ball and added to the profusion of colour in our garden
The Monsoon Season  brings back fond memories of lazy rainy days, and of the four of us splashing in the puddles of rain water and sailing paper boats in them. It was fun dressing in our raincoats and
caps and trying to have races with our paper boats before they collapsed in the rain. Even the botheration of wearing a raincoat and carrying an umbrella couldn’t take away the fun of walking in the rain. We’d purposely get drenched on the way back from school. It was fun splashing in the puddles and sailing paper boats. When it rained hail stones, we got very excited and didn’t mind getting soaked when collecting the hailstones. Mummy of course, would go ballistic and shout at us to come in out of the rain as we’d get sick.

Another memory associated with the monsoon is the smell of roasting Indian Corn and Ground Nuts over hot charcoal. The Indian Corn or ‘Makacholam’ Seller had the live coals in an iron basin on his cart and he’d continuously blow on the coals to keep them alive while roasting the corn. When the corn was nicely roasted, he would then apply a green masala paste with a stick on the Roasted Corn and liberally squeeze lime juice over it. The roasted corn eaten with the green masala and lime juice on it was heavenly. My mouth still waters just writing about it.

The ground nut seller too had a small Sigri or a Coal stove on his cart and he roasted the ground nuts in a large iron pan placed over it. He continuously stirred the ground nuts in their shells with a long iron ladle and the sound of the ladle touching the sides of the pan continuously had a distinctive sound. Even now after all these years the aroma of roasting Corn and groundnuts brings back many happy memories of my childhood.

My mum would sometimes buy the raw Indian corn and ground nuts from the market and boil them at home for us with a little pepper and salt. She would also dab a little butter on the hot corn to give it a very delightful taste. The enticing smell of boiling corn or groundnuts would engulf the whole house and make our mouths water and our stomachs rumble with the anticipation of eating them.

The monsoons also brought its own travails. Sometimes if the rains were too heavy, it would flatten all our flowering plants and destroy all the beautiful flowers and roses in our garden. After a heavy show we’d see a carpet of fallen petals and leaves on the ground. The Mali would have a tough time clearing up all the fallen leaves, branches and debris. He’d also have to fix all the plants that had fallen down and tie them to new supports, and clip away the dead flowers.

Another disadvantage of the monsoon season was that the heavy clothes especially the pants and shirts that my dad wore to work underground in the mines, wouldn’t dry in a hurry and remain damp and wet for days together. We had no washing machines in those days, so all the clothes were washed on the washing stones and hung in the sun to dry. With no sun appearing for a few days, the clothes had to dry on makeshift stands inside the house and took ever so long to dry. It also smelt musty and disgusting.

The monsoons brought out a lot of creatures and insects as well. It was not uncommon to see garden snakes, lizards and other creepy crawlies slithering about in the open. Insects that come out in the monsoons normally have a short life span and we’d see them only during the months of June to October which is their mating season. Big black Bully Ants, red Ants, White ants, etc, were some of them that made their appearance and gave us a little trouble. The mosquitoes too seemed to increase and multiply during this season and they brought along their own misery.

In the evenings just as the lights were switched on, hordes of flying insects like big ants with white wings would flutter near the light bulbs. The yellow light of the street lights and people’s verandah lights attracted them. The next morning we’d see a carpet of dead insects with their wings detached lying around the lamp posts. Sometimes, they managed to invade the inside of our house and flutter near the drawing room centre light. We called these insects ‘Icheils’. My mum  would fill a big basin full of water and place it on the floor directly in line with the centre light. We’d switch off all the other lights and the Icheils would see the reflection of the light in the water and try to fly into the basin of water and get drowned. Once we were rid of them we’d empty the basin of water with the dead insects in the garden. These Icheils didn’t bite or sting us but they were extremely annoying flying about everywhere. The got into our hair and if we weren’t careful they got into our nose and mouth as well!

The monsoon time was also the mating season for frogs. Soon after the first over night showers of rain filled up the shallow pools, the frogs would make their appearance in our garden and in the open spaces around our house. The male frogs had their own peculiar cry which sounded like ‘Rivet, Rivet’. This cry was heard all through the day and night for the duration of the monsoon. We’d see a variety of frogs in our garden during the rainy season which we didn’t see at other times during the year.

The Monsoons also brought in sickness and illness in the form of colds, flu, fever, sore throats, coughs, etc. Our Company Hospital would be packed with people with these ailments and the doctors were kept really busy attending to patients.

 This Childhood Memories of the Monsoons in KGF article is an excerpt from my book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


The KGF Mines were supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!


From the inception of the Kolar Gold Mines in 1880 until the year 1902 all the machinery in the Kolar Gold Mines were worked by steam power. Feeling the need for captive electric power, The John Taylor and Sons Company prevailed upon the British Government in Mysore to provide Electric power to the Company to meet its huge need for electricity, for running the machines and various other needs.
                         Accordingly, the Government of Mysore State decided in 1899 to utilise its natural water falls for producing electricity. They identified various sites but ultimately the site for setting up the power station was a point on the River Cauvery,  that was east of Mysore city and south of Bangalore where the river divided into two forming the island of Shivasamudram.
                             The Cauvery Power Scheme was thus initiated in 1900 by the Mysore Government, under K Seshadri Iyer, the then Diwan of Mysore. The credit however, for the Cauvery Falls Power Works was attributed to Captain Lotbiniere R.E., the then Deputy Chief Engineer of the Mysore Government.The initiating of the Cauvery Power Scheme has also been recorded in The Karnataka State Gazette, Mandya District as follows:  

The Mysore Government decided to investigate the practicality of generating power at Shivanasamudram Falls Site and enlisted the services of Colonel Campbell, the Chief Engineer at Madras for the same with the cooperation of the Madras Government. The Chief Engineer took a very favourable view of the potential of the project. In June 1899, the Deputy Chief Engineer of Mysore, after studying the details of the power installation at the Niagara Falls (in North America), was convinced of the idea of working the machinery at the Kolar Gold Fields with the electricity generated by the Cauvery falls. The scheme received the hearty support of Seshadri Iyer and Colonel Campbell.  M/S John Taylor & Sons of London, who had the general control on KGF also supported the scheme. The government decided to utilise the head of the falls for hydro-electric power and its transmission for the service of industrial undertaking in the state of Mysore, inclusive of KGF, in 1899 “.

The first major Hydro Electric Generating Station for commercial operations was thus commissioned at Shivasamudram, near Mysore, The longest transmission line, at the highest voltage in the world, was constructed exclusively to meet the power needs of mining operations at Kolar Gold Fields.

It has been further recorded in the Karnataka Gazetteer that:  quote “The first Hydroelectric power station in Asia was set up when the British Resident General Donald Robertson in Mysore launched the 700 KW Hydroelectric Station which transmitted power to KGF on 30th June 1902”.  Unquote.

An elaborate Transformer House was built in Oorgaum KGF to receive this 4000 H P power known as the Cauvery Falls Power House. The Transformer House which was centrally situated received the power and distributed it to the various mines.


It brought about a complete revolution in the working of the Mines.  Now, all the machinery in the mines both underground and on the surface and the Milling and stamping machinery were worked by electricity. The bungalows and houses of the officers were also provided with electricity and in course of time the whole of KGF was completely electrified.


KGF was thus supplied with electric power from Shivasamudram in 1902. It was the first time in Asia that electricity was generated and supplied, through a transmission line that was more than 80 miles long. It was the longest transmission line in the world at that time - the second longest was at the Niagara Falls which was only 13 miles long!

Read more about this in my Book KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE

Thursday, June 27, 2013


 The KGF Mining Hospital or The Company Hospital which was started by the John Taylor and Sons Company in the early years soon became a well equipped hospital with the latest medical equipment and facilities over time. It was staffed with eminent British and Indian doctors and British and Anglo-Indian nurses.


The hospital wards were named after the erstwhile British bosses such as Gideon Ward, Henry’s Ward, Morgan ward, etc. Medical Treatment was provided free of cost for all the employees and their families.
The Mining Hospital gained the distinction of being the best hospital in the whole of the Kolar district and was also recognized by the Indian Medical Council as a reputed center for the treatment of Occupational Diseases, such as Tuberculosis, Silicosis, etc. The National Institute of Miners Health had its headquarters in the KGF Hospital. It also had a separate Isolation Section to deal with infectious diseases such as Cholera, Small Pox etc. 
 Whenever we were sick, my mum took us to the Company Hospital for treatment. A permanent fixture of the Company Hospital was the Compounder, Mr. Krishna Murthy. I can still remember Mr. Krishna Murthy measuring out the bright, pink Carminative Mixture from huge glass jars and doling out bottles of the stuff as a panacea for all illnesses.
We had to stand in line before the dispensing window of the Pharmacy and when it was our turn we’d climb on the window sill to watch him do the honours. He was ‘Uncle Compounder’ to all of us kids.
I also remember that the Pharmacy always had a strong odour of B Complex Tablets. Huge bottles of B Complex Tablets were lined up on the shelves of the Pharmacy. The doctors prescribed B Complex Tablets for almost every patient along with the other medicines, so the hospital bought these tablets in huge quantities.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


A very old photograph of Gifford's Shaft, Champion Reefs KGF.  We passed this shaft every day on our way to school


Thursday, June 13, 2013


A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. The Brass Band is normally headed by a Band Master dressed in vivid satin or silk.

A very vivid memory of my childhood in KGF is of Mr. Gallyot and his Brass Band. Mr. Gallyot had a 15 member Brass band.  This band was invariably engaged to play at all the Marwadi Weddings in KGF. Marwadi Weddings are always very grand affairs. The Bridegroom is treated like a Maharaja. He would be made to sit on a decorated white horse, and taken in a procession all over town, with Mr. Gallyot’s Band playing all the popular Hindi Film songs before he was taken to the Marriage Hall. The youngsters accompanying the Bridegroom danced and swayed to the music all along the way. 

 Mr. Gallyot was always dressed up like a Maharaja in a bright Satin Jacket and Pants with gold braid and trimming with a big silk turban on his head. He played the Saxaphone and led the Band. The Band Boys too were dressed in brightly coloured satin uniforms and looked very smart playing their various instruments such as the Kettle Drums, Bass Drums, Trumpets, Trombones, Cornets, Cymbals, Clarinets, Tubas etc.

They played all the old Military Tunes, Ditties, the latest Hindi Film Songs, latest Tamil Film songs etc. Every time we heard the sound of Mr. Gallyot’s Band, we’d rush out of the house to watch the procession pass by. In our childish minds we thought that Mr Gallayot was a very rich man since he looked so majestic and dressed so grandly!!!
When Brian, Mr Gallyot's son was big enough he too joined his dad in the Band and looked a "Junior Maharaja" in his resplendant satin clothes just like his dad. It was a pleasure to see the father and son playing the sax so beautifully. Brian later took over the band but sadly he is no more. R I P dear Uncle Gallyot and dear Brian. The memories of both of you are very vivid in my mind!!

 Mr. Gallyot’s Band was sometimes engaged to play at Hindu Funerals as well. However, on these occasions, Mr. Gallyot and his band boys would all dress appropriately in black which was suitable for the somber occasion. The Hindu Community always gave their loved ones a grand send off and Mr. Gallyots Band accompanying the funeral procession to the Crematorium or Burial Ground was considered ultimate Grandeur!! The people accompanying the Funeral procession to the Burial / Cremation Ground would dance and prance along in time to the music. Most of them would have had a good drink and it was the booze in them that kept them in high spirits to dance along the way!!


Saturday, June 8, 2013



Asad Khan Omran(President)
Omsunz Financials Inc., California, U.S.A.

As millions of readers around the world, yes I say millions because there are millions of this great KGF community scattered through out the globe, are assured to proclaim the ingenuity and the dedication with which Bridget White reminisces her childhood and deplores the loss of the inestimable glitter that Kolar Gold Fields ( Little England) once possessed.

 The memoirs give vivid descriptions and at the same time adding a proficient touch to this interesting book 'Kolar Gold Fields – Down memory Lane’.  This book is a sure Collectors Item for all KGFites and to all others directly or even remotely connected to India not forgetting the connoisseurs, be it any Nationality, who  love literary works.

 'KOLAR GOLD FIELDS Down Memory Lane’ is based on the actual facts and personal experiences of Bridget White as a child growing up in KGF, covering the period from her forefathers to the present generation by which a rough estimate of time can be drawn and this will surprise the readers wondering what happened to the Gold. The once city of abundant gold proudly named as Kolar Gold Fields by the British is unfortunately biting thick dust and is no longer able to take this weight of the unfathomable injustice done to this pristine town and its unfortunate subjects.

 The KGF of today will make you feel very poor, almost to the point of destitute nature. But is there a silver lining to this dark cloud? I think there is, I am told that my very old friend Philip Dingle is actively involved in convincing a Australian mining company to establish their franchise in KGF and that will be a step in the right direction and it may bring back some glory to the town and to the languishing jobless employees and show KGF in a better light.

 Ms. Bridget White who comes from a very influential family has already authored six hot selling Recipe books on Anglo Indian Cuisine and with this book she will drive you through memory lanes of 'Nostalgia'. The ride will be through KGF School, St Josephs Convent, First Grade College and the great Clubs of international standards, not to forget the social life and the frolicking fun-fest one enjoyed during Christmas and New Year dances and parties.
The book gives an excellent insight in to the events and will make you feel proud of having been born, slept, ate, bathed and what more we even had our toilets built on the so called layers of gold below!! Even King Alexander would not have had the luxury as we or our parents had at one point of the time and folks behold -That was Kolar Gold Fields for you.

Asad Khan Omran(President) Omsunz Financials Inc., California, U.S.A.

Available on

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Budhikote is another famous picnic spot near KGF.  It is a small village situated in Bangarpet Taluk about 15 miles from KGF.  Budhikote is also known as the "Fort of Ash" as it is famous for its old fort.  Budhikote is also the birthplace of Nawab Hyder Ali Khan, the father of Tipu Sultan.  

 Since it was at a little distance away from KGF, it was not as popular a picnic spot as the other places. However, since it has some historical significance, as students in St Joseph’s Convent we were sometimes taken to visit the Fort and the temple. The huge rocks in the area were excellent for games of hide and seek and rock climbing.

 Other nearby picnic and hunting places around KGF were the Kamasamudram forest, Kuppam, etc

Saturday, May 25, 2013


The Volagamadhi Hills were quite close to Champion Reefs. We could see these Hills from our school St Joseph’s Convent. Every year during the Lenten Season, the Stations of the Cross is conducted on these hills. There is a legend that Tippu Sultan made a passage through these hills from Srirangpatna near Mysore in order to escape from the British. Just before the hills there was a beautiful natural lake and it made a perfect picnic spot and was a favourite fishing spot as well. The water from this lake was pure and crystal clear and it was used by the villages nearby for drinking and cooking.
The Volagamadi Hills in old days were covered with Borum Bushes, Jambolena / Jamlum and other trees. Many youngsters from KGF would go in groups to spend the day in these hills playing hide and seek in the small caves dotting the hills and climbing  the trees to search for bird nests. They’d shoot at the monkeys and crows and knock down the borums and jamblums from the trees with their catapults. When it was time to go back they would take home the baby mynahs, parrots, and squirrels that they were able to catch to keep as pets. Some of these youngsters (their faces sun burnt and mouths stained purple with eating Jamlums) would come back laden with broums, Jamlums  and guavas. They would generously share these spoils with their friends who didn’t accompany them and sometimes their mum’s would even make wine from the Jamlums that their son’s brought from their trips to the hills!!
I remember the many times we went to the Volagamadhi Hills as children –  sometimes from School and also during the Lenten Season for the Stations of the Cross. Quite nostalgic thinking about those golden days.

Sunday, May 12, 2013



The Big Banyan Tree just outside KGF, on the KGF - Bangarapet Road, (close to where the Bharat Earth Movers Ltd., factory stands today), was a popular picnic spot in the good old days. On Sundays and holidays many Families from KGF would pack up snacks, sandwiches and drinks and head to the ‘Big Tree’ as it was fondly known. to spend the day there and then return home in the evening.  The Big tree was also the place that most newly married couples drove to after their weddings before the reception just to spend an hour of quality time together as new man and wife.  
In those days, the surroundings were calm and serene with hardly any traffic or pollution. There was a huge natural pond neat the tree and the water was always fresh and cool. While the elders relaxed and enjoyed their beer and cool drinks and exchanged gossip, the children would enjoy themselves hugely running and catching and teasing each other and riding the cycles that they hired by the hour from the nearby village  Some of them would bring their swimming costumes along and take a cool dip in the pond. The Big Tree was also home to a number of birds  especially big bats or flying foxes.

When I was studying in St Joseph’s Convent, many school picnics were arranged at this  idyllic spot, The students would be taken class wise or section wise and each student would bring their own picnic lunch. There were small shops selling jaggery toffees, Jigg nuts (ground nuts), cut mangoes with chillie powder, panichakke etc. After stuffing our selves with all this forbidden trash and eating our home packed picnic lunch besides playing and shouting ourselves hoarse, we’d return home tired, happy and sun burned after our long day in the sun.

 Sadly the Big Banyan Tree doesn’t look so big now. The pond which was sheltered by its branches is now dry. The traffic and sounds have increased and frightened the birds and flying fox away. Litter and garbage make this once beautiful spot an eyesore and its no more a Picnic Spot. Shops and houses and the BEML Colony  have come up around its periphery and its as busy as the centre of town.