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Tuesday, February 22, 2011



This photograph was also sent to me by Mr Roger Shrimpton from Mr Walker's Collection


This is a photograph of the KGF Golf team was sent to me by Mr Roger Shrimpton from the UK. He has kindly let me have copies of the photographs that were in Mr Kenneth Walker's collection. Mr Walker was the Superintendent of the Champion Reefs Mine. 


Saturday, February 19, 2011

St Joseph's Convent , Champion Reefs, KGF -- Rock Burst of 23rd Jan 1592 - The School Building was razed to the ground

I'm reproducing below an account from THE HISTORY OF ST JOSEPH'S CONVENT IN CHAMPION REEFS KGF, about the Rock Burst of 23rd Jan 1952 which completely destroyed the Church and School.

In the early 1950s, Fr Alexander D'Sa was the Parish Priest of St Mary's Church in Champion Reefs; Fr Gracian was the assistant and Fr Joseph Rajappa was the Head Master of St Mary's (Parish) Boys' High School. Early in the morning on the 23rd of January 1952, Fr Rajappa (late Bishop Rajappa of Kurnool), had just completed Holy Mass in the Church and all the people had gone out. The Sisters were still in the Chapel praying the Divine Office, when there was a loud sound. The buildings came crumbling down. A Rock Burst! All the Sisters were trapped under the debris.Fortunately, the Sisters' cook, a young girl, with ready presence of mind, kicked opens the door from the outside. The Sisters crawled out. Sr Vincentia being very tall, had to be literally dragged out. In the process her right wrist was dislocated. Sr
Teresa of the Trinity looked up and a tile fell on her nose and cut it. Sr Eugene Marie had a cut on her head. The Church, the presbytery, the Convent and the Schools -all collapsed to the ground. One can imagine the plight of the poor missionaries- Sisters and Fathers! Mother Anne, the Superior, was away in France. On her return journey, she heard this shocking news in Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka). She could not rush faster than she did, due to the mode of travel in those days! Our Sisters were dazed; but strong in their faith, they stood firm before the ruined buildings. They knew our 'Heavenly Father, who feeds the birds of the air and the lilies of the field' would also carry them through.

Mr. Morgan, The Chief Medical Officer of the Government Hospital, took the Sisters to the Hospital premises, vacated one of the wards to accommodate them for the day. He provided them with food the whole day. That evening he arranged for their stay at the bungalow of the General Manager of the Mines, Mr. Arthur Taylor, who was away in England on a holiday and half of his house was vacant. It was spacious enough for a family but too small for a convent and a school, with 1,700 children. The garage, workers' quarters were all used. Some of the Sisters were accommodated there. Our Sisters of Robertsonpet, Coromandel and Marikuppam came to their rescue in accommodating the rest of them. Parishioners and well- wishers flocked to the Church premises to offer comfort and help in this distressing situation. Classes were held under the trees too. Good Fr Stan Aranjo, the Parish Priest of Robertsonpet and our Sisters of Robertsonpet, accommodated the children in their school. They put themselves out to help, by organising the shift system for this purpose. There was this heroic sacrifice on the part of everyone who was involved in this hour of need. Considering the need of the Sisters, Mr. Arthur Taylor agreed to sell the bungalow to the Sisters for Rs 1,00,000/-. The Church and the Sisters could not afford this amount. So our Superiors in Cantaous, approached our Sisters in South America, Peru and Venezuela who provided the money required. The house was purchased.The Sisters sat on the steps of their own beautiful house and had their first supper,
grateful to their benefactresses and recalling the experience of our first Holy Foundresses. Looking around at the beautiful garden and the lawns, they experienced a joy as if they were in a dream! But it was not a dream; it was true! This was their house! "All things work out well for those who believe." They could walk around freely and have place enough to accommodate all the people who would come in and whom they would serve, thanks to all their generous benefactors! Mother Beatrix and some of her co-Foundresses must have been the main instruments from heaven above, interceding for this happy turn of events! The Mines were still under the British even after five years of Independence! The mining people were still using the premises. Fr. A. D'Sa, parish priest came to the rescue of the Sisters whenever there was a problem. The Sisters accommodated the European children on the verandah of the house. The Indian School classes were held under the trees and in the domestic workers' quarters, till they were able to put up classrooms gradually. Those for whom place was not sufficient, the Parish school of Robertsonpet continued to accommodate. Communion in action!

Tha Original Bungalow still continues to be the Nun's Living Quarters till today!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

BOOK REVIEW .."Kolar Gold Fields – Down Memory Lane - Paeans to Lost Glory"

Kolar Gold Fields – “Down Memory Lane - Paeans to Lost Glory" is a book written by Bridget White, published in July 2010 by Author House UK Ltd.
We now have access to this little “nugget” from the gold mining era as the book is available in India, reprinted August 2010 at Matha Prints Bangalore.

Bridget White is an Anglo Indian who was born and brought up in KGF and had most of her education in that little mining town. Bridget’s “Kolar Gold Fields – Down Memory Lane “Paeans to Lost Glory” is her tribute to the community, and to her fairy tale like upbringing that could not be more realistic to her or to those of us who were privileged to have experienced that lifestyle many years ago.

In her approach to writing the book Bridget expressed to me that she constantly kept her readers in mind. She wanted her book to be fairly unsophisticated and took extreme care not to use language that would require a dictionary every two pages. If her prospective readers, on the other hand are highly educated and well read, then she did not want to patronize them by writing in a grossly simplified misguided attempt to impress them. She chose simplicity and told a story.

The book is clearly laid out with three main chapters. The first chapter deals with the history of KGF. Compact, factual, interesting, punctured with legends and folk tales that made wide eyed children on bonfire nights gasp at some of the stories that did the rounds. John Taylor and Sons were synonymous with the Mines and they came with their culture and their bungalows and a life style that mostly all Anglo Indians adapted to as a fish does to water. It is amazing to see a photograph of the great man himself on page 16 of the book. Bridget has priceless photographs of the mines that have now deteriorated and are dangerous to approach let alone to venture in. Bridget talks about the churches, schools and hospitals, the lifestyle of the people who lived there and who enjoyed the establishments of clubs and institutes and the simple hardy dangerous life of the miners.

The second part of the book covers the lives of the Anglo Indian Community, a living legacy of the British Raj, the origin of “Anglo Indian”, their culture and lifestyle. It recalls the glorious days of dance and song, of sprawling bungalows, beautiful gardens, hard work and dignified living.

The last part of the book is autobiographical as Bridget reminisces on her childhood and teen years in a home that had all its values and morals intact. Memories are stirred as she recalls school days and games, picnics and the movies, sports and dances. She captures these memories colorfully and pens them down for posterity.

Enjoy “KGF Down Memory Lane “ as Bridget relates her joys of growing up, the land of Gold that drew international attention to mining, the lives and times of the miners and the myriads of people that walked those streets and lived those times with gutsy, positive, joyful attitudes.
In “Summing Up” (pun intended ) as Somerset Maugham would aptly say of his aforesaid novel, “a good style should show no sign of effort. What is written should seem like a happy accident”.
This book was a “happy accident” waiting to happen! I’m glad that Bridget pursued her dream to narrate it and to tell a story that will be told over and over again.

Colleen Nicholas
Celta Graduate, British Council

Colleen Nicholas is an ex-resident of KGF. She currently lives in Bangalore and conducts classes on Spoken English and prepares students for the IELTS, SAT and GMAT Exams. She is also a Beauty Consultant and Aroma Therapist.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kolar Gold Fields - NOSTALGIA: Book on KGF - Kolar Gold Fields Down Memory Lane -...

Kolar Gold Fields - NOSTALGIA: Book on KGF - Kolar Gold Fields Down Memory Lane -...: "A Nostalgic Book on Kolar Gold Fields KOLAR GOLD FIELDS DOWN MEMORY LANE - PAEANS TO LOST GLORY By Bridget White Pages 276 I..."

Book on KGF - Kolar Gold Fields Down Memory Lane - Paeans to lost Glory!!!

A Nostalgic Book on Kolar Gold Fields


By Bridget White
Pages 276 
Indian Reprint available 
Price: Rs 260.00 in India only

For Copies of this book Contact:
Email: /
Ph: (+91)9845571254 / (+91)9844044236


2. Gangarams Book Bureau
M G Road, Bangalore 560001

89, MG Road, Bangalore 56001

4.John White
Ph: (+91) 9941841157 / (+91) 44 25595008


UK Edition Published by AUTHOR HOUSE UK LTD,
ISBN:978-1-4520-4459-0 (sc) (Paper Back )
ISBN: 978-1-4520-5103-I (e) (E Book)
Price:US$13.00, A$20.00, C$20.00, GB Pounds 10.00

KOLAR GOLD FIELDS - DOWN MEMORY LANE is also available online at leading online stores such as Author House UK Ltd (,, Barnes and Noble, Water Stone, Xulon, Tesco etc.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

FROM THE LAND OF GOLD - Bangalore Mirror 13/2/2011
From the land of gold - Juliana Lazarus

Bridget White’s book Kolar Gold Fields: Down Memory Lane captures the essence of how a barren piece of land became a thriving township and an Anglo-Indian stronghold.....

When two people from Kolar Gold Fields get together, you can safely predict one thing: A talkathon. “Remember the Namakara hawker? And Chinaman John? Remember the Pound Parties in Buffalo Lodge? And how Sabu the jhatka man would say “Giddy up a ding dong...”

Bridget White has been a part of many such conversations that led to her blog And before she knew it, she had enough matter for a book! That’s what Bridget’s Kolar Gold Fields: Down Memory Lane is all about: A rambling conversation about the legends behind KGF, its people, its places. About how a barren piece of land became a thriving township, with varied nationalities like the English, Spanish, Germans, Italians and Irish living and growing together – that’s why KGF has been a traditional Anglo-Indian stronghold (see box) though most of the Europeans left after Independence.

Fresh memories
“It took me about two years to get the material together,” says Bridget, who was born in KGF and spent her early life there before moving to Bangalore permanently in 1976. But more than three decades later, the memories are as fresh as the smell of sodium cyanide when gold was being smelted in the mines. Of mountains coated with silicosis, of the uncertainty each time her father went down into the mines, of hearing whispers about the odd miner swallowing gold in an attempt to steal, of hearing a rumbling sound one night (it was a rock burst) and running out into the garden in sweaters and nighties.

She chuckles at the memory of the Namakara hawker (called so because he had a namo on his head!). “He would wear a black coat and white dhoti and had two men trailing behind carrying white bundles. He was a walking fancy store that sold everything from safety pins to underwear to nail polish and naphthalene balls,” says Bridget.

Then there was Chinaman John whose children had Chinese features but their mother’s Indian complexion. John would bring exquisite silk from China, sometimes in the form of cushion covers and table cloths and kimonos.

“Those were life’s simple pleasures,” sighs Bridget. And all that changed when John Taylor and Sons sold the mines to the government.“Everything fell through once the government took over,” says Bridget. “Trade unions became very strong and the mines soon became non-viable which is why the government closed down the mines in 2001.”

Shadows from the past
KGF is now a place of historical interest where song-and-dance sequences are shot for films. It’s also an educational hub but despite that it remains a pale shadow of its former self. Cyanide dumps form about 20 per cent of its total area, leading to a fairly high incidence of asthma, wheezing, TB and other respiratory illnesses among residents.

With mining no longer an option, more than 7,000 people have left to find work in Bangalore. “The mines are now filled with water and there’s slurry on the mountains surrounding KGF. According to an Australian company, even if they get 50g of gold from a tonne of slurry, it would be viable to start mining,” says Bridget.

In fact, the union cabinet cleared a proposal last year to revive the mines after a parliamentary standing committee report that at least 30 lakh tonnes of gold reserves lie unexploited in the area. The revival may take some time but till then, we have Bridget’s book.

For copies of the book, email Bridget at or call 9845571254, 9844044236.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Testimonial from R. Sudarshan (Mr), Policy Advisor - Legal Reform and Justice, UNITED NATIONS ORGANISATION, BANGKOK, THAILAND.

Bridget White Kumar’s book on the Kolar Gold Fields is a splendid soliloquy on a very special place, which was, once upon a time, inhabited by some very special people. That’s a very good reason for wanting to read this book.

There are also other reasons, besides its special subject matter, why this book deserves to be read. It’s very readable! It stands out as a true tribute to the success of teachers at the KGF Boys School (where both Bridget and I were pupils for four years) and St. Joseph’s Convent (where Bridget honed her writing skills). Bridget’s language is simple, direct, economical and familiar. Her sentences are grammatical and unambiguous. The rich and diverse material in the book is organised in a logical and orderly way. Moreover, this book is evocative of many of life’s simple pleasures – food and flowers, parties and picnics, and entertaining eccentrics. These features should make this book interesting and enjoyable, even for those who have had nothing to do with KGF.

For those who can share with the author her nostalgia for KGF, the special place, this book will be read with familiar pleasure, and re-read to their progeny who cannot any longer experience the place as it once was, full of vibrant life.
KGF now, with the gold gone, has become a ghost town, where stories are told about phantoms that haunt disused mine shafts, red-eyed monsters that sit atop the sodium-cyanide dumps that dot its landscape, and UFOs wait to be sighted.

There are still more reasons, apart from the sheer pleasure of reading a good, readable book, why this book should appeal to those who have no connection with KGF.

At a time of growing concerns about globalisation and conflicts over religion, race, and ethnicity the world over, Bridget’s book brings home to it readers that diversity of races, religions, and languages can actually enrich a community, and need not debilitate it.

KGF symbolized an older variant of globalisation. It has had long-standing links with the London bullion market, and a high proportion of Anglo-Indians, a living legacy of the British Raj. These are only few of the factors which gave the denizens of KGF a cosmopolitan outlook, proletarian pride, and mofussil manners. Bridget’s book brings out vividly the values and attitudes that make it possible for a community to thrive by celebrating diversity, notwithstanding colonial inequities and inequalities of caste.

All this makes Bridget book much more than a good read. It provides nourishment for reflection upon the challenges of our times brought about globalisation that is badly in need of the human essence that pervaded the Kolar Gold Fields.

R. Sudarshan (Mr)
Policy Advisor - Legal Reform and Justice
UNDP Asia Pacific Regional Centre
3rd Floor, UN Service Building,
Rajadamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200 Thailand.