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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