Chapter 7 - Nuwara Eliya Holidays

During the April/May holidays my family would come up to Nuwara Eliya to escape the tropical heat of Colombo.

Grand Aunt Muriel Rowlands

In 1951, we stayed at our Grand Aunt Murie’s (Dad’s Uncle Wally’s wife) house at Mahagastota. The house was situated on the Mahagastota Hill near the road that ran round the Nuwara Eliya Lake. She had an open fireplace in the little house and we used to enjoy burning pine branches and delighting in the perfume emitted from the leaves. These were exiting times as my sister and I explored the surrounding countryside and visited the Ward’s who rented the house belonging to my Grandfather. This house was further up the hill and much larger than Aunty Murie’s.

Grandfather's Mahgastota property occupied by the Mr & Mrs Ward

Posing in front of Dad's "Singer Convertible"
Ed, Muriel and Marie At Aunty Murie’s

In 1953, Dad and Mum took over my Grand-Father’s property “Peach Cottage” where he grew up, as their “Holiday Home” and this gave us the opportunity to visit our “Hill Country Retreat” on a regular basis. After this, during the April/May holidays, I would travel with my colleagues by bus from Gurutalawa and be dropped off in Nuwara Eliya, while they traveled to Nanu Oya to catch the train to Colombo.

The holidays in Nuwara Eliya were exciting times as we had other members of our extended family visit from time to time. Some of the visitors that I recall are:- Grand-Father, Mum’s sister Nellie and her husband Ariston De Silva were regular visitors, Malcolm & Barbara Van Dyke (Mum’s brother Bertie’s daughter) and their children, Dr Allie Ebert (Mum’s brother) and his wife Dr Eileen Ebert and their children and others that I cannot recall.

Ariston & Nellie De Silva

Mum with Baby Percy

Marie with Uncle Allie (on right with hands behind back) and others at the front of “Peach Cottage”

In April 1953, we celebrated Percy’s first birthday at “Peach Cottage”. The picture is not the best, but will have to suffice.

Percy’s First Birthday Cake

Aunty Nellie and baby Percy

Percy and Van Dyke Children

Peach Cottage in it’s heyday with Grand-fathers Vauxhall Velox

Family at Peach Cottage

I recall the first thing that I would do when we arrived at “Peach Cottage”, after unpacking our suitcases, was to head to the stream that ran behind the property and using the stones in the stream build dams to try and stop the flow. The other favorite pastime was playing among the vegetable garden.

Various members of the Extended family who visited from time to time At Nuwara Eliya Park - My Cousin Monica (nee) Ebert on left

Our holidays were spent by regular walks to the shopping centre in town by taking a shortcut through the golf course, visiting the Nuwara Eliya Park, shopping at Cargills that was situated nearby and going to the Theatre. There was also a Sports Club near the Holy Trinity Church that we would visit occasionally as we would the Grand Hotel to watch the adults play billiards and snooker. A walk through the Nuwara Eliya Park on a fine day was an exhilarating experience.

Allan Brace, Ed and Ivan Van Buren

Ivan, Ed and Dennis Ingleton

Ronny, Ivan, Dennis and Ed

In later years I would bring my friends to Nuwara Eliya and we would do things such as hiring bicycles and riding around town or riding down the mountainside to Nanu Oya Station, going for a walk along the railway tracks and then pedaling or walking our bikes up the mountain back to town. On other occasions we would visit “Moon Plains” and ride around the Nuwara Eliya Lake and examine the old Nuwara Eliya Railway Station.

Mount Piduratalagala (Sri Lanka’s highest mountain) was behind “Peach Cottage” and in those days one was allowed to climb the mountain on the paths that had been cut through the forest. We would purchase bottled water or soft drinks and visit the bakery for light refreshments and set out in the morning for the trek up the mountain side, stopping occasionally for a drink and a snack.

On top of Mount Pithurutalagala Looking down at Nuwara Eliya

In later years, before we left Sri Lanka to come to Australia, other business associates of dad would also visit “Peach Cottage” and the pictures below show a roadside stop to give the old Hillman Station Wagon a rest on the steep climb up to Nuwara Eliya.

A Ramboda Pass Rest Stop



  1. I was born and grew up in Nuwara Eliya. My parents were Lt. Col Walter Henry Kenney and Mabel Kenney, both now deseased. My name is Anne and I reside in Karachi Pakistan where I am married. Would you have known them ? They lived at HILL HAVEN on the Badulla Road ?