Agriculture at Richmond

It was one of ideas that Josep Rippon had in mind when he purchased the Richmond property in 1857, “to establish an industrial school and farm”, as well as a Training College. Probably something was done in earlier days, and there have always been a fair number of coconut palms. A small beginning of teaching agriculture was made in 1918 when Mr. Arthur Wijewantha, an old boy, after a course at the agricultural school, Peradeniya, joined the staff for two years. In the prize giving report in May 1919, the principal says, “Mr. Arthur Wijewantha, who holds the Diploma of the Peradeniya agricultural school, joined our staff and has started systematic Nature Study work in the primary school and a flourishing “School Garden”, and Mr. Wijewantha contributed an article to the 1918 Michaelmas number of the college magazine on “horticulture and Gardening”.

But ti was after Rev. A.A. Sneath took over the principal ship in 1922. That agriculture was taken up on a large scale. Mr. M.S. Bandara, an old boy, who had already been on the staff from 1912 to 1916, and had subsequently secured a diploma in agriculture, rejoined the staff in 1924, and a farmers club was started with him as instructor. The principal himself and English farmers son was keenly interested in agricultural and was president of the club, which had a committee containing in addition to masters and reprehensive of the four hoses in to which the school was divided. A dairy was open on the Capital hill starting with one cow but going up to twenty cows. This gained a reputation for the quality of the milk supplied, and obtained the contact for the supplying milk to the Galle hospital. Poultry was also kept, starting with village hens and a cock of good breed. Also begging with a pair of piglets there was soon a successful piggery. The boys had their vegetable plots and paddy filed was leased in 1925. The whole college took part in the first paddy harvest that year.

In 1926 the director of agriculture Mr. F.A. Stockdale was invited to president at the prize giving, and complimented Richmond on being of the only two schools in Ceylon to make a beginning in teaching agriculture.

In 1928 when the governor of Sir Herbat Stanely, open the building put up with the money collected in connection with the jubilee in 1926. He offered a cup of agriculture called the governess cup. And about the same time Graham Wickramasekara, and old boy who was at the time economic botanist in the department of agriculture, offered a shield for competition among the houses.