The McCullum Gold Medal of S. R. de Fonseka

Another medal in the possession of the De Fonseka family is the gold medal received by S. R. De Fonseka (Mudaliyar), commemorating his investiture as a Mudaliyar of the Governors gate. The medal has been presented by Governor Henry Edward McCallum on the 22nd of June, 1911.

A picture of a similar medal also appears in the pages dedicated to S. R. De Fonseka in the book ’20th Century Impressions’ (a veritable who’s who of the early part of the century – see the reference section). However a closer study of the image identifies it as the Brownrigg medal received by Johannes De Fonseka in 1819. Mudaliyar S. R. De Fonseka possessed the medal at that time and had written permission to use same. The palm sized medal was worn on ceremonial occasions by the Mudaliyar.

This medal displays a close similarity to the one received by Johannes De Fonseka in 1819 (see The Brownrigg Medal). However, some differences can be observed in the medal. The plant badges of the United Kingdom – rose, thistle and shamrock – are not displayed beneath the shield. The decorative edge of the medal also differs from the earlier one. The medal measures 17 cm from top to bottom and 11.5 cm across. It carries the following inscriptions, and interestingly sites Mudaliyar S. R. De Fonseka as the first Chairman of the Moratuwa Local Board (now the Moratuwa Urban Council).

 

 

This medal was presented with the approval of Government
by
The people of Salpity Korale and others
to
Simon Richard De Fonseka
Warnasuriya Wijetunga Samaranayaka
Justice of the Peace Unofficial Police Magistrate
and Mudaliyar of Salpity Korale
In commemoration of his Investiture of the rank of
Mudaliyar of the Governer’s Gate
BY
H. E. Sir Henry Edward McCulum K.C.M.G
Governor of Ceylon
on
22nd June, 1911
The date of the Coronation Celebration
of Their
Majesties King George and Queen Mary
and in appreciation of his services to the people
Of Salpity Korale and for valuable services
rendered to the local board of Moratuwa
of which he was the first Chairman
under a deputation
from
The Hon L. W. Booth
Government Agent W.P

Sir Henry Edward McCallum, KCMG, was the 20th Colonial Governor of Ceylon. The Governor was the head of the executive administration in the island. Appointed by the British monarch (on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Colonies), he maintained executive power in the island throughout British rule.

Born October 28, 1852 in Yeovil, Somersetshire, England, McCallum attended the Royal Military College in Woolwich and began his colonial service career in 1874. He was governor of Lagos Colony before coming to Newfoundland in 1899. McCallum then became governor of Natal in February 1901, arriving in his new province in May to take up residence in Pietermaritzburg. His last appointment came as governor of Ceylon in 1907. McCallum retired from colonial service in 1913 and returned to England. He died in England in 1919.