St Joseph's College, Anuradhapura

St. Joseph's College is a public Catholic secondary school for boys located in Anuradhapura, North Central Province, Sri Lanka.

St. Joseph's College
Bulankulama Dissa Mawatha, Anuradhapura

Coordinates8°19′21″N 80°24′44″E / 8.3226026°N 80.4123085°E / 8.3226026; 80.4123085Coordinates: 8°19′21″N 80°24′44″E / 8.3226026°N 80.4123085°E / 8.3226026; 80.4123085
MottoDuty First
Religious affiliation(s)Roman Catholic
Established19 March 1898 (1898-03-19)
PrincipalM.W.A. Amarajeewa [1]
Grades1 to 13 Local Syllabus
Age5 to 19


In 1875 the government established the North Central Province by combining Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Districts, making Anuradhapura the capital. At that time, there no English medium schools operated in this area. As a result, individuals such as Dr. Bonjune taught English to the local children accompanied by teachers from Jaffna.[citation needed]

Dr. Bonjune[who?] began giving English language classes in 1874. By 1898 the Bishop of Jaffna, Henri Joulain, had registered the school as a public English school under the name St. Joseph's College. The school was named after the local Catholic church.[2][3] The school accepted both Catholic children and children of other religious backgrounds as students.[4]

St. Joseph’s College was originally situated in the old town, but later moved to the new town. In 1914 the school changed from a co-educational institute to an all-boys school. The girls of St. Joseph's College were shifted to Holy Family Convent and Swarnapali Balika Vidyalaya.[citation needed]

In its early days, the college had only three teachers and fifty students. In 1920, 1940, and 1968, there were 127, 350 and 450 students respectively.[5] From 1898 to 1936, only J.S.C. classes[clarification needed] were held in the school. The college had the capability to present students for E.S.L.C[clarification needed] in 1936. When S.S.C. classes[clarification needed] were offered in all three languages in 1940, it was the only school in North Central Province to do so.[citation needed]

In 1957 the alumni planned to install a statue of Rev Maurice Legoc, a former director of the school (1919-1940), at a prominent nearby roundabout. A pedestal was constructed, at which Buddhist activists placed a small Buddha the night before the statue was to be erected. Under Sri Lankan law, such a statue cannot be removed once legally installed. The alumni filed a court case but were ultimately unsuccessful, and the statue of Buddha remained on that pedestal.[6]

In 1968 the college became a government school;[7] until then the college was controlled by the Catholic Church. The head of the college, Joseph G. Jayasuriya, became the college's first principal. At that time Marsalin Jayakody wrote the college's current anthem in Sinhala.

By then the college had become a Sinhala school. Tamil students were transferred to Vivekananda Vidyalaya and Sahira Vidyalaya. In 1972 the college was established as a Grade 1AB school. Rogesan Stanislaus was in charge of the college for 34 years, its longest-serving principal (1968–87).[8]

In 2017 the government opened a reverse osmosis water purification plant at the school.[9]

Past Principals[10]Edit

  • Rev. Fr. Paul Matthew Francis (1898-1900)
  • Rev. Fr. Joseph Alphonsus (1900-1903)
  • Rev. Fr. Charles. S. Asirawatham (1908)
  • Rev. Fr. I. B. Gregory (1909-1912)
  • Rev. Fr. J. Hillary (1914-1926)
  • Rev. Fr. Charles Nawarathnam (1926-1928)
  • Rev. Fr. Rathnaswami Tarcisius (1930 – 1932)
  • Rev. Fr. M. Joseph Nicolas (1932-1938)
  • Fr. G. T. Balasundaram (1939-1940)
  • Rev. Dr. B. Deogpilli (1946-1951)
  • Rev. Dr. P. A. J. B. Antoninus (1952)
  • Rev. Fr. Francis. J. Staninless (1953-1957)
  • Rev. Fr. T. A. Mathuranayagam (1957-1965)
  • Rev. M. J. Mariampillai (1959)
  • Rev. Alfred (1961)
  • Rev. Joseph G. Jayasuriya (1965-1968)
  • Rogesan Stanislus (1968-1987)[8]
  • S. B. Illangasinghe (1988-1993)
  • T. K. B. Ralapanawa (1993)
  • R. M. Upali Ratnayake (2000-2004)
  • G. B. S. Weerawickrama (2004-2010)
  • R. K. S. Katugampala[1] (2010-2018)

Sporting competitionsEdit

St. Joseph's competes with Anuradhapura Central College in an annual cricket and football competition titled 'The Battle of the Legends.'[11]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b "Navy Commander welcomed at his alma mater". Independent Television Network News. 14 November 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  2. ^ Clinton, J. B. (1976). "The Catholic Directory of Sri Lanka, [1975-1976]". Anandappa/Catholic Church: 340. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Martyn, John H. (1923). Notes on Jaffna. Asian Educational Services. p. 117. ISBN 9788120616707.
  4. ^ Jeganathan, Karthigasoo (2005). Memories are for Ever: An Autobiography. Ulaga Thamizhar Pathippakam. p. 273.
  5. ^ Ferguson, Alistair MacKenzie (1968). Ferguson's Ceylon Directory - Vol. 110-112. Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. p. 1239.
  6. ^ Pinto, Leonard (2015). Being a Christian in Sri Lanka: Historical, Political, Social, and Religious Considerations. Balboa Press. ISBN 9781452528625.
  7. ^ Ferguson, Alistair MacKenzie (1968). Ferguson's Ceylon Directory, Volumes 110-112. p. 1239.
  8. ^ a b "Respected teacher of Anuradhapura". The Sunday Leader. 5 February 2006.
  9. ^ "RO plant opened at St Joseph's College, Anuradhapura". 26 January 2017.
  10. ^ "St Joseph's College - Anuradhapura". Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Battle of Legends Cricket Encounter – 2k17 |". Central College | Anuradhapura. 22 July 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Maithripala Senanayake: Exceptional man". Daily News. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Commander of the Navy - Vice Admiral SS Ranasinghe". Sri Lanka Navy. Retrieved 30 January 2018.