Development of The Harbor – Galle Heritage

Development of The Harbor

Suez Canal which helped in the progress of international navigation was opened in 1869AD separating African and Asian continents up to that time, vessels had to be navigated round the African continent to reach Asia. With the opening of Suez Canal, a shorter marine route to enter passage up to Asia resulting in a very significant cut down of navigation coast. Creation of the naval route close to India and Ceylon Galle harbor become a very busy place with a high demand.

It was with the development of the Galle harbor the old town in the Galle fort and the adjacent area, that is, fort and pettah, was subject to many changes. At the time Galle harbor changed hand from Dutch to British all operations were carried out with one jetty. Therefore, British government had to remove Colombo fort and to construct a new dock yard in Colombo and expedite widening Galle harbor by 1869AD. Due to expansion of trading operations associated with the harbor more attention was paid on customs activities. The first ordinance concerning customs operations was introduced to Ceylon by Enactment 5 of 1837AD. In terms of the section 57 of that ordinance, G. Francer Broother officially gazelle 05 of Ceylon harbors on 15th June 1841AD. It is on record that British presented several proposals to promote harbor activities. In an audit of Galle harbour operations performed covering 1865 to 1867 Ad by Galle fort Authority some development proposals were reported.

The British plan designed for development of Galle harbor in 1868AD is outstanding. According to that plan a main dam from Roomassala area was to be built perpendicular to Galle fort and the construction of a main dock yard was planned at Roomassala.

The building adjoining passenger jetty was used an landing waiters stores.  Those building were constructed using bricks and lime mortar and were tiled with Calicut tiles introduced by British.

The road leading pettah from the old fort gate was known as customs road as custom office were on that road. With the expansion of harbour activities it became necessary to establish a police station for the harbour. Group of buildings used by the dock yard was used to start the harbour police post. It is stated that a sum of Rs. 10,000/= had been spent by British for blasting rocks at sea using dynamite and for various development work of the harbour.

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