Dawson Tower | Monument of Captain William Francis Dawson

Dawson Tower
Dawson Tower (Sinhala: ඩෝසන් කුළුණ) is a commemorative pillar in Kadugannawa in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. The tower is located next to Colombo - Kandy road, between Kadugannawa railway station and Kadugannawa Tunnel. The tower is considered an important monument related to the history of Sri Lankan road development (Rajapakse, 2016).

The tower was built in 1832 in memory of Captain William Francis Dawson, the British engineer who was responsible for the designing and construction of the modern Colombo - Kandy road (Rajapakse, 2016). However on 28 March 1829, before the completion of the road, the engineer passed away. In order to commemorate the service done by Captain Dawson, the tower was erected at the highest point in Kadugannawa with the private donations raised by his well-wishers (Abeywardana, 2004).

The plaque fixed at the base of the tower can be read as follows,
"Captain W. F. Dawson
During the government of General Sir E. Barnes GCB, Commanding Royal Engineer Ceylon, Whose science and skill planned & executed this road and other works of public utility, died at Colombo 28th March 1829.
Subscription among his friends and admirals in Ceylon. This monument was raised to his memory. 1832"

The total cost for the construction of the tower is said to be £ 345.7 shillings and 11 pence (Abeywardana, 2004).

The tower is about 38 m tall (Abeywardana, 2004) and has been built in a shape similar to a lighthouse. It can be entered by a door at the back of the tower. In the interior, a spiral staircase fixed to a central massive column of wood leads the visitors to the top of the tower (Rajapakse, 2016).

A protected monument
Ancient Dowsan Tower situated in the Kadugannawa town in the Grama Niladhari Division of Kadugannawa in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Yatinuwara is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 6 July 2007.

1) Captain Dawson Tower Kadugannawa in 2013 by MediaJet is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

1) Abeywardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.87-88.
2) Rajapakse, S., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Mahanuwara Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. ISBN:955-9159-34-8. pp.82-83.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1505. 6 July 2007. p.548.

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This page was last updated on 27 June 2023
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