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Jaffna Old Park

Jaffna Old Park, (Sinhala: යාපනය පැරණි උද්‍යානය; Tamil: பழைய பூங்கா) is an urban park situated near Old Kachcheri in Jaffna District, Sri Lanka.

History
The history of Old Park is associated with Percival Ackland Dyke (1805-1867 A.D.) who was appointed to the Ceylon Civil Service on 15 May 1822 by the British government (Bastiampillai, 1987). He became the Assistant Collector in Jaffna on 1 March 1824 and then the Fiscal and Sitting Magistrate there by 1 February 1825 (Bastiampillai, 1987). In 1829 he was appointed as the Government Collector for Jaffna and on 1 October 1933, he assumed duties as the Government Agent which he held for nearly 40 years  (Martyn, 1923). The Old Park is said to be the garden of the private residency of Percival Auckland Dyke who created it in 1829 (Pushparatnam, 2014). 

At the time, the garden consisted of a pond, and various types of fruit and flower-bearing trees (Pushparatnam, 2014). People were allowed to spend their leisure time in the garden without any restrictions and important ceremonies, functions and events also took place there (Pushparatnam, 2014). Dyke died on 9 October 1867 and before that, he bequeathed his residence and the park to his successors in office to be occupied free of rent (Bastiampillai, 1987; Martyn, 1923).

The park had been neglected during the Sri Lankan Civil War, which lasted from 1983 to 2009. However, the government renovated and opened it to the public in 2012.

References
1) Bastiampillai, B.E., 1987. The Rajah of the North: Percival Acland Dyke; Pro-consul of the British in Mid-Nineteenth Century Northern Sri Lanka. pp.173-184.
2) Martyn, J. H., 1923. Martyn's Notes on Jaffna: Chronological, Historical, Biographical. American Ceylon Mission Press. Tellippalai. Ceylon. pp.15-16,32.
3) Pushparatnam, P., 2014. Tourism and monuments of archaeological heritage in Northern Sri Lanka. Author Publication. ISBN: 978-955-0811-08-3. p.163.

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This page was last updated on 16 May 2023

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