Thurstan College

Thurstan College is a national school providing primary and secondary education in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is located in the Cinnamon Gardens of Colombo 7 near the University of Colombo and the Royal College Colombo. The college is governed by the central government.

Thurstan College has a student population of 4,000. It prepares students for examinations conducted by the Ministry of Education. The facilities at the college include science and computer laboratories and a library. The school has more than thirty clubs and societies. It is easily recognised by the sacred Nuga tree in the grounds. The college colours are blue, god and red. The college motto is “lead me from darkness to light”.


 Thurstan College main building
In 1859, A. J. Thurstan, a priest, founded a private technical school that taught agricultural and craft skills. Thurstan funded the school but it closed after a few years. In 1884, with the assistance of the British government, an agricultural school to promote the cinnamon industry was founded in the same location. The principal was H. W. Green, the director of education. This second school closed in 1910. Cinnamon was cultivated at the school and so the area, Colombo 7 is known as Cinnamon Gardens.


On 11 January 1950, a new school, called the Government Senior School, was opened at Kumaratunga Munidasa Mawatha (Thurstan Road) by E. A. Nugawela, minister for education. It was situated between the Royal College Colombo (1835) and the University of Ceylon (1922) on a site vacated by a teachers’ training college. It was designed to accommodate students from the Royal Preparatory School who were unable to gain admission to the Royal College Colombo. The first student was Prasanna Abeyratna. The principal of the new school was D. E. A. Shokman who previously taught at Kingswood College, Kandy. He introduced a house system for sports, prefects(student leadership), cadets, Scouts and literary associations. He named the houses after the four Directors of Education during British rule, namely Denham, Macrey, Robison and Sandeman. The first sports day was held under the patronage of H. W. Howes, Director of Education on Saturday 9 February 1952. The teacher in charge of sport was Kingsley Fernando. The inter-house champions were Robison. In 1953, an under 16s cricket team was formed. Shokman retired in 1955.In the early 1950s, the lower kindergarten and primary classes were gradually abolished in order to begin a high school and prepare students for matriculation. Around this time, the Indian rationalist, Abraham Kovoor (1898 – 1978) joined the teaching faculty to teach Biology. He retired from Thurstan College in 1959. After his death, he asked that his remains be donated to Thurstan College to provide a human skeleton for the study of anatomy.on 26 March 1953, at a first prize giving ceremony attended by T. D. Jayasuriya, deputy Minister for Education, the Government Senior School was renamed Thurston College after the Anglican missionary A. J. Thurston who founded a first school in 1859.

AddressThurstan Rd, Colombo 00700
Phone011 2 692450

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