Anecdotes of Everard Andrado – Leonard Woolf and Henry Engelbrecht

Anecdotes of Everard Andrado – Leonard Woolf and 
Henry Engelbrecht

Source:brisbane 4eb sri lankan newsletter – dæhæna – october 2021

Everard Andrado, a long-time resident of Brisbane called Hambantota home. Here are some anecdotes, he proudly shared with both of us.

Henry Engelbrecht

Leonard Woolf, was the Assistant Government Agent in Hambantota during 1908-1911. He was a friend of Patrick Andrado, Everard’s father who also served the Government.

Henry Engelbrecht, was another interesting character that lived in Hambantota during this period. He was a Boer (a South African of Dutch/German descent), one of 5000 imprisoned in Ceylon by the British, during the Second Boer War (1899 -1902). This was a war, fought between the British Empire and two independent South African Boer states (Republic of Transvaal and the Orange Free State) over the control of gold mines in these states.

At the end of the Boer war in 1902, these prisoners were allowed to return to South Africa, provided that they accepted the British supremacy and signed an oath of allegiance to the Crown. Henry Engelbrecht and a few others refused to do so and consequently detained in Ceylon. Engelbrecht spent a tough life in Hambantota until 1906, when Woolf’s predecessor appointed him the Warden of the Yala Game Sanctuary.

Woolf accompanied Engelbrecht in his hunting trips and improved skills in shooting and tracking. According to Woolf, Engelbrecht was disliked in Hambantota, because he used to treat the residents of Hambantota similar to the way the Boers treated Africans in South Africa. Woolf also had described Engelbrecht as ‘a cold-blooded man, without any fear’.

In May 1911, Woolf sailed back to England, on a year’s break from work. Before leaving Ceylon, Woolf presented his rifle to Everard’s father, Patrick. This rifle was in the Andrado family until the Government ordered all private weapons had to be surrendered.

Instead of returning to Hambantota as planned, Leonard Woolf decided to resign in early 1912. That same year, he married Virginia Stephen (Virginia Woolf, the famous author). Perhaps, inspired by his wife, Woolf started writing books after marriage. His first novel “TheVillage in the Jungle,” based on his experience in Hambantota was published in 1913.

Meanwhile, Engelbrecht continued to live in Hambantota. Apparently, during the First World War, Engelbrecht had supplied cattle to the crew from the German warship “Emden” that had sailed to Kirinda. The British authorities acting on this rumour, arrested and detained him in the military barracks in Kandy without even a trail. After his release, he was reinstated as the Warden at Yala. He died in 1928 and was buried in a cemetery in Hambantota.

Leonard Woolf visited Ceylon In 1960, and was amazed at the welcome he received. He died from a stroke in 1969, and his ashes are buried alongside his wife (Virgina) in Sussex, England.

Everard Andrado

Everard Andrado passed away on the 19th of July 2021 at the age of 90. Unfortunately, he did not get the opportunity to read this story about the place he loved most.

Chamendra & Nimesh Hewavisenthi

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