Upali Wijewardene | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Upali Wijewardene

5 September, 2021

His name is Philip Upali Wijewardene. He was born on. February 17,.1938 in Kelaniya. His father is Don Walter Tudugalle Wijewardene, his mother is Anula Kalyanawathi Wijewardene and he has two sisters. His school was Colombo Girls' College. It was reserved for women, but there were a few boys in the lower classes.

Later, he studied at Royal College, Colombo. Then he graduated from Queens' College, Cambridge University in England. Returning to Sri Lanka, Upali Wijewardene became a Management Trainee at Lever Brothers where he was in charge of soap processing. He left Levers following a disagreement with its Chairman. He didn’t have enough money to run a big business.

A friend who worked for Upali at the Lever Company helped him take a candy ball machine to his place. He read a book on how to make candy balls and sweets.

That company later became 'Delta Toffee'. He got involved in the gem industry and earned a high income from gem exports. Then he introduced the 'Upali Mazda' and the ‘Upali Fiat' to the car market at the ‘Upali Industrial Complex' in Homagama. However,he had no savings to publish newspaper advertisements to advertise his products... Then his uncle Senator Sarath Chandradasa Wijesinghe gave him substantial shares in his Ceylon Chocolates Company.

In the 1960s he was able to issue 'Kandos Chocolate' to the world with his friend Rathnam.

The Upali Group manufactured Kandos, Delta and soap. Then he started ‘Upali Air'. Upali Wijewardene made significant investments in Malaysia, Singapore and was in the process of opening offices in New York.

In 1978, Upali Wijewardene was appointed by President J.R. Jayewardene as the first Chairman/ Director General of the Greater Colombo Economic Commission (GCEC) of Sri Lanka. In this position Wijewardene worked to attract foreign investment to develop local industries under the new open economy.

He set pu Free Trade Zones in Katunayaka, Biyagama and Koggala. He established an organisation called Ruhunu Udyanaya and worked hard to create opportunities for young people in Kamburupitiya. He published newspapers including the Divaina, The Island and the Navaliya. On February 13, 1983 his private jet, a Learjet 35A took off from Kuala Lumpur at 8.41 pm. bound for Colombo. Fifteen minutes later the aircraft disappeared while flying over the Straits of Malacca. Extensive search operations by air and naval units of Sri Lanka, India, United States, Soviet Union, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia failed to locate any evidence of a crash.



S.A. Banuri Bavanya

Grade 10

Al - Hijra Muslim School