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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

QF at Wellington ~ and its connection to Madras :: Arthur Wellesley !!

Madras’s Mount road was richly associated with theatres and one among them was Wellington, which reportedly opened in 1918 and stood at the junction of Mount road – General Patters Road.  Miles away, Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range.  The 2014 Mercer Quality of Living Survey ranked Wellington 12th in the world.  Wellington has been named ‘the coolest little capital’ by Lonely Planet and is said to have more bars and cafes per capita than New York.  Wellington’s nightlife is stylish and vibrant with an internationally recognised coffee culture, specialty craft beer bars, and a cuisine scene based on local produce from both land and sea.

The Wellington Firebirds are one of six New Zealand first-class cricket teams that make up New Zealand Cricket. It is based in Wellington.  Cricket has been one of the original sports seen in Wellington, a notice in the NZ Gazette on 16 May 1840 stating “that a game of cricket had been arranged between the gentlemen of Thorndon and members of the Pickwick Club.”  The Basin Reserve hosted its first test match in Jan 1930 The  beautiful international cricket ground   Basin Reserve’ is the only cricket ground in New Zealand to have Historic Place status.

In the present ICC Cricket World Cup, 4th Quarter-Final between New Zealand v West Indies will be held at   Wellington on Mar 21, 2015.  Earlier in a pool A match [9th match – ODI no. 3607] held at Westpac saw England crushed.  Wellington Regional Stadium (known as Westpac Stadium through naming rights), due to its shape and silver coloured external walls, is colloquially known as "The Cake Tin". It was built in 1999 providing a larger capacity than Basin Reserve.  In the day/night match played on 20th Feb 2015, NZ won by  8 wickets (with 226 balls remaining).  A fine exhibition of 9-0-33-7 by Tim Southee had England tangled at 123 all out in 33.2 overs.  The target was reached with ridiculous ease in 12.2 overs with 8 wickets in hand.  In fact, New Zealand reached 100 in just 6.4 overs – the wicket of McCullum and the luncheon recess somewhat delayed the end.  Brendon McCullum made 77 off mere 25 @ 308 strike rate.

Now to the name and its Chennai connection :   The place Wellington, got its name  from Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo (1815): his title coming  from the town of Wellington, a small industrial town in the English county of Somerset. It was named in November 1840 by the original settlers of the New Zealand Company on the suggestion of the directors of the same, in recognition of the Duke's strong support for the company's principles of colonisation and his "strenuous and successful defence against its enemies of the measure for colonising South Australia".   The city's location close to the mouth of the narrow Cook Strait leads to its vulnerability to strong gales, leading to the city's nickname of "Windy Wellington".

In 1865, Wellington became the capital city in place of Auckland, which William Hobson had made the capital in 1841. The Parliament of New Zealand had first met in Wellington in  July 1862,  and in Nov 1863,  the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Alfred Domett, placed a resolution before Parliament  for transfer of capital.   Wellington is the location of the highest court, the Supreme Court of New Zealand.  Wellington houses the Parliament, the head offices of all Government Ministries and Departments and the bulk of the foreign diplomatic missions

Now getting to the man who gave it the name - Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st  Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1769 – 1852), was a British soldierand statesman, a native of Ireland from the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy  and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th  century. His importance in national history is such that he is often referred to as "the Duke of Wellington" instead of "the 1st Duke of Wellington". 

Wellesley was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army in 1787; later elected as a Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. A colonel by 1796, Wellesley saw action in the Netherlands and in India, where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was appointed governor of Seringapatam and Mysore in 1799 and as a newly appointed major-general won a decisive victory over the Maratha Confederacy at the Battle of Assaye in 1803. Wellesley rose to prominence as a general during the Peninsular campaign of the Napoleonic Wars, and was promoted to the rank of field marshal after leading the allied forces to victory against the French at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. Following Napoleon's exile in 1814, he served as the ambassador to France and was granted a dukedom.  Wellesley's battle record is exemplary, ultimately participating in some 60 battles during the course of his military career.

Wellesley is famous for his adaptive defensive style of warfare, resulting in several victories against a numerically superior force while minimising his own losses. Regarded as one of Britain's most significant military figures, in 2002, he was placed at number 15 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.  He was twice British prime minister under the Tory party: from 1828–30 and for a little less than a month in 1834.

Arthur Wesley, was the third of five surviving sons to The 1st Earl of Mornington and his wife Anne, the eldest daughter of The 1st Viscount Dungannon. Wellesley arrived in India at  Calcutta in February 1797 he spent several months there, before being sent on a brief expedition to the Philippines.  His elder brother Richard, known as Lord Mornington,  was appointed as the new Governor-General of India. In 1798, he changed the spelling of his surname to "Wellesley"; up to this time he was still known as Wesley.  As part of the campaign to extend the rule of the British East India Company, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War broke out in 1798 against the Sultan of Mysore, Tipu Sultan, Arthur Wellesley headed  the 33- that left with the main force  and travelled across 250 miles (402 km) of jungle from Madras to Mysore.  He led the failed attack on the fort in the night.  A few weeks later, after extensive artillery bombardment, a breach was opened in the main walls of the fortress of Srirangapatna.  It was here that Tipu Sultan’s death occurred.  In India, he was frequently affected by ill health too.  It is stated that he was promoted to the rank of major-general, gazetted in Apr 1802 but the news taking several months to reach by sea.  Wellesley spearheaded the attack on Maratha fort in Aug 1803.   In Sept the Battle of Assaye commenced.  British casualties were heavy: the British losses were counted as 409 soldiers being killed out of which 164 were Europeans and the remaining 245 were Indian; a further 1,622 British soldiers were wounded and 26 soldiers were reported missing !!

In June 1804, a tired Wellesley applied for permission to return home and as a reward for his service in India he was made a Knight of the Bath in September. While in India, Wellesley had amassed a fortune of £42,000; and when  his brother's term as Governor-General of India ended in March 1805, the brothers returned together to England on HMS Howe.   In 1806, he married  from  Kitty Pakenham's family  which reportedly turned to be unsatisfactory.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Mar 2015.
Photo credits :
Wellington Cricket ground from NZ site – attributes unknown
"Tipu death" by Henry Singleton (1766 - 1839) - http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/1700_1799/tipusultan/death/death.html

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