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Don Richard Wijewardena (1886-1950) was a Sri Lankan press baron who was a leader in the Sri Lankan independence movement. A successful entrepreneur, he established the Lake House newspapers and played major role in the independence movement.



D. R. Wijewardena was born as the third male child of seven sons and two daughters Muhandiram Tudugalage Don Philip Wijewardene timber merchant of Sedavatta and Helena Weerasinghe. He lost his father at a very young age and was raised by his mother. His brothers were Don Philip Alexander, Don Lewis, Don Charles, Don Edmund, Don Albert and Don Walter and his sisters were Mrs. Arthur Seneviratne and Mrs. E. W. Jayewardene who was the mother of J. R. Jayewardene who would later become President of Sri Lanka. He married Alice Meedeniya, daughter of John Henry Meedeniya a Rate Mahattaya, with whom he had one son and three daughters, his grandson Ranil Wickremasinghe would later become Prime Minister of Sri Lanka


Wijewardena received his primary education at the Sedavatta school after which like all his brother completed his secondary education at S. Thomas' College. He then went on to University of Cambridge for higher education. There he developed his interest in politics and met famous personalities such as future leaders of India like Lala Lajpat Rai, Bepin Chandra Pal, Surendranath Banerji and Gopal Krishna Gokhale. After graduating he became a Barrister at the Inner Temple.


Wijewardene was in touch with local events and organised the first deputation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies with Mr. H. J. C. Pereira along with E. W. Perera. As a result of lobbying benefits Ceylonese were given another concession of a seat in the British dominated Legislative Council. To this seat majority of the Sinhala people elected Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan against Sir (Dr) Marcus Fernando. He would later organize a second deputation too. He was also instrumental in starting the Temperance movement and the Amadyapa Sabha.

Returning to Ceylon he established the Ceylon Daily News an English language daily and bought its primary competition Ceylon Independent. Together with is brother D. C. Wijewardena he took over the Sinhala language daily Dinamina. This was followed by the publication of a Tamil language daily. The publishing company he established was named after it headquarters along the banks of Beira Lake was named the Lake House Group with its newspaper arm Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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