Celebrating John Sullivan who developed the Nilgiris

Sullivan is also credited with starting the construction of the Ooty Lake with the intention of irrigating the plains below. It later became an ornamental lake and one of the biggest tourist attractions south of the Vindhyas.

May 16, 2023 07:28 pm | Updated May 17, 2023 04:19 pm IST - UDHAGAMANDALAM

The bust of John Sullivan that was unveiled in 2022 for the bicentenary celebration of the Nilgiris.

The bust of John Sullivan that was unveiled in 2022 for the bicentenary celebration of the Nilgiris. | Photo Credit: M. Sathyamoorthy

The credit for developing the Nilgiris goes to the British in general and John Sullivan in particular.

To get today’s top stories from the State in your inbox, subscribe to our Tamil Nadu Today newsletter here

As the then Collector of Coimbatore, John Sullivan was the first European to take seriously the reports emerging from the region about the salubrious climate of the hills. After learning a great deal about the idyllic hideaway from two of his assistants, who had been sent to these hills to nab tobacco smugglers, Sullivan led an expedition to the hills in January 1819.

Sullivan applied to the Board of Revenue and was sanctioned ₹800 for a survey of the fields of the plateau and ₹ 300 for a path . The laying of the path began in 1821 and was completed in May 1823. It remained the best route to the hills until the Coonoor ghat was constructed in 1830-32.

He introduced English vegetables and other crops at Dhimbatty, north of Kotagiri, where he first landed and later in Udhagamandalam.

Sullivan commissioned the construction of ‘Stone House’, which later housed the Government secretariat and now forms part of the main building of the Government Arts College. He was also the first to advocate the opening of Sanitaria and the first European to build a permanent residence in Ooty.

Sullivan is also credited with starting the construction of the Ooty Lake with the intention of irrigating the plains below. It later became an ornamental lake and one of the biggest tourist attractions south of the Vindhyas.

He was also instrumental in establishing the present day Government Botanical Garden and several government farms.

Sullivan also experimented with the cultivation of tea and its processing. This led to the economic development of the Nilgiris.

The fifth generation descendants of John Sullivan — Ms. Oriel Sullivan and Ms. Jocelyn Marty Smith— will arrive in Udhagamandalam on May 18 to take part in the bicentenary celebrations of the Nilgiris .

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.