Gallows Tree in Hambanthota (හම්බන්තොට එල්ලුම් ගස)

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On a small hillock close the fisheries harbour of Hanbanthota lies a solitary pole which functioned as the Gallows for British colonial rulers during the early 19th century. Within this small area you can also see the government bungalow of the Government Agent, A light house and a Martello Tower build by the British.

The Gallows Tree in Hambantota is the only gallows tree found in an open area in Sri Lanka today. This was constructed at the back yard of then British Army Commander’s official residence, facing the sea.

In 1817, the famous Uva Wellassa rebellion was started by farmers in Wellassa.  The British controlled it and captured the rural leaders who led the rebellion. Although they shot those rebels, due to lack of bullets, they felt the necessity of a gallows tree. Then a gallows tree was constructed and was used to hang the rebels that joined the Wellassa rebellion and various other criminals.

According to historical records, about seven convicts were hanged at this gallows during the Leonard Woolf’s tenure (1908-1911) as the Government Agent in Hambanthota, It was said that the then Governor Woolf had watched the people hanging there from the upper floor of his official residence.

In 2014 it was reported that the Archaeology Department has taken steps to conserve the gallows and a guard room set up during the colonial period and to promote as a tourist attraction.

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Map of  Gallows Tree in Hambanthota

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Travel Directions to Gallows Tree in Hambanthota

Route from Colombo to Gallows Tree in Hambanthota Route from Matara to Gallows Tree in Hambanthota
Though : Galle – Matara
Distance : 284 km
Travel time : 6 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Though : Tangalle
Distance : 85 km
Travel time : 2 hours
Driving directions : see on google map