Colonel H.S.Olcott and Madam H.P.Blavetsky arrived in Galle on their first visit to Ceylon on the 17th May 1880(Vesak day) and became Buddhists. From then onwards Colonel Olcott pioneered the establishment of Buddhist schools, Sinhala as well as English, in all parts of the island. At Galle he visited a number of leading Buddhist prelates and citizens, and brought about the formation of The Galle Buddhist Theosophical Society with the object of promoting Buddhist education, by setting up Buddhist schools under its management.
The first English school was inaugurated at Galle on 15th September 1880 and was called The Galle Theosophical Buddhist School. It started with an attendance roll of 500 pupils but had to be closed down due to lack of pupils. On 21st February 1891, after a lapse of ten years, the school was reopened but it made no progress until the arrival of Dr.Bowles Daly L.L.D.
Dr.Daly who had once been a chirstian clergyman in London, author of several works on History and Political Economy, joined the Theosophical Society in 1889, and offered his services to Colonel Olcott, for the society’s work in Asia. He assumed duties as General Secretary of the Ceylon section of the society, and came to Ceylon in July 1890, and became a Buddhist receiving Pansil from Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala.
He took charge of the Galle Theosophical Buddhist School on 1st August 1891. He gave the school a new name “Mahinda College” and re-inaugurated it under its new name on 1st March 1892. He gave the college a Motto “Nihil est Amabilius Virtue” (Nothing is more lovable than virtue).
Dr.Daly left at the end of 1893, and the College passed through a period of 9 years under five principals. At the request of Colonel Olcott, Mr.Frank Lee Woodward came to Ceylon on 1st August 1903 and took over his assignment as Principal of Mahinda College.