Item 017a - 'The Church Bell', man striking large wooden slit drum with beater, Ahamb, Malekula

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AU PMB PHOTO 107-017a

Title

'The Church Bell', man striking large wooden slit drum with beater, Ahamb, Malekula

Date(s)

  • 1940s (Creation)

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Digital image, original format was black and white print photograph.

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(1904-1980)

Biographical history

Conrad George Stallan was born in Chatteris, England on 31 March, 1904, to parents Edward Stallan, a congregational minister, and Isobel Pratt (?). He was the sixth of seven children; his brother Donovan was killed in action during World War I. When the family moved to Hampshire, Conrad met Christina Cryle Brown (Chriss), whose father had a smallholding, growing fruit and vegetables and running delivery lorries. Conrad met Chriss, whom he would go on to marry, while working as a driver delivering fruit and vegetables overnight to Covent Garden.

In the 1920s, Stallan trained for the ministry at New College, Hackney in East London and Christina attended Stockwell Teachers’ Training College. The couple married on 3 October, 1930 and within a week Stallan was ordained and the couple set sail for Samoa with the London Missionary Society (LMS) on 9 October. The couple had jointly decided to go to the Mission field, and they served in Samoa from 1931-1939. Their two sons, Donovan (1934) and Roger (1936) were born in Samoa. These were happy years for the family, but Rev. Stallan was after more challenging work.

Daughter Janet was born in October 1939 while the family was on leave in England. In March 1940, the family travelled across Canada before sailing to the island of Malekula in the New Hebrides Condominium. Supported by the John G Paton Mission Fund, Rev. Stallan was based in Wintua, South West Bay. Several churches had already been established in the area before his arrival, but in nearby communities there had been some violent resistance to European contact and allegations of cannibalism.

During Rev. Stallan’s service in South West Bay, sons Donovan and Roger were sent to boarding school at Geelong College in Australia. Daughter Rachel was born in January 1944 in Vila hospital. Distressed at the thought of sending his young daughters to boarding school, Rev. Stallan requested leave for a possible 5 years, returning to the UK in 1946, collecting the sons from boarding school en route.

On their return to the UK, Rev and Mrs Stallan continued their missionary work by setting up a new church in a new council housing estate in Bristol. The Brunswick Chapel in central Bristol had been bombed during the war, so remaining funds were put towards the establishment of New Brunswick. In 1955, Rev and Christina Stallan moved to Georgetown, British Guiana, with daughters Janet and Rachel, to officiate a large urban church. The family returned to Forestgate in East London six years later.

Rev. Stallan planned to retire on his 70th birthday, but suffered a massive stroke the year before in 1973 while officiating what would be his last formal service. Rev. Stallan remained an invalid, cared for by wife Christina until her sudden death in 1979. Rev. Stallan died in a nursing home in 1980. During his life, Rev. Stallan was a keen photographer, who maintained a dark room to develop and print his photographs in both Malekula and Georgetown.

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Access this title at PMB Member Libraries or by purchasing it directly from the Bureau: http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/pambu/accessing.php

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