The Reverend Shirley Waldemar Baker (1836-1903) was an English Wesleyan missionary who arrived in Tonga from Australia in 1860. During his stay of more than 30 years, Baker became a close adviser to King Tupou I and, like the King, an active promoter of Tonga’s independence in the face of European colonial expansion in the south Pacific. Baker’s many disputes with other Europeans in Tonga, most notably with his fellow missionary James Moulton, and especially with the British government officials in Fiji and elsewhere, generated a degree of controversy unique among 19th-century missionaries working in the Pacific. His metamorphosis into a politician culminated in his appointment as Premier of Tonga. (John Spurway, ‘Baker Papers’, Journal of Pacific History, 38:2, 2003.)
These papers of Rev. Shirley and Beatrice Baker were bequeathed to the Mitchell Library by Dorothy Crozier along with her own research papers. They were transferred from the Mitchell Library to the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau in August 2001. Lillian Baker, a daughter of Shirley Baker who lived in Ha’apai, gave the papers to Dorothy Crozier in 1950 when Ms Crozier was researching culture change in Tonga under the supervision of Professor Raymond Firth. The papers are made up of the following documents:
Reel 1: SB/1-5 Correspondence-out: press-copies, 1873-80; SB/6-106, Correspondence-in, 1849, 1860-87.
Reel 2: SB/107-187, Correspondence-in, cont., 1887-1913, 1950; SB/188-214/2, Articles, reports, diaries, notes, texts and other documents, c.1879-1906.
Reel 3: SB/214/3-226, articles, etc., cont.; SB/228-232, Vocabulary, Words and Meanings, n.d.; SB/233-235, Genealogies, n.d.; SB/236-247, Mission and Church Related Papers, 1874-1890; SB/248-255, Documents relating to Government and Kingdom of Tonga, 1879-1900; SB/266 & 273, Tongan Government Publications.
Reel 4: SB/274-297, Tonga Govt. publications, cont.; SB/298-307, 309-310, 312-314, Other printed material relating to Tonga, 1863-1951; SB/318-329, Tonga: An Historical Collection from Voyages and Discoveries with Explanatory Remarks, by Beatrice Baker; SB/339, Memoirs of the Rev. Shirley Waldemar Baker, by Beatrice Baker, 1922-51; SB/340-348, Extracts: transcripts of various documents, 1876-85.
Reel 5: SB/349-370 Press Cuttings, 1879-1911; SB/371-379 Miscellaneous Papers, 1860-1932; SB/380-383 Photographs, n.d.
See Finding aids for details.</b> See also PMB Doc 463 for Tongan Government publications at SB/256-266.