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James L.O.Tedder Solomon Islands Photographs

  • AU PMB Photo 66
  • Colección
  • 1952-1974

PMBPhoto66 is a collection of 1558 black and white photographs of uneven quality of British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP) subjects over the 22 years from 1952 to 1974. Much of pre-Independent Solomon Islands is shown in the photos, each of the four administrative districts of the time (Central, Malaita, Eastern and Western) being represented.
The collection is ordered more or less by island name and dated by year. The dating is not always chronological and there are 80 undated images. Roughly speaking there are 388 images of the 1950s, 353 of the 1960s and 739 of the period 1970 to 1974. The majority of the 1950s images are from Malaita, Makira including Ugi, and islands of the “Far East” including Anuta, Vanikoro, the Duff Islands, the Reefs, Santa Cruz, Nukupu, Pileni, Lomlom, Fenualoa, Nibanga Temoa and Tikopia. The images from the 1960s include some of Santa Ysabel, Rennell and Russell Island, Choiseul, Gizo, Ontong Java and Savo. The majority in the 1970s are images of Guadalcanal but also include images from Choiseul, Kolombangara, New Georgia, Nggela/Gela and Tulagi.
Subjects include geographic features such as islands and atolls, volcanoes, coastlines, bays and landing beaches, plains, mountains and mountain ranges, rivers and lagoons and vegetations - for example, Lambi Bay on Guadalcanal’s weather coast, Graciosa Bay in Santa Cruz and Mt Alasa’a in Malaita. In the west Kolombangara Island, in the east Mt Tinakula, Savo Island in Central, and Mounts Tatuve, Gallego, and Popomanesiu on Guadalcanal, are all types of volcano, and each a subject in this collection. Mt Popomanesiu is of special environmental and/or conservation interest for its tropical rainforest vegetation.
Images of aspects of traditional Islander economic activity include gardening particularly of yams; fishing and fishing equipment; the construction of various types of canoe and paddles; and the making of utensils such as mortars and pestles for pounding, and containers; building houses and using leaves to weave walls, roofs, mats, and baskets; carvings; and caring for specific trees like the betel nut palm, for use on ceremonial occasions for example, and the impacts of storms and floods. Images show people at work (for example James No’oli using a backstrap loom, men making yam gardens, and women preparing cassava and making string).
Islander participation in economic and social development, including schools and training centres, is shown in many images: working for Christian missions (mainly Catholic and Anglican) and the government in a variety of roles including as headmen, administrators, police, carriers, guides, captains and crews of boats and ships, nurses, teachers, personal servants and staff in the houses of expatriates, and labourers (women and men) in forestry and logging, coconut plantations and the production of copra, building infrastructure including roads and bridges, and geological/mineral exploration for example on San Jorge for nickel mining and on Gold Ridge and in the Betilonga Basin on Guadalcanal. Images of early airstrips and the transport of goods by carrying on foot, on canoes, boats, and ships are shown, as are cruise ships, a part of the development of the tourist industry. Images of individuals include Silas Sitai as a young administrative assistant with Inspector Dick Richardson and Senior Clerk Walter Togonu; Headman Lumani of Paripao, Headman Chamatete and his wife Betizel as guides, and businessman Samuel Saki and his family. Pelise Moro, the leader of a movement on the weather (south) coast of Guadalcanal to return to customary ways of living, is also a subject and shown in regalia.
Art and cultural heritage subjects include petroglyphs on Guadalcanal, old terraces built to irrigate taro on New Georgia; old slit gongs used in ceremony in memory of Frederick Melford Campbell on Makira; sacred stones on Guadalcanal; graves on Choiseul; and the re-enactment on Santa Ysabel of the killing of Anglican Bishop Patteson at Nukapu in 1871. Images of men, women and children dancing; music including singing, panpipes and bands; jewellery including kap kaps, necklaces, earrings; woven headdresses and skirts; carved masks for ceremonies and welcomes for visitors. Images show Petero Cheni illustrating string figures and Moses and his wife making panpipes and baskets.
Special occasions are often the subject of images and include visits to Moro’s village on the weather coast of Guadalcanal in 1965 and 1969; a welcome to Ontong Java in 1960 at the start of which visitors walked on the hands held at waist height by women who were covered in coconut oil mixed with turmeric; police parades for the Queen’s Birthday on Makira in 1957; and welcomes to visiting High Commissioners to villages and schools. Father Adrian Smith and Bishop Stuyvenburg are shown at the opening of the new Roman Catholic Church at Makina.
Villages, government stations and Honiara are also subjects. Many villages are named and images show residents, including Gilbertese people and squatters, women working, houses and sometimes their contents, water supplies, social gatherings, flood damage, and meetings with government officials.
Throughout the collection there are glimpses of expatriates at work within the British colonial administration as High commissioners, District Officers and District Commissioners, including James Tedder, and Forestry Officers. There are also glimpses of James Tedder’s family, his wife Margaret and children, and some of their friends. Also as part of the collection are images of the houses they lived in and the recreational activities they enjoyed, such as bush walking to interesting sites, plant collecting and swimming. James Tedder and members of his family described/captioned the majority of the images.
The collection is complemented by a number of publications. As a guide to these images, James Tedder’s book A District Administrator in the Islands 1952-1974 Solomon Island Years is useful, although it does not have an index. There are also other Tedder collections in the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau catalogue and the Pacific Research Library, also at ANU.

Tedder, James L.O.

Postcards of German New Guinea

  • AU PMB Photo 40
  • Colección
  • 1912-1916

This collection of 60 postcards and photographs of German New Guinea, all dated 1912-1916, were transferred to David Kaus at the National Museum of Australia by Merrell Davis and Catherine Evans, included with the papers of Ellestan Dusting. Dusting served as private secretary to Australian Minister for External Territories, Sir Paul Hasluck, and as Vice President of the Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA). Mr Kaus transferred the photographs to the PMB on 28 January 2011.

Though these postcards were collected by Dusting, the envelope in which they are held is signed by R.G. Bowen and a number of the photographs are marked as having been taken by, or given to Bowen by a Col. Pethebridge, or ‘administrator’. It is possible the photos were given to Sir Paul Hasluck as some of his paper were amongst those of Dusting.

Lieutenant R.G. Bowen, RAN, was amongst the first Australians to fight German troops in World War I. On 11 September 1914, Lieutenant Bowen landed at Kakabaul in New Britain with No. 6 Company of the Naval Battalion of the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force, to destroy the main German wireless station in the area. At the outbreak of war, Col. Sir Samuel Augustus Pethebridge, believed to be the photographer or sender of some of these images, took command of the Australian North-West Pacific Expedition, raised to occupy German islands north of the equator. Before the expedition could sail, the British government decided to allow the North Pacific islands to be left in the hands of their Japanese occupiers. Pethebridge suggested that his unit, known as Tropical Force, might be used to relieve the expeditionary force led by Colonel W. Holmes which had captured German New Guinea in the first weeks of the war. This was accepted, and in January 1915, Pethebridge succeeded Holmes as administrator at Rabaul. In January 1917, he contracted malaria which forced his return to Australia, where he died a year later.

The photos contained in this collection show people and infrastructure of German New Guinea (Deutsch-Neuguinea) including the Bismark Archipelago (hotels, churches), Rabaul (wharf, naval headquarters, hospital, China Town, ship building yard), the Bita Paka wireless radio station at Kakabaul and the wireless station and at Morobe (along with the District Officer’s residence and police quarters). The photos also feature Herbertshoe (naval signal post, hospital and German soldiers). There are also images of people (police, singsing, traditional headdress) and landscapes, including volcano Mt Mother, Mt Daughter, the beehive rock, plantations and a giant fig tree.

Sources:
Naval Historical Society of Australia, The Navy in New Guinea in 1914, http://www.navyhistory.org.au/the-navy-in-new-guinea-in-1914/
Australian Dictionary of Biography

Dusting, Ellestan Joyce

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Memorabilia

  • AU PMB PMB DOC 544
  • Colección
  • 1982-1984

The first music and voice transmitted by radio in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP) occurred in 1923 through the Methodist Mission?s wireless station at Kokegolo in New Georgia. The station often presented choral and band recitals performed in local languages, primarily for the interest of passengers on passing ships which were equipped with wireless sets. However, actual broadcasting in the BSIP began in June, 1944 with radio station WVUQ based in Guadalcanal, and was followed a few months later by WVTJ based in Munda. Both stations were operated by the United States of America military as part of the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) and were primarily sources of news and entertainment for American troops serving in the Pacific. Both stations were part of a grouping known as ?The Mosquito Network?.
In the years after World War II, a radio service was maintained by volunteers in Honiara, primarily for an English-speaking, licence fee-paying, expatriate audience. In 1952, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Service was established as VQO, broadcasting news and music six days a week to local audiences in most parts of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. By the mid-1950s, colonial administrators saw the important role radio was playing for local audiences and invested in programming (including Pijin content), staff, transmitters and new studios. The studios on Mendana Avenue, Honiara, opened in 1959. By the 1960s, SIBS was also providing school services and outside broadcasting of special events, putting a strain on the still new studio facilities. Studio and office upgrades were made in 1965.
In 1976, under the administration of Sir Peter Kenilorea, SIBS became a statutory body, and commenced operations as the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) in 1977. In 1978 the Australian Government committed funds for the upgrade of studio and transmission facilities in Honiara, the establishment of a new regional station in Gizo and correspondents based in more remote parts of the country. Broadcasting House at Rove, Honiara opened on 7 August, 1982.
From 1980-1984, Martin Hadlow was the News/Programme Trainer, then Head of Development and Training at SIBC. During this time the service transitioned from a government broadcasting service to an independent public service broadcasting corporation. This transition meant new management (including a new Board), a complete revamp of programming and news structure, and the new studio building at Rove. Hadlow prepared this booklet for the opening of the studio and was involved with the preparation of the First Day Cover stamp set for the 20th Anniversary of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).

Hadlow, Martin

New Hebrides Mission photographs, 1950-1978

  • AU PMB PHOTO 99
  • Colección
  • 1950-1978

These photographs are associated with the Department of Communications of the Overseas Mission Committee for the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand. The images date from 1950-1978. Photo subjects include Onesua High School, the Boys Brigade, and construction projects for the New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. There are also numerous images of missionary families and ni-Vanautu church members, as well as some key political figures.

Department of Communications

New Hebrides Mission photographs, c.1950-1969

  • AU PMB PHOTO 98
  • Colección
  • 1950-1969

This is a collection of 79 images of the Presbyterian mission in the New Hebrides, produced by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church Department of Communications in the 1950s and 1960s. The collection contains photographs of missionary families to the New Hebrides, including Rev. A.G. Horwell who was on Epi, Rev R.W. Murray, and Reverend and Mrs Hyslop. There are also several photographs of named ni-Vanautu pastors and teachers involved with the church including a Pastor Moses, Pastor Kalorib, and K.M. Shing. Many photographs relate to church and mission activities including: the Boys Brigade on Tongoa, bible classes, and Sunday school classes. There are also village scenes and images containing unidentified New Hebridean /ni-Vanuatu people.
The photographs were taken on multiple islands including Epi, Malekula and Tongoa.

The New Hebrides Mission from the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand:
The Presbyterian Church began sending missionaries to the New Hebrides (today known as Vanuatu) in the mid-19th Century. The first missionary was Rev. John Geddie of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia who arrived on the island of Aneityum in 1848. Subsequent missionaries came from the Presbyterian Churches of New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Australia (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales).

In New Zealand an interest in supporting a Christian mission to the New Hebrides was fostered when Rev. John Inglis of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland toured the country in 1852 following a three month tour of the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands. In that same year, Inglis and his wife joined Geddie on Aneityum. Rev. John Inglis continued to send regular reports of his work to New Zealand, leading to increasing interest from the Church there in sending their own missionaries to the islands.

The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was at that time divided up into the “Northern Church” and the “Southern Church” (consisting of the Provinces of Otago and Southland). The Southern Church was based on the ideals of the Free Church of Scotland and these principles influenced its mission work for many years. For over 40 years the two Churches worked separately, with mission activities during this time operating independently of each other.

Over several decades the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand sent a number of missionaries to the New Hebrides including the following people. The information below includes the missionaries' date of arrival in the New Hebrides, the name of the missionary and the name of the main island on which they worked:
1866, Rev. William Watt, Tanna
1870, Rev. Peter Milne, Nguna
1879, Rev. Oscar Michelsen, Tongoa
1885, Rev. Charles Murray, Ambrym
1889, Rev. Thomas Smaill, Epi
1892, Rev. Dr. Lamb, Ambrym
1899, Dr. John Bowie, Ambrym
1903, Rev. Thomas Riddle, Epi
1905, Rev. William V. Milne, Nguna (born on Nguna in 1877)
1932, Rev. Basil Nottage, Tongoa
1938, Rev. Ken Crump, Nguna
1941, Rev. J.G. Miller, Tongoa
1944, Rev. Ian Muir, Emae and Epi
1948, Rev. A.G. Horwell, Epi

In the early years there was no organised or reliable shipping service to the individual islands of the New Hebrides so it was important for the Church to have their own vessel to bring regular supplies from Australia and New Zealand. A boat was also necessary for transport to other mission stations. Although the New Hebrides missionaries were responsible for their home churches and allotted areas and islands, they worked closely together on common issues and met annually for a mission Synod meeting. New Zealand Presbyterian Church worked in conjunction with the Australian Presbyterian Church to raise money and purchased a mission supply vessel, the “Dayspring I”. This 115 ton brigantine was launched in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1863. It was lost in a hurricane ten years later and replaced by a second hand schooner, the “Dayspring II” in 1876. The Dayspring II was sold prior to 1890 as she was too small and slow and uncomfortable to sail in. The Australian missionary Dr. John G. Paton raised £6000 during a visit to Britain in 1884-1885 and later increased the donations to £7000. The “Dayspring III” was built on the Clyde in Scotland to the order of the Victorian Presbyterian Church Foreign Missions Committee. She was 157 feet long and arrived in Australia in 1895. On only her fourth voyage to the islands, she sank on the 16th October 1896 after striking an uncharted coral reef near New Caledonia. The decision was made not to replace the vessel.

The New Hebrides Mission shared a practical concern for the everyday needs of island people. In addition to converting local people to Christianity, the missionaries worked to improve education, through the introduction of schools where the training of local mission teachers was initiated. The Tangoa Teachers’ Training Institute opened at Tangoa, South Santo, in 1895. The purpose of the Institute was to train local teachers and it was supported by all the Protestant missions working throughout the New Hebrides. Missionaries also worked to improve health education and services and encouraged the production of arrowroot and island trading as a means to generate revenue. Arrowroot powder was shipped to New Zealand and other countries, where it was initially distributed by women’s missionary groups and later by commercial organisations. The funds from the sale of arrowroot were used to build additional churches in the islands and, in some cases, as a donation towards New Zealand mission funds to be used elsewhere. From 1880 to 1918 on Nguna alone, over 26 tons of arrowroot was produced.

By 1910, the work of the New Hebrides Mission was declining. This was partly due to a rapidly decreasing population on the islands and a feeling that little room existed for further expansion of mission work, as by then most areas were adequately covered. The reduction in population was primarily caused by introduced European illnesses and epidemics which decimated the local population. The Queensland labour trade had also had an impact on the local population, with many locals having decided to remain in Queensland.

In 1947 there was a general consensus held among the Island missionaries that the local church was ready to assume control of its own affairs. A constitution was drawn up, and after amendments submitted by the New Zealand and Australian Mission Committees and the New Hebrides Mission Synod, it was adopted. At a Centennial Synod meeting in 1948, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Rev. John Geddie, the local church was placed fully in charge of its own affairs. The island mission councils for Australia and New Zealand were then limited to the affairs of their immediate mission staff. The New Zealand Church continued to provide a large financial grant to the New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. A continued focus remained on training church leaders and education more generally. The Tangoa Training Institute later introduced a curriculum of advanced theological studies.
In the early 1950s, the New Zealand Missions Committee responded to the request for assistance to establish a High School at Onesua on Efate, along with funds and personnel to set up and run a small hospital on Tongoa. The Committee viewed this project as a practical means by which the New Zealand Church could provide for a social need rather than a means for furthering evangelistic opportunities. This policy shift in Mission funding opened up other opportunities for aid from the New Zealand Church including developing Navota Farm and opening the Maropa religious bookshop in Port Vila, training local islanders to be trades people and undertake the building work. The New Zealand Bible Class volunteer scheme sent out young people during the 1960s to assist with building, administration and nursing. The Mission, at the request of the Presbyterian Church of the New Hebrides, divested itself of all remaining authority in the Islands so that the New Zealand missionaries effectively worked for the New Hebrides Church. In 1965 a memorandum was prepared which defined the terms of “responsible partnership” and sought to define the responsibilities of each partner. The Church continues today as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

For more information about New Hebrides Mission collections at the Archives of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, and New Zealand, see: http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm

Department of Communications

New Hebrides Mission photograph album, 1950s

  • AU PMB PHOTO 97
  • Colección
  • 1950s

The images depict mission life on the islands of Epi and Nguna, Teachers Training Institute Tangoa on the island of Tangoa and This album of black and white photographs depicts various partnerships between the New Zealand Presbyterian Church and the newly independent New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. The photos show people and activities at the Tangoa Teachers’ Training Institute, a small mission hospital on Tangoa, and the Onesua High School on Efate. It also shows mission life on the islands of Epi and Nguna.

Named people include John Patrick, Rev Graham Horwell, Rev RW Murray, Miss A Riatch, Matron Sister Rhoda Vickers, Clinton Johnson, Pastor Kalmar, Betty Lowndes, James of Anietyum, Rev Rob Kirkby, Rev John Hyslop, Pastor Moses, Sister Kath Gillanders and Sister Anne Lilburne.

The New Hebrides Mission from the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand:

The Presbyterian Church began sending missionaries to the New Hebrides (today known as Vanuatu) in the mid-19th Century. The first missionary was Rev. John Geddie of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia who arrived on the island of Aneityum in 1848. Subsequent missionaries came from the Presbyterian Churches of New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Australia (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales).

In New Zealand an interest in supporting a Christian mission to the New Hebrides was fostered when Rev. John Inglis of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland toured the country in 1852 following a three month tour of the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands. In that same year, Inglis and his wife joined Geddie on Aneityum. Rev. John Inglis continued to send regular reports of his work to New Zealand, leading to increasing interest from the Church there in sending their own missionaries to the islands.

The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was at that time divided up into the “Northern Church” and the “Southern Church” (consisting of the Provinces of Otago and Southland). The Southern Church was based on the ideals of the Free Church of Scotland and these principles influenced its mission work for many years. For over 40 years the two Churches worked separately, with mission activities during this time operating independently of each other.

Over several decades the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand sent a number of missionaries to the New Hebrides including the following people. The information below includes the missionaries' date of arrival in the New Hebrides, the name of the missionary and the name of the main island on which they worked.

1866, Rev. William Watt, Tanna
1870, Rev. Peter Milne, Nguna
1879, Rev. Oscar Michelsen, Tongoa
1885, Rev. Charles Murray, Ambrym
1889, Rev. Thomas Smaill, Epi
1892, Rev. Dr. Lamb, Ambrym
1899, Dr. John Bowie, Ambrym
1903, Rev. Thomas Riddle, Epi
1905, Rev. William V. Milne, Nguna (born on Nguna in 1877)
1932, Rev. Basil Nottage, Tongoa
1938, Rev. Ken Crump, Nguna
1941, Rev. J.G. Miller, Tongoa
1944, Rev. Ian Muir, Emae and Epi
1948, Rev. A.G. Horwell, Epi

In the early years there was no organised or reliable shipping service to the individual islands of the New Hebrides so it was important for the Church to have their own vessel to bring regular supplies from Australia and New Zealand. A boat was also necessary for transport to other mission stations. Although the New Hebrides missionaries were responsible for their home churches and allotted areas and islands, they worked closely together on common issues and met annually for a mission Synod meeting. New Zealand Presbyterian Church worked in conjunction with the Australian Presbyterian Church to raise money and purchased a mission supply vessel, the “Dayspring I”. This 115 ton brigantine was launched in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1863. It was lost in a hurricane ten years later and replaced by a second hand schooner, the “Dayspring II” in 1876. The Dayspring II was sold prior to 1890 as she was too small and slow and uncomfortable to sail in. The Australian missionary Dr. John G. Paton raised £6000 during a visit to Britain in 1884-1885 and later increased the donations to £7000. The “Dayspring III” was built on the Clyde in Scotland to the order of the Victorian Presbyterian Church Foreign Missions Committee. She was 157 feet long and arrived in Australia in 1895. On only her fourth voyage to the islands, she sank on the 16th October 1896 after striking an uncharted coral reef near New Caledonia. The decision was made not to replace the vessel.

The New Hebrides Mission shared a practical concern for the everyday needs of island people. In addition to converting local people to Christianity, the missionaries worked to improve education, through the introduction of schools where the training of local mission teachers was initiated. The Tangoa Teachers’ Training Institute opened at Tangoa, South Santo, in 1895. The purpose of the Institute was to train local teachers and it was supported by all the Protestant missions working throughout the New Hebrides. Missionaries also worked to improve health education and services and encouraged the production of arrowroot and island trading as a means to generate revenue. Arrowroot powder was shipped to New Zealand and other countries, where it was initially distributed by women’s missionary groups and later by commercial organisations. The funds from the sale of arrowroot were used to build additional churches in the islands and, in some cases, as a donation towards New Zealand mission funds to be used elsewhere. From 1880 to 1918 on Nguna alone, over 26 tons of arrowroot was produced.

By 1910, the work of the New Hebrides Mission was declining. This was partly due to a rapidly decreasing population on the islands and a feeling that little room existed for further expansion of mission work, as by then most areas were adequately covered. The reduction in population was primarily caused by introduced European illnesses and epidemics which decimated the local population. The Queensland labour trade had also had an impact on the local population, with many locals having decided to remain in Queensland.

In 1947 there was a general consensus held among the Island missionaries that the local church was ready to assume control of its own affairs. A constitution was drawn up, and after amendments submitted by the New Zealand and Australian Mission Committees and the New Hebrides Mission Synod, it was adopted. At a Centennial Synod meeting in 1948, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Rev. John Geddie, the local church was placed fully in charge of its own affairs. The island mission councils for Australia and New Zealand were then limited to the affairs of their immediate mission staff. The New Zealand Church continued to provide a large financial grant to the New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. A continued focus remained on training church leaders and education more generally. The Tangoa Training Institute later introduced a curriculum of advanced theological studies.
In the early 1950s, the New Zealand Missions Committee responded to the request for assistance to establish a High School at Onesua on Efate, along with funds and personnel to set up and run a small hospital on Tongoa. The Committee viewed this project as a practical means by which the New Zealand Church could provide for a social need rather than a means for furthering evangelistic opportunities. This policy shift in Mission funding opened up other opportunities for aid from the New Zealand Church including developing Navota Farm and opening the Maropa religious bookshop in Port Vila, training local islanders to be trades people and undertake the building work. The New Zealand Bible Class volunteer scheme sent out young people during the 1960s to assist with building, administration and nursing. The Mission, at the request of the Presbyterian Church of the New Hebrides, divested itself of all remaining authority in the Islands so that the New Zealand missionaries effectively worked for the New Hebrides Church. In 1965 a memorandum was prepared which defined the terms of “responsible partnership” and sought to define the responsibilities of each partner. The Church continues today as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

For more information about New Hebrides Mission collections at the Archives of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, and New Zealand, see: http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm

Department of Communications

New Hebrides Mission photograph album, c.1955-1965

  • AU PMB PHOTO 96
  • Colección
  • 1955-1965

Collection of 84 black and white photographs associated with the Presbyterian mission in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu). The images were captured between c.1955-1965, and produced by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church Department of Communication. The photographs show various scenes associated with the work of the church such as the Teachers Training Institute on Tangoa, classes at Onesua High School, mission nurses at work, and church services. Other subjects include gardening and house building, as well as a number of portraits and group photographs. Named individuals within the images include Sister Mary Wells, Pastor Moses, Leckarie, Rev. Tevita Galuvakadua, Roy Fletcher, Rev. W. Francis, and Sister Gillanders. The photographs were captured on a number of islands including Tangoa, Nguna, and Makura. For many images the date and exact location was not recorded.

The New Hebrides Mission from the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand:
The Presbyterian Church began sending missionaries to the New Hebrides (today known as Vanuatu) in the mid-19th Century. The first missionary was Rev. John Geddie of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia who arrived on the island of Aneityum in 1848. Subsequent missionaries came from the Presbyterian Churches of New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Australia (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales).
In New Zealand an interest in supporting a Christian mission to the New Hebrides was fostered when Rev. John Inglis of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland toured the country in 1852 following a three month tour of the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands. In that same year, Inglis and his wife joined Geddie on Aneityum. Rev. John Inglis continued to send regular reports of his work to New Zealand, leading to increasing interest from the Church there in sending their own missionaries to the islands.
The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was at that time divided up into the 'Northern Church' and the 'Southern Church' (consisting of the Provinces of Otago and Southland). The Southern Church was based on the ideals of the Free Church of Scotland and these principles influenced its mission work for many years. For over 40 years the two Churches worked separately, with mission activities during this time operating independently of each other.

Over several decades the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand sent a number of missionaries to the New Hebrides including the following people. The information below includes the missionaries' date of arrival in the New Hebrides, the name of the missionary and the name of the main island on which they worked:
1866, Rev. William Watt, Tanna
1870, Rev. Peter Milne, Nguna
1879, Rev. Oscar Michelsen, Tongoa
1885, Rev. Charles Murray, Ambrym
1889, Rev. Thomas Smaill, Epi
1892, Rev. Dr. Lamb, Ambrym
1899, Dr. John Bowie, Ambrym
1903, Rev. Thomas Riddle, Epi
1905, Rev. William V. Milne, Nguna (born on Nguna in 1877)
1932, Rev. Basil Nottage, Tongoa
1938, Rev. Ken Crump, Nguna
1941, Rev. J.G. Miller, Tongoa
1944, Rev. Ian Muir, Emae and Epi
1948, Rev. A.G. Horwell, Epi
In the early years there was no organised or reliable shipping service to the individual islands of the New Hebrides so it was important for the Church to have their own vessel to bring regular supplies from Australia and New Zealand. A boat was also necessary for transport to other mission stations. Although the New Hebrides missionaries were responsible for their home churches and allotted areas and islands, they worked closely together on common issues and met annually for a mission Synod meeting. New Zealand Presbyterian Church worked in conjunction with the Australian Presbyterian Church to raise money and purchased a mission supply vessel, the ÒDayspring IÓ. This 115 ton brigantine was launched in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1863. It was lost in a hurricane ten years later and replaced by a second hand schooner, the ÒDayspring IIÓ in 1876. The Dayspring II was sold prior to 1890 as she was too small and slow and uncomfortable to sail in. The Australian missionary Dr. John G. Paton raised £6000 during a visit to Britain in 1884-1885 and later increased the donations to £7000. The ÒDayspring IIIÓ was built on the Clyde in Scotland to the order of the Victorian Presbyterian Church Foreign Missions Committee. She was 157 feet long and arrived in Australia in 1895. On only her fourth voyage to the islands, she sank on the 16th October 1896 after striking an uncharted coral reef near New Caledonia. The decision was made not to replace the vessel.
The New Hebrides Mission shared a practical concern for the everyday needs of island people. In addition to converting local people to Christianity, the missionaries worked to improve education, through the introduction of schools where the training of local mission teachers was initiated. The Tangoa TeachersÕ Training Institute opened at Tangoa, South Santo, in 1895. The purpose of the Institute was to train local teachers and it was supported by all the Protestant missions working throughout the New Hebrides. Missionaries also worked to improve health education and services and encouraged the production of arrowroot and island trading as a means to generate revenue. Arrowroot powder was shipped to New Zealand and other countries, where it was initially distributed by womenÕs missionary groups and later by commercial organisations. The funds from the sale of arrowroot were used to build additional churches in the islands and, in some cases, as a donation towards New Zealand mission funds to be used elsewhere. From 1880 to 1918 on Nguna alone, over 26 tons of arrowroot was produced.
By 1910, the work of the New Hebrides Mission was declining. This was partly due to a rapidly decreasing population on the islands and a feeling that little room existed for further expansion of mission work, as by then most areas were adequately covered. The reduction in population was primarily caused by introduced European illnesses and epidemics which decimated the local population. The Queensland labour trade had also had an impact on the local population, with many locals having decided to remain in Queensland.
In 1947 there was a general consensus held among the Island missionaries that the local church was ready to assume control of its own affairs. A constitution was drawn up, and after amendments submitted by the New Zealand and Australian Mission Committees and the New Hebrides Mission Synod, it was adopted. At a Centennial Synod meeting in 1948, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Rev. John Geddie, the local church was placed fully in charge of its own affairs. The island mission councils for Australia and New Zealand were then limited to the affairs of their immediate mission staff. The New Zealand Church continued to provide a large financial grant to the New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. A continued focus remained on training church leaders and education more generally. The Tangoa Training Institute later introduced a curriculum of advanced theological studies.
In the early 1950s, the New Zealand Missions Committee responded to the request for assistance to establish a High School at Onesua on Efate, along with funds and personnel to set up and run a small hospital on Tongoa. The Committee viewed this project as a practical means by which the New Zealand Church could provide for a social need rather than a means for furthering evangelistic opportunities. This policy shift in Mission funding opened up other opportunities for aid from the New Zealand Church including developing Navota Farm and opening the Maropa religious bookshop in Port Vila, training local islanders to be trades people and undertake the building work. The New Zealand Bible Class volunteer scheme sent out young people during the 1960s to assist with building, administration and nursing. The Mission, at the request of the Presbyterian Church of the New Hebrides, divested itself of all remaining authority in the Islands so that the New Zealand missionaries effectively worked for the New Hebrides Church. In 1965 a memorandum was prepared which defined the terms of Òresponsible partnershipÓ and sought to define the responsibilities of each partner. The Church continues today as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.
For more information about New Hebrides Mission collections at the Archives of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, and New Zealand, see: http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm

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