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Papers on the Solomon Islands and other Pacific Islands

  • AU PMB MS 1290
  • Collection
  • 1879-1927

Charles Morris Woodford was born in 1852 and educated at Tonbridge School in England. He settled in Suva about 1882 and from Fiji visited Kiribati (the Gilbert Islands group), as Government agent on the ketch Patience. In 1886, as a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society he made the first of three successive explorations of the Solomon Islands, especially Guadalcanal, where he was the first white man to penetrate the interior to any distance, collecting natural history specimens for the British Museum. His experiences are described in his book A Naturalist Among Headhunters (1890). In 1895 Woodford became Acting Consul and Deputy Commissioner at Samoa, and in the following year, a part of the Solomon Group having been made a British Protectorate, he was appointed the first Resident Commissioner, a post which he retained until his retirement in 1914. His later years were spent in Sussex.
Woodford contributed an account of his visit to the Gilbert Islands to The Geographical Journal in 1895, and a note on Ontong Java in 1909. In 1916 he read a paper to the Royal Geographical Society on Polynesian settlements in the Solomon Islands, published in the Journal in 1926. Woodford helped elucidate the narratives of Mandaña’s discovery of the Solomon Islands by identifying places visited by the Spaniards and taking photographs for inclusion in the Hakluyt Society publications. He also published papers in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, of which he was a Fellow.
From The Geographical Journal, 1928, pp.206-207.

This microfilm copy of the Woodford Papers was made by the Bureau (as PMB 150-PMB154) in 1971 when the papers were held for a time at the Department of Pacific History, RSPAS, Australian National University. Since then the microfilm negative has been held under restricted access in the Records Room in the Division of Pacific and Asian History where it has been used from time to time by various scholars. The family of Mr Woodford has now given permission for the microfilm to be released.

The papers are arranged in 30 bundles which are microfilmed in the following order:
Reel 1 – Bundles 2-7.
Reel 2 – Bundles 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 18 & 19.
Reel 3 – Bundles 13, 17 & 21.
Reel 4 – Bundles 20, 22, 23, 24 & 25.
Reel 5 – Bundles 27, 29, 30 & 11.
Bundle 1, photographs, have not been microfilmed. No list of the documents in bundles 9, 14, 26 & 28, which have also not been microfilmed, is available at present.

The documents in the bundles are classified in the following 12 series:
Series 1 Diaries
• 1/1 'Journal of a voyage from Suva Fiji to the Gilbert Group and back. From March 4th to June 22nd 1884'.
• 1/2 Diary 16 April - 5 July 1886
• 1/3 Diary 6 Jul-3 Aug 1886
• 1/4 'Diary from 4th August 1886 to November 10th 1886. Chas M. Woodford, F.R.G.S. Gravesend England'.
• 1/5 A revised version of Diary, April - July 1880. Original at 1/2
• 1/6 Diary 24 January - 5 June, 1887.
• 1/7 Diary 7 June - 25 September, 1887.
• 1/8 Diary 16 August 1888 — 3 January 1889.
• 1/9 Diary of part of tour of duty aboard ‘Pylades’ 30 May - 10 Aug. 1896.
• 1/10 Index to diaries 1886-9 and other works of reference.
Series 2 Correspondence
Series 3 History, geography, voyages, expeditions, administration
Series 4 Ethnography and natural history
Series 5 Languages, vocabularies
Series 6 Zoology
Series 7 Reprints
Series 8 British Colonial reports, notices, proclamations, etc.
Series 9 Press cuttings
Series 10 Photographs
Series 11 Sketches, tracings, maps, plans
Series 12 Manuscripts, cards.
See Finding aids for details.

Woodford, Charles Morris

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