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Solomon Islands Broadcasting Memorabilia

  • AU PMB PMB DOC 544
  • Collection
  • 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

Postcards of German New Guinea

  • AU PMB Photo 40
  • Collection
  • 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

James L.O.Tedder Solomon Islands Photographs

  • AU PMB Photo 66
  • Collection
  • 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.

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