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Diaries of Father, later Bishop, Alexandre Poncet

  • AU PMB MS 964
  • Collection
  • 1924 - 1947

Bishop Poncet (1884-1973), a priest of the Society of Mary, arrived on Wallis Island in 1925. On his elevation to bishop in March 1936, he became the first Vicar Apostolic of Wallis and Futuna. He retired in 1962. His 'Histoire Succincte de l'Ile Wallis' has been microfilmed as PMB Doc.212. He was also the author of Histoire de l'Ile Wallis, the second volume of which was published by the Societe des Oceanistes, Paris, in 1972.

Diaries of Father (Bishop) Alexandre Poncet:<BR>Reel 1: 5 July 1924 - 3 February 1938<BR>Reel 2: February 1938 - March 1947.

Catholic Mission, Wallis Island

Diaries of J.K. Arnold

  • AU PMB MS 628
  • Collection
  • 1923 - 1926

Reverend John Kissack Arnold (1895-1955) was a Methodist missionary in the Dobu circuit of Papua New Guinea. He went to Papua in May 1923 and left in January 1928, but spent some time in Australia on furlough in 1926. He was the author of a grammar of Edgaula, the language of Dobu, and the lingua franca of the D' Entrecasteaux Group and beyond.

The diaries cover the period 1 May 1923 - 5 January 1926. They cover visits to the D' Entrecasteaux and Kiriwina Islands. The diaries are in three volumes and each has its own index.

Arnold Rev. John Kissack

Diaries of Reverend Conrad Stallan

  • AU PMB MS 1428
  • Collection
  • 1940-1946

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.

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.

In the first diary, written by Rev. Stallan between 1940 – 1943 (though most entries were in 1941), he writes about his life and work in South West Bay. He comments extensively on sickness and death in the local community, including his own periods of illness. Both Rev. Stallan and daughter Janet suffered malaria during this time. Janet was treated by a visiting Missionary GP who administered life-saving quinine. Rev. Stallan had no formal medical training, but had worked as an apprentice chemist/pharmacist for an unknown period, and may have received some basic training for the mission field. He was often called upon for medical and dental help, including giving injections (known as ‘stick medicine’), and daughter Janet recalls there was a room in the family home known as ‘the surgery’. He also comments on school activities, agriculture, local customs and preparations for making contact with the Big Nambas; who had violently rebuffed previous European contact and missionaries were forbidden by Condominium authorities from approaching them (Garrett, 1997 p.75). Rev. Stallan also writes of visiting Tangoa, Tanna, Vila and Tongoa.

The second diary, dated 4 January 1945 – March 10 1946 includes loose correspondence and photographs, including images of Stallan, the mission house and Wintua School. He also writes about weather, health of self and others, building the copra drier, interactions with workers, school commentary, family matters, a visit by American soldiers (intelligence unit), working in the garden, inter-island travel, carbon monoxide incidents, visiting the US Army Malaria Control Unit, baptisms, christenings and ministry, problems with launches, marriage/exchange culture, malaria surveys/control and reflections on mission. Writing in different hand is possibly that of Chriss Stallan. Some writing is in language – probably the Ninde language of the Meun cultural district where Stallan was located.

Stallan, Conrad George (1904-1980)

Diaries of Reverend Peter Milne.

  • AU PMB MS 1402
  • Collection
  • 1870-1924

This collection includes Rev. Peter Milne’s diaries relating to the New Hebrides mission. The diaries contain daily notes, as opposed to the journals which provide a more considered narrative.

Milne, Peter.

Diaries relating to his service with the Church of Christ Mission on Pentecost Island, New Hebrides (now Vanuatu).

  • AU PMB MS 1358
  • Collection
  • 1908-1918

Frank Filmer was a missionary with the Churches of Christ on Pentecost Island, New Hebrides from 1908-1919. Frank became engaged to Rosa Jane Fountain and in 1908 left to work as a missionary for the Church of Christ. He returned to South Australia and on 6 April 1909 Rosa and Frank were married in the Grote Street Church of Christ, Adelaide, South Australia. They had five children, four of whom were born in the islands. In 1923 Rosa developed malaria and died. Frank returned with his young children to Australia and worked as a Minister for the Church of Christ in Kadina, South Australia. Frank married Vera Edna Woodward on 2 November 1925 and returned to work on Ambryn as a plantation manager, where he had two more children. In 1929 they returned to South Australia. Frank later bought a dairy farm in Meadows where he and his three sons worked.

Four diaries written by Frank Filmer, 1908-1918

Reel 1:
Diary 1, 29 Feb 1908-31 Dec 1909;
Diary 2, 1 Jan 1910-31 Dec 1912
Diary 3, 1 Jan 1913-31 Dec 1915
Diary 4, 1 Jan 1916-31 Dec 1918

Filmer, Frank Gordon (1885-1956)


  • AU PMB MS 1
  • Collection
  • 1 January - 31 December 1905

Maurice M. Witts, (1877-1966) an Australian who fought in the Boer War, went to the New Hebrides as a settler in 1904 after a brief sojourn in Fiji. With two cousins, Theo and Arthur Thomas, he planted coconuts in the Hog Harbour area of Espiritu Santo. He returned to Australia about 1913 and lived in the Moss Vale district until his death.

The diary gives an account of the life of a copra planter in a remote part of the New Hebrides, and contains numerous observations on the natives of the Hog Harbour area. See also PMB 8 for a later diary by Witts for the year 1911.

Witts Maurice M.


  • AU PMB MS 967
  • Collection
  • 2 May - 16 December 1914

Donaldson was one of about 40 British employees of the British-owned Pacific Phosphate Company on Nauru when World War I broke out. Nauru was then a German colony. On 6 September 1914, the Germans deported the British employees to Ocean Island, part of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Protectorate. On 3 November 1914, an Australian force under Colonel W. Holmes, arrived at Ocean Island in the company's ship Messina, reembarked the British employees and returned them to Nauru, which was placed under Australian military control.

The diary gives an account of these events and those preceding and following them.

Donaldson T.H.

Diary (Roviana original and English translation)

  • AU PMB MS 1104
  • Collection
  • May 1935-Jan 1936

David Voeta was associated with the Methodist Mission in the West of the Solomon Islands

Diary (possibly a transcript), May 1935-Jan 1936. English translation of the diary, May 1935-Jan 1936.<P><b>See reel list for further details</b>

Voeta, David

Diary (photocopy of original in Roviana)

  • AU PMB MS 1105
  • Collection
  • Jan-Apr 1937

This diary, associated with the Methodist Mission in the Solomon Islands, was found with Job Tozaka's diary (see PMB 1102)

Diary of an unnamed person, possibly John Kevisi, 14 Jan-21 Apr 1937<P><b>See reel list for further details</b>

John Kevisi [?]

Diary and photographs of Eleanor J. Walker

  • AU PMB MS 98
  • Collection
  • 1881-1893

Eleanor J. Walker was a member of the Methodist mission at Dobu in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands of Papua (then called British New Guinea). The mission was established in June 1891. For details, see <I>George Brown, D.D., Pioneer Missionary and Explorer : An Autobiography</I>, London, 1908, pp485-92.

The diary describes how the diarist came to join the mission and gives an account of her life at Dobu.

Walker, Eleanor J.

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