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Interview transcripts

  • AU PMB MS 1179
  • Collection
  • 1973

In June 1973, as Professor of Human Geography in the Research School of Pacific Studies at the ANU, Gerry Ward wrote W. F. Straatmans, a field researcher in Papua New Guinea, instructing him to carry out interviews with Danny Leahy and Jack Fox who were amongst the first Europeans in the Highlands of New Guinea. Pim Straatmans had had long personal relationships with both interviewees.
The interviewees recall pre-War and War-time conditions and tell stories regarding transport, airstrip construction, native labour, gold digging methods, sing sings in the Highlands, Edie Creek, Maprik, Bena Bena, Wewak and Sepik regions, including Danny Leahy's account of rescuing nuns and priests from Catholic mission stations on the Sepik during the War. They remark on some of Danny Leahy's photographs, recalling the deaths of Fr Mauschhauser and Br Eugene in the Chimbu, contact with Fr Van Baar, Fr Ross and Fr Schaefer, and the rivalry between the Catholic and Lutheran missions. They comment on the kiaps Robert Melrose and Jim Taylor and on the hanging of Ludy Schmidt in Rabaul.
In the transcript of a further interview with Chris Ashton of the ABC, Jack Fox, who had been in New Guinea with the Australian occupation forces in 1914, recalls the expedition and German resistance.

Transcripts of Pim Straatmans' interview with Jack Fox and Danny Leahy, November 1973, and Chris Ahton's interview with Jack Fox, also in 1973, together with related papers and a photograph of Jack Fox. See Finding aids for details.

Fox, John R and Leahy, Daniel

Diary of an escape from Salamaua, Territory of New Guinea

  • AU PMB MS 1181
  • Collection
  • 22 Jan-19 Feb 1942

Robert Melrose was born in Hay, NSW, on 5 April 1890. He served as a Telegraphist in the Royal Australian Navy on HMAS Yarra in New Guinea waters. He joined the civil administration of the Mandated territory of New Guinea as a Patrol Officer on 9 May 1921. He served initially as an Assistant District Officer to Colonel John Walstab in Kavieng, New Ireland, 1921-1924, than became District Officer at Manus 1924-1926, Aitape 1926-1931, Kavieng 1931-1933, Rabaul and Salamaua until 1936/37, and then at Rabaul till late 1941, when the Department of District Services and Native Affairs was transferred to Lae with the Administrator. At that time Robert Melrose was Assistant Director, then Director, of the Department.
Robert Melrose returned to the Territory after the War as Government Secretary based in Port Moresby. He sufferred a massive heart attack and returned to Australia in April 1949. During his retirement, Melrose served on a Committee interviewing applicants for government posts in PNG and also served as Honorary Secretary/Treasurer of the newly formed Retired Officers Association of PNG till his death in September 1959.
<BR><P>(Note by Geoff Melrose.)

In January 1942 two parties evacuated Lae and Salamaua in front of the appoaching Japanese forces. One group of young fit people, led by Nick Penglase, went via Wau, Waria valley to Buna and Kokoda. The remaining group of 34, led by Robert Melrose, travelled by pinnace and canoe to Morobe and Buna and then overland to Kokoda.
<BR>Diary of escape from Salamaua, Territory of New Guinea. Ms (faint pencil and pen), 22 Jan-19 Feb 1942
<BR>Transcript of diary, 22 Jan-19 Feb 1942, by Geoffrey Melrose. Ms., p/c.
<BR>Notebook and letterbook (letters-out), Apr-Jul 1941, Feb 1942
<BR>Notebook: list of personnel, stores, provisions and expenditure, n.d.

Melrose, Robert (1890-1952)

Papers on the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu

  • AU PMB MS 1189
  • Collection
  • 1881-1993

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, 23 October 1921, Sir Colin took a BA (1943) and MA (1945) at Canterbury University and a Diploma in Anthropology at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He served with the NZ army (1942-44) and with the British Solomon Islands Defence Force (1945).
Sir Colin was appointed in 1945 as an Administrative Cadet in the British Colonial Service and spent a brief training period in the Western District of Fiji. Transferred to the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, he served first as District Officer Nggela, Western Solomons, then D.O. and District Commissioner Western (1946-1948), D.O. Choiseul and Ysabel (1948), D.O. Malu`u (1949) and finally District Commissioner Malaita (1950-1952) at the time of the Marching Rule. He was appointed by the High Commissioner of the Western Pacific to be Special Lands Commissioner on 10 July 1953.
In 1954 Sir Colin was seconded to the Western Pacific High Commission Secretariat as Senior Assistant Secretary, Finance and Development. Here Sir Colin completed the report of the Solomon Islands Special Lands Commission on 17 June 1957. He served as Secretary of the BSIP Agriculture and Industrial Affairs Board (1956-57), Chaired the BSIP Copra Marketing Board (1957-58) and represented the UK on the South Pacific Commission Research Council (1958).
In 1959 Sir Colin transferred to Port Vila where he was appointed Assistant British Resident Commissioner of the New Hebrides Condominium (1959-66) and then Resident Commissioner (1966-73). Sir Colin was appointed Governor and Commander in Chief of the Seychelles (1973-76) and then Governor of the Solomon Islands (1976-1978) at the time of their independence. He was the last High Commissioner of the Western Pacific. Sir Colin was knighted in 1977 and retired from his illustrious career in 1978.
Sir Colin had a close association with Professor Jim Davidson and other members of the faculty in Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies and the National Centre for Development Studies, having been a Visiting Fellow in the Australian National University for a time. His publications include Customary Land Tenure in the Solomon Islands, 1958, based on the report of the Special Lands Commission, Constitution Making in New Island States, 1982, and Solomons Safari, 1989.

Reel 1: PMB 1189/1-21 Sir Colin manuscripts and articles (with reviews), 1951-88; PMB 1189/22-23 Sir Colin’s speeches, 1967-84; PMB 1189/24 Sir Colin’s press articles about Marching Rule, 1945-51; PMB 1189/25 Sir Colin’s letters to editors re colonial administration, 1981-82; PMB 1189/100-107 Papers re the Solomon Islands, 1881-1980.
Reel 2: PMB 1189/108-125 Papers re the Solomon Islands, 1881-1980, cont.
Reel 3: PMB 1189/126-142 Papers re the Solomon Islands, 1881-1980, cont.
Reel 4: PMB 1189/143-159 Papers re the Solomon Islands, 1881-1980, cont.; PMB 1189/160-167 Papers re Vanuatu (New Hebrides), 1897-1993.
Reel 5: PMB 1189/168-183 Papers re Vanuatu (New Hebrides), 1897-1993, cont.
Reel 6: PMB 1189/184-196 Papers re Vanuatu (New Hebrides), 1897-1993, cont.
Reel 7: PMB 1189/197-216 Papers re Vanuatu (New Hebrides), 1897-1993, cont.; PMB 1189/217-218 Papers re general Pacific matters, 1944-1983.
Reel 8: PMB 1189/219-229 Papers re general Pacific matters, 1944-1983, cont.; PMB 1189/267-271 Papers on constitutional development in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, including resettlement of Gilbertese in the Solomons, 1943-1987.
Reel 9: PMB 1189/272-273 Papers on constitutional development, cont.; PMB 1189/276-280, 285-291 Selected press cuttings, 1953-1989; PMB 1189/294 Selected printed material – Solomon Islands.
Reel 10: PMB 1189/295, 298, 301-303, 306-312 Selected printed material – Solomon Islands, cont.; PMB 1189/384-385, 388 Selected printed material – Vanuatu.
Reel 11: PMB 1189/394-397, 400 Selected printed material – Vanuatu, cont.
<B>See Finding aids for details.</B>

Allan, Colin

Registers of baptisms

  • AU PMB MS 1201
  • Collection
  • 1886-1973

See also SSEM correspondence, 1890-1946, at PMB 1150; Not in Vain, 1887-1995, at PMB Doc 439; Despatches from the SSEM, Mar 1932-Jul 1956, at PMB Doc 440; and Solomon Soldiers’ News, 1945-1966, at PMB Doc 441.

Reel 1
Queensland Kanaka Mission. List of Baptisms, Nos. 1-1369, 1886-1900
Notes on baptised people, cross referenced to QKM List of Baptisms, above, 1902(?).
Solomons Baptisms Register, Nos. 1-1203, 1902-1905.
Solomons Register of Baptisms, Nos. 1204-2811, 1915-1922.
Solomons Baptisms Register, Nos. 2812-5821, 1922-1932.
Solomons Baptisms Register, Nos. 5822-9310, 1932-Mar 1946.
Solomons Baptisms Register, Nos. 9311-14796, 1946-1962.
New Guinea Baptism Record Book, Nos. 1-3180, 1958-1973.
Reel 2
Miss L. Drewitt. List of Villagers visiting Mission (One Pesi?), 1927-1951.
Furlough Lists (2 volumes). Lists time spent by staff in the Islands, 1907-1965.
Grammar Notes and English-Makira Vocabulary WB [Wanoni Bay], arranged by Miss Waterson. Ts., carbon; c.80pp., (first page missing), 1931.

South Sea Evangelical Mission, formerly Queensland Kanaka Mission

Papers on Bougainville, New Britain, Sepik and Solomon Islands languages

  • AU PMB MS 1225
  • Collection
  • 1908-1916

Richard Thurnwald was born in Austria in 1869, received formal training in ethnology and related fields, went on a fieldtrip on behalf of the Berlin Museum für Völkerkunde to the Bismarck Archipelago and the Solomon Islands, 1906-1909, returned to New Guinea for a Sepik River expedition, 1913-16, and came back to the New Guinea islands region in the 1930s. He was a great collector of artefacts some of which are held in German museums, others are lost, some possibly incorporated in Australian museum collections. Thurnwald's publications are extensive (c.300 articles and books), but not widely distributed.

Some of Thurnwald’s recordings and photographs, plus Iniet (NG) song texts and tales & 741 Iniet stone figures which he collected, are held in the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin. Some of his photographs are held in the Berlin Institute of Ethnology which Thurnwald founded in 1948. Some further Thurnwald papers are held in the Stirling Memorial Library, Berkeley California.

Richard Thurnwald’s widow, Hilda, transferred these papers to Professor Stephen Wurm, Linguistics Department, RSPAS, in about 1963. They were handed over to Don Laycock (the second appointee in the Department, after Wurm) for work on a Buin dictionary. After Dr Laycock's early death the papers were held in the Dept for some years where Lois Carrington, then a Research Assistant in Linguistics, worked on them from time to time. In 1993 the Thurnwald papers were transferred to Tania Laycock, Dr Laycock’s widow, who continues to hold them to date (Feb 2005) but is considering transferring them to the National Library of Australia. A complete list of the papers is available from the Bureau. The documents on the microfilm consist of a typescript of Thurwald’s Buin-German Dictionary, which was to have been published as the second volume of his Forschungen auf den Salomon-Inseln and word lists, comparative word lists, a phrase book and grammatical notes for the Baining, Gazelle, Buin, Alu, Lambutxo, Bambatana, Vellalavella, Panone and Tambatamba languages (spoken in New Britain, Bougainville, the Shortlands and other north Solomon Islands). Also microfilmed are files and word lists for Tjimundo (Lower Sepik) and Banaro/Ramunga (upper Keram River, Sepik District, New Guinea) languages. <b>See Finding aids for details.</b>
Note: Material was copied as found on microfilm reel and delivered in digital in same order. Some pages on reel 1 are not in order, but are clearly numbered at top of page.

Richard C. Thurnwald (1869-1954)

A brief sketch of the fate of 3000 Indian pows in New Guinea

  • AU PMB MS 1249
  • Collection
  • 1943-1945

Captain Singh, of the Dogra regiment, relates that the Indians "left Singapore on 5 May 1943 in seven parties each consisting of about 600 - three of the parties went to New Britain and the other four came to New Guinea", ie. Wewak.

Professor Hank Nelson gave the PMB a cover note on Singh's 'Brief Sketch', as follows: "Singh wrote another brief account of his time in New Guinea as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, 'The Experiences of an Indian Prisoner of War in New Guinea", The Infantry Journal, Vol.1, No.1, July 1949, pp.56-62. In the journal article he notes that the 'irony of fate reached its climax' when of the eleven Indians who survived with the Japanese until the end of the War, nine were put on an aircraft to fly them out of New Guinea and it crashed, killing all nine. Singh, who was not on the flight, was then the only survivor. From the 3,000 Indians originally landed in the Sepik in May 1943 another 191 had survived, liberated by advancing Australians before the end of the War. One of these men, Sepoy Bachan Singh, provided evidence for the Tokyo War Crimes Trials."

Professor Nelson adds that “a copy of Chint Singh’s reminiscences written in Wewak is in the UPNG Library and (I think) the Australian War Memorial.”

The document is a roneoed typescript, 61ppp., dated 4 Nov 1945. It was passed to the PMB by Professor Donald Denoon, who worked at the University of Papua New Guinea. At the time, the author was unable to be contacted. The author's son, Narinder Parmar, has since been identified.

Singh, Captain Chint

Letter books

  • AU PMB MS 1252
  • Collection
  • 1896-1905

Letter books of Reverend Thomas Watt Leggatt. He was a Scottish missionary based on Malekula, Vanuatu (previously New Hebrides) representing the Presbyterian Church of Australia c.1895-1905. He was ordained in Melbourne in 1886 and became Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria in 1931.

The material is as follows:
Press-copy letter-book, May-Nov 1896, Ms., ff. 1-69, indexed. Written from Aulua Mission, Malekula, New Hebrides. Informative, detailed letters including, ethnographic observations on the people of Malekula, the number of their languages; Report of the “Amy Gertrude Russel” Mission Station, Aulua, Malekula, New Hebrides, year ending August 13th 1896; cover note addressed to Rev Leggatt’s father for a cask of 192lbs of arrowroot together with a 50lb bag of raw coffee being shipped to Melbourne; and letters to TWL’s brother Andrew, Mr Watson, Mr Langridge, Mr Paton, Dr and Mrs Annand, Mrs Scott, Mr Rolland, Mr Baker and Mrs C.B. Anderson.

Press-copy letter-book, Sep 1897-Oct 1905, Ms., ff.1, 9-165, indexed. Also written from the Aulua Mission, Malekula, New Hebrides. Includes letters to Mr Hardie, Convenor, Foreign Mission Cmte, Presbyterian Church of Victoria; also correspondence with the Western Pacific High Commission requesting including request to register the birth of TWL’s daughter, Lillie Faith Leggatt; letters passing on mission news to Mr Langridge, Mrs Tomkins, Miss Sutton, Mr Johnstone, Dr Cook and others, including Dr Geo Smith of Edinburgh with news that the French on the South coast were not driving out Rev TWL’s teachers; and an order for supplies. This letter-book includes a list of teachers in the Aulua District, Malekula, stating their names, location, salary and supporters (1899), and reports on indigenous teachers supported by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria or by the John G. Paton Fund (Samuel, Semuku, Taripoa, Tarivaka, Samson, David, Solomon, Abel & Albam studying at the Teachers Training Institute, Santo (Apr 1900); detailed reports (Apr 1900) on the following teachers: Josua at Ambilbarap; Noa; Ambongluan and wife Mogur; Paul and his wife Letok-Surur who opened a new station on Koliviu in the Maskelyne Islands; Harry Martin at the village of Batinir (Bakineer); Nambogsia of Burambar teaching at Sakau, one of the Maskeleyne Islands with Moses; Luke at the village of Pandru-lemp (?); Ebram at village of Bobambu (?); Alek at the Institute; Japhet and his wife Letubunka who were students at the Training Institute, Santo; and Thomas Erskine. There are also letters to the teachers and scholars at Presbyterian Sabbath Schools in Melbourne (Kensington, Kew, Malvern, Toorak, South Yarra) including reports on teachers and students supported by the various Sabbath Schools, namely Samuel, Josiah; Japhet; Taripoa and his wife Lelang; Ambongbaita and his wife Letis.

See also: Rev. T. Watt Leggatt’s diaries, 1901-1908, at PMB 86 and his newspaper clippings relating to the New Hebrides, c.1891-1905, at PMB 87.

The following material available at National Library Australia:

  1. Leggatt, T. Watt, First printings in language of Aulua, Malekula [New Hebrides], 1890-1892.
  2. Leggatt, T. Watt, Mission work in Malekula, New Hebrides, 1891.
  3. Leggatt, T. Watt, Newspaper clippings relating to the New Hebrides, [ca.1891-ca.1905] [microfilm] Mfm PMB 87
  4. Leggatt, T. Watt, Malekula, New Hebrides [1892]. 5. Leggatt, T. Watt, Nembu sa atua : Pagkumu ca Aulua, Malekula, New Hebrides, 1893.
  5. Leggatt, T. Watt and Watt, Agnes C. P. (Agnes Craig Paterson), 1846-1894. Agnes C.P. Watt : twenty-five years' mission life on Tanna, New Hebrides / biographical sketch and introduction by T. Watt Leggatt, 1896.
  6. Leggatt, T. Watt, Morning rays on Malekula [1897?].
  7. Leggatt, T. Watt, Numene ta Apostol Hera, 1897.
  8. Leggatt, T. Watt, First book and hymnal : Pangkumu and Aulua, Malekula, New Hebrides, 1897.
  9. Leggatt, T. Watt, Diaries 1901-1908 [microform] mfm PMB 86
  10. Leggatt, T. Watt, Ensurua naho i tok rien nerambulet bembui tui: Aulua, Malekula, New Hebrides, 1902.
  11. Leggatt, T. Watt, Nasuruan ivoi Marik i tos, 1906
  12. Leggatt, T. Watt, John G. Paton, D.D., missionary to the New Hebrides : a memorial life for our children / by T. Watt Leggatt and W.M.M. Alexander. [1907?].
  13. Leggatt, T. Watt, How rain came up through the earth on Aniwa [1924].
  14. Leggatt, T. Watt, Mission to the Aborigines in South Australia : statement and appeal from the Board of Missions, by T. Watt Leggatt, H.C. Matthew, 1937.

Leggatt Rev. T. Watt

The Mystery of Guise: Conflict between missionaries, colonial administrators and foreign traders during the British New Guinea Protectorate: a biography of Reginald Edward Guise.

  • AU PMB MS 1288
  • Collection
  • c.1998

Nigel Oram was an ethnologist and academic. In 1946, after military service in World War II, he read history at Oxford University. This was followed by a career in the British Colonial Service in East Africa and Uganda. In 1961, Oram helped set up the New Guinea Research Unit, Port Moresby, which was an offshoot of the Australian National University. His role was to undertake social research. To facilitate his information gathering, Oram learnt the Motu and Hula languages. In 1969, he was appointed a fellow at the University of Papua New Guinea, where he remained from 1969 to 1975. Oram returned to Australia where he taught history for nine years at La Trobe University and where, upon his retirement, he became an honorary senior research fellow. An extensive collection of Oram’s PNG research papers is held at the National Library of Australia (MS 9436).

The mystery of Guise: conflict between missionaries, colonial administrators and foreign traders during the British New Guinea Protectorate, Ts., 29pp., is a biography of Reginald Edward Guise, grandfather of Sir John Guise, G.C.M.G., K.B.E., Hon. Ll.D., the first Governor-General of the independent state of Papua New Guinea. This version of Nigel Oram’s manuscript dates from sometime after 1994. In the late 1990s Oram’s health went steadily down hill, and completing the manuscript was beyond him. After Oram’s death, Janet Fingleton rescued the manuscript from her father’s computer. Donald Denoon has since worked on an edited version of this paper which is to be submitted to the Journal of Pacific History. This is a complete copy of the existing manuscript, but note that the references and some of the footnotes are missing.

Oram, Nigel D. (1919-2003)

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

Papers relating to the Western State movement, Solomon Islands.

  • AU PMB MS 1292
  • Collection
  • 1998-2004

Papers gathered on field research during the political crisis in the Solomon Islands. Some of the results of Dr Scales research have been published, see Ian Scales (2007) “The coup nobody noticed: the Solomon Islands Western State Movement in 2000”, Journal of Pacific History 42(2): 186-209.

Papers arranged in five series.
Series 1/1-36. Papers on the Western State Movement, 1999-2001.
Series 2/1-4. Papers relating to Solomon Islands Government Provincial Government Review Committee.
Series 3/1-11. Report of the State Government Task Force 2001.
Series 4/1-7. Newspaper cuttings related to the Western State Movement 1999-2001.
Series 5/1-2. Additional documents.
See Finding aids for details.

Scales, Ian A. (1963- )

Results 61 to 70 of 242