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Archival description
Solomon Islands Text With digital objects
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Diaries of Colin Allan

  • AU PMB MS 1437
  • Collection
  • 1947-1956

Sir Colin Allan was an administrator in the British Solomon Islands Protectorate (BSIP). He first served 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 Maasina Rule (also Maasina Ruru and Marching Rule).
After World War II, there were efforts by the colonial administration to extend European use of land. A Special Lands Commission was established to examine local land customs and make recommendations on the use of unclaimed land. He was appointed by the High Commissioner of the Western Pacific to be Special Lands Commissioner on 10 July 1953.

This set of five diaries cover a significant amount of Allan’s BSIP tenure, but not the full period. The diaries begin on 1 January, 1947, with a voyage on board the ‘Myrtle’ through the Western District, where Allan was Assistant District Commissioner, then District Commissioner. The diaries end in 1954 after the Special Lands Commission, however no diary for 1952 was transferred to Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.

Diary 1 covers the periods 1 January – 28 November 1947, 28 June – 11 August 1948, then 1 January – 28 March, 1949. There are brief descriptions for most days indicating professional and personal activities. During 1947, he describes visits to various villages in the Western District noting movement of people and vessels, trade, weather conditions, local disputes and crimes and a word list (language unknown). During 1948, he documents the establishment of the Choiseul office, notes demographic information and bureaucratic matters. From 1949, Allan takes the post of D.O. in Malu’u, Malaita during the period of Maasina Rule (also Maasina Ruru and Marching Rule). His diary entries are brief but make reference to early colonial politics, the Maasina Rule movement and associated raids, arrests and imprisonments. He also refers to land matters, native courts and census collections.

Diary 2 (1948) has only sporadic entries, mostly reporting on village visits and bureaucratic activities. This diary also contains a list of plantations and owners on Isabel/Ysabel, meeting resolutions, lists of fines and accounts. There is also a reference to Belamataga’s Guadalcanal Freedom Movement.

Diary 3 (1949) has only sporadic entries, beginning in April and ending in October. The diary begins in Malu’u, Malaita, with observations about other administrators and missionaries, as well as arrest numbers. Entries from August detail travel in England.

Diary 4 (1950-51) covers the period 29 May 1950-9 Jan 1951, having returned to Honiara from London to the news he will be posted to Malaita to take over from Acting DC Stanley Masterman. On arrival, and throughout, he writes of his concerns over the Maasina Rule situation. As he tours Malaita, he writes of colonial administrative politics, arguments around tax collection, religious affiliations in different areas, movement of workers/labour, village politics, local infrastructure matter such as schools and hospitals. He goes on tour with the Resident Commissioner. Throughout he discusses Ariari (‘Are’are) and Kwarae people.

Diary 5 (1953-54, 1956) has a typed report (11pp) relating to the Special Lands Commission inserted in the front of the diary. The report covers an investigative visit to the Western Solomons between July-September, 1953. The diary itself contains handwritten notes on the Special Lands Commission investigations, covering the period May-June 1953 in Honiara, before visiting villages throughout the Western District during the period July-September, then October-November, 1953. Allan returns to Honiara in December 1953 to continue work on the report. During 1954, he tours Central Province and Guadalcanal until 2 April, 1954. The diary resumes on 24 July 1956, explaining it was paused while the Lands Commission was suspended and he took leave in England. From July, Allan tours the Eastern District. The diary ends on his return to Honiara on 14 December, 1956.

Allan, Colin

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

Slides from Tim Bayliss-Smith’s Voluntary Service Overseas placement and PhD research in Solomon Islands

  • AU PMB PHOTO 100
  • Collection
  • 1966-1972

Tim Bayliss-Smith served on the Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) program in Honiara, Solomon Islands, 1965-1966. He worked as a teacher in the Survey Drafting School in the Lands Department of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Government and as a librarian in the Geological Survey Department. Though based in Honiara, he travelled around Guadalcanal for work, as well as to Savo, Malaita and Bellona. Tim returned to Solomon Islands in 1971 for his PhD field research into energy use on Ontong Java atoll. He joined the Department of Geography at University of Cambridge in 1973 where he has continued his research in land management in the humid tropics, with particular focus on Melanesia. Professor Bayliss-Smith has made many subsequent visits to Solomon Islands throughout his research career.

This collection of 108 digitised 35mm colour slides are mainly from the period of his VSO placement (1965-1966) and mainly feature Honiara and surrounds. The images depict VSO housing; other VSO volunteers; trainees in the Survey Drafting School; Chinatown; Honiara market; WWII wreckage and other landmarks in and around Honiara. Activities such as sporting events, Easter procession; Queen's Birthday celebrations and gardening also feature.

Bayliss-Smith, Tim

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