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Vanuatu Text
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Journals of Reverend Peter Milne.

  • AU PMB MS 1403
  • Collection
  • 1868-1906

This collection includes a significant sequence of journals covering Peter Milne's early years and ministry training, before giving an extended account of the mission in the New Hebrides at Nguna (Hocken Collections MS-0432/16 to MS-0432/23). They differ from the diaries in that they are written later as a more considered narrative, rather than daily notes. There are several numbered volumes, with consecutive pagination.

Milne, Peter.

New Hebrides Mission photographs, c.1950-1969

  • AU PMB PHOTO 98
  • Collection
  • 1950-1969

This is a collection of 79 images of the Presbyterian mission in the New Hebrides, produced by the New Zealand Presbyterian Church Department of Communications in the 1950s and 1960s. The collection contains photographs of missionary families to the New Hebrides, including Rev. A.G. Horwell who was on Epi, Rev R.W. Murray, and Reverend and Mrs Hyslop. There are also several photographs of named ni-Vanautu pastors and teachers involved with the church including a Pastor Moses, Pastor Kalorib, and K.M. Shing. Many photographs relate to church and mission activities including: the Boys Brigade on Tongoa, bible classes, and Sunday school classes. There are also village scenes and images containing unidentified New Hebridean /ni-Vanuatu people.
The photographs were taken on multiple islands including Epi, Malekula and Tongoa.

The New Hebrides Mission from the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand:
The Presbyterian Church began sending missionaries to the New Hebrides (today known as Vanuatu) in the mid-19th Century. The first missionary was Rev. John Geddie of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia who arrived on the island of Aneityum in 1848. Subsequent missionaries came from the Presbyterian Churches of New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Australia (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales).

In New Zealand an interest in supporting a Christian mission to the New Hebrides was fostered when Rev. John Inglis of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland toured the country in 1852 following a three month tour of the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands. In that same year, Inglis and his wife joined Geddie on Aneityum. Rev. John Inglis continued to send regular reports of his work to New Zealand, leading to increasing interest from the Church there in sending their own missionaries to the islands.

The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was at that time divided up into the “Northern Church” and the “Southern Church” (consisting of the Provinces of Otago and Southland). The Southern Church was based on the ideals of the Free Church of Scotland and these principles influenced its mission work for many years. For over 40 years the two Churches worked separately, with mission activities during this time operating independently of each other.

Over several decades the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand sent a number of missionaries to the New Hebrides including the following people. The information below includes the missionaries' date of arrival in the New Hebrides, the name of the missionary and the name of the main island on which they worked:
1866, Rev. William Watt, Tanna
1870, Rev. Peter Milne, Nguna
1879, Rev. Oscar Michelsen, Tongoa
1885, Rev. Charles Murray, Ambrym
1889, Rev. Thomas Smaill, Epi
1892, Rev. Dr. Lamb, Ambrym
1899, Dr. John Bowie, Ambrym
1903, Rev. Thomas Riddle, Epi
1905, Rev. William V. Milne, Nguna (born on Nguna in 1877)
1932, Rev. Basil Nottage, Tongoa
1938, Rev. Ken Crump, Nguna
1941, Rev. J.G. Miller, Tongoa
1944, Rev. Ian Muir, Emae and Epi
1948, Rev. A.G. Horwell, Epi

In the early years there was no organised or reliable shipping service to the individual islands of the New Hebrides so it was important for the Church to have their own vessel to bring regular supplies from Australia and New Zealand. A boat was also necessary for transport to other mission stations. Although the New Hebrides missionaries were responsible for their home churches and allotted areas and islands, they worked closely together on common issues and met annually for a mission Synod meeting. New Zealand Presbyterian Church worked in conjunction with the Australian Presbyterian Church to raise money and purchased a mission supply vessel, the “Dayspring I”. This 115 ton brigantine was launched in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1863. It was lost in a hurricane ten years later and replaced by a second hand schooner, the “Dayspring II” in 1876. The Dayspring II was sold prior to 1890 as she was too small and slow and uncomfortable to sail in. The Australian missionary Dr. John G. Paton raised £6000 during a visit to Britain in 1884-1885 and later increased the donations to £7000. The “Dayspring III” was built on the Clyde in Scotland to the order of the Victorian Presbyterian Church Foreign Missions Committee. She was 157 feet long and arrived in Australia in 1895. On only her fourth voyage to the islands, she sank on the 16th October 1896 after striking an uncharted coral reef near New Caledonia. The decision was made not to replace the vessel.

The New Hebrides Mission shared a practical concern for the everyday needs of island people. In addition to converting local people to Christianity, the missionaries worked to improve education, through the introduction of schools where the training of local mission teachers was initiated. The Tangoa Teachers’ Training Institute opened at Tangoa, South Santo, in 1895. The purpose of the Institute was to train local teachers and it was supported by all the Protestant missions working throughout the New Hebrides. Missionaries also worked to improve health education and services and encouraged the production of arrowroot and island trading as a means to generate revenue. Arrowroot powder was shipped to New Zealand and other countries, where it was initially distributed by women’s missionary groups and later by commercial organisations. The funds from the sale of arrowroot were used to build additional churches in the islands and, in some cases, as a donation towards New Zealand mission funds to be used elsewhere. From 1880 to 1918 on Nguna alone, over 26 tons of arrowroot was produced.

By 1910, the work of the New Hebrides Mission was declining. This was partly due to a rapidly decreasing population on the islands and a feeling that little room existed for further expansion of mission work, as by then most areas were adequately covered. The reduction in population was primarily caused by introduced European illnesses and epidemics which decimated the local population. The Queensland labour trade had also had an impact on the local population, with many locals having decided to remain in Queensland.

In 1947 there was a general consensus held among the Island missionaries that the local church was ready to assume control of its own affairs. A constitution was drawn up, and after amendments submitted by the New Zealand and Australian Mission Committees and the New Hebrides Mission Synod, it was adopted. At a Centennial Synod meeting in 1948, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Rev. John Geddie, the local church was placed fully in charge of its own affairs. The island mission councils for Australia and New Zealand were then limited to the affairs of their immediate mission staff. The New Zealand Church continued to provide a large financial grant to the New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. A continued focus remained on training church leaders and education more generally. The Tangoa Training Institute later introduced a curriculum of advanced theological studies.
In the early 1950s, the New Zealand Missions Committee responded to the request for assistance to establish a High School at Onesua on Efate, along with funds and personnel to set up and run a small hospital on Tongoa. The Committee viewed this project as a practical means by which the New Zealand Church could provide for a social need rather than a means for furthering evangelistic opportunities. This policy shift in Mission funding opened up other opportunities for aid from the New Zealand Church including developing Navota Farm and opening the Maropa religious bookshop in Port Vila, training local islanders to be trades people and undertake the building work. The New Zealand Bible Class volunteer scheme sent out young people during the 1960s to assist with building, administration and nursing. The Mission, at the request of the Presbyterian Church of the New Hebrides, divested itself of all remaining authority in the Islands so that the New Zealand missionaries effectively worked for the New Hebrides Church. In 1965 a memorandum was prepared which defined the terms of “responsible partnership” and sought to define the responsibilities of each partner. The Church continues today as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

For more information about New Hebrides Mission collections at the Archives of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, and New Zealand, see: http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm

Department of Communications

New Hebrides Mission photograph album, 1950s

  • AU PMB PHOTO 97
  • Collection
  • 1950s

The images depict mission life on the islands of Epi and Nguna, Teachers Training Institute Tangoa on the island of Tangoa and This album of black and white photographs depicts various partnerships between the New Zealand Presbyterian Church and the newly independent New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. The photos show people and activities at the Tangoa Teachers’ Training Institute, a small mission hospital on Tangoa, and the Onesua High School on Efate. It also shows mission life on the islands of Epi and Nguna.

Named people include John Patrick, Rev Graham Horwell, Rev RW Murray, Miss A Riatch, Matron Sister Rhoda Vickers, Clinton Johnson, Pastor Kalmar, Betty Lowndes, James of Anietyum, Rev Rob Kirkby, Rev John Hyslop, Pastor Moses, Sister Kath Gillanders and Sister Anne Lilburne.

The New Hebrides Mission from the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand:

The Presbyterian Church began sending missionaries to the New Hebrides (today known as Vanuatu) in the mid-19th Century. The first missionary was Rev. John Geddie of the Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia who arrived on the island of Aneityum in 1848. Subsequent missionaries came from the Presbyterian Churches of New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Australia (Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales).

In New Zealand an interest in supporting a Christian mission to the New Hebrides was fostered when Rev. John Inglis of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland toured the country in 1852 following a three month tour of the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands. In that same year, Inglis and his wife joined Geddie on Aneityum. Rev. John Inglis continued to send regular reports of his work to New Zealand, leading to increasing interest from the Church there in sending their own missionaries to the islands.

The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand was at that time divided up into the “Northern Church” and the “Southern Church” (consisting of the Provinces of Otago and Southland). The Southern Church was based on the ideals of the Free Church of Scotland and these principles influenced its mission work for many years. For over 40 years the two Churches worked separately, with mission activities during this time operating independently of each other.

Over several decades the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand sent a number of missionaries to the New Hebrides including the following people. The information below includes the missionaries' date of arrival in the New Hebrides, the name of the missionary and the name of the main island on which they worked.

1866, Rev. William Watt, Tanna
1870, Rev. Peter Milne, Nguna
1879, Rev. Oscar Michelsen, Tongoa
1885, Rev. Charles Murray, Ambrym
1889, Rev. Thomas Smaill, Epi
1892, Rev. Dr. Lamb, Ambrym
1899, Dr. John Bowie, Ambrym
1903, Rev. Thomas Riddle, Epi
1905, Rev. William V. Milne, Nguna (born on Nguna in 1877)
1932, Rev. Basil Nottage, Tongoa
1938, Rev. Ken Crump, Nguna
1941, Rev. J.G. Miller, Tongoa
1944, Rev. Ian Muir, Emae and Epi
1948, Rev. A.G. Horwell, Epi

In the early years there was no organised or reliable shipping service to the individual islands of the New Hebrides so it was important for the Church to have their own vessel to bring regular supplies from Australia and New Zealand. A boat was also necessary for transport to other mission stations. Although the New Hebrides missionaries were responsible for their home churches and allotted areas and islands, they worked closely together on common issues and met annually for a mission Synod meeting. New Zealand Presbyterian Church worked in conjunction with the Australian Presbyterian Church to raise money and purchased a mission supply vessel, the “Dayspring I”. This 115 ton brigantine was launched in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1863. It was lost in a hurricane ten years later and replaced by a second hand schooner, the “Dayspring II” in 1876. The Dayspring II was sold prior to 1890 as she was too small and slow and uncomfortable to sail in. The Australian missionary Dr. John G. Paton raised £6000 during a visit to Britain in 1884-1885 and later increased the donations to £7000. The “Dayspring III” was built on the Clyde in Scotland to the order of the Victorian Presbyterian Church Foreign Missions Committee. She was 157 feet long and arrived in Australia in 1895. On only her fourth voyage to the islands, she sank on the 16th October 1896 after striking an uncharted coral reef near New Caledonia. The decision was made not to replace the vessel.

The New Hebrides Mission shared a practical concern for the everyday needs of island people. In addition to converting local people to Christianity, the missionaries worked to improve education, through the introduction of schools where the training of local mission teachers was initiated. The Tangoa Teachers’ Training Institute opened at Tangoa, South Santo, in 1895. The purpose of the Institute was to train local teachers and it was supported by all the Protestant missions working throughout the New Hebrides. Missionaries also worked to improve health education and services and encouraged the production of arrowroot and island trading as a means to generate revenue. Arrowroot powder was shipped to New Zealand and other countries, where it was initially distributed by women’s missionary groups and later by commercial organisations. The funds from the sale of arrowroot were used to build additional churches in the islands and, in some cases, as a donation towards New Zealand mission funds to be used elsewhere. From 1880 to 1918 on Nguna alone, over 26 tons of arrowroot was produced.

By 1910, the work of the New Hebrides Mission was declining. This was partly due to a rapidly decreasing population on the islands and a feeling that little room existed for further expansion of mission work, as by then most areas were adequately covered. The reduction in population was primarily caused by introduced European illnesses and epidemics which decimated the local population. The Queensland labour trade had also had an impact on the local population, with many locals having decided to remain in Queensland.

In 1947 there was a general consensus held among the Island missionaries that the local church was ready to assume control of its own affairs. A constitution was drawn up, and after amendments submitted by the New Zealand and Australian Mission Committees and the New Hebrides Mission Synod, it was adopted. At a Centennial Synod meeting in 1948, the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Rev. John Geddie, the local church was placed fully in charge of its own affairs. The island mission councils for Australia and New Zealand were then limited to the affairs of their immediate mission staff. The New Zealand Church continued to provide a large financial grant to the New Hebrides Presbyterian Church. A continued focus remained on training church leaders and education more generally. The Tangoa Training Institute later introduced a curriculum of advanced theological studies.
In the early 1950s, the New Zealand Missions Committee responded to the request for assistance to establish a High School at Onesua on Efate, along with funds and personnel to set up and run a small hospital on Tongoa. The Committee viewed this project as a practical means by which the New Zealand Church could provide for a social need rather than a means for furthering evangelistic opportunities. This policy shift in Mission funding opened up other opportunities for aid from the New Zealand Church including developing Navota Farm and opening the Maropa religious bookshop in Port Vila, training local islanders to be trades people and undertake the building work. The New Zealand Bible Class volunteer scheme sent out young people during the 1960s to assist with building, administration and nursing. The Mission, at the request of the Presbyterian Church of the New Hebrides, divested itself of all remaining authority in the Islands so that the New Zealand missionaries effectively worked for the New Hebrides Church. In 1965 a memorandum was prepared which defined the terms of “responsible partnership” and sought to define the responsibilities of each partner. The Church continues today as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.

For more information about New Hebrides Mission collections at the Archives of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, and New Zealand, see: http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/missions/newhebrideshistory.htm

Department of Communications

Slides and photographs of missionary service on the island of Tangoa, New Hebrides (1931-33) and a trip for the 75th Anniversary Celebrations of the Tangoa Training Institute, (1970)

  • AU PMB PHOTO 60
  • Collection
  • 1931-1970

Frank (Francis James Clezy) and Rita Paton were Presbyterian missionaries in Tangoa, New Hebrides from 1931-1933. They married in Ballarat in April 1931 and in May 1931 left for the New Hebrides.

Rev. Dr John G. Paton's eldest son, Rev. Robert Robson Paton, could not serve in the New Hebrides because he was declared medically unfit for work in the tropics, but he was pleased that two of his sons were able to go. Frank was the first of the third generation. He worked as assistant to Rev. Fred Bowie, the Principal of Tangoa Teachers' Training Institute (TTI) and District Missionary of South Santo. Frank was a teacher supported financially by the John G. Paton Fund.

At Tangoa, Frank built a workshop for the TTI students where they could do repair and maintenance jobs. After returning to Australia, three children - Barbara, David and Ruth - were born. Frank undertook pastoral work and preaching in NSW, then taught at Caulfield Grammar School and Scotch College Melbourne. Rita died in 1982. Frank subsequently remarried.

Frank writes the following: "After my early days at school I began work in the city of Melbourne but decided that I really wanted to become a school teacher. So for some years I did a lot of study and teaching. We married in Ballarat, Victoria, and set off in 1931 for the Tangoa Training Institute (TTI).

The Rev. Bowie was the principal and we were the only assistants. There were 60 students, of which about a dozen were married.
We set our clocks every fortnight at sunrise, for 6am, because at that time we met in the Hall for prayers and study. 8-8:30 was breakfast time, 8:30-10 school work; 10:15-12:30 practical work in the plantation and weeding and gathering coconuts for copra, while my work was on the buildings etc., to see that they were in good order. For this work I could call on as many helpers as were necessary for any building and carpentry jobs.

The afternoon was for the students to work in their gardens over on Santo, except that we always needed to keep at least four of them in case anything unexpected suddenly had to be done. Rita took the married women for school work in the afternoons. All sorts of things might suddenly become urgent problems, for instance, the baker's oven developed some cracks and, as the two students who looked after the bread making usually baked every Tuesday and Thursday, they had to do it on Monday and Friday that week and I had to attend to and supervise the dismantling of all the bricks and make sure that the 'new' bricks were quite sound before rebuilding the oven ready for the Friday baking. (The oven was about six feet long, four feet wide and four feet high.) At one time, we found that the workshop was in a bad way. White ants or similar unwelcome guests had made it unsafe. It had to be pulled down, the timber burnt and a new one built.

Often in the evening, the students would practice singing new hymns in the Hall and as our house (?Number Three?) was only about 50 yards away, it was a joy to listen to. The hymn books had tonic solfa notation and the students were wonderful sight readers."

(From They served in Vanuatu by Jungwirth, Fred, 1988, 2nd ed., p.39)

Paton, Frank (1906-2002) and Rita (1904-1982)

Diary of Conrad Stallan, 1941-1943

The first diary, written by Rev. Stallan between 1940 – 1943 (though most entries were in 1941), covers 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. 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’.
In the first diary 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.

Stallan, Conrad George (1904-1980)

Vanuatu prints

  • AU PMB PHOTO 69
  • Collection
  • 2007

PMBPhoto 69 is a collection of 152 photographs of Vanuatu subjects and one poster. Jan Gammage took the photos between 29 June and 22 July 2007 when on a holiday with friends, David and Beryl Gowty, and also collected the poster. The photos are of people and places on the islands of Efate, Malekula, Ambrym, Espiritu Santo, and Tanna and are complemented by the photos in PMBPhoto102 taken by Bill Gammage.
Subjects in and around Port Vila include the waterfront, the womens’ handcraft market, and the food market. At the Vanuatu National Museum, a demonstration of the art of sandroing [sand drawing] by Edgar Hinge was photographed.
South Malekula subjects include Lakatoro, its shops and the Cultural Centre. At Lamap, the Tiano family made us welcome. Levi’s Store, kava trading, the hospital, ruins of a French convent, slit gongs and carved ferns were subjects. On the Maskelyne Islands, subjects include the local string band, pigs, beach and a starfish on the reef.
At Craig Cove on the west coast of Ambrym and Dip Cove, subjects include a cargo boat unloading, the Lake Fanteng Conservation Area, megapods, hot springs, rock peckings and a men’s ceremonial site.
On Espiritu Santo, subjects include Port Olry, Lonnoc, Vatthe Conservation Area, Matantas near Big Bay, Luganville and surrounds, a Seventh Day Adventist baptism, and real estate advertising.
On Tanna, subjects include White Beach, and at Lenakel the shops and the market, Yasur volcano, Manuapen, and Port Resolution.
The educational poster deals with environment and endangered species protection.

Gammage, Jan

Diary of Conrad Stallan, 1945-1946

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 the weather, health and medical of self and others, building the copra drier, interactions with local 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 and 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)

Archival papers of Reverend Conrad Stallan

Five documents from the family collection of Conrad Stallan, who was employed as a missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) from 1940-46, including:
Typescript document (3pp.)
Letter from Boys High School Malua, author unknown, 19 Dec 1931, Ts. (9pp.)
‘1-447’, notebook containing a numbered list of photograph titles and dates (Mar 1940-Jun 1943)
‘448-663/ 700 (-1947)’, notebook of photograph titles and dates (Jun 1943-1947)
Notes on Samoan Islands, n.d. Ms, (7pp.)

Stallan, Conrad George (1904-1980)

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