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A Paradise of the Gods. Writings and Drawings of Handley Bathurst Sterndale.

  • AU PMB MS 1442
  • Colección
  • 1870-1871

‘A Paradise of the Gods. Writings and Drawings of Handley Bathurst Sterndale.’ is an unpublished digital edition edited by J.J. Overell. In 1870, Handley Bathurst Sterndale worked as a surveyor on the island of Upolu, Samoa, for the German trading company Goddefroy & Sohn. In this capacity, he made an expedition across Upolu, making notes and sketches about the journey as he went. In 1871, on Motu Kotawa on the islet of Pukapuka atoll in the Cook Islands, he worked these notes into the manuscript ‘Upolu; or, A Paradise of the Gods’, and worked his sketches into finished drawings. Some accounts are not his first hand observations and others are demonstrably wrong. Sterndale sought to have the manuscript published, but was unsuccessful in finding a publisher before his death in 1878. After his death, it was listed in a catalogue among the publications of Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington of London, but the manuscript never made it to print.

The original notebooks have since been lost, but the surviving manuscript and drawings have been passed down to Sterndale’s descendants. This edition brings together edited excerpts from Sterndale’s original manuscript and is illustrated with his original drawings, which were digitised by photographer Rod Howe. It also includes a detailed introduction by editor J.J. Overell, and contextual chapters on the geology of Upolu, a chronology of Sterndale’s life and detailed appendices, including a complete transcript of the original manuscript.

Subjects covered by Sterndale include beachcombers, Samoan cultural beliefs and practices, civil conflict, diet, agriculture, wildlife, disease - amongst others. In addition to Upolu, Sterndale writes about Levuka in Fiji and Easter Island or Rapa Nui.

Sterndale, Handley Bathurst

Births and deaths registers

  • AU PMB MS 1095
  • Colección
  • 1867-1973 (gaps - mainly 19th century registers).

Under the 1926 Marriage and Registration Act the Chief Justice is also the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and the Registrar of the Supreme Court is the sub-registrar for the districts of Tongatapu and 'Eua. In other districts the local magistrate is the sub-registrar. A centralized registry combined with a sub-registry for the islands of Tongatapu and 'Eua has been created in the one office in Nuku'alofa under the Registrar of the Supreme Court. He is assisted by an executive officer (vital statistics).

  • Tongatapu, Births & deaths registers,1867-1888, Births registers, 1888-1907, Deaths registers, 1888-1906, Births by villages, 1892-1900, Deaths by villages, 1906-1931
  • Vava'u, Births registers, 1872-1915, Births registers, 1888-1918
  • Niuafo'ou, Births registers, 1885-1973
  • Niua'topu Tapu, Births registers, 1895-1926

See reel list for further details.

Ministry of Justice, Tonga

Correspondence with missionaries at Rotuma

  • AU PMB MS 160
  • Colección
  • 1868 - 1888

Letters to Catholic missionaries at Rotuma from Bishops Bataillon, Elloy and Lamaze and Father V-F. Poupinel, written from Apia (Samoa), Tonga, Wallis, Futuna, Sydney and France. A typed summary in English of the contents of each letter is given at the beginning of the film.

Roman Catholic Mission Fiji

Historical accounts of Rotuma

  • AU PMB MS 159
  • Colección
  • 1868 - 1949

The accounts, by various authors, are as follows:

(1) 'Histoire de Rotuma' by Fr Joseph Trouillet, SM. This is in three exercise books covering the periods: a. 'Depuis l'origine des temps fabuleux jusqu'au retour des Missionaires Catholiques, l'an 1868'. b. 'Depuis le retour des Catholiques en 1868 jusqua l'annexion en Juin 1881'. c. 'Depuis Juin 1881-la fin de 1890'.
(2) The foregoing 'Histoire de Rotuma' contained in two exercise books labelled 'Ier Cahier' and 'II Cahier'.
(3) A journal kept on Rotuma from 1868 to 1871 by Fr L. Dezest, SM (one exercise book labelled 'Journal, Ier Cahier').
(4) A journal kept on Rotuma from 1868 to 1890 first by Fr Dezest, then by Fr Trouillet. (Three exercise books labelled: 'Journal II Cahier,' 'Journal III Cahier' and 'Journal IV Cahier').
(5) An account of Rotuma in about 1824 in Domeny de Rienzi's 'Oceanie', translated by Dr Hugh Macdonald (typescript).
(7) An account entitled 'La Premiere Soeur Missionaire a Rotuma' (roneoed).
(8) 'Historique de la Station St Michel, Upu, Rotuma', dated 7 April 1949, and signed by L. Soubeyran.
(9) 'Historique de la Station Notre Dame des Victoires, Sumi, Rotuma', dated 28 April 1949.
(10) Rotuma Brothers' School - Extracts from Council Decisions, 1901-08.
(11) Newspaper clippings, 1917, 1932.

An index to manuscript material in the Roman Catholic Archdiocesan Office, Suva, Fiji (reels 159/160; 428/429 and 432-468) was published in the Bureau's newsletter 'Pambu' April-June 1972: 27, pp. 17-20 and is available from the Bureau on request.

Roman Catholic Mission Fiji

Diary, notes, letters, records

  • AU PMB MS 158
  • Colección
  • 1882 - 1967

Reverend Dr C.M. Churchward (1888-1968) was a noted linguist. As a Methodist missionary at Rotuma, Fiji, in the 1930s, he prepared a Rotuman Grammar and Dictionary, which was published in 1940. He also published A New Fijian Grammar (1941) and an English-Tongan dictionary. He revised the Rotuman New Testament (1930) and the Tongan New Testament (1959-61) and was working on the Old Testament in Rotuman at the time of his death in Suva.

The papers comprise: Diary of a visit to Rotuma, 1931; Notes on dealings with Resident Commissioner, Rotuma, 1931; Subsidiary documents re above; Rotuma letters, 1932-37; Rotuman beliefs and customs; Memorandum re Rotuma Cession Day celebrations, 1967; Copy of Ao Fo'ou, 12/5/67; Records of the Land Titles Commission, Rotuma, 1882-1883; Notes on Rotuman history and Rotuma Circuit (Methodist Mission) reports, 1921, 1924-28; Account by Mesulama Titifanua (Rotuman missionary) of sojourn in New Britain, 1927-28; Notes on conversation with Takalaigau, 1934.

Churchward Rev. Dr C.M.

A History of the Church in its Rotuman setting - an introductory outline

  • AU PMB MS 157
  • Colección
  • 1971

This document was a thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Pacific Theological College, Suva, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Divinity, October 1971.

A History of the Church in its Rotuman Setting - An Introductory Outline, Chapter 1: Rotuma Before European Contact; Chapter 2: European Contacts; Chapter 3: Conversion of Rotuma; Chapter 4: The Wars of Religion; Chapter 5: The Peace; Chapter 6: The Present Day Situation. Rotuma is an island in Fiji.

Langi, Jioni


  • AU PMB MS 156
  • Colección
  • 1854 -1925

Mrs McHugh, d.1969, was a daughter of the Rev. A.J. Small, a Methodist missionary to Fiji.

There are two documents, both by Mrs McHugh. The first is an 89pp. typescript entitled 'Memoirs of Rev. A.J. Small, Fiji, 1879-1925', which was produced in a roneoed edition of eight copies. The other, a typescript of eight pages, is entitled 'Some Reminiscences'. It bears the pen-name 'Gone ni Bua' and refers to the period 1891-1925.

McHugh, Winifred

Mission correspondence and news items

  • AU PMB MS 155
  • Colección
  • 1894 - 1949

Letters from Fijian missionaries and other news items concerning them copied from the Methodist Fiji-language journal Ai Tukutuku Vakalotu.

Methodist Mission, Fiji

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