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Vanuatu Collection
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Lynette Walker Photographs of Presbyterian Pastors in New Hebrides (Vanuatu)

  • AU PMB PHOTO 116
  • Collection
  • 1958-1998

Deaconess Lynette Grace Walker served as an educational missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) for the Australian Presbyterian Board of Missions. Between 1958-1965, Walker was based in South West Bay, Malekula where she was a teacher at the South West Bay District School. Walker also served as Deaconess for Central Islands (Efate and adjacent islands) from1971-1975. Based in Vila, she worked with women, young people and Sunday school teachers. Between 1975-1977, she took on the post of Deaconess for Southern Islands (Tanna, Aniwa, Aneityum, Futuna and Erromango).
This collection of 27 colour slides shows pastors with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu. Photos were taken by Walker throughout her missionary service in New Hebrides and on subsequent visits.

Walker, Lynette Grace

Lynette Walker Photographs of New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and New Caledonia

  • AU PMB PHOTO 118
  • Collection
  • 1958-1998

Deaconess Lynette Grace Walker served as an educational missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) for the Australian Presbyterian Board of Missions. Between 1958-1965, Lyn was based in South West Bay, Malekula where she worked as a teacher at the South West Bay District School. She also developed a new syllabus. From 1971, Walker served as Deaconess for Central Islands (Efate and adjacent islands). Based in Vila, she worked with women, young people and Sunday school teachers. Between 1975-1977, she took on the post of Deaconess for Southern Islands (Tanna, Aniwa, Aneityum, Futuna and Erromango). Walker returned to live in Melbourne in April, 1977 but has continued to visit Vanuatu over the years.

This collection of 319 digitised colour 35mm slides is a selection of images from her time working in New Hebrides, including in South West Bay, Vila, Ambrym, Nguna, Lelepa, Paama and Tanna. The images include church activities, landscapes, volcanic activity and people. There are also photographs of New Caledonia, visited en route to New Hebrides. This collection includes photos of Walker's return to South West Bay in 1998 for celebrations to mark the Golden Jubilee or 50th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PVC).

Walker, Lynette Grace

Lynette Walker Photographs of Vanuatu

  • AU PMB PHOTO 119
  • Collection
  • 1988-1998

Deaconess Lynette Grace Walker served as an educational missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) for the Australian Presbyterian Board of Missions. Between 1958-1965, Walker was based in South West Bay, Malekula where she worked as a teacher at the South West Bay District School. From 1971, Walker served as Deaconess for Central Islands (Efate and adjacent islands). Based in Vila, she worked with women, young people and Sunday school teachers. Between 1975-1977, she took on the post of Deaconess for Southern Islands. Walker returned to live in Melbourne in April, 1977 but has continued to visit Vanuatu over the years.

This collection of 389 digitised colour 35mm slides is a selection of images from three return visits in 1988, 1995 and 1998. 1995 marked the centenary anniversary of the arrival of Robert Boyd, the first missionary to South West Bay. 1998 marked the Golden Jubilee or 50th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PVC). This collection features images of Port Vila, Iririki Island, Onesua (Efate), Talua (Espiritu Santo), South West Bay, Lawa, Lorlow, Wintua (Malekula) and Lenakel (Tanna). The photos feature former missionaries and church office bearers, Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU) activities, historical plaques and the Dayspring IV canoe.

Walker, Lynette Grace

Oceania Marist Province Archives

  • AU PMB OMPA
  • Collection
  • c.1817-c.1981

The Oceania Marist Province Archives Series (OMPA) is the result of a special project during which records of the Catholic Church in islands of the Western Pacific were copied by Father Theo B. Cook, SM in collaboration with the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau. (Cook was born Theodorus Bernardus Wilhelmus Kok but chose to go by the name Cook in Australia: Povey, 2010). The OMPA series covers the Diocese of Tonga (OMPA 1-25), Diocese of Samoa and Tokelau (OMPA 26-74), Marist Fathers, Rome (OMPA 80-100), Diocese of Wallis and Futuna (OMPA 101-126), Diocese of Port Vila (OMPA 127-178), Archdiocese of Noumea (OMPA 179-360) and the Oceania Marist Province Archives (OMPA 361-400).

Detailed indexes were prepared for the six diocese and those records copied in Rome. These can be found at http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/pambu/collections/microfilm.php or compiled in The Catholic Church in the Western Pacific: a guide to records on microfilm (Robert Langdon, ed.), Canberra, 1986.

Oceania Marist Province Archives

Lynette Walker Slides of Malekula, Espiritu Santo and Efate

  • AU PMB PHOTO 117
  • Collection
  • 1958-1977

Deaconess Lynette Grace Walker served as an educational missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) for the Australian Presbyterian Board of Missions. Between 1958-1965, Lyn was based in South West Bay, Malekula where she worked as a teacher at the South West Bay District School. From 1971, Walker served as Deaconess for Central Islands (Efate and adjacent islands). Based in Vila, she worked with women, young people and Sunday school teachers. Between 1975-1977, she took on the post of Deaconess for Southern Islands (Tanna, Aniwa, Aneityum, Futuna and Erromango). Walker returned to live in Melbourne in April, 1977 but has continued to visit Vanuatu over the years.

This collection of 322 digitised colour 35mm slides is a selection of photographs showing Walker's life mostly from in South West Bay, Malekula but also Santo, Tangoa and Efate. The images show students at South West Bay District School, other missionaries and volunteers, Walker's house, church activities including of the Presbyterian Women's Missionary Union (PWMU), big and small nambas, custom masks, plants and Tangoa Training Institute.

Walker, Lynette Grace

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)

Records, accounts, notes, correspondence

  • AU PMB MS 55
  • Collection
  • 1908 - 1969

Kalsakau became chief of Fila Island in 1908 and held that position for many years. He was a member of one of the most notable New Hebridean families of Efate. His three sons, Graham, John and Makau are (1969) also outstanding members of the New Hebridean community.

  1. Lists of important dates and events in Kalsakau's career and family life.
  2. Record of births and deaths (1908-1961)
  3. Accounts relating to business, household and the marriage feast of his son Makau (March 1, 1945)
  4. Record (September 1956) of visit by Gen. and Mme de Gaulle
  5. Centenary Celebrations, Erakor, 1st May, 1945 - an account of the settlement of Erakor by the early missionaries.
  6. School fees collected in 1943 - list of families and amount paid.
  7. Lease of land owned by Kalsakau.
  8. Celebration of the 105th Anniversary of the New Hebrides Presbyterian Mission, May 1, 1950.
  9. Correspondence regarding residency of Fila Island Reserve.
  10. Discipline book (1911-1943) in which fines and other punishments against members of Kalsakau's village are recorded.

Kalsakau

Lynette Walker Photographs of New Hebrides (Vanuatu)

  • AU PMB PHOTO 115
  • Collection
  • 1958-1965

Deaconess Lynette Grace Walker served as an educational missionary in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) for the Australian Presbyterian Board of Missions. Between 1958-1965, Lyn was based in South West Bay, Malekula where she was a teacher at the South West Bay District School. She also developed a new syllabus.

This collection of annotated black and white photographs and postcards features many missionaries to the New Hebrides from Australia and New Zealand. The collection also depicts landscapes, village scenes, wedding celebrations and Lyn’s departure from South West Bay in 1965. The collection also includes an article from the July 1962 issue of Presbyterian Life magazine about the status of missionary work in New Hebrides and a missionary newsletter to supporters which includes an invitation to the opening of the rebuilt Boyd Memorial Clinic.

Walker, Lynette Grace

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

Isaac Neilson Whyte and Mary Grace Whyte Photographs of New Hebrides (Vanuatu)

  • AU PMB PHOTO 108
  • Collection
  • 1952 - 1959

This collection of photographs illustrates the life of Rev Isaac Neilson Whyte and Dr Mary Grace Whyte durng their service with the Australian Presbyterian Board of Missions in the New Hebrides, 1952-1957. With their children Michael, Robyn, Alistair and Peter, they were based in the village of Wintua in the South West Bay region of Malekula. Mary Grace and Neilson arrived in Wintua shortly after a hurricane had been through and destroyed much of the village infrastructure. In the years that followed, Wintua was rebuilt with the help of people from neighbouring villages, who helped to build a new church, mission house, district school and a small hospital. Rev Whyte was often away from Wintua, visiting other villages in his mission jurisdiction. He visited Big Nambas territory, which had in the previously been hostile to Europeans, and helped bring about a peace agreement between village leaders. Mary Grace practised medicine in Wintua and surrounding villages.

This collection of photographs depicts village and church life in South West Bay. It shows the reconstruction of the village, family photographs, Rev and Dr Whyte giving medical care and travel between villages by launch and canoe. There are also photos of a Big Nambas village and the Leviamp peace talks, as well as family photos taken on return to Australia.

Whyte, Isaac Neilson

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