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Foreign Missions Committee Collection With digital objects
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New Hebrides Mission photographs, 1860-1954

  • AU PMB PHOTO 90
  • Collection
  • 1860-1954

This is a collection of 142 images of the New Hebrides mission in Vanuatu. The images were created by digitising magic lantern slides. Magic lantern slide shows were used to promote the work of the Mission. The islands featured in the collection include Ambrim, Aneityum, Epi, Erromanga, Futuna, Iririki, Malekula, Malo, Mele, Nguna, Paama, Pele, Tanna and Tongoa.

The images show several missionaries to the New Hebrides including Rev. Michelsen, Rev. Annand, Rev. Lamb, Rev. Smaill and Rev. Bowie. The images include a volcanic eruption between Tongoa and Epi, mission houses, the Ambrim hospital, the Paton Memorial Hospital and the Tangoa Training Institute (including the Tangoa Training Institute Jubilee in 1945). Some of the images show pre-Christian ways of living including sacred stones, carved demits (images representing the dead), drums and sing sing grounds. Images of the Mission ships include the Break of Day dispensary and boat building on the shore of Vila Harbour.
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

Foreign Missions Committee

Selection of New Hebrides Mission photographs on boards, 1869-1956

  • AU PMB PHOTO 86
  • Collection
  • 1869-1956

This collection of 26 photographs mounted on board include images of the New Hebrides Mission in Vanuatu from the mid 19th – mid 20th Century. The photographs include images of the first mission house at Selembanga on Tongoa, ni-Vanuatu people in traditional settings such as mourning, amongst local gardens and near traditional style village huts. There is a photograph of the Tanna volcano crater in 1899, labour boats in Tanna, mission vessels with copra, the 1892 New Hebrides Mission synod, early mission houses on Nguna and the mission house at Dip Point, Ambrym. The collection includes several European missionaries including Rev. P and Mrs. M J Milne, William Watt, Rev. William V. Milne, Rev. O. Michelsen and Rev. B.R.C. Nottage.

Some of the boards include hand written headings which may indicate that they were used as boards to promote the work of the New Hebrides Mission at various presentations in Australia, New Zealand or Scotland.
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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission manuscripts from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand Archives

  • AU PMB MS 1419
  • Collection
  • 1870-1947

This collection of 14 items includes material relating to: Anglo-French relations, including land disputes, the labour and liquor trade; property purchases and agreements of land in New Hebrides; the building of the Ambrym hospital in 1908; events of the 1913 volcanic eruption on Ambrym; New Hebrides native teachers’ correspondence and archives; and correspondence of Rev. Peter Milne, his wife Mary Jane and his son Rev. William V Milne. Within the Peter Milne correspondence are a series of letters covering his disagreement with Rev Daniel MacDonald over bible translation work. There is also personal correspondence between William Milne and Oscar Michelson (1915-1934) and a scrapbook created by the Auckland Ladies New Hebrides Mission organisation.

New Hebrides Mission

New Hebrides Mission photographs, 1880-1978

  • AU PMB PHOTO 89
  • Collection
  • 1880-1978

This collection of 157 images includes photographs of the New Hebrides mission in Vanuatu. The islands featured include Tangoa, Tanna, Efate, Nguna and Paama. The photographs show ni-Vanuatu undertaking domestic activities such as bread making, coconut grating, basket and mat weaving and tending to domestic animals. There are many photographs of New Hebrides missionaries, as well as visiting missionaries from New Zealand, and their families. There are photographs of the New Hebrides Mission boats, the Dayspring I, II and III. This collection includes several pictures of church meetings including the Paama Synod of 1912 and pictures of the Port Vila harbour and main street from 1929. There are a few photographs of the Yasur volcano eruption in Tanna from 1915. There are several photographs of students and staff at Onesua High School including the construction of the new Onesua High School chapel in 1978.
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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission Lantern Slides, 1880-1945

  • AU PMB PHOTO 92
  • Collection
  • 1880-1945

Collection of 157 images copied from glass lantern slides, associated with the Presbyterian Church New Hebrides Mission. The images date from 1880 to 1945, and cover a range of subjects including mission buildings and churches, fishing scenes, island landscapes, and plants. There are a number of portraits of ni-Vanuatu mission teachers and European missionaries, as well as images of unknown community members from around the mission areas. Some of the named individuals are Tatu (teacher from Nguna), Reverend and Mrs Inglis, Reverend and Mrs Michelsen, Reverend and Mrs Gilles, Reverend Peter Milne, Carlo, Reverend I. Muir, and Dr J.T. Bowie. The images were captured on multiple islands, including: Tanna, Aneityum, Futuna, Ambrym, Nguna, Tongoa, Tangoa, Epi, Efate, Malekula, and Erromango

A number of the glass plates have been hand-coloured. Many of those photographs taken in the islands of Tafea province are attributed in photographic collections outside of the Presbyterian Research Centre, Dunedin, to Reverend James Hay Lawrie, a Scottish Presbyterian missionary on Aneityum and Futuna from 1879-96. The photographers of other images are unknown.

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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission Photographs, 1885-1950

  • AU PMB PHOTO 87
  • Collection
  • 1885-1950

This collection includes 112 images. Most of the images include portraits of European Presbyterian missionaries or ni-Vanuatu people. Many of the portraits include key New Hebrides missionaries who travelled to the new Hebrides from New Zealand and Scotland. The images include mission group synod photographs and pictures of the missionary children. Some of the pictures show traditional style architecture and cultural practices such as cooking methods and slit drums. Missionary churches, houses and gardens are featured. The images were taken on the islands of Nguna, Tangoa, Tanna, Tongoa, Efate, Futuna, Emae, Ambrym and Malekula.

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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission photograph album, 1889-1909

  • AU PMB PHOTO 82
  • Collection
  • 1889-1909

This album was most likely compiled by Church members to promote the work of the Mission in the New Hebrides. It includes pictures taken by the mission on the islands of Aneityum, Tanna, Erromanga, Efate, Nguna, Tongoa, Tangoa, Epi, Ambrym and Santo. Photographs are of varied subjects including the processing of arrowroot to raise funds for the church, local houses on Nguna, Santo and Epi, groups of local women and children, and mat making on Ambrym. There are also images of mission buildings on Futuna, Tanna, Ambrym and Nguna. One photograph shows Taripoliu, a chief of Nguna, with his family.

Photographs date from 1889 to 1909 and are mounted into an album with captions. Some images have deteriorated.

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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission Photographs, 1890-1960

  • AU PMB PHOTO 93
  • Collection
  • 1890-1960

This is a collection of 190 images of the Presbyterian mission in the New Hebrides. The collection contains photographs of early missionaries to the New Hebrides, including Reverends Smaill, Milne, MIchelsen, Murray and Crump, along with some spouses and family members. The collection also includes images of other mission infrastructure including medical staff at clinics, churches, the Nguna District School and the Tangoa Training Institute. There are many photographs of unidentified New Hebridean / ni-Vanuatu people and everyday village activities such as preparing arrowroot and copra, weaving, making laplap and fishing.

The collection also contains images of a number of mission boats and identifies villages at Malapokasi, Mataso, Futari, Mangarisu, Tongoa, South East Epi, Santo, Paama, Lamenu, Lelaga, Fila, Iririki, Vila, Makura, Nguna, Lumbukuti and Emae.

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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission Lantern Slides, 1890-1945

  • AU PMB PHOTO 91
  • Collection
  • 1890-1945

This is a collection of 180 images of the New Hebrides mission in Vanuatu. The images were created by digitising magic lantern slides. Magic lantern slide shows were used to promote the work of the Mission. The islands featured in the collection include Ambrym, Santo, Malo and Tangoa.

The images show the Ambrim volcano c.1913, missionary life on Ambrim during the 1920s, mission services and buildings around Craig Cove, Pangkumu church, local ni-Vanuatu missionaries, planters buying cotton from ni-Vanuatu people and ferrying sacks (of copra?) out to a steamer, ni-Vanuatu demits and drums. Missionaries in Hog Harbour and non-Christians with their children. Image of Elephant island and local birds as well as ni-Vanuatu people who live in the bush on Santo visiting the St. Phillip’s mission in Santo. It appears that an expedition was made across Santo by the mission crossing Oru river and through the bush greeting local ni-Vanuatu people and assisting them with health issues such as yaws (yaws is a tropical infection of the skin, bones and joints caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum pertenue). Building a mission jetty at Hog Harbour in Santo, sheltered coves for the launch during hurricanes and areas where young children swam safely.

The images include children swimming and climbing trees and Ni-Vanuatu people undertaking daily chores and images of their homes and gardens, including growing yams and other food. Some images include pictures of ni-Vanuatu men with muskets/guns, including a man standing on “killing stones” at Big Bay, the mission school and children at Big Bay, Big Bay river and local groups and teachers from Malo. Lenakel church and mission hospital, the wives and children of missionary students, the mission church at Malo and Tangoa students undertaking drills. Tangoa Training Institute jubilee in 1945, dentists and assistants (1945).

Missionaries and other ex-patriate people in the images include Mr.Mansfield, Robert Lamb, Rev. Anderson, Rev. Fleming, Dr Alex S Frater Superintendent of The Paton Memorial Hospital at Port Vila.

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

Foreign Missions Committee

New Hebrides Mission photographs, 1897-1950

  • AU PMB PHOTO 88
  • Collection
  • 1897-1950

This collection of 128 images includes pictures of the people and work of the New Hebrides mission in Vanuatu. Islands featured include Nguna, Tongoa and Tanna. The photographs are mainly from the 1920s-1930s and include pictures of churches, ni-Vanuatu people working as preachers, church elders and teachers as well as church industries such as copra, arrowroot and yams. Local people in Christian weddings also feature. This collection includes several photographs of the Teachers' Training Institute at Tangoa as well as environmental features of Vanuatu such as small islands, volcanoes (1897 off Tangoa) and the hurricane damage (1923). The photographs of the 1900 synod are of interest showing numersou

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

Foreign Missions Committee

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