Collection PHOTO 109 - Reverend Conrad Stallan, album of photographs, New Hebrides (Vanuatu), 1940-1946

Full album, PMB PHOTO 109 'Chief Kali, John, Comd. [Commander W.Pratt] Thomas, Lt. E. Matson & boys', Big Nambas area, ... 'Matson and I change places for the photo's sake', Big Nambas area, Malekula 'House defences of wild cane. Double fence with ten inch gap between', Big Nambas area, Malekula 'House defences of wild cane. Double fence with ten inch gap between', Big Nambas area, Malekula 'Small living house. Note double fence.' Big Nambas area, Malekula 'Village street. Dense vegetation is usual.' John Bwil in T shirt, Big Nambas area, Malekula '19th Century Schneider rifles common tho' illegal', Big Nambas area, Malekul 'Curiosity', group of men in Big Nambas area, Malekula 'Trap entrance to a compound', Big Nambas area, Malekula
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Reverend Conrad Stallan, album of photographs, New Hebrides (Vanuatu), 1940-1946


  • 1940 - 1946 (Creation)

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Album of 58 black and white images and two loose photographs, scanned to digital format. Individual titles incorporate typescript captions from original album.

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Biographical history

Conrad George Stallan was born in Chatteris, England on 31 March, 1904, to parents Edward Stallan, a congregational minister, and Isobel Pratt (?). He was the sixth of seven children; his brother Donovan was killed in action during World War I. When the family moved to Hampshire, Conrad met Christina Cryle Brown (Chriss), whose father had a smallholding, growing fruit and vegetables and running delivery lorries. Conrad met Chriss, whom he would go on to marry, while working as a driver delivering fruit and vegetables overnight to Covent Garden.

In the 1920s, Stallan trained for the ministry at New College, Hackney in East London and Christina attended Stockwell Teachers’ Training College. The couple married on 3 October, 1930 and within a week Stallan was ordained and the couple set sail for Samoa with the London Missionary Society (LMS) on 9 October. The couple had jointly decided to go to the Mission field, and they served in Samoa from 1931-1939. Their two sons, Donovan (1934) and Roger (1936) were born in Samoa. These were happy years for the family, but Rev. Stallan was after more challenging work.

Daughter Janet was born in October 1939 while the family was on leave in England. In March 1940, the family travelled across Canada before sailing to the island of Malekula in the New Hebrides Condominium. Supported by the John G Paton Mission Fund, Rev. Stallan was based in Wintua, South West Bay. Several churches had already been established in the area before his arrival, but in nearby communities there had been some violent resistance to European contact and allegations of cannibalism.

During Rev. Stallan’s service in South West Bay, sons Donovan and Roger were sent to boarding school at Geelong College in Australia. Daughter Rachel was born in January 1944 in Vila hospital. Distressed at the thought of sending his young daughters to boarding school, Rev. Stallan requested leave for a possible 5 years, returning to the UK in 1946, collecting the sons from boarding school en route.

On their return to the UK, Rev and Mrs Stallan continued their missionary work by setting up a new church in a new council housing estate in Bristol. The Brunswick Chapel in central Bristol had been bombed during the war, so remaining funds were put towards the establishment of New Brunswick. In 1955, Rev and Christina Stallan moved to Georgetown, British Guiana, with daughters Janet and Rachel, to officiate a large urban church. The family returned to Forestgate in East London six years later.

Rev. Stallan planned to retire on his 70th birthday, but suffered a massive stroke the year before in 1973 while officiating what would be his last formal service. Rev. Stallan remained an invalid, cared for by wife Christina until her sudden death in 1979. Rev. Stallan died in a nursing home in 1980. During his life, Rev. Stallan was a keen photographer, who maintained a dark room to develop and print his photographs in both Malekula and Georgetown.

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Album of photographs and two loose images taken by Reverend Conrad George Stallan, who was a missionary stationed on Malekula in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) from 1940-1946. Supported by the John G Paton Mission Fund, Stallan was based in Wintua, South West Bay, Malekula, with his wife Christina (Chriss) and their children Donovan, Roger, Janet, and Margaret. During his life, Stallan was a keen photographer. He maintained a dark room on Malekula to develop and print his photographs, as well as later while stationed in Georgetown, British Guiana, 1955-1961.

The original images are mounted in a barkcloth/tapa bound album, accompanied by typed captions. See item PMB PHOTO 109-000 for a PDF of full album layout. The album contains numerous images of the Big Nambas region of Malekula. During the war, regulations forbade Europeans, including Stallan, from entering the Big Nambas area. However, Stallan was lucky enough to accompany a US Army patrol to the area, which included a member of their publicity section. Some of the images are possibly taken by that US photographer. High Chief Nisai of Amokh is one of the named people in those images, and it is likely multiple photographs are from Amokh village itself. The album also includes photographs from South West Bay, Malekula, captured around the Wintua mission. Several young women associated with the mission are named in the photographs (see individual items)

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Order as found.

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See individual items.

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Institution: Janet Edwards
Address: Wales
Country: United Kingdom

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Access this title at PMB Member Libraries or by purchasing it directly from the Bureau:

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Archivist's note

Individual item titles are mainly typescript entries given in Stallan's original album, therefore the language is reflective of the period of compilation. In the absence of Stallan's captions, titles were devised by cataloguer from acquisition documentation, E Haddow October 2019.

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