From Melanesian Mission, Report of the English Committee, 1933, Church House, Westminster, London, pages 7-26.
The General Secretary excused me from writing an Annual Report last April, for I had then been only two or three months in Melanesia. I would have liked to have been excused again this year for I have tried in the pages of the "Log," month by month, to give readers, impressions of the Islands, some statement of the needs of the people, and a general outline of our activities. During the year my time has been spent in a preliminary visitation of the whole Diocese, and although I think I have now a good general working knowledge, I have not yet those details which are necessary for a comprehensive annual report. In previous years it has been the custom, I believe, for details such as: Numbers of Confirmations, Dedications of Churches, total numbers of Communicants, etc., to be given in the report. Those figures I cannot give this year for, as you know, we have been working under great difficulties consequent upon the coincidence of the resignation of my predecessor and the replacement of the old "Southern Cross," difficulties which were made even greater by the loss of "Southern Cross VI."
For the benefit of new readers, perhaps I had better say something of the geography of the Diocese. If you glance at the map of Melanesia, which is published every quarter in the "Log," you will see that the Diocese falls into three natural geographical divisions. In the South, excluding Norfolk Island, there are groups of Islands--the New Hebrides, the Banks' and the Torres--which I have, during this past year, constituted as the Archdeaconry of Southern Melanesia. In the centre, the Solomons form a natural nucleus with Santa Cruz and the reefs lying to the eastward; and with this Group we associate the outlying Islands of Tikopia, Anudha, Sikaiana, Ontong Java, Rennell and Bellona. In the North, the former German possessions, mandated to Australia under the League of Nations, form a third natural Group in which work has been undertaken by the Melanesian Mission only in the past eight years. In due course, I hope that this area will be constituted [7/8] as the Archdeaconry of Northern Melanesia, and will comprise New Britain, such parts of the mainland of New Guinea as were formerly German, and, in course of time, other Islands in the Bismarck Archipelago.
These three Groups are also governed by three different political authorities--in the South there is a Condominium, or joint British and French Government; the Solomons are administered by a Resident Commissioner under the British Colonial Office; while in the North, Australia exercises jurisdiction.
Each Group has regular six weekly communication with Sydney, which is therefore now the natural base for Melanesia's business, but while there is this regular communication with a common base, there is no inter-communication between the groups except that lately a ship has commenced to run regularly from the Solomons to the Mandated Territory. The "Southern Cross" will, of course, enable the Bishop to pass from one Group to another.
During the past year I was able to spend some six weeks in the South, where I appointed the Rev. R. Godfrey to be Archdeacon of Southern Melanesia. There has for some time been a marked shortage of white clergy in the South, but there are some most competent native Priests. Archdeacon Godfrey will assume general direction of these native Clergy. His need of a reliable ship to visit the various Islands in which these native Priests are working has been met by the generosity of Church people in New Zealand, who have provided a 45-foot ketch--the "Patteson"--well equipped with a good engine, and built with all modern appliances and conveniences under the expert supervision of the Rev. M. A. Warren, Secretary of the Australian Board of Missions in Sydney, to whom the Mission owes a great debt for his untiring efforts. I am myself anxious that the Church in Melanesia generally shall slowly, but surely, increase the number of its native Clergy. Archdeacon Godfrey assures me that there are a number of most competent native teachers in the South who would seem to have a real vocation to the Ministry, and these will in due course be prepared for ordination at the College at Lolowai.
It is my hope that such white Clergy as become available shall be used in the schools and the colleges. Mr. Teall is in charge of the [8/9] school at Vureas, where he has been single-handed during the past year, and, although he now proceeds on twelve months' furlough (his place being taken by the Rev. A. C. Codd, a recruit to the Mission from the Diocese of Adelaide), on his return, he will have the assistance of a young layman from New Zealand, and if funds permit, of an assistant Priest. Shortly a white Priest from New Zealand will be available to assist Archdeacon Godfrey at the college. It is my hope that the school at Vureas may be for the younger lads (of the ages 11 to 15), the older boys going on to Pawa in the Solomons where there is now a well equipped and well staffed senior school. The girls' school at Torgil has, during the past year, lost the services of Miss Hurse, who gave 33 years of her life to the services of the Church in Melanesia. Miss Simson readily returned to the Diocese from her retirement to take over Miss Hurse's work, and I hope that, very shortly, an additional trained teacher may be available for Torgil. Apart from the schools, the great need in the South is for medical work in the districts. Such work has been done on Raga during the last 20 or 30 years, first by Miss Hardacre, and latterly by Miss Hilda Broughton whose death in July was a severe blow to the Mission. I am most anxious that the work on Raga shall be continued, and indeed extended to at least one other centre on that Island. Miss Fagan and Miss Cavers rose splendidly to the occasion after Miss Broughton's death, and I hope that very soon a third trained nurse may be available to relieve and assist them. On Aoba, Mrs. Godfrey has been able to undertake similar work, both medical and teaching, and she has now received as a helper Miss Bowden from the Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand. On Aoba there are at least three centres where dispensaries have been established, and by their regular visits to these places I am sure our white women will do very valuable work. With the "Patteson" visiting regularly in this Group there is room for a Doctor, or, if such be not available, two trained nurses who could visit outlying Islands, and transfer serious cases to some central hospital; and I hope we shall be able to establish such a hospital on Aoba at no distant date. Such a hospital need not be a large undertaking, with all the up-to-date equipment of Fauabu in the Solomons, but a centre where at least every care and attention, which trained women are able to give, can be given to these folk. I believe I am right in saying that Maewo had once a population of nearly 7,000; although sickness [9/10] is not the only cause, the population is now 600. There is much work to be done here in the South, not merely in building up the Church in the Islands, where now for 50 or 60 years it has been established, but there are still heathen areas both on Raga and Aoba. During the year I was able to re-constitute the section of the native Brotherhood here in the South, and there are now three "households" at work on these two islands. It is sad to relate that in certain islands, in the Banks', there has been a falling away--a going back to old ways--but I very much hope that under the new "administration" in the South there will be a renewal of life. I hope it may be possible during this coming year to take a census, as a result of which I shall hope to give you a more detailed report next Spring.
We now pass from the South into the Solomons, in some of the islands of which, as most of you know, the Mission has been at work for many years. Travelling from the South we should come first to Santa Cruz and the Reef Islands. Here Mr. West has been carrying on for the past five years--latterly with little communication with the outside world. It was a great joy to be able to visit him in early February of this year, and to spend some days in his district, confirming in seven centres some 200 candidates. In the Reef Islands the Church seems to be well established and there are good faithful teachers. Wilson Doedoke, a native Priest from Santa Isabel, has gone temporarily to take charge of the work there while Mr. West is on leave. In Santa Cruz, too, the work is being carried on with energy, although Mr. West estimates that there are still nearly 1,500 heathen on the island. During this last year there has been no group of Brothers, owing to difficulties created by our having no ship, but in October I hope to take down a group of eight Brothers to continue the work of evangelisation in the heathen districts. A young Santa Isabel teacher who has done excellent work in the Graciosa Bay area is now at Siota preparing for the Diaconate, and there are a number of promising boys, both from the Reef and Santa Cruz Groups, at the two central schools. I have also been able to visit Tikopia since the arrival of the new ship and there it was wonderful to realise that although for nearly three years [10/11] there had been no visit by the Bishop, white Priests or native Priests, yet the work was going on day by day exactly as it would do were there regular supervision. Ellison and his two assistant Teachers have been most faithful in carrying on daily services and school. There are some 1,350 people on the island, practically all of whom are Christians and among them a large number of communicants, although I fear their opportunities of Communion are negligible. This is a state of affairs which we cannot allow to continue. I know full well that a Bishop must "Lay hands hastily on no man," but for my own part I cannot allow a situation to continue where there are only opportunities for Holy Communion for confirmed members of the Church at intervals, normally now, I suppose, of six months. But on the matter of the native Priesthood I shall be writing later in this report. I would say, however, that the situation, as we found it at Tikopia, not only shows that when in times past the foundation of the Church was laid in Tikopia it was well and truly laid, but it shows also that these native teachers are capable of sustained effort and steadfastness to a degree which would shame many white clergy and teachers; and if the native Church is capable of producing such, then I believe it to be our duty to give them--or rather those who are specially selected for the purpose as apparently having vocations--the rights of Ministry. We were unable to visit Anudha, but I hope to do so in 1934, taking one of the assistant teachers from Tikopia to relieve Stephen. Vanikoro we have visited, but not Utupua.
Coming into the Solomons proper it is difficult to know where to begin. From the earliest days the Mission has always placed in the position of importance the schools in which the future teachers and clergy are to be trained. So we will go on to Maravovo. The past year has been by no means an easy one for Mr. Warren (who is in charge there), for many boys were due to return home, and it was not too easy without a regular programme for a ship to make exchanges. But the school now has 201 boys, none of whom have been there more than a year since their first arrival, or since their return from their holiday, after a previous two years' attendance. The question of staff is one that has exercised my mind. It amazes me how the many duties which devolve upon him are so adequately undertaken by Mr. Warren, who in addition to the actual teaching in school is responsible for the general arrangement of gardens [11/12] where practically all the food is grown, the supervision of a herd of cattle, the plantation with its work boys, and the regular medical and spiritual care of the boys, assisted as he has been until lately by Mrs. Warren and Mr. W. B. Seaton (now ordained Deacon). Fortunately I was able to secure a young layman, Mr. L. Stibbard; but even so, such a small staff is really inadequate for a school of the size of Maravovo without running undue risks of breakdowns. It seems to me that it must be a principle within the Mission that the first charge upon our man-power must be the maintenance of an adequate staff at the central schools and colleges--the work in the districts being undertaken more and more by native clergy, under the general supervision of a visiting Priest, who may in the future--provided adequate transport is available--have to undertake rather larger districts than heretofore.
Pawa, the senior boys' school, has carried on under its new head, the Rev. R. C. Rudgard. During Mr. Rudgard's furlough Bishop Dickinson has taken over the school. Here the work is very similar to that at Maravovo, but of a more advanced character. At the beginning of the year, except for a native Deacon, Mr. Rudgard was alone in a school of 80 young men, with the assistance (for outside plantation work) of Mr. W. Freshwater, whose wife undertook the medical care of the school. Fortunately, I was able to send to assist Mr. Rudgard, Mr. Lloyd Averill, the son of the Archbishop of New Zealand, and later on a Priest from Tasmania, the Rev. L. Oldham. The demand for young men as teachers in the districts is constantly increasing owing to the new areas which the Brothers are opening up, and, at the moment, the supply by no means meets the demand.
Bungana is the girls' school in the Solomons, and here of late the numbers have been somewhat increased, and at the moment of writing there are 42 girls at the school. Miss Wench has continued, until her recent furlough, to be in charge and Bungana is always a happy centre to visit. During Miss Wench's absence Miss Safstrom has been in charge, assisted by Miss Piers. I have tried--and I think Miss Wench would agree, fairly successfully--during the year not to use members of the staff at Bungana as shuttlecocks to be moved about from place to place to fill vacancies as they occur. I know that such movements may sometimes be necessary, but it is not fair to the girls, or to the Principal, if members of the staff at a [12/13] moment's notice are moved away to other work. At the school, as most of my readers will understand, are trained girls collected from most of the islands within the Solomons, many of them are girls who are destined to be wives of the lads who, trained at Pawa, are to become teachers in their villages.
At Siota is the college, where for the past twelve months there have been twelve proved young teachers preparing for the Diaconate. Several older men have been at Siota for shorter periods for preparation for the Priesthood. I cannot say how grateful I am to the Rev. R. E. Tempest who, in spite of health which was none too good and family ties which were really pressing, yet returned to help me over the difficult period through which we have passed. In addition to the supervision of the work of the college he has undertaken much correspondence and administration in my absence in other parts of the Diocese, and during the time that I have had to be either in Australia or New Zealand. I need not, I think, write in detail of the work of the college, for articles on the subject appear from time to time in the "Log." I will but add that my appeal for sponsors for the men in the college has met with some response and the total cost of training (£25 per annum for two years) for five of the candidates has already been promised by friends in England or New Zealand.
The Sisters are now thoroughly established at Siota, and their school for children from villages in the neighbourhood is of first-rate importance as it provided practical experience in the most up-to-date teaching methods for the students in the college; and, moreover, such medical attention as is needed by the students is provided at the Sisters' dispensary. I am sure that there is an increasing need within the Diocese for just those functions which the Sisters are able to fulfil. The example of a disciplined life is of the utmost importance. It seems to me that in common with all other members of the Christian Church, Melanesians do need a regular disciplined spiritual life. This example the Sisters supply. They have lately been joined by two young women from Sikaiana who are now testing their vocation. For six years they have resisted the pressure of their relatives and friends to marriage on the grounds that, following the example of the Brothers who evangelised Sikaiana, they wish to give themselves entirely to the service of the Church. It may be here that we have the beginnings of a native Sisterhood [13/14] which, with the encouragement that our white Sisters will be able to give, may in course of time be one of the most potent factors in the raising of the whole standard of womanhood in the Solomons.
So far as individual islands in the Solomons are concerned, I have had good reports from Mr. De Voil of San Cristoval, and from Mr. Fallowes of Santa Isabel, and both of them write excellent articles from time to time for the "Log," thereby giving readers closer views of the work on these two islands. Very shortly Mr. De Voil will be joined by the Rev. W. Dickie, a new recruit from Tees-side, whose arrival, together with the ordination of Elias Sau as priest, George Gilandi having already been admitted to the Priesthood on Saint Andrew's Day of last year, and Mr. De Voil now possessing a new whale-boat, fitted with a good engine, which I have been able to have built in Tulagi with funds placed at my disposal from England, will mean a forward move on the Island of San Cristoval. Mr. De Voil took over the charge of the island after a period of six years when there was no resident white priest and his activities have been limited by lack of transport. Hitherto it has been almost impossible for much work to be done in the south-eastern end of the island (where there are, I understand, large tracts of bush still with a number of heathen villages) and also in the two off-lying islands of Santa Anna and Santa Catalina. On the former of these two islands there is a good Church village. Efforts have been made to get into a neighbouring heathen village, but so far without much success. But we have hopes that a teacher from Ulawa will be acceptable there in the course of the next few months, and he may also be able to get an entry into Santa Catalina. At the north-west end of the island on Maru Bay, Miss W. Wilson, who came out to supervise the Leper Colony on Mala, has--until such time as the leper work is re-established on a better basis--opened a centre for Women's Work, and already in the first few weeks of its establishment she has made touch with many women and girls in neighbouring villages and there are daily large numbers of people at her dispensary.
Ulawa is an island which I have been able to visit three times during this past year. Here Martin Marau still carries on in his wonderful way and the Church is well established now in all the villages of this island. Martin is one of the finest of our native Priests. Unfortunately there seems to be a good deal of sickness [14/15] among the people--chest complaints seem to be very prevalent. I have discussed the matter with Martin and he has chosen a young teacher to have a course at the hospital at Fauaba, after which he will return and we shall establish a dispensary in a central village. Meantime Martin is most anxious that we should open a women's station--not necessarily as a permanency--but he has volunteered to build a good native house for two white women and a small dispensary so that if it is possible (as I have in mind) to set aside two women as "travelling missionaries," they may be able to stay, say for two periods of six weeks at a time during the year. Ulawa is now producing a candidate for ordination and after his two years at Siota I hope that Timothy will return as a deacon to the island to relieve Martin somewhat of his continuous travelling.
Guadalcanal presents some problems. There has been no resident white Priest for district work on the island for some years. On the weather coast James Toganiande has continued to plough a rather lonely furrow. Bishop Dickinson was able to spend some weeks on this coast in the early part of 1933, and I have since paid two short visits. James does well, but it is unfair--nor will it be necessary in future--to leave him so isolated as he has been of late. There are many difficulties on this coast largely arising from the activity of two other missions well equipped with transport and a white staff. Hugo Toke is stationed in the north-west corner of the island and has the charge of Savo and Laumbe (or Cape Marsh). Work in this district involves much travelling by canoe and Hugo is getting on in years. On Guadalcanal he has the inspiration and encouragement of the school at Maravovo to facilitate his work, and the presence of Dr. Fox and the Brothers at Tabalia is a great help to him. Savo, where there are five Church villages, is at the moment full of possibilities. I have hopes that John Peter, a young teacher of marked ability, will shortly be available for ordination and in due course there will be regular opportunities of sacramental administration on this island. At Laumbe there are three small villages which are each in the charge of a good teacher. Wilson, the senior of them, is now preparing for ordination, so that very soon Laumbe will no longer be dependent upon the infrequent visits of Hugo or the "Southern Cross" for its ministrations. The Tasimboko coast of Guadalcanal is now under the charge of Robert Kakau who was ordained Priest at Trinity, 1933. He has a long [15/16] length of coastline (65 miles) with eighteen villages. Owing to the lack of supervision of the teachers, Church life had been somewhat dead until Robert's arrival; the people seemed rather to have lost hope, but his coming has put new life into them, and if, as I hope, it will be possible to have a white woman worker--if not permanently, at least for periods each year--in the "White House" at Tasimboko village I anticipate a real revival on this coast. At the south-east end of the island, where Robert's area joins on to that of James--in the Marau Sound--there is a group of Brothers who, apart from their work in the interior, have done much to re-awaken Church life in the villages on the islands in the Sound. But this area needs a resident native Priest, or Deacon, and I hope that one of the S. Mala ordinands now at Siota will be available at Trinity, 1935.
As readers will know, the Mission Printing Press is at Hautabu near to the school at Maravovo. Here Mr. and Mrs. Isom-now happily re-inforced by "Mary Margaret"--continue with the help of a small native staff on their splendid work. From time to time there appears in the "Log" a statement of the output from the press, and all of us in the Mission know the great value of this work. At Tabalia, some twelve miles from Maravovo, is situated the Brothers' headquarters. Here Dr. Fox--now Tasiu Charles--commenced a twelve months' course of training for older lads who have come forward for the Brotherhood. Here, too, from time to time, Brothers return from their work in different parts of the Diocese, and here each October the Annual Conference is held. There is no need for me to write at length in this report of the work of the Brothers. I need only say that I am sure that the movement is obviously a movement of the Holy Spirit; and in the immediate future I can see an increasing number of groups challenging the remaining strongholds of heathenism throughout the south and centre of the Diocese. Later it may be possible, by arrangement with the Government, for additional groups to push into the new territory in the north, where already Ini and three other Brothers are working; and maybe the "new" tribes in the heart of New Guinea will be evangelised by the Melanesian Brothers.
On Gela, the Rev. S. G. Caulton is established at Halavo supervising the work of native clergy in this island. I hope that in the course of the next few months a good church will be built [16/17] at Tulagi--the Headquarters of the British Solomon Islands Government. This will be dedicated to the memory of Bishop Patteson (for the Patteson memorial chapel at Norfolk Island is now rarely seen by members of the Mission) and will be primarily for the white residents, and where I hope it will be possible to hold regular services. I would like to put on record my gratitude to Mr. F. N. Ashley, the Resident Commissioner, who by many kindnesses has helped very considerably during the difficult time of my taking over the charge of the Diocese. Similarly Mr. J. W. Scott, of Messrs. Burns, Philp, and Major Hewitt, of Lever Bros., who have helped in many ways during these past months. Indeed it would be true to say that all members of the white community, both here at Headquarters and in the various islands, have been splendid in the way in which they have helped and encouraged our work. We are indeed fortunate in the white population; and I feel that as a Church we have hitherto failed to realise our responsibilities towards them.
A small group of Brothers are now at work among the 700 work-boys engaged at Tulagi in Government service, and at Makambo and Gavutu in commercial service. There is now a small native church on the last named island, thanks to the good offices of Major Hewitt, and I hope that in time there may be a similar church at Makambo. Tasiu Moses has done splendidly among these "boys," and in due course many who came as heathen will go back to their islands as confirmed members of the Church to establish maybe the beginnings of the Church in their own villages.
The island of Mala is one of our big problems. There is an estimated population of 39,000--or nearly 45 per cent. of the total population of the Solomons--but we have for years been weak in staff. In the far north, both on the mainland and in the artificial islands in the lagoon, Jack Talofuila has carried on, nobly supported by the voluntary services of the Rev. H. J. Nind. Unfortunately the latter, after 33 years' service in the Mission, has now been obliged by ill-health to return home. It would be impossible for me to express adequately all we owe to him for all his splendid work, both as a district priest, as a schoolmaster at Pamua, and latterly on N. Mala. Largely due to his influence increasingly the artificial islands are opening doors to the Church, [17/18] for he has both encouraged and ably supported the work of a small group of Brothers who have been moving about among these islands during the past two years. On the other coast, with his headquarters at Fiu, is the Rev. A. Mason with Mrs. Mason. His is a large area with a lengthy piece of coastline and much bushland behind. He is equipped only with a whaleboat and increasingly it is difficult to get boys to toil at the oars. But he is now reinforced, and his area reduced, by the arrival of the Rev. A. A. Butchart, who is taking over the coastline northwards towards Malu and the Chaplaincy at the Hospital at Fauabu. In the bush villages behind Fiu the Church is now well established. There are two native ordinands at Siota, who will be available in 1935 to assist Mr. Mason considerably in this area. Meanwhile, in Fiu itself, and some neighbouring villages, Mrs. Mason does splendid work, particularly among the women and girls. There is now a good branch of the Mothers' Union at Fiu, and a second is shortly to be established "next door"; and her medical work brings many from the whole area into touch with the Church. In S. Mala, James Uqe, in spite of constant trouble with elephantiasis, continues his work in the twenty-one villages. He will soon, I hope, be reinforced by two young deacons who have previously done splendid work as teachers at Port Adam. One, I hope, will work that area; and the other, living at Supeine, on the other coast, will be able to do much to revive the Church life in that quarter of the island which has languished somewhat since the departure (three years ago) of a resident white Priest.
Of the work of the hospital at Fauabu I need not say much, for Dr. Macpherson has issued his annual report and extracts from it have already appeared in the "Log." We have now a splendidly equipped hospital, with a first-rate staff, and although for some months the work of the doctor has been somewhat circumscribed by lack of transport, I propose to hand over to him my launch--the "Mavis"--so that he may be able to visit round the whole coast of the island and so considerably extend the influence of the hospital. We have three excellent nurses and a new set of native orderlies and in the coming months we hope the hospital will become a real missionary agency, whose influence will extend well beyond Mala, for I hope that many serious cases may be brought in from outlying islands on the "Southern Cross." We must ever remain grateful [18/19] to the generous donors who made the building of the hospital possible; and to Mr. W. L. Fletcher--the Mission carpenter--and Mr. A. J. Smith, who was sent up from New Zealand for the concrete work, and for all that they have done in the erection of the fine group of buildings. The Leper Colony at Qaibaita has been temporarily closed down, but it is the earnest hope of both the doctor and myself that at no distant date the work may be re-opened on a much more efficient basis with good permanent sanitary dwelling houses and with such regulations to govern the movement of inmates as to enable us to work hopefully for cures. Certainly our numbers must at first be small; but it seemed to both of us that it would be far better to work with a smaller number with a real possibility of cures than to deal with large numbers who regard the colony as a place where they are looked after, where entertainment is provided for them, but where conditions by no means lead to recovery. . . . During the past twelve months there have been groups of Brothers working in N. Mala in the artificial islands and in the bush behind Maanaere. A third group was established at Fouau on the south coast of central Mala. This group has crossed the island and opened up work in a very difficult area in the neighbourhood of Uuru, where a teacher is now permanently established. A further group has been working towards the centre of the island from Takataka, at the north end of the Maramasike Passage, in an area where there are reputed to be some 15,000 heathen. Mr. Hipkin has been working with this group and he tells me that one of the great difficulties there is that the people live in very isolated small family groups rather than in villages. But already these Brothers have joined up with that group working from Fouau and I hope the next few months will see the lasting establishment of the Church in central Mala, where hitherto the Mission has been able to do little work.
In order to provide "readers" or teachers for the area so opened up, the Rev. J. Edwards has opened at Maka, at the south end of the Passage, a school for young men sent down by the Brothers. Maka is a good site, and I hope it will become a centre from which a constant stream of young men will be sent back "to hold the line" in bush villages until a bigger supply of more fully trained teachers is available. Many of them will then return for further training. I am glad to be able to say that St. Mary's, [19/20] Stafford, have placed money at my disposal to purchase a launch--which will fly the St. Mary's, Stafford, pendant--for work along the shores of the Passage linking up Maka and Takataka, and in time I hope will also work along the north coast in the direction of Uuru. I have every hope that within the next two or three years a large number of heathen on Mala will be won and the Church will be as firmly established in central Mala as it has been now for many years both at the northern and southern ends of this big island.
Santa Isabel, that island of beautiful churches and missionary-hearted people, figures often in the pages of the "Log." The Rev. R. P. Fallowes, together with a staff of good native priests and deacons, continues the work of building up the Church in this island. Kia, at the far end, is still somewhat out of touch with the main stream of Church life; but, with the arrival of the "Southern Cross," it will be possible for more frequent visits to be made to these parts. Mrs. Sprott and Miss Stead are now working together at Meringe, and we are most grateful to the Mothers' Union in England, not only for Lichfield House, but for the dinghy (named the "Lagoon")--a recent gift from some members of the Union through Mrs. Crawfurd--and for the annual stipend of Miss Stead. If it were possible to draw up a list of the teachers at work in many islands of the Diocese who are themselves men of Santa Isabel, I think folk would be amazed at the contribution which the Church in this island has made to the building up of the Church throughout the Solomons. Within the group there are four islands populated with people of Polynesian stock (apart from Tikopia and the Reef Islands). Sikaiana has been entirely evangelised by the Brothers. The Church is now well established there and the population, which has increased in six years from 235 to 300, is now Christian. The boys from the island at both Maravovo and Pawa are very intelligent and responsive: and several older lads, who are now Brothers, will be of great value in the evangelisation of the other three islands. The teacher at Sikaiana will shortly be proceeding to Siota for testing and training and will in time return as a Deacon to his people. The cost of his training is to be borne by the Maori Church in New Zealand. At the moment a possible assistant teacher is receiving medical training at Pualou, and in time he will return and establish a small dispensary on the island. [20/21] As I have stated elsewhere Sikaiana has produced postulants for the Sisterhood.
Ontong Java is the second of these islands, some 130 miles north of Santa Isabel, with a reputed population of 700. In August of last year, Dr. Fox with two Brothers paid a short visit to the island, and as a consequence the chief asked that a group of Brothers might be sent there. This was done after the October Conference, and good reports have already come in of the progress made.
Rennell and Bellona, to the south of the Solomon group, are the two remaining Polynesian islands, and here we hope shortly to begin work. In times past Bishop Patteson, Bishop Wilson and the Rev. H. N. Drew visited Rennell, but work was never seriously undertaken owing to the limited time available of the "Southern Cross." With the arrival of the new ship I was able to pay a preliminary visit early in February. There are distinct possibilities on Rennell, where there is an estimated population of 1,000. Bellona is a different proposition. There has not been the same touch with the outside world; there is only one short beach where a landing is possible and there is no anchorage. But now that we have once landed and established touch I hope that after one or two further visits it may be possible to establish friendly intercourse with these people and persuade them to let us have some boys for training at the central schools. At the moment the Government is unwilling to allow native teachers to be sent to these two islands. I hope that that decision may be changed, for we now have Polynesian Brothers available for this work, and I imagine that the objections against Melanesians living in Polynesian communities will not apply in the case of Polynesian Brothers.
That briefly, I think, covers the work which is going on in the Solomons. Words are inadequate to describe both the developments and the opportunities. We can only go on with the same buoyant hopes as those who in times past, under much more difficult circumstances, laid the foundations of the Church in these islands.
THE MANDATED TERRITORY.
The history of the work in the mandated territory will be known to most of you. In 1925 Bishop Steward promised to give episcopal supervision to such work as the Church of Australia was [21/22] able to undertake in these former German possessions. The Rev. F. Bishop was sent as Chaplain to the white community at Rabaul on New Britain (the seat of Government, with a white population of about 1,100) and as general supervisor of the work in the territory. The Rev. V. Sherwin at Sag Sag, at the far end of the island, began pioneer work among the "uncontrolled heathen," where his five years' pioneering produced the first batch of converts for baptism at Ascension-tide last year. Other work on the Arawe Coast was first directed by the Rev. L. Cartridge; and a Chaplain was sent to the gold fields on the mainland of New Guinea, with his headquarters at Wau. This was the sum total of the work. The situation is not at present much changed. There is a Chaplain at Rabaul and the work at Sag Sag still goes on. During Mr. Sherwin's absence (on leave) the Rev. Ian Stockdale, from the Diocese of Armidale, has carried on his work. On the Arawe coast the work has been carried on by two laymen. Mr. Weidermann has been at Kauptmeti working in the four islands off the coast. Here I was able in January, when the new "Southern Cross" visited the territory, to baptise 171 converts, the first fruits of Mr. Cartridge and Mr. Weidermann's work. Mr. Eldridge has been working as a medical missionary on the coast and has a well appointed native hospital, to which increasingly natives from the interior have been coming down for treatment. I have just (April, 1934) received intimation from the Australian Board of Missions that Mr. Eldridge is retiring on account of ill health. I have every hope that the Rev. H. Thompson, late of the New Guinea Mission (which Mission confines its activities to the area of that island which is known as Papua), together with Mr. McLeod, who has had some preliminary training at Maravovo and Maka, will shortly be able to follow up and thoroughly establish the work on the Arawe coast.
New sites are now being negotiated for at Passage Man-o-war and elsewhere. There are many opportunities of extension at this south-western end of New Britain. Communication is a great difficulty for the seas are uncharted and at the moment the only available transport is a small launch at Kauptmeti. With Mr. Sherwin's return and the arrival of a new recruit whom he is bringing back from England I hope for an early conference of the staff in this area and the establishment of the work on a proper and supervised basis. On the mainland, the Rev. W. Bradley, as [22/23] Chaplain at Wau, where through the generosity of the miners and the cordial co-operation of the commercial concerns operating in that area, a beautiful little church has been built, has made a strong centre for work among the white people. Unfortunately Mr. Bradley must shortly return to Australia. I hope I shall be able to find a successor, who, with the same energy, will carry on his work not only among the miners of the goldfields, but also the small white communities at Salamaua and Lae. We are now faced, as readers of the "Log" are aware, with the possibility--nay, the urgency--of new work in the heart of New Guinea amongst the newly-discovered tribes. I cannot believe that the Church of England will allow this challenge to pass unaccepted; but work amongst a population estimated at 200,000, living in the heart of New Guinea, where transport must be costly for much of it must be done by air, will involve appeals for much increased support, both in money and men. The present resources of Melanesia are not more than sufficient to meet the present needs of old Melanesia. New work will involve increased support. The matter rests with the Church in England, Australia and New Zealand. For some time it may be possible for the Bishop of Melanesia to give some supervision to this new work; but if it is to be developed, it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that the northern end of the Diocese will need a bishop who can give the whole of his time and energies to it. At the moment, as a temporary measure, I propose to appoint an archdeacon to supervise the work on New Britain and in the goldfields. Money is already available for a good schooner to convey him about his work. There is no real shortage of men, when our financial resources are improved; and we must also face up to the need for women's work in the Sag Sag and Arawe areas. I doubt if the Church in Australia is able to shoulder a larger financial burden for the existing work with its natural extensions, apart altogether from the big new work pressing upon us in New
The arrival of the new "Southern Cross" in December, 1933, although its workings have yet to be mapped out, breaks the tradition of a ship with Auckland as its base, but I do hope that it will not be felt that now the ship is permanently stationed in the islands the old ties with New Zealand will be weakened. Moreover, at the recent General Synod, the Melanesian Mission Finance Board, [23/24] set up in 1925 to supervise and control the finances of the Mission, has been dissolved. It is quite obvious that Sydney is now the natural base for Mission business. All stores come from Sydney; all members of the staff leaving the islands pass through Sydney, and with Sydney there is regular communication from the several headquarters within the Diocese. This would seem somewhat still further to tend to weaken the ties which bind Melanesia to New Zealand. But the spiritual tie still exists and is a very strong one. Indeed I hope and trust that it will be still further strengthened as the years go on by the increasing number of recruits for the staff of the Diocese from within the New Zealand Church--at the moment forty per cent. of the staff are New Zealanders--a larger proportion than at any time in the Mission's history.
With the coming of the new ship there are many new possibilities of developing the work. It will be possible for the Bishop to give more supervision and greater encouragement to native clergy and teachers living in the more isolated parts of the Diocese. In Captain Scott we have a first-rate seaman, and a very missionary-minded man, and I personally look forward to many years of close co-operation with him. The ship should be adequate for all the work demanded from her. She is obviously a first-class sea boat. The comfort of travelling on her almost makes me shrink from calling myself a "missionary" bishop (in the usually accepted sense of that term); and as a tie uniting the scattered parts of the Diocese, she is an invaluable gift from the Church people in England. Transport must always be in Melanesia a heavy item. Apart from initial outlay the cost of upkeep is a big one. Some of the clergy have been working under very great difficulties because we have been unable to afford the expense involved in providing them with transport adequate to their work. Now that the "Mavis" has been handed over to the doctor for his work on Mala, I hope it will be possible, from monies which have been made available to me, to purchase a launch which will relieve the "Southern Cross" of a good deal of the "local work" within the Solomons and will be available for the assistant bishop in the work of supervising the native village schools throughout the central part of the Diocese. On San Cristoval, as I have stated, there will now be available a reliable launch. Mr. Mason's whaleboat is at the moment being fitted with an auxiliary engine; Mr. West, who [24/25] continues his lonely work in the Reefs and Santa Cruz, also needs a similar engine for his boat; and several other clergy could be better "used" if more adequate transport were available for them. But this whole matter is one into which I hope to address myself during the coming year with the co-operation and advice of Captain Scott and members of the staff.
Before closing this report I would wish to add my warmest thanks to many who, in their various capacities, have helped and encouraged me during these months of taking up this great and glorious heritage. To the members of the English Committee I owe a very great deal for the unfailing confidence which they have placed in me and for their ready co-operation in many things which I have suggested to them. In New Zealand I owe much to the kindness of the Archbishop who, from the moment of my arrival, became in a very special way a father to his youngest bishop. To the members of the Finance Board (particularly to Major H. S. Robinson, the indefatigable secretary), who have done a very great deal not only for the re-establishment on sound business lines of the Mission's finances, but for their unfailing readiness to help in all possible ways. It is a great joy to me to know that the removal of the office from Auckland to Sydney does not involve the loss of Major Robinson's services. Apart from his business services, he is bubbling over with zeal for the Mission; and in many places in New Zealand I have heard his propaganda work, with the film and lantern slides, spoken of with great enthusiasm. In Australia, Dr. Micklem, the Rector of St. James', Sydney, and my Commissary, and the Rev. J. Needham and the Rev. N. A. Warren (Chairman and Secretary respectively of the Australian Board of Missions), have rendered splendid service, not only to the work in that part of the Diocese which is particularly the charge of the Australian Church, but in many kindnesses to members of the staff passing through Sydney, and in the arrangement of meetings at which I have been able to speak in many places from Adelaide to Brisbane. There is also that great number of men and women in all three countries who by their prayers, their alms, their letters, their gifts, encourage and support us in our work, while in the Diocese, the loyal support of the white staff, and the confidence and affection freely given by them and by the native clergy and teachers is almost overwhelming. During this past year Bishop Dickinson, by his readiness to fill gaps, has not been available for much episcopal [25/26] work, but I am sure that in the years ahead that personal friendship which I had with him on Tees-side will not only be continued, but deepened by our working together here in Melanesia. As I have stated on a number of occasions, I believe that I have the finest job in the world. No other bishop has a more loyal staff, a Diocese with greater opportunities, and work which is so full of joy. I look forward to many years of work here in the building up of a Melanesian Church within the great Catholic Church, in which work I may be the leader on the spot, but in which all friends of Melanesia throughout the world are fellow workers together with Him.
The Missions Monthly (illustrated) Magazine--the "Southern Cross Log"--(referred to by the Bishop as the "Log") may be obtained from the Melanesian Mission, Church House, Westminster, S.W. 1, price 2/- per annum, post free.