Project Canterbury

Scanned and transcribed by the Right Reverend Terry Brown
Archivist of the Church of Melanesia, 2012


[inside front cover] Carrying the Gospel to the People of a Thousand Islands.


(Church of the Province of New Zealand)


The Right Reverend W. H. BADDELEY, D.S.O., M.C., M.A.

Bishop's Commissaries:

England: The Reverend R. O'Gorman Power, M.A.
New Zealand: The Reverend Canon E. H. Strong, M.A.
     The Ven. W. Bullock, M.A.
Australia: The Reverend T. G. Paul.


General Secretary and Treasurer: Major H. S. N. Robinson, N.Z.S.C. (Ret.)


London Address: 19 St. Margaret Road, Ruislip, Middlesex, England.

Bishop's Address: Tulagi, British Solomon Islands.


[1] Building up a Christian Civilization!

1849 - 1943


Comprises the Islands of the Western Pacific, i.e.:—

The New Hebrides Islands.
The Banks, Torres and Santa Cruz Islands.
The Solomon Islands.
The Mandated Territory of New Guinea.


Bishop George Augustus Selwyn, First Bishop of New Zealand, 1849.


John Coleridge Patteson, 1861. Martyred 1871, Reef Islands.


Walter Hubert Baddeley, D.S.O., M.C., M.A., 1932.

Melanesia comprises a long chain of islands from the New Hebrides Islands in the South, to the Mandated Territory of New Guinea in the far North-west and lying north of Australia. There are, literally, thousands of islands—many of them having a different language. Many islands are divided into districts, the language of each unknown to the other.

Spanish adventurers in the sixteenth century seeking fresh settlements, discovered the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. These adventurers were zealous in their desire to make new conquests for the King of Spain and Holy Church. Later, French and British explorers rediscovered many of these islands and found new ones, and the islands of Melanesia became known and the discovery of sandalwood and the desire for cheap native labour brought [1/2] traders and labour recruiters, who, in many cases, were unscrupulous in their methods and took what they wanted either by force or by fraud and ghastly atrocities were perpetrated against these defenceless peoples. It was the treatment by these unscrupulous adventurers that led to the murder of Bishop J. C. Patteson and, later, to the suppression of "blackbirding" in the South Seas.

The Melanesians are a dark-skinned, primitive people—not black, but brown, becoming darker as one goes North. Their religion is or was mainly one of fear of spirits and the propitiation of the ghosts of the dead. In many islands—not all—cannibalism was a common practice, and head-hunting a popular sport. Both are now extinguished.

These people are under the protection of the British Empire; in the South (New Hebrides, Banks and Torres Is.) a Condominium, a joint British and French control. In the Solomons, a British Protectorate established in 1893; and in the North-West, the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, former German possessions, mandated by the League of Nations to Australia.

In the Solomons, a total land area of 14,600 sq. miles, there are several large islands, notably Guadalcanal, approximately 100 miles by 40 to 50 miles in width, and with a population of 14,200 odd, and, for the purpose of the mission, divided into six pastoral districts with over 50 native teachers. Gela (Florida) is a smaller island divided by the Sandfly passage and Boli passage into three parts, with a population of nearly 5,000, with 78 teachers, and is entirely Christian. Malaita has a population of 40,000 of the most warlike and sturdiest of Melanesians and the mission there has 115 teachers. Santa Ysabel, which, at the time of writing, is in enemy hands, has a population of nearly 5,000 and the mission has 86 teachers there.

Just before the outbreak of war no less than 22 new Churches were dedicated in one year; 1,394 natives in the Solomons were Confirmed.


The building-up of a truly Native Church. The part of the white missionary is to set forward the evangelisation of the islands by Native Teachers and Clergy.


(1) Evangelisation.
(2) Educational.
(3) Medical.

The pioneer work of "making ready" the way of Christ is largely undertaken by the trained native "BROTHERS," an organisation akin to a bush brotherhood. The "BROTHERS" under vows renewed yearly, volunteer to adventure into the still heathen bush districts, and try to win a footing for white and native teachers to follow on.

Of these "Brothers" there are now over 150, and they are to-day operating in districts from the far South of the mission field right up to the West of the island of New Britain. It is rather a wonderful organisation, formed in 1926 by the late Bishop Steward, a former Bishop of Melanesia. A full account of this splendid band of young native adventurers is published by the mission and can be obtained from the mission office.

"Brothers" on Guadalcanal, with "Tasiu" Charles—the Rev. Dr. C. E. Fox.

[4] A group of "BROTHERS," with the Reverend C. E. Fox, M.A., D.Litt., who has served in Melanesia for forty years. Tasiu Charles, as he is affectionately known, joined the mission from New Zealand and has a wide knowledge of the customs, folk-lore, languages, etc., of the Melanesians. His notes, published in 1920, by the Royal Anthropological Institute and afterwards expanded into a book entitled, "The Threshold of the Pacific," gives the result of the patient and sympathetic study of the languages, beliefs and customs of many parts of the Solomons. To-day Dr. C. E. Fox is the guide, counsellor and intimate friend of the "Brothers."

The primary work of the Brothers is the evangelisation of the heathen. They are formed into "households" and each consists of four or six members. The Brothers live in groups and go off in pairs. Arriving in a heathen village, they seek to make friends with the heathen folk.

The Bishop with a "group" of BROTHERS. These lads are of excellent physique, cheerful, willing, loyal, and many have proved this by their service to the Allies during recent hostilities.

[5] Not only by what they say, but by what they are and what they do. They "open the door," i.e., prepare the way.

The organisation has grown from the original six to over 150 and these groups are scattered throughout the whole length of the mission field, and they are enduring hardships and trials as true soldiers of Jesus Christ.

The Educational work of the mission begins in the native village day school, of which there are a great number throughout this huge missionary diocese, each village having its small Church, in which daily services, morning and evening, are conducted by the trained native teacher—in many cases by a native priest.

Boys at a mission school for native lads.

From these schools are drawn boys and girls for further education in the boarding schools, where white principals have charge and are helped by native teachers. The more promising lads pass on to training colleges or senior schools [5/6] for teachers or "Brothers," and some eventually go on for training to become priests. In all the schools of the mission time and care are bestowed on the physical, as well as the mental and spiritual, development of these native boys and girls. All are encouraged to practise their native handicrafts. A feature of the mission work is to select all that is best in the native customs and to encourage them, discarding only those which are opposed to Christian teaching.

One of the most striking things to the visitor to these islands is the smartness, clean joyousness of these growing lads, in sharp contrast to the general condition, physically and mentally, of the young heathen in the bush villages.

Many of these young native lads travel considerable distances to the village school—from villages along the coast or even from other islands. All—the very youngest, are adept in handling their canoes.

"The School 'Bus."

[7] Do not picture any of these schools as places with elaborate buildings, such as we have in our own lands. Most of them are built of native timber with leaf roofs; tables and forms are home-made from kerosene cases or biscuit crates.

By the way—the subject of canoes is extraordinarily interesting. One finds different types in various parts of Melanesia. The "dug-out" in the South—the dug-out with outrigger in the Reefs and Santa Cruz while in the Solomons are found the built-up canoe, of five planks sewn together and the seams filled with the juice of a nut. An interesting subject, but space of this little booklet prevents details.


Medical work is an essential part of the mission's work. This is not a "medical mission" in the sense that medical work is the principle aim and object. The development of the whole man is aimed at; it is ever kept in mind that our Lord Jesus Christ went about doing good and healing all manner of sickness and disease. HIS command still to the Church of the twentieth century is:

"Go to all nations . . .
Preach the Gospel . . .
Heal the sick."

So this side of our work is undertaken as a part of HIS direct command. It is not undertaken as a "bribe" to the heathen. It is the Gospel in action.

Many of the diseases that have stricken these people have come in from outside; they were unknown before there was contact with the outside world. The white man, coming for trade, brought disease. He should make reparation. His Lordship the Bishop, in one of his reports, wrote:—

"How are we to preach the Love of God to folk whose bodies are covered with yaws, or have limbs partially eaten away with horrible sores, or whose desire to live has been sapped by fever, leprosy or tuberculosis?"

The medical work has its centre in the main hospital in the Solomon Islands at Fauabu—a fine institution, that has [7/8] been made possible by the donation of a lady who desired to be remembered as "Cornstalk." In the South there is a hospital—the C. C. Godden Memorial. Another hospital, which is growing in its sphere of usefulness, is situated on the small island of Ugi, in the Eastern Solomons. In the far North, on the south coast of New Britain, there is yet another small hospital. In addition, much minor medical work is carried out at all the mission stations. It is, as previously stated, a daily part of the mission's work. Some day this medical work must extend—possibly the establishment of "medical stations"—"treatment centres!" controlled from and by the main hospital.

Hospital Buildings, Fauabu, Solomon Islands.

The buildings at Fauabu are well planned. The wards, operating theatre, and Sisters' house were all gifts from friends of Melanesia; but the cost of maintenance of a Hospital which in one year deals with 650 in-patients and some 3,592 out-patients is a heavy drain on our finances.


There are many lepers in Melanesia, and the mission is now undertaking their treatment on the most hopeful lines. A conservative estimate puts the number of lepers in the Solomons at 800. The Melanesian mission, with its leprosarium on North Malaita, is the only agency in these islands tackling this problem. The little leper colony is placed upon a hill at the back of the mission station. The houses, each 16 ft. by 12 ft., with four beds in each, are arranged on the best and latest designs for such purposes. All the lepers in this colony are non-infectious, most of them being early cases of the nerve type. The prospect of their disease being arrested is very bright; in fact, they visibly improve week by week.

Friends of Melanesia have subscribed (in sums of £15) sufficient money entirely to build 40 small leper huts, and a good friend has given £1,000 for a central ward, chapel, etc.; other gifts have been made, but further annual help is urgently needed for the maintenance of this work.

Leper Huts.


The mortality among infants is appalling. Efforts to stay this include the regular instruction of women at all district dispensaries, where white nurses help and advise native mothers in pre-natal days and, where they are allowed to do so, at the time of confinement.

At the girls' schools, with regular habits of cleanliness inculcated and lessons on hygiene, and the sanctity of human life, a new generation of future mothers is growing up fully instructed—"our babies shall not die."

At Siota (British Solomon Islands) there is a Mothercraft and Infant Welfare Centre, where (only) twelve young women are being trained to become eventually district workers in their own islands.

The Bishop recently wrote: "Medical work here is a really desperate need. I find it difficult to restrain myself from bitterness at times when I see the physical needs of so many hundreds, nay, thousands, of these island people."

All the common ailments known to mankind are here—the common cold, pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis of chest and bone, dysentery, and other diseases abound, as well as malaria, elephantiasis. There are awful sloughing sores, some that are eating almost to the bone.

It is pathetic to see some of the patients, more especially the children.

We DO owe these people something. You WOULD agree if you knew the history of the people of the South Seas.

Not only are there central Hospitals, but wherever there is a "white" station there is medical help at hand to cope with the never-ending demand for injections against yaws and hook-worm, for treatment for terrible sores, for help to repair bodies ravaged by tuberculosis, chest complaints, eyes badly affected by the glare of the sun, and limbs torn by crocodile or shark.


The Southern Cross VII, of 298 tons, is the principal means of communication between the hundreds of islands in this huge diocese, which stretches from Vila in the [10/11] South of the New Hebrides Is., to Sag Sag at the western end of New Britain, roughly a distance of 1,500 miles.

"Southern Cross I," a schooner of 100 tons, built in England in 1855 at a cost of £1,500, by Messrs. Wigram, of Blackwall. She reached New Zealand on July 19th, 1855. After four years of service the little ship was wrecked on June 18th, 1860, in a heavy easterly gale at the mouth of the Ngunguru, N.Z.

"AKANINA," the ship of all of us—as the natives call her—is truly the very life-blood of the mission. Without her it is difficult to see how the work could proceed. Yearly she does some 20,000 miles. Frequently she makes the circuit of all the groups, carrying the Bishop, Staff, and collecting native scholars from various islands for the central schools, carrying stores, timber and medical supplies for stations; transporting the sick to hospitals and enabling the Bishop to carry out his episcopal work, Confirmations, Ordinations, Dedication of native Churches, etc. In addition, there are a number of smaller vessels, notably the PATTESON, which ordinarily operates in the Southern [11/12] Archdeaconry—though during the war—she is used in the Solomons—and was given to the mission by the people of New Zealand.

In this huge mission field—which comprises more water than land—a fleet is a most important part of the equipment necessary. The two photographs show, strikingly, the progress made in shipping facilities.

Southern Cross VII.

There have been several ships named Southern Cross, from the tiny vessel of 100 tons, which Bishop Selwyn obtained when he visited England in 1854, to the present vessel of 298.33 tons gross; length 111.2, breadth 28.5, depth 10.4, with two Gardner Diesel four cyl. engines.

"Church of Christ the King."
Tulagi—destroyed during hostilities, August-November, 1942. Originally erected as a Memorial to Bishop J. C. Patteson, First Bishop of Melanesia; martyred at Nukapu, Reef Islands, September, 1871.

Hilda, daughter of the Reverend Geo. Gilandi, San Cristoval, British Solomon Islands.

Mention must be made of MOTHERS' UNION work, which is very active on the islands of Malaita and Santa Ysabel and is supported by branches of the organisation in New Zealand and Australia.

Malaita, with a population of over 40,000, and the island on which is situated the Mission's main hospital at Fauabu. Florida (or Gela), on which can be seen Tulagi, the seat of Government. An outline of a portion of the large island of Guadalcanal can be seen, where much fighting took place.


Native Church.

Many hundreds of villages have a Church made of native material and by the natives themselves. Morning and Evening prayers are said under the guidance of native teachers, or in some cases, a native priest.

The Village Teacher has an important part to play in the work of the Church. With his young wife, herself having had schooling at New Torgil, in the South, or Bunana, in the Solomons, he will be sent to build the Church in a heathen village opened to us by the work of the "Brothers" or by a district Priest. With little equipment, save a Bible and Prayer Book, some sacred pictures, a few simple medicines and some school material, but with plenty of faith and hope, he will make his home among his heathen flock, and by his teaching and his example will gradually lead them from darkness and bondage into the light and glorious liberty of the Children of God.

One means of Travel used by the Bishop in the Northern Archdeaconry.

Girls from the School of Bunana, British Solomon Islands, floating home coconuts from the other side of the island. The outside coconuts are tied in pairs, and twisted, round circle of strong creeper. Those in the centre are loose, but kept in place b y the outer ring.

C. C. Godden Memorial Hospital, Lolowai, New Hebrides.

The Reverend C. C. Godden was a farmer's son from Australia who was ordained by Bishop Cecil Wilson. Godden had a wonderful memory and could quote whole pages of Browning and was no small "poet" himself. He knew the language of the people whom he served and really loved them.

Godden carried on his work on Aoba (New Hebrides Is.) for a few years by himself and then married and took his young wife from Sydney to the home at Lolowai Bay. A few months later he had occasion to visit a bush village, Lobaha. While walking along the bush track a native just returned from Queensland shot him and then tomahawked him. This was to avenge an injury over which the man had brooded since his days in the white man's country. Godden died as he was being carried down to the shore.

A trained Nurse in a village on the island of New Britain.


Through the Mission area the need is great.

How is it possible to preach the


unless we can also do these works in mercy, which in the Divine Plan go hand-in-hand with the Gospel?


With the arrival in the Solomons of the Japanese early in 1942 the evacuation of some of the mission stations became imperative, in places bombing became a daily event; natives and mission staff were in constant danger and much loss was suffered in the total destruction of property and equipment.

Immediately prior to the outbreak of hostilities the Staff consisted of The Bishop, 21 priests, four Sisters of the Community of The Cross, and 36 lay workers. On the native side there were 33 priests, 31 deacons and over 700 lay workers, including teachers and "Brothers." There were 700 village schools, boarding schools for "Brothers," Teachers and Ordinands, Boys and Girls. Two of the schools were for native girls.

The seat of Government in the Solomons was destroyed, the mission's beautiful Church at Tulagi was completely destroyed, mission headquarters, including the Bishop's house, staff houses, stores, etc., were all completely demolished. The site of the long-established school at Maravovo and the printing workshop and residence nearby became a collection of "shell-holes." The school, houses, and equipment at Bunana all "went." Much damage, and in other places, complete loss, was sustained at Siota. The story of evacuations from stations to temporary safety in the hills of an adjacent island—of how the staff "carried-on," the gallantry and cheerful conduct of the women members of the staff, has been told partly in the pages of the mission magazine—but the whole story has yet to be told or written.

The known losses are estimated to be no less than


Indeed, that is a very conservative estimate, and, as we go to press with this small booklet, the Solomons are still very much "in the war." Not yet is it possible for the Bishop to make a thorough and complete survey of the Solomons Archdeaconry and the mission's losses may well be greater than the above figure—certainly they cannot be less.

[25] The Northern Archdeaconry is still in enemy hands and nothing is known of the state of affairs. No word has been obtained of the safety or otherwise of two priests there, the Reverend J. Barge and the Reverend Moore. It is hoped that they are safe with native friends in the hills. Probably all the mission property has "gone," though in this case, and which was not possible in the Solomons—insurance against war damage had been secured.

Re-building, re-organisation, employment of skilled labour for building, etc., re-establishment of food gardens—great distances to be covered by the Bishop in visiting his huge diocese—all these will entail much time, thought, and energy, and so the prayers and assistance of the many friends of Melanesia will be needed in the days ahead.

Artificial Island.

These are strikingly picturesque, and are found off the north-east coast of Malaita. They are, literally, artificial, i.e., built by the natives, it is said, as a means of protection from the headhunters from the hills.


"We thank God for all 'the great things which HE hath done for us already, whereof we rejoice.' Under the shadow of difficulties but in faith that all the necessary things well be added unto us for HIS work, we go forward in hope that we may be not unworthy of those who worked here in times past, and so well and truly laid the foundations of the Kingdom of God in these islands."

The Right Rev. W. H. Baddeley,
Bishop of Melanesia.

FROM the time of the first visit to Melanesia in 1849 by the Bishop of New Zealand in his little vessel the Undine, and his return to Auckland in October with five native lads for schooling, and his second voyage in the same small vessel in 1850 when he returned the lads to their island homes, from the time of the formation of an Australian Board of Missions at which the Melanesian Mission was adopted as part of the work, right down through the years of hopes, trials, hardships, disasters and deaths among the staff, the Melanesian Mission, a missionary diocese of the Church of the Province of New Zealand, has carried on with faith and unflagging energy. The Staff of the mission has grown, new islands have been visited, heathen converted, schools established, medical work carried out at all mission stations, a new way of life taken to these people.

The population in the islands of Southern Melanesia where the mission is actually at work, is 12,904. The mission has over 160 native teachers at work in 131 villages.

The population in the sphere of the work of the mission in the Solomons is stated to be 80,127. Of these 27,930 live in villages where there are resident Church teachers—513 male teachers in 379 villages. Over 22,000 are baptized, and approx. 12,000 confirmed. It is computed that there are 35,000 heathen in these islands. In the Northern Archdeaconry, i.e., in the south-west of New Britain, where the mission had, just before occupation by the Japanese, a chain of coastal stations, there are 35,786 people, of whom 700 have been baptized and 93 confirmed. The latest statistics show that there are nineteen Churches and five schools.


1. Prayer and Intercession.

2. Subscriptions, donations, legacies.

3. Become an "ASSOCIATE" of Melanesia.            Associates undertake to—

(a) Pray for the mission.

(b) Give or collect a sum of not less than five shillings per annum. The mission magazine is sent gratis to Associates.

4. £15 per annum will pay the cost of training a teacher or ordinand.

£10 per annum will enable us to take a boy in the junior or senior school.

£5 per annum will support a girl at school or a native lad at a prep, school.

5. £15 per annum will support a bed in the HOSPITAL.

£10 per annum will maintain a LEPER.

£5 per annum will provide for an orphan baby.

Full details may be had from the General Secretary and Treasurer, Melanesian Mission, 16-20 Bridge Street, Sydney, N.S.W.

"The modern missionary is often a man—and more often a woman of affairs. The idea that he is likely to be a narrow and somewhat foolish fanatic has vanished. The great missionary organisations are of international importance. Their leaders are consulted by statesmen, and their advice is not without influence on public policy. The sympathy of missionaries with native races and their knowledge are of obvious value to officials."

The TIMES Literary Supplement.




To those benevolent persons who may be disposed to assist this Work of the Church, the following FORM of BEQUEST is suggested:—

I give and bequeath to the Melanesian Mission TRUST Board for the use and purposes of the said Mission, the sum of                 pounds free of all death and estate duties and the receipt of the Treasurer of the said Melanesian Mission TRUST Board shall be sufficient discharge
to my Executors.
[inside back cover] [photo21.jpg]


"Here is a Church with a great deal of work yet to be done, but which is firmly established, with its own ministry and with young men and women who are prepared to go out from their own homes to strange islands in order to preach the love of Almighty God. We have no fear in Melanesia of the judgment that will one day be a judgment on the Church in Melanesia: it is using its opportunities now—and these opportunities are largely due to the generosity of the people here in the past."

"We go forward in faith. Help us to use rightly this 'ever-increasing tide of Melanesian Christianity' that we may take it at the flood and harness it for the greater glory of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom."


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413 Kent Street, Sydney.

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