1876: Anglican Church service at Levuka, a congregation of planters and short-term Solomons indentured labour

Miss Gordon-Cumming, who was with the first Governor of Fiji, Sir Arthur Gordon (afterwards Lord Stanmore), says in her letters: “At present our parson, Mr. Floyd, is in New Zealand (1876), so all the Governor’s staff take it in turns to [officiate, two in the morning and two in the evening. They appear in surplices and take their part well. Last Sunday morning Mr. Le Hunte read prayers and Captain Havelock* [* Afterwards Sir George Le Hunte and Sir Henry Havelock.] one of Robertson’s sermons. Yesterday morning Captain Havelock read prayers and Mr. Maudslay preached a Kingsley. In the evening Mr. Eyre read and Mr. Le Hunte preached; but I forget his subject, for such a thunderstorm of rain came down on the zinc roof that even his voice was drowned. Mr. Floyd has one of Bishop Patteson’s native clergy to assist him in a mission to the foreign labour.

‘Foreign labour does seem to be a hopeless field’;.But the foreign labour does seem to be a hopeless field. They are brought here from a multitude of isles, all talking different languages, and only remain three years in the group, so that the very small numbers that can be reached, even of those who find situations in Levuka, can scarcely be expected to learn much before they have to be sent back to their own isles as ‘time expired labour.’ Still the little church does fill in the afternoons with a strange motley congregation, and doubtless some seeds are carried back to the distant isles, which may bear fruit in due season.”

Solomons people fear return to home islands: The “foreign labour” referred to was from the Solomon Islands. When the system was altered many of them remained rather than be clubbed on their home beaches when they returned. The work that Mr. Floyd so courageously tackled received an impetus when Bishop John Selwyn paid a visit in 1880 and inspired the Chief justice, who, with a party of young men, conducted classes for the Solomons”.

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