1866: Severe hurricane in Levuka

W. E. Floyd (William Floyd was born in County Wexford, was educated at Beaufield Collegiate School, Enniscorthy, and went to Australia, where his people settled at Emerald Hill. He was ordained by Bishop Perry, of Melbourne, and, after a successful ministry in the goldfields, left for the romantic kingdom of Cakabau, overlord of Fiji, in 1868. He first settled as a cotton-grower at Dreketi River until on November 15, 1870, he landed in the old capital, Levuka, and began his great life’s work. ) was a church builder as well. The first church (at Levuka), was a small wooden one and was destroyed by a severe hurricane in 1866.

Church of the Epiphany: His next attempt was the Church of the Epiphany, built below his seaside home at Onivero.

Church of the Holy Redeemer: His imperialistic sentiment was thrilled when the first service of thanksgiving in the whole world for the jubilee of Queen Victoria was held at Levuka, and he was inspired to begin his last and lasting effort, the Church of the Holy Redeemer, as a memorial of the jubilee. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Willis, of Honolulu, on Sunday, August 13, 1899, and with great hopes Floyd journeyed to England, New Zealand and Australia for the purpose of raising funds for this object, and also to see what the Church was prepared to do for the new field, among the Indian settlers, which was coming into being.
Levuka Days of a Parson in Polynesia
By C. W. Whonsbon-Aston London: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1937.

Sunday, June 19, 1904: His great day was on Sunday, June 19, 1904, when with quiet and dignified ceremonial his church was consecrated to the Holy Redeemer by Bishop Willis, now of Tonga, who said, inter alia, “The consecration of this first stone church for the use of the Anglican communion, not only in the Colony of Fiji, but in the Western Pacific, is an event that should be regarded with interest and sympathy by the whole Anglican communion. . . . You have not erected a structure that the first hurricane might sweep away, but one that bears witness that the Anglican Church has at length a firm foundation in the Western Pacific.”

This emblem of the “firm foundation” has a beauty all its own. It is a calamity that, owing to lack of funds, another huge parish has had to be added to it; the whole under the supervision of one priest. It would be hateful to see it become a ruined mass of tumbled masonry in a tropical wilderness: what an unworthy end to a great pioneer’s dream!

The Diocese was formed, but the clock could not be put back. The newly arrived bishop created the archdeaconry of Fiji, and Floyd became the first archdeacon. He passed to his rest on October 9, 1909, and his body was carried to the headland over the sea, with its palms and wild citron, facing the rising sun and with the moon in its turn making a long silvery trail from the horizon to his feet–“a most lovely spot.”


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