1886: Levuka five generations of gene-mix; but work racially divided: 430 Europeans, and around 1000 “half-caste FIjians, Samoans, Botu Muliana, and other Polynesians”

“The population of Levuka may be estimated at about 430 Europeans, or persons of European extraction, while the settled population of half-caste FIjians, Samoans, Rotu, Muliana,  and other Polynesians, is about double as many more.
Samoan sex-workers: They are of the same mixed nationality as may be observed in Suva, but a special feature is introduced hero in the presence of a large number of Samoan females, who occupy a position which may be  compared to a combination of the grisettes and lilanchisenses of Paris.
They are fine handsome women for Polynesians, much Inclined to embonpoint, and of a light brown colour.
  Rotumah sailors: A number of Rotumah men ato also to bo met with in Levuka ; they are natives of a small isolated island, situated about 200 miles to the northward of the group, but included in the colony.
They aro excellent  sailor men, and nearly all the inter-island trading vessels are manned by them. They are a short, thick-set, sturdy race, and differ materially in both language and and physical appearance from the natives of any other island.
  Chinese farmers and carpenters: There are also many more Chinamen In Levuka than in Suva, and the Celestial forms a very useful member of the community  providing the town with a plentiful supply of greenstuff, while others follow the trade of carpenters and cabinet makers, in which they excel.
The Mercury Supplement, (Hobart, Tasmania), Saturday 13 February, 1886.  This item appears written by a Levuka resident in early 1886, or late 1885.  It encourages tourism to Levuka, as a rest from an overheated Australia.  Author uses the name “Tasmanian”. Possibly Frederick Langham   Perhaps ship-owner and trader with a long term trading relationship with Levuka and Suva, for at least five years – since 1880.

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1886: copra and sugar in Levuka and Fiji

“Levuka …commands quite a respect able proportion of the commerceof the group, including that of tho whole of tho extensive islands of Vauna, Levu, and Tavinui, besides that of ‘Loma Loma, and the whole of the windward and central group, and of the northern coast of Viti Levu itself.
This includes the sugar estates of:

  • Billyard and Co. and
  • W. Hunter, of Tavinui
  • Messrs. Chalmers Bros., and the
  • Ellington plantation on Viti Levu, and
  • Mango Island Co.

Copra trade controlled by Hennings, Hoerder, and, Nedemann: The trade in this article (which is the dried flesh of the cocoanut) is, however, almost entirely monopolised by the German firms of Hennings, Hoerder, and, Nedemann, although portion of the cash paid for it finds its way into general circulation. The copra being purchased by these firms…. most of it finds its way lo tho German markets”.
The Mercury Supplement, (Hobart, Tasmania), Saturday 13 February, 1886. This item appears written by a Levuka resident in early 1886, or late 1885. It encourages tourism to Levuka, as a rest from an overheated Australia. Author uses the name “Tasmanian”. Possibly Frederick Langham Perhaps ship-owner and trader with a long term trading relationship with Levuka and Suva, for at least five years – since 1880.

1886 Levuka a peaceable and orderly community; recollections of David Whippy

“Contrary to Suva, which is entirely the growth of the last five years, Levuka possesses some claims to antiquity, and has a history of its own, the first settlement by whites here dating back nearly 50 years.
The first settlers on Ovalau were, however, a very rough lot, being composed mostly of runaway sailors from American whaling ships, or beche-de-mer or sandalwood trading vessels, together with a few escaped convicts from Norfolk Island.
Some of these original settlers, In other parts of Fiji, lived under the protection of individual chiefs, and made themselves notorious by taking part in the intertribal wars, in which their possesssio of  arms rendered them formidable and valuable allies but those who settled
Ovalau seem to have formed a more peaceable aud orderly community, and lived quietly at Levuka under tho protection of its chief, acknowledging the jurisdiction of one of their number, named ( David) Whippy, who was eventually appointed to represent the first Amerlcan Consul in Fiji, Mr. J. B. Williams, who was Consul for New Zealand and Fiji, and resided at the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, until he came to Fiji, where he remained permanently until his death in I860.
Whippy’s authority received the countenance of the commanders of tho various men-of-war which occasionally looked in. Some of these earlier settlors still survive, and tell thrilling stories of adventure during the “good old cannibal days”.
The Mercury Supplement, (Hobart, Tasmania)  Saturday 13 February, 1886.  This item appears written by a Levuka resident in early 1886, or late 1885.  It encourages tourism to Levuka, as a rest from an overheated Australia.  Author uses the name “Tasmanian”. Possibly Frederick Langham   Perhaps ship-owner and trader with a long term trading relationship with Levuka and Suva, for at least five years – since 1880.

1886: Levuka Harbour and Beach-street, lovely views of blue ocean, coral reefs ‘no pen can properly describe thelr beauty”

“The view of Levuka from  the  harbour, in contradiction to that of Suva, is most picturesque and romantic, besides being thoroughly tropical.
Nestling  under the wooded heights of the mountainous island, the town occupies quite a narrow strip of land on the seashore, with an easterly aspect.
The principal street, Beach Street, which contains nearly all the business places in the town, is, as its name indicates, actually on the strand itself, and is protected by a seawall from the encroachments of the sea, it duty which during easterly gales, it performs with very doubtful efficiency.
The cross streets are few, and of no length, as the hills rise abruptly behind the town.
Between the two wharves before referred to, the front street is lined with business premise, mostly constructed of wood or iron and painted white, while at either end of the town, and dotting the surrounding hills, are the numerous villa residences of the towns-people, most of them surrounded by pretty gardens in which all sorts of indigenous and imported shrubs and flowers grow luxuriantly, while their being partially embowered in the abundant foliage with which every part of Ovalau is clothed, adds to the charm of the situation’, and the lovely views of blue ocean, coral reefs, and surrounding islets to bo obtained from most of them, require to be seen to be realised, as no pen can properly describe thelr beauty.
 Try it by moonlight: Attractive as is the view of Levuka by day, it is perhaps seen under the most advantageous circumstancrs on a bright moonlight night, when the numerous white buildings peep out from their deep-setting of foliage, and the twinkling lights from the houses, street lamps, and those of the numerous vessels in harbour, give the little town the appearance of being dressed in gala costume.”.
The Mercury Supplement, (Hobart, Tasmania)  Saturday 13 February, 1886.  This item appears written by a Levuka resident in early 1886, or late 1885.  It encourages tourism to Levuka, as a rest from an overheated Australia.  Author uses the name “Tasmanian”. Possibly Frederick Langham   Perhaps ship-owner and trader with a long term trading relationship with Levuka and Suva, for at least five years – since 1880.

1886: Captain Kaad in NSW on the MIDGE, with crew of five

Mariners and ships in Australian Waters

MIDGE

OF LEVUKA, C. KAAD, MASTER, BURTHEN 40 TONS
FROM THE PORT OF LINE ? TO SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, 20TH APRIL, 1886

Surname Given name Station Age Of what Nation Status Comments
KAAD C. CAPTAIN CREW
PETERSEN J. MATE 28 SWEDEN CREW
SAVAGE JOHN COOK & STEWARD 26 NEWRY CREW
JOHNNY A. B. 23 SAMOA CREW
JEMMY A. B. ROTUMAH CREW Half Caste
TAM A. B. ROTUMAH CREW Half Caste
Source: State Records Authority of New South Wales: Shipping Master’s Office; Passengers Arriving 1855 – 1922; NRS13278, [X180] reel 472. Transcribed by Dorothy D’Arcy