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.

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1813: Fiji conflict over sandalwood; all the beachcomber Europeans were murdered, except Dillon, a Prussian named Martin Bushart, and a seaman, William Wilson

In 1813 the East India Company’s ship Hunter, voyaging from Calcutta to Sydney, called at the Fiji Islands.
Beach combers in paradise: They discovered that several Europeans were living on one of the group. Some had been shipwrecked; some had deserted from vessels; but they had become accustomed to the life and preferred it.
Paid to collect sandal wood and beche-de-mer: The Hunter employed a party of them to collect sandal wood and beche-de-mer, one of her junior officers, Peter Dillon, being in charge. A quarrel with natives occurred, and all the Europeans were murdered, except Dillon, a Prussian named Martin Bushart, and a seaman, William Wilson.
Bushart and “Lascar Joe” land at Santa Cruz Islands with Bushart’s wife: After the affray Bushart would certainly have been slain had he remained, so he induced the captain of the  Hunter to give him a passage to the first land reached. Accordingly Bushart, a Fiji woman who was his wife, and a Lascar companion, were landed on Barwell Island, or Tucopia ( Santa Cruz Islands)
Larperouse SCOTT, Ernest, 1868-1939 Publisher Sydney : Angus & Robertson, 1912 ; Printer W.C. Penfold
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