“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.
Filed under: 1886, David Whippy, Levuka, Levuka History, United States, United States Exploring Expedition | Tagged: 1886, American whaling ships, Bay of Islands, Beachcombers, beche-de-mer, David Whippy, escaped convicts from Norfolk Island, Fiji, Fiji History, first Amerlcan Consul in Fiji, Frederick Langham, Hobart, J. B. Williams, Levuka, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Ovalau, Ovalau.runaway sailors, Sandalwood, Suva | Leave a comment »