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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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: Sailing instruction for navigation from Suva to Levuka harbour

“The route from Suva to Levuka is, of course by sea, the distance some 55 miles, and the time oocupied by one of the inter- colonial steamers generally about five hours.
Leaving Suva wharf at daylight the reef protecting the the coast line of Viti Levu is followed round, until a dangerous point, known as Nasilai, is reached.
Nasilai a danger spot for wrecks: On this spot several vessels have come to grief, notably the coolie ship Syria, when some 50 lives were lost, the schooner Conflict, and others, but a beacon has now been erected, from which at night a light is exhibited.
After passing Nasilai a course is steered direct for Ovalau, which now becomes visible, surrounded by the picturesque islands of Loma Viti, or tho central group, amongst which are Moturiki, Naucica, Gau, Batiki, Nairai, Wakaya, and Mokongai.
The entrance to the sea reef opposite Levuka is soon reached.
Steamer arrives at noon: The steamer berthed is alongside the Queen’s Wharf before noon.
Levuka harbour in 1886: The harbour of Levuka is not land locked, unlike that of Suva; in fact, It has more the appearance of an open roadstead, being only protected from the weather on one side, i.e., the westward, by the island itself.
Protected harbour: A well-defined sea route of coral runs north and south, however, at about a mile from the shore, and forms an excellent defence against the swell of the Paciflc, and vessels ride, at anchor in all weathers, with perfect safety, except during the most violent hurricanes, which are happily of rare occurrence, there having been none attended with disastrous consequences for many years.
Two ways into the reef: There are two entrances through the reef, one opposite, and one to the northward of, the town, either of which are easy of access, the former being also marked by beacons, as at Suva. The Queen’s Wharf, at the southern end of the town, is a creditable structure, and affords sufficient accommodation for those who requirements of the port. At the opposite end of the town where the Custom house is at present most inconveniently situated, there is another wharf, which was originally in be Government wharf, but, as in – most ‘ Government jobs, ‘ a bungle was made, and when the wharf was nearly completed it was discovered that there was a coral patch at the end of ie, which would prevent any but vessels of very little draught coming alongside. It was, therefore, abandoned for the present structure”.
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.

July 23, 1868: Polynesia Company gets 200,000 acres of land, including Suva from Cakobau and six principal chiefs

In 1868 two gentlemen, by name Brewer and Evans, arrived in Fiji from Melbourne as agents for the Polynesia Company, Limited, of Melbourne, then about to be formed.
Polynesia Company agrees to pay debt:
On July 23, 1868 a charter was granted them, as such agents, by Cakobau, who is chief signatory, with the ratification and confirmation of six principal chiefs under Cakobau.
The deal: By the material portion of that charter, Brewer and Evans undertook on behalf of the said company to provide for the payment of the compensation, already referred to, to the United States of America; and, in consideration thereof, Cakobau ceded, granted, and transferred to Brewer and Evans as trustees for the said proposed company about 200,000 acres of land as specified in the schedule.
Sells Suva to Polynesia Company: Paragraph 4 of the schedule is as follows : “4. Also Suva, its harbour, territories, and district, commencing from Lami, running along the coast towards Rewa, to the township of Kalabo, and running inland to the Waimanu” (memorial, p. 259). The lands so described include those in respect of which Henry’s claim arises.This charter was accompanied by the following agreement: “The Company agree not to alienate any of the land until the whole of the American debt is paid. Should the amount not be paid within the time specified in the agreement of the Company with Dr. Brewer, the land reverts to King Thakombau” (memorial, p. 259).
Debt paid in two parts: On the following day, July 24, Evans and Brewer executed an agreement under seal, by which they undertook to pay the balance of the compensation due from Cakobau to the uv, the first instalment on their return to Melbourne, the second and final instalment on or before July 24, 1869.

HEIRS OF JOHN B. WILLIAMS (UNITED STATES) v. GREAT BRITAIN (Fijian Land Claim*. November 0, 1923, Pages 606-611.) Cession Of Sovereignty, Annexation : Private Property Rights Acquired Previous To.Interpretation Of (“Primitive) Municipal Law. Reports Of International Arbitral Awards Recueil Des Sentences Arbitrales Benson Robert Henry (United States) V. Great Britain (Fijian Land Claims) 2 November 1923 Volume Vi Pp. 100-104 http://www.untreaty.un.org/cod/riaa/cases/vol_VI/100-104_Benson.pdf