The Naturalist and his 'Beautiful Islands'. Charles Morris Woodford in the Western Pacific
|Collections||ANU Press (1965- Present)|
|Title:||The Naturalist and his 'Beautiful Islands'. Charles Morris Woodford in the Western Pacific|
|Publisher:||Canberra, ACT: ANU Press|
‘I know no place where firm and paternal government would sooner produce beneficial results then in the Solomons … Here is an object worthy indeed the devotion of one’s life’. Charles Morris Woodford devoted his working life to pursuing this dream, becoming the first British Resident Commissioner in 1897 and remaining in office until 1915, establishing the colonial state almost singlehandedly. His career in the Pacific extended beyond the Solomon Islands. He worked briefly for the Western Pacific High Commission in Fiji, was a temporary consul in Samoa, and travelled as a Government Agent on a small labour vessel returning indentured workers to the Gilbert Islands. As an independent naturalist he made three successful expeditions to the islands, and even climbed Mt Popomanaseu, the highest mountain in Guadalcanal. However, his natural history collection of over 20,000 specimens, held by the British Museum of Natural History, has not been comprehensively examined. The British Solomon Islands Protectorate was established in order to control the Pacific Labour Trade and to counter possible expansion by French and German colonialists. It remaining an impoverished, largely neglected protectorate in the Western Pacific whose economic importance was large-scale copra production, with its copra considered the second-worst in the world. This book is a study of Woodford, the man, and what drove his desire to establish a colonial protectorate in the Solomon Islands. In doing so, it also addresses ongoing issues: not so much why the independent state broke down, but how imperfectly it was put together in the first place.
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