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Granville Wood (Sydney, Australia)
The Reverend George Brown, missionary, with convert from New Britain
Carte de visite
107 x 63 mm
There are two artefacts in the photograph which indicate that the young convert is a Tolai man from the Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain. Standing upright at the right of the photograph is a Tolai club, bakul. The phallic-ended club lying on the floor in the foreground is a Tolai type known as mukmuk.
George Brown left Samoa in 1875 to pioneer a mission in the Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, Duke of York islands). Accompanying him were Samoan and Fijian missionaries and teachers, and a professional photographer named Walter who was to document the beginnings of the mission. After witnessing a fierce battle at New Britain, Walter apparently got 'cold feet', refused to go ashore, sold his camera and equipment to Brown and left the Archipelago with the mission boat. Over the next five years Brown mastered the art of photography, documenting the cultural diversity of the region's people. Samoans continued their religious missions to the region for another 50 years. Brown, however, left New Britain in 1880 to work as a minister in Sydney.
Jude Philp, Australian Museum