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Polynesian School, Levuka, Fiji

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3091B

Scope and Contents

A collection of five prints mounted on card and measuring approximately 205 x 155 mm. They are accompanied by a paper-cutting from a Fijian newspaper which contains a letter from William Floyd explaining the origins and progress of the Polynesian School. Dated May 5 1888, it recounts how Floyd was approached the previous year by several Solomon Islanders who asked him to form a school. This he did in one of his empty cottages, and by the time this letter was written over fifty youths were attending the school. Church attendance as a condition of entry to the school was not compulsory but ‘the boys understand that this is expected of them, and so far they have attended very willingly.’ As the school grew Floyd built a small school chapel at his own expense and ‘it is now a fixed rule that all who attend school must also attend church.’ The progress of the school Floyd sums up thus:

‘Some of the boys had been previously instructed by Captain Olive who spared no pains with them for their good in every way, these of course have made special progress, but many who a few months ago did not know their alphabet, can now use their hymn books, etc., and can read several portions of the Prayer Book with ease, to say nothing of their writing, and knowledge of other subjects. A number of boys are being prepared for Baptism - The contrast between former years when Sunday faction fights between different tribes of Polynesians were the rule, and when constant orgies perpetually recurring made night hideous (vide old copies of local papers), the present quiet state of the town since the school has been established is very remarkable.’

A colleague of Floyd, the Rev. J.F. Jones, had also recently opened a similar school in Suva. William Floyd, an Irishman who emigrated to Victoria, was ordained in Melbourne where he worked until his arrival in Fiji in 1870. Based in Levuka he founded the Anglican Church in Fiji, the Melanesian Mission and the Indian Coolie Mission.


  • Creation: 1888

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


5 item(s) (5 images)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Generally good condition.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Oceania, fiche number 7.


For more details of William Floyd’s career, see ‘'Cyclopaedia of Fiji (1907), Sydney, N.S.W.: Cyclopaedia Co. of Fiji., p. 310.


This collection level description was entered by WS using information from the original typescript catalogue.



Includes index.
2006-10-25 14:47:16+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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