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Fijian Missionaries in North Australia

Posted on 24 November 2014 Gavin Glenn

This book is a detailed account of the Fijian missionaries who worked in Arnhem Land, North Australia, initially with the Methodist Mission and subsequently with the United Church of North Australia and later the Uniting Church in Australia. They played a significant role in the development of the Aboriginal people and their communities, accommodating themselves to the many policy and organizational changes which occurred in the Northern Territory, prior to and after World War II. This book sets their missionary work in the broader changing social, economic and political contexts. In this unique missionary field in which there were many competing priorities, the Fijian missionaries always kept before them their specific missionary task of propagating Christianity to the Aborigines.

The Fijians brought with them a multiplicity of practical skills to the mission field, and against all odds, they provided commendable service. During World War II, when their families were evacuated, the husbands remained in Arnhem Land and with a small number of their European counterparts, they held the fort. Without the Fijians, the Methodist Mission would have found the war-time situation in the mission stations most difficult, if not impossible.

This account is written so that the Fijian missionaries, and their work in North Australia, are not forgotten. Fijian Missionaries in North Australia will be of interest to Pacific readers, in particular the Fijians, and all those who may be interested in the Methodist Mission work in Arnhem Land and the history of the Northern Territory.

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