Offered for sale by Adam Langlands of 'Shadowrock Rare Books' - for more information please contact him via email at [email protected]
Dr. & Mrs. Basil MAYOR WILSON (compilors).
[FIJI – a photograph album recalling the Mayor Wilsons’ life in Levuka and its environs, on the eastern coast of Ovalau Island]. [Levuka: c.1910-1913]. Quarto (9 x 6in; 228 x 153mm). 60 vintage photographs (4 ¾ x 3 ½ in and smaller, most 4 1/8 x 3 1/8in; 105 x 78mm), window mounted, two to a page, recto and verso of 15 card leaves, many annotated on the mount. (Some fading [see images], some light damage to mounts). Original cloth, decorative upper cover (some light soiling, neat repairs to joints and head and foot of spine).
A rare glimpse of life as a British colonial District Medical Officer in the Pacific immediately before the First World War.
The album includes images of the ‘DMO’ and his wife, their house, their friends, recreation (a game of tennis dated 1 January 1913, picnics and swimming), the hospital at Levuka, the town of Levuka, the indigenous people, a short series of Meke dances by the ‘Nairi men, the ‘Levuka village’or the women of Levuka (?), rebuilding after a hurricane, ‘Native huts’, the leper coloy at Makogai. The outside world intrudes in the form of three images of the visiting H.M.S. ‘New Zealand’.
Basil Mayor Wilson, MD, D.P.H. (1878- 31 December 1961) was appointed District Medical Officer based in Levuka on 3rd August 1904. Ten years later he was still at his post and, according the ‘Blue Book of Fiji for 1914’ his annual salary was £435.
His career in the Colonial Medical Service was briefly interrupted by WWI (when he served as a Lieutenant in the R.A.M.C), and subsequent to Fiji he was posted to British Honduras and Jamaica, where he served as a member of the Executive Council. He died in England in 1961.
Notes: The brief British Medical Journal notice of Dr. Wilson’s death describes him as being ‘late of Jamaica, and Fiji’ (13 Jan. 1962, p. 126).
“Basil Mayor Wilson … Manchester University and Royal Infirmary. M.D., D.P.H., Colonial Medical Service, Fiji, British Honduras, Jamaica. Member of Legislative Council, Jamaica, 1st Great War, Lieut., R.A.M.C.” (The Malvernian, No. DXXXIII, July 1963, p.38).
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