Corporate entry: Carpenter, W. R. and Co.


W. R. Carpenter & Co., an Australian Pacific trading, banking and commerce, shipping and plantation company, similar to Burns Philp & Co. WRC (often humorously said to stand for 'Would Rob Christ') began operations in the Solomon Islands in 1922, the boom year for the plantations. They had a major store at Tulagi and developed plantation interests during the 1930s when forced to take them over as mortgagee during the economic depression. In the 1930s, Norman Wheatley (q.v.) was in debt to Carpenters for £6,000 and was forced to sell to the company his land at Marovo Lagoon, Roviana, Rendova and northwest Isabel. Carpenters also held mortgages on leases held by F. R. Sim and Gatere Plantations, and took over San Cristobal Estates from Morris Hedstrom, a Fiji merchant company. As a result, in 1941 Carpenters had plantations in the New Georgia Islands (Hamarae, Karungarao, Lalauru, Lilihina, Mahoro, Mbareho, Ngarengare, Salakalala and Tinge), and had taken over as mortgagee on Makira (Boroni, Maru, Waimarae and Three Sisters). Carpenters were unwilling plantation owners and acted more like caretakers than innovators, never expanding the acres under cultivation. In 1953, they sold their plantations on Isabel and Guadalcanal to R. C. Symes, who in turn sold them to James Wang later in the decade. (Bennett 1987, 232-234, 449 notes 29-30; Allan 1989, pt. 1, 73)

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Published resources


  • Allan, Colin H., Solomons Safari, 1953-58 (Part I), Nag's Head Press, Christchurch, 1989. Details
  • Bennett, Judith A., Wealth of the Solomons: A History of a Pacific Archipelago, 1800-1978, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, 1987. Details