Corporate entry: Melanesian Mission



The Melanesian Mission was the name of the missionary society organized by Bishop George Selwyn in 1849 to evangelise Melanesia. Originally the Northern Mission, the Anglican Melanesian Mission concentrated on the islands north of the southern New Hebrides, where the London Missionary Society and Roman Catholic missionaries were operating, and south of New Guinea. After the formation of the Diocese of Melanesia (q.v.) and the consecration of its first Bishop in 1861, the name was commonly used to refer also to the Diocese of Melanesia. The Mission had New Zealand and English Committees, each with General Secretaries responsible for fundraising, provisioning of supplies, recruitment of clergy (even Bishops), and liaison with Archbishops of Canterbury and New Zealand. The two Melanesian Mission Committees each published a separate edition of a journal named the Southern Cross Log (q.v.) between 1895 and 1972, though there is considerable overlap in their content.

The first trust of the Mission was to the Loyalty Islands, but because the London Missionary Society was already established there, Bishop Selwyn decided to move his Mission north. As the Presbyterians were already established in the southern New Hebrides, he and Bishop Patteson decided to concentrate on the northern New Hebrides (Pentecost, Maewo and Ambae) as well as the Banks and Torres Islands and the Solomon Islands. In the Solomons, the Mission was already established on Isabel Island when it became part of German New Guinea (q.v.). (Hilliard 1978a; Terry Brown, personal communication, 13 Sept. 2011)

Related Concepts

Published resources


  • Hilliard, David, God's Gentleman: A History of the Melanesian Mission, 1849-1942, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 1978a. Details


  • Southern Cross Log (SCL). Details