Corporate entry: Queensland Kanaka Mission



In 1882, Florence Young (q.v.) commenced missionary work among indentured labourers from the Solomon Islands and New Hebrides (Vanuatu) on her brothers' Queensland sugar plantation and mill, at Fairymead, near Bundaberg. Young had been a missionary in China. Steeped in the beliefs of the Plymouth Brethren and influenced by the English Keswick Convention, members of the Young, Deck and Grant families established the Queensland Kanaka Mission in 1886. By 1904, the QKM had 101 Islander missionaries and seventeen European ones working in eleven different centres along the southern Queensland and northern New South Wales coast. Converts of the QKM returned to the BSIP and New Hebrides at the turn of the century. One of them, Peter Abu'ofa (q.v.) of North Malaita, established a Christian school at Malu'u and appealed to the QKM for help. Three men from Queensland came in response: Charles Pillians, Peter Schwiegert and another named Ruddell. Pillans and Schwiegert died of malaria and Ruddell returned home ill. In 1903, after the Australian government signalled in 1901 that it intended to expel immigrant Melanesians, the QKM began to think of moving the Mission to the Solomon Islands. In January 1904, the QKM formed a Solomon Islands Branch and on 8 April Florence Young arrived at Tulagi. She travelled to Langalanga Lagoon and to Malu'u to visit Peter Abu'ofa. Young began to make annual visits to the Protectorate and in 1905 the QKM established its principal station at Onepusu on Malaita's west coast. At the end of 1906, the QKM closed its Queensland operation and transferred to the BSIP. Its name was changed to the South Sea Evangelical Mission (later Church) (q.v.) in 1907, and it has continued to operate in the Solomon Islands. It expanded into Papua New Guinea after the Second World War. The church was localised in the 1980s. (PAMBU catalogue)

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