Biographical entry: Bugotu, Francis (1927 - 1980s)

27 June 1927


Francis Bugotu was born on 27 June 1927 on Guadalcanal and educated at St. Mary's School at Maravovo (q.v.) on Guadalcanal, and All Hallows' School at Pawa (q.v.) on Ugi Island. He also attended St. Stephen's College and Ardmore Teacher Training College, both in Auckland, New Zealand. Bugotu taught at All Hallows' for a year before becoming, concurrently, a School Inspector for the Diocese of Melanesia (q.v.) (1959-1960) and a member of the Legislative Council (q.v.) (1960-1962). In May 1961, he travelled with Rev. Leonard Alufurai (q.v.) to represent the Anglican Diocese of Melanesia at a missionary conference in Samoa, and in July 1962 he and Mariano Kelesi (q.v.) flew south to the 5th tri-annual South Pacific Conference in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

In August 1962, Bugotu was appointed as an officer in the Education Department. He left for Scotland in September 1964 to attend a diploma course on teaching English as a second language, at Moray House in the College of Education in Edinburgh. His wife Ella, who had a government scholarship to attend Edinburgh College of Domestic Science, accompanied him.

In November 1965, Bugotu was installed as a Lay Canon of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Melanesia. Between 1964 and 1968 he was a lecturer at the British Solomons Training College (q.v.) and during this time he also carried out research into phonetic comparisons between English and the Tadhimboko language. In 1967, he attended a three-month course at Queensland University on teaching English as a second language. In 1968 and 1970, he presented a paper on the impact of Western culture in the Solomon Islands at the 1st and 4th Waigani Seminars at the University of Papua New Guinea. (NS 21 Feb. 1966, 31 May 1968, 31 May 1970) In 1971-1972, Bugotu completed an M.A. In English language linguistics at the University of Lancaster in the U.K., the first Solomon Islander to achieve this degree. He served as chairman of the Review Committee on Education in 1974-1975. The next year he became Permanent Secretary for Education and Cultural Affairs then Permanent Secretary to the Minister and the Council of Ministers and titular head of the Solomon Islands Public Service (1976-1978). At independence in 1978, Bugotu was made Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and the roving Ambassador and High Commissioner.

Bugotu was Chief Commissioner of Scouts (1970-1977), and was founder and chief adviser to the Kakamora Youth Club (1968-1975). (NS 15 Mar. 1970) He wrote a play with Tony Hughes, called 'This Man', which highlighted the effects of introduced culture on Melanesians. In 1970, a film unit from the Australian company Pilgrim Films arrived to begin production of a fifteen-minute film of the play. It was financed by the Australian Board of Missions, and Rev. J. N. Bagnall travelled with the film unit. Bugotu received a C.B.E. In 1979, and died in the early 1980s. The best-educated Solomon Islander in the 1960s and 1970s, Bugotu was a model citizen who was involved in a range of urban activities. (NS May 1961, 15 July 1962, 15 Aug. 1962, 30 Apr. 1963, 16 Aug. 1963, 15 Nov. 1963, 21 Feb. 1966, 7 June 1967, 14 Feb. 1968, 15 Mar. 1970, 15 Oct. 1970, 39, Sept. 1972; SND 25 July 1975; Craig and Clement 1980, 22; Bugotu 1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1979; [accessed 5 Aug. 2011])

Related Concepts

Related Cultural Artefacts

Published resources


  • Craig, Robert D., and Clement, Russell T., Who's Who in Oceania, 1980-1981, Institute of Polynesian Studies, Brigham Young University, Hawaii Campus, Laia, Hawaii, 1980. Details


  • Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details
  • British Solomon Islands Protectorate (ed.), British Solomon Islands Protectorate News Sheet (NS), 1955-1975. Details

Journal Articles

  • Bugotu, Francis, 'The Culture Clash: A Melanesian's View', New Guinea and Australia, the Pacific and South-East Asia, vol. 3, no. 2, June/July, pp. 65-70. Details