Biographical entry: Campbell, Frederick Melford ( - 1953)

11 July 1953


Frederick Melford Campbell, an Australian, was appointed commanding officer of the Native Police on 23 February 1912, and based at Auki station on Malaita. He was Acting District Officer on two occasions in 1915 and for short periods in 1917 and 1918. After this he was appointed District Officer Eastern Solomons and was based at Kirakira, where he started a government station. Campbell divided the island into eight regions and appointed district chiefs for each. He imposed regulations for sanitation, conducted a census and created walking tracks around the island. He also insisted on inspecting the local plantations to ensure that regulations were enforced.

In June 1919, he decided to leave the government service and bought land for himself at Waimamura near Kirakira and began working as a trader while he established a plantation. Eventually he had four plantations (Maru, Hawa, Wai'ai Bay and Waimasi) and was the most successful planter on Makira. For a short period in 1932, he returned to the job of Acting District Officer when the post was left vacant. Campbell introduced a co-operative system in 1933, which allowed local people to collect their own copra and sell it to him for export. Easygoing and gregarious, he married Kapinihari from Makira and they had two sons, Jack (q.v.) and Pat. He later separated from his wife over marital fidelity disputes. (Golden 1993, 305-307; BSIP 14/13, notice 18 June 1919)

Campbell survived the 1930s Depression, living an almost subsistence lifestyle while his sons Jack and Pat went prospecting for gold on Guadalcanal. When the Second World War began, Frederick, too, was prospecting at Gold Ridge. Jack served in the Fiji police but was discharged. In 1948, both sons were alleged to have been involved in the death of Alec Maena (q.v.), son of Harry Wickham (q.v.), during a brawl in Honiara. Their father hired a defence counsel from Sydney and they were acquitted. Colin Allan (Q.V.) met Frederick Campbell in 1947, and remembered him as a huge man with snow-white hair who drank heavily. He received an M.B.E. He died on 11 July 1953.

His son Jack served on the Executive Council (Q.V.) and Legislative Council (Q.V.) in the 1960s and the Makira Council in the 1960s and 1970s. His grandson David graduated from University of Papua New Guinea in 1975, one of the first two Solomon Islander lawyers, and was Assistant Attorney-General in Honiara from 1976-1978. David joined the private sector and in 1977 became Vice-Chancellor of the Church of Melanesia. Frederick Campbell's nephew was Sir Walter Campbell (1921-2004), Judge (1967-1985), Chief Justice (1982-1985) and Governor of Queensland (1985-1992). (BSIP 14/7, C. M. Woodford to A. W. Walsh, 23 Feb. 1912; Tedder 2008, 75; Allan 1989, pt. 1, 26-27; SND 27 May 1977; Lord 1977, 29-30)

Related Places

Published resources


  • Allan, Colin H., Solomons Safari, 1953-58 (Part I), Nag's Head Press, Christchurch, 1989. Details
  • Golden, Graeme A., The Early European Settlers of the Solomon Islands, Graeme A. Golden, Melbourne, 1993. Details
  • Lord, Walter, Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons, Viking Press, New York, 1977. Details
  • Tedder, James L.O., Solomon Islands Years: A District Administrator in the Islands, 1952-1974, Tuatu Studies, Stuarts Point, NSW, 2008. Details


  • Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details