Biographical entry: Luiramo, Charles (1935 - )



Charles Luiramo was born in 1935 to Lotaa and Alide at Dalo'oro village in Rakwane in east Fataleka, inland from Fakanakafo Bay, Malaita. At that time his father worked as a SSEC missionary among his wife's family. Charles was brought up at Rakwane until 1948, when the teenager set out on his working career. His older brother Ishmael Itea (q.v.) was Government Headman of Fataleka from 1949 to 1975. The Maasina Rule (q.v.) leaders would not allow their people to work for the government or for companies, but Itea supported the government and encouraged his brother to leave the island in search of work. The government, strapped for labourers, was willing to hire boys, and so though he was only thirteen Luiramo had no problem finding work as a labourer with the Public Works Department in Honiara. The next year, he signed on as a cook's assistant on MV Matoma, but left the ship at Russell Island to cut copra on a plantation. He returned to Fataleka in October 1950.

The next month Itea arranged for Luiramo to be interviewed by Colin Allan (q.v.), the island's District Commissioner, who appointed him as a dresser (nursing assistant) at the Auki Hospital. This was the beginning of his long career as a health worker in many areas of the Solomon Islands. Transferred to the Central Hospital in Honiara in August 1951, Luiramo trained for eighteen months, completed three months of practical training at Wanderer Bay in west Guadalcanal, and then returned to Honiara for his final examination. From mid-1953 until late 1954 Luiramo was posted to Ontong Java. He spent his leave in Fataleka in late 1952 and early 1953. During these months he began to question Doromae, his father's older brother, about Rakwane and Fataleka history, and collected the information in an old exercise book that his family still has. On a later period of leave he created the first Rakwane 'Generation Book', piecing together information gained from his brother Itea and other Rakwane leaders.

After the period of leave following his Ontong Java posting, Luiramo returned to Central Hospital in Honiara and resumed study, receiving his certificate as Medical Assistant in January 1956. His first job as Medical Assistant was at Rerede rural hospital in North Malaita, which was moved to Malu'u in 1957. In August of 1956 Luiramo married Anne Tafili from Sulufou artificial island in Lau Lagoon, and they eventually had six children together. Luiramo become well known in many areas of the Solomons and was respected as a senior and responsible Medical Assistant. He moved frequently, often to help establish new hospitals and clinics as government medical services were extended. Between 1958 and 1970 Luiramo worked at Honiara's Central Hospital, Roroni village clinic in the Tasimboko (Tathimboko) sub-district east of Honiara (1958-1960), Savo Island (1960-1963), and back on Malaita at 'Ataa (1963-1967), Kilu'ufi (1967-1968), and Malu'u (1968-1970). Luiramo married a second wife, Roselyn Likobarafa from Bita'ama in the Malu'u District, while he was posted there. He then moved back to work at the 'Ataa clinic (1970-1973), then on to Sa'a on Small Malaita (1973-1975), and finally back to Kilu'ufi where he worked until his retirement at the end of September 1975. Retirement was brief, as when the local Seventh-day Adventist health clinic at Ambe was closed in 1982 he took it over, and with the aid of the Church he opened another clinic nearby at Sango, which he ran for five months. He returned to work for the government in 1986, establishing a new aid post, this time at Abeo near Onilafa in Fataleka. With his second wife Luiramo had four children. Luiramo retired in 1993 and was awarded the British Empire Medal.

Along with his brother Ishmael Itea, Luiramo was always interested in the history of Rakwane and Fataleka and in tracing his family in Australia. In 1975, when Noel Fatnowna (q.v.) and his family from Mackay, Queensland first visited Malaita, they made contact with John Maetia Kaliuae, whose mother Ella was from Rakwane. Maetia recognised the links, and knew the story of Noels' grandfather John Kwailiu Fatnowna (q.v.). He introduced Noel to Charles Luiramo in Auki. When Charles was sure that the link was correct, he sent for his brother Ishmael to meet his Mackay family. As a result, Charles and his daughter Christal visited the Fatnownas in Mackay in 1976. Christal was later adopted for several years by Noel and Minnie Fatnowna. Ishmael Itea followed him to Mackay later in 1976 and spent several months with the Fatnowna family. Charles Luiramo was also involved in putting the Rakwane side in several land cases in the 1970s and 1980s, and was acknowledged as a leader because of his knowledge of Fataleka history. (Moore 2004b)

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Published resources


  • Moore, Clive, Happy Isles in Crisis: The Historical Causes for a Failing State in Solomon Islands, 1998-2004, Asia Pacific Press, Canberra, 2004b, ix, 265 pp. Details