Biographical entry: Markham, Harold A.


Harold Markham, known as 'Old Marko', lived at Seghe Passage, which separates New Georgia from Vanguna. He was regarded as the doyen of the planters in the Western Solomons. He was born in Kettering, England in 1875 and then worked in Nova Scotia and South Africa, where he fought in the Boer War. He came to the Solomons in about 1908 as a trader for Lever Brothers at Luangiua, Ontong Java. He lived there for many years and married Lilly, a daughter of a chief from the atoll. In about 1915, he and his two daughters moved from Ontong Java to Seghe where he had a lease of eight hundred acres and built a copra plantation.

Markham took regular recreational trips to Sydney where he lived in grand style. His daughter Lily was educated in New Zealand and married another plantation owner, Harold Mulvey. By the 1930s, 'Old Marko' had created a beautiful tropical garden at Seghe and lived there in a comfortable bungalow. He was evacuated to Australia during the Second World War and his home was used as a headquarters for the coastwatchers (q.v.) on New Georgia. He returned in 1946, but was broken hearted to see his Seghe plantation destroyed and replaced by a wartime airfield. He had no money and took a job as an Administrative Officer on Christmas Island. On retirement he moved to Sydney to live with his daughter Lily. (Horton 1965, 124; Golden 1993, 244-246)

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Published resources


  • Golden, Graeme A., The Early European Settlers of the Solomon Islands, Graeme A. Golden, Melbourne, 1993. Details
  • Horton, Dick C., The Happy Isles: A Diary of the Solomons, Originally published: 1965, Heinemann, London, 1965. Details