Biographical entry: Tedder, James Lionel O'Neil (1926 - )

10 November 1926


James Lionel O'Neil Tedder was born in Sydney, Australia on 10 November 1926 and brought up at Wamberal. He was appointed as an Administrative Officer Cadet in February 1952 and was posted directly to the BSIP. Following two months in Central District he was posted to Malaita as District Officer based at Auki to serve under V. J. Andersen (q.v.), and in November 1953 was posted to Malu'u as District Officer. In August 1954, he was sent to the Devonshire Course in Cambridge. Confirmed in his appointment in March 1955, he was posted to Kirakira in June as District Commissioner Eastern. In May 1959, Tedder was appointed as Census Commissioner for the sample census organised by Dr Norma McArthur. In June 1960 he was appointed District Commissioner Malaita while Michael M. Townsend was on a six-month leave.

A posting for six months as Assistant Secretary of Social Affairs followed, after which Tedder was posted to Western District for a year as District Commissioner. Following leave, he was posted to Honiara as District Officer Guadalcanal in October, and then in January 1963 as District Commissioner Central. In 1967, he was promoted to Administrative Officer Grade A and awarded the M.B.E., which was conferred by the Queen in May while Tedder was in England on a local government attachment to three councils.

On 1 January 1972 Tedder was appointed to the new post of Director of Information and Broadcasting, from which he retired in November 1974. While serving in Honiara he was Chair of the Tourism Authority, and at times Chair of the Copra Board. He belonged to committees of the Broadcast Advisory, University of South Pacific, Museum, and Library. While Director of Information and Broadcasting he was responsible for helping to establish the Solomon Island Museum, the Library and facilities to ensure that researchers placed copies of their work, whether print or film, in the Government Archives.

He wrote a small booklet, Walks in Guadalcanal, for tourists, coauthored with Geoff Stevens the book Birds in Honiara for the Scout Association funds, and with his wife Margaret published Yams: A Description of their Cultivation on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Tedder also published articles on dried breadfruit, Honiara planning, broadcasting, and the Solomon Islands National Museum in the South Pacific Commission Quarterly and other journals. He contributed short pieces on ancient village sites to the National Museum's newsletter. With Tom Russell, and advice from Professor William Davenport, he excavated a cave Fotoruma near Honiara, unearthing artefacts dating back to 970 BC. His book 'How Government Works' was distributed to all Solomon Islands schools. In 2008, Tedder published Solomon Island Years: An Administrative Officer in the Islands 1952-74. (Tedder 1966, 1968, 1971, 1973, 2008; M. Tedder 1973, 1975; Tedder and Tedder 1974)

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Published resources


  • Tedder, James L.O., Solomon Islands Years: A District Administrator in the Islands, 1952-1974, Tuatu Studies, Stuarts Point, NSW, 2008. Details
  • Tedder, Margaret M., and Tedder, James L.O., Yams: A Description of their Cultivation on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific Commission, Noumea, 1974. Details

Journal Articles

  • Tedder, James L.O., 'Honiara (Capital of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate)', South Pacific Bulletin, vol. 16, no. 1, 1966, pp. 36-41 (43). Details
  • Tedder, James L.O., 'Artificial Islands Re-Examined', New Zealand Geographer, vol. 24, no. 2, 1968, pp. 186-189. Details
  • Tedder, James L.O., 'The Solomon Islands Museum', South Pacific Bulletin, vol. 21, no. 2, 1971, pp. 31-33. Details
  • Tedder, James L.O., 'Solomon Islands Information and Broadcasting Services--the Broadcasting Section', South Pacific Bulletin, vol. 23, no. 4, 1973, pp. 27-32. Details
  • Tedder, Margaret M., 'Staple Diets in the British Solomon Islands', South Pacific Bulletin, vol. 23, no. 3, 1973, pp. 15-19. Details
  • Tedder, Margaret M., 'Old Kusage', Journal of the Cultural Association of the Solomon Islands, vol. 4, 1976, pp. 41-95. Details