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Notes of a cruise in HMS FAWN in the Western Pacific

Date: 1863
Overall (Closed): 237 x 160 x 41 mm
Medium: Paper, cardboard, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00051280
Place Manufactured:Edinburgh
Related Place:Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, Savai'i, Fiji, Sydney, Tutuila, Tanna, Pitcairn Island, Tonga, Nouvelle-Calédonie, Horn Island, Pins, Île des, Manua Islands, Niue, Moa Island, Upolu,

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    'Notes of a cruise in HMS FAWN in the Western Pacific written by T. H. Hood recounts the 1862 voyage of British Royal Navy vessel FAWN to New Zealand, Polynesia and Melanesia while deployed to the Australia Station.

    Prior to 1859 the waters of the Western Pacific and Australia were under the command of the East Indies Squadron of the Royal Navy based in Ceylon. With such a large distance to patrol, visits to this region were rare and the colonies in Australia were vulnerable to attack from foreign powers. The Australia Station was established as an independent command with a small fleet allocated to the waters around Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Western Pacific.

    The islands visited by HMS FAWN include Niue, Samoa (Tutuila, Manu'a, Upolu, Savai'i) Tonga, Fiji (Uea), Moa, Horne Island, Vanuatu (Tanna), New Caledonia (Port de France [Noumea], Isle of Pines), Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, and Lord Howe Island. It notes various ethnographic and anthropological attributes and practices of the indigenous populations and is beautifully illustrated with three black and white plates; seven black and white inter-text illustrations; and nine full page (landscape) tinted lithographic plates.

    SignificanceThis book documents the type of work completed by ships of the Royal Navy while deployed to the Australia Station. It provides a firsthand account of the voyage made around islands of the Western Pacific, documents the customs and practices of the indigenous people, and charts the voyage itself. It also provides an account of the interaction occurring between the Islanders and the British allowing an insight into the mindset of the British.
    HistoryFollowing the establishment of the colony in NSW, ships based in Australian waters came under the command of the East Indies Squadron of the Royal Navy based in Ceylon. With such a vast area of ocean to maintain with a relatively small fleet, naval deployments to Australia were scanty, amounting to approximately one yearly cruise of a few months by a single ship. During the 1850s these vessels were instructed to protect British interests in the colonies of NSW, New Zealand and the adjacent islands such as Fiji. The purpose was to provide the indigenous populations with an impression of the power and 'friendly disposition' of the British nation as well as strengthening the positions and authority of the representatives of the British Consuls and missionaries.

    Nevertheless, with only yearly visits unease among those living in the colony at Port Jackson about their vulnerability to attack from the sea had been building since the 1830s. In 1838 four ships from the US Navy entered the harbour under the cover of night completely undetected and unannounced. Despite being on a peaceful mission of discovery, the lack of defence was a cause of significant concern to Sydney's population. Gun batteries built following the early settlement had long rotted and been abandoned.

    An independent command, the Australia Station, was formally established in 1859 to provide naval protection to the developing colonies. This was in response to worsening relations between Britain and Russia during the 1850s, increased Russian and French naval activity in the Pacific, and the discovery of rich gold strikes in New South Wales and Victoria that required protection. Port Jackson was hastily armed through the mounting of guns on the harbour foreshore and by a locally built and armed ketch. The colony had also sent many urgent requests and representations to the British Government in the previous decades for naval support and protection. Finally the Royal Navy and British Government responded with the decision to strengthen the naval force based on Port Jackson and to establish Australia as a separate naval command. The original Australian Squadron, under the command of Commodore William Loring, consisted of the flagship IRIS, two screw corvettes PELORUS and NIGER, and the screw sloop CORDELIA.

    The station encompassed the entire Australian continent, New Zealand, part of New Guinea, elements of the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Loyalty Island and Chatham Island and extended as far south to the Antarctic Circle. In 1903 it was extended to include all of New Guinea, the Caroline and Marshall Island Groups and as far east as the Society Islands. In 1911 the title of 'Royal Australian Navy' was granted by King George V to the Commonwealth Naval Forces, and the limits of the terrain were reduced. In 1913 the fleet of the RAN arrived in Australia for the first time and the Australia Squadron handed authority over to the newly formed RAN.

    In reality most of the ships attached to the Australia Station, which were few and nondescript, spent most of the period they were stationed in Australian waters traversing the Pacific to suppress traffic of native labour kidnapped by 'blackbirders', carry out survey duties on detachment, or were at anchor in Port Jackson. In the 19th century the waters of Australasia and the Western Pacific were incompletely charted and large stretches remained hazardous for navigators. The Royal Navy was responsible for hydrography and sent a number of vessels as survey ships during the second half of the 19th century and into the early stages of the 20th century. 'Blackbirding' was prevalent in the Pacific Islands from the 1860s until Federation in 1901 with mercenary crews using trickery to capture and kidnap groups of indigenous people in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia for indentured labour in Chile collecting guano or on Queensland sugar cane plantations. The 1860s was also marked by a number of troubles and violent clashes between the Islanders and the European authorities and merchants. Attacks by the native populations on Europeans increased in this decade and were usually followed by naval retaliatory actions.

    HMS FAWN was one of the vessels assigned to the Australia Station between April 1860 and 1862. It was a wooden screw sloop, one of the first designed for the Royal Navy, and was launched at Deptford on 30 September 1856. In 1861, 74 of the naval brigade stationed aboard FAWN marched 250 kilometres, hauling a cannon over the Great Dividing Range, in the heat of the Australian summer to intervene in riots between European and Chinese goldminers at Lambing Flats (Young). On arrival they found the local police force had succeeded in quelling the civil disturbance, that they were no longer required and marched back to their ship.

    On 7 May 1862 HMS FAWN left Sydney to begin an expedition in the Western Pacific. The first stop was Auckland, just two years after the 1860 Maori war in Taranaki, for 10 days. FAWN then proceeded onto the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia. These included Niue, Samoa (Tutuila, Manu'a, Upolu, Savai'i) Tonga, Fiji (Uea), Moa, Horne Island, Vanuatu (Tanna, Anieteum), New Caledonia (Port de France [Noumea], Isle of Pines), Norfolk Island, Pitcairn Island, and Lord Howe Island. Onboard was Thomas H. Hood who authored the book, noting various ethnographic and anthropological attributes and practices of the indigenous populations and the religious, cultural and social customs. He also noted the missionaries they meet along the expedition, the interaction between the Europeans and the Islanders and the forms of trade occurring between the two.

    FAWN arrived back in Sydney after five months on 2 September 1862, and soon sailed for England having completed its deployment to the Australia Station. In mid-1876 FAWN was fitted out for surveying duties, and was sold out of the Navy in 1884 for £2,106.

    Sharks - Wreck of "Ava" - Volcanic Character - Gold Fields - Auckland - Maori Gentleman - Works on New Zealand,

    Niue or Savage Island - Natives - Natives on board Ship - Trading - Alofi - Mission House and Church - Villages - Native Missionaries - Native Convict Labour - Native Women - Sailing Gods - Death to Strangers - Polygamy - Morality - Disposal of their Dead - Origin of the Island - Physical Characteristics - Supply of News - Desire to see the World,

    Church on Board - Native Reception - Samoan House - Evening Services - Cocoa Nut - King of Manu'a - Return to the Ship - Tauga the Missionary,

    Island Scenery - Christian Missions - Mauga - The War and its Effects - Tutuilans - Women - canoes - the Dance - Photography - Coral Reefs,

    Church Costume - Missionaries - Tauga the Native Teacher - Inadequate Remuneration of Missionaries - Samoan Hospitality - Sacrament Sunday - Samoan Courtesy - Mauga on Board the "Fawn" - A Night Dance - Love of their Children,

    Departure for Tutuila - The Ou-Ou - The Ruler of the Lands - Native Manufactures - Apia Harbour - Apia - Mr. Williams - King George of Tonga - The Bethel Church - Religious Differences - The Manu-ma-a - Siu Manutafa - Samoan Chiefs - Jealousy among the Chiefs - The Malo - Results of Anarchy - Siu Manutafa's Request,

    Bravery of the Samoans - "Latouche Treville" - Captain Grant of the "Jason" - Sperm Whalers - Adventures with Sperm Whales - A useful Bird - Effects of Music - Whaling Profits,

    Mauga and Leato - Sunday in Tutuila - A Messenger from Heaven - Morality - Leato's Proposal - A Festival - Samoan Oratory - Compromise with Leato - War-Canoe,

    The Ou-Ou, or Great Crab - A Marriage - Marriage Festivities - Saluafalo Bay - Tui-Atua - Tui-Atua's House - A French Protectorate - A Ride in the Country - Levying Fines - London Mission Printing Establishment - Messrs. Nisbet and Turner - Disease and Death - Malua Training-College,

    Fijian Colony - Effects of the "Cordelia's" Visit - A Court Day - Exciting Scene in the Malai - The "Rising Moon" - A Sister's Curse - Tatooing - The Manu-Moa - The Pulolo - Land Crabs and Pulolo - Land Crabs - Savaiian Mythology - Eel-Gods and Baked Eels - Eels and Sharks,

    Samoan Salutations - Bull-a-ma-cow - Tu-Pua - Morning Service - Black White-Man - Bull-a-ma-cow and his Son-in-law - Departure from Samoa - Melanesian Cruelty - Samoan Religion - Superstitions - Population - Animals - Climate - Earthquakes,

    Fines - The Lagoon - Hermit-Crabs - Strength of Tide - The Chief Tunghalla - Coral Islands - Tunghalla's Feats - King Sam - Two Sundays - Queen Lava-Lua - Her Defence - Her Demeanour - The Uveans - Church - Hair-Dressing - The Fono - An unjust Exaction - Humanity of the Natives - Respect to Women - The Kava Bowl - The Roman Catholic Missionary - Tunghalla,

    Bringing in the Oil - An old Crater - Eels - Church of St. Joseph - Ruins at Ascension - Origin of the Ruins - The Micronesians - Remains of Ancient Civilisation - White Men in Polynesia - Atrocities of the Whites - Horne Island - Industry of the Natives - Their Manners - Physical Features - Tunghalla's Conquest,

    The Fijians - The Islanders of the Pacific - Changes of Land and Sea - Aneitum - Tanna - Captain Grant's Adventure - Erromango - Fate of Mr. Gordon and his Wife - Conduct of the Traders - Sailing Devils - Nengone - Bishop Selwyn,

    Arancarias - Pore-Epic Island - New Caledonia - Port de France - Mission of La Conception - Its Situation - Natives - Natal Ceremonies - War Practices - Funeral Customs - The Khata - Taboo - Natural History - Departure - A Fête-Day - Gold - Wool and Agriculture,

    Sydney Bay - Norfolk Island - Pastor of Pitcairns - The Pitcairn Islanders - Norfolk Island Churchyard - The "Bounty" - Pitcairn Island in 1830 , in 1831, in 1839 - Removal of the Islanders to Norfolk Island - Pitcairn Islanders in 1862 - Norfolk Island - Norfolk Island Pine - Chief Magistrate - Lord Howe's Island - Live-Stock on Norfolk Island - Arrival at Sydney,'

    There is also an appendix to the book which is listed in the contents as follows:

    I. Fossil Remains in New Zealand, .... 253
    II. Treatment of Females in Niue, .... 256
    III. Cannibalism in Fiji, ...... 256
    IV. Island of Tokilau, ...... 258
    V. Instructions of Sir William Denison, Governor-General of Australia, to the Chief Magistrate of Norfolk Island, . 259'

    A list of illustrations follows the contents section and reads as such (please note the photographs of these images have been placed in TMS in the same order as the illustration listing):


    1. HOUSE AT FALEASAU, .... Frontispiece.
    3. CHIEFS IN WAR COSTUME, .... 43
    5. HARBOUR OF PAGO-PAGO, ..... 51
    7. MAUGA, ....... 61
    8. MARY, ....... 65
    9. FEAU, WIFE AND HENCHMEN, .... 66
    10. SCENE IN APIA BAY, ..... 70
    12. VIEW AT APIA, ...... 80
    13. BREAD-FRUIT TREE, ..... 101
    14. BRIDE AND BRIDESMAIDS, .... 105
    15. HOUSE AT UEA, ...... 159
    16. KITCHEN IN SAMOA, ..... 170
    17. PLAN OF RUINS AT ASCENSION, .... 174
    18. ISLE OF PINES, ...... 209
    19. NORFOLK ISLAND, ..... 229
    20. PITCAIRN ISLANDERS, ..... 237
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