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Want more historic photos about Fiji? Rob Ewins has a huge and beautiful collection.


boysgrammar.jpg (13801 bytes) This is a beautiful postcard picture showing the Suva Grammar School, a school for boys only. It houses now the computer centre of the Fiji government which is called Information Technology & Computing Services (when I was working there we simply called it E.D.P. Services, which probably stands for Electronic Data Processing). It is interesting to note that all the sea in front of the school is now reclaimed land where, for example, the Fiji Development Bank building, the Ro Lalabalavu house and the Suva Holiday Inn are now standing. Moreover, the school itself and the trees to the left are already on reclaimed land. The foreshore in the front of the picture show the REAL Suva coast line around 1930. I am not sure if the Grand Pacific Hotel (not seen in this photo, but probably somewhere around the spot this photo was taken, was also built on reclaimed land or not.
nukulaucreek.jpg (47339 bytes) This picture shows the bridge over the Nabukalou Creek. The colonial building to the left is still there today. Just behind it starts now the Suva market. Left to the photographer of this picture would now be the Village 6 Cinemas complex while to the right is the Suva Harbour Centre. I have no idea when the picture was taken.
roadtosuvahospital.jpg (61008 bytes) The caption of this picture reads "Road to the Suva Hospital". I doubt that the old hospital was at the location where now the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWM) is located, on top of Waimanu Road.
prouds.jpg (48435 bytes) The 'ivi' tree is still there today. Just behind is the place where the last land sales took place in the late 1880s or so. The building behind is also still there, housing now Prouds and the Ministry of Multi-Ethnic Affairs. Just in front where you can see a house is today the Westpac bank. The road is called Victoria Parade.
prouds.jpg (29222 bytes) Again the building that houses Prouds today.
indianladies.jpg (58779 bytes) Under the indenture system, the British brought from the 1870s onwards Indians to Fiji as labourers, mainly on sugar plantations. This photo shows two Indian ladies in their traditional dresses. The ratio of Indian man to woman was around 4 to 1, resulting probably in a lot of jealousy.
rewariver.jpg (52695 bytes) Nice photo showing Fiji's largest river, the Rewa. The two men are probably on a outrigger canoe. But even today, people are still building and using 'bilibili', rafts made out of bamboo.
fijipolice.jpg (253788 bytes) I can only guess that this pictures the early members of the Fiji police or army during an inspection by a colonial master.
victoriaparade.jpg (37320 bytes) There is no more a police island in the middle of the Victoria Parade. The Regal was a famous cinema in the 50s. The building behind houses now the McDonalds and behind you can see trees from the Sukuna Park. Guessing by the cars, photo probably taken in the late 50s or early 60s.
suva1910.jpg (30521 bytes) Suva around 1910. One can clearly see the Renwick Road with the old bridge over the Nabukalou Creek. The 2-story colonial building is still there today.
oldsuva.jpg (51065 bytes) An old picture of the "main business center" in Suva
kavaceremony.jpg (31610 bytes)

girlsmakingkava.jpg (48407 bytes)

kava1902.jpg (30268 bytes)

3girlswithbowl.jpg (53413 bytes)
Kava ceremony; Fijian girl preparing kava; two young girls mixing 'grog' in 1902; three girls with tanoa

The drinking of kava, or yaqona as the Fijians call it, was invested with solemn formality. "Drinking in" was the essential part of the ceremony of installation of a chief, and a kava-drinking circle was the invariable form of deliberation in council or transaction of public business.

The large wooden yaqona bowl is placed before the chief, and the drink is prepared to the accompaniment of a ceremonial chant. The first cup is presented to the chief, those present steadily clapping during his libation, ceasing only when he spins the empty cup along the floor. Each member of the circle then receives his portion in turn, with the same jealous observance of precedence as in the apportionment and distribution of food at a feast.

bathingscene.jpg (37559 bytes) Bathing scene
beqafirewalking.jpg (31448 bytes) Firewalking scene on Beqa Island

The well-known fire-walking ceremony in Fiji is by no means a general practice. It is restricted to a certain social class on the island of Beqa (pronounced 'mbenga'). It is not really "fire-walking," but "hot-stone-walking." The people who perform the ceremony understand that they are passing through an earth oven, and they have legend which records a remote ancestor's descent into the depths and rising up from an oven. The rite used to be performed when the Dracaena root was ripe, and preceded the cooking of the root in the oven. It was now considered to be a first-fruit rite, a kind of proprietary sacrifice and resurrection.
fijianwarrior.jpg (18955 bytes) An early picture of a Fijian warrior
fijianwarrior1.jpg (37161 bytes) An another warrior shot, this time he carries even a rifle
mekedressman.jpg (26730 bytes) A Fijian in a 'meke' dress
warriorbeatinglali.jpg (30364 bytes) A Fijian warrior beating the 'lali' drum
makingbaskets.jpg (41826 bytes) Two Fiji girls making baskets in 1902
adicakobau.jpg (22983 bytes) Adi Cabobau, the Queen of Fiji. I am not sure if she was the wife of Ratu Seru Cakobau or the wife of the Cakobaus thereafter. The beautiful dress is called 'masi' and is made out of a bark.
ratuserucakobau.jpg (34540 bytes) Ratu Seru Cakobau, the stelf-styled Tui Viti, who later ceded Fiji to the British Empire in 1874.
earlyfijiengravings.jpg (241570 bytes) Early Fiji engravings
governmenthouse.jpg (32783 bytes) Early picture of Government House in Suva
flyingclipper.jpg (25519 bytes) A Flying Clipper of Pan American Airways. These airplanes started service to Fiji in 1939.
housboatcanoes.jpg (41664 bytes) Looks like those canoes were like covered like houseboats
fijiancanoe.jpg (47602 bytes) Early image of a Fijian canoe
governmentbuildings.jpg (27428 bytes) Government Buildings as seen from Thurston Gardens. The look has not changed until today.
marchingband.jpg (32547 bytes) A marching band plays in front of Government Buildings. Albert Park with the visitors tribune also on this picture.
gph1921.jpg (20319 bytes) The Grand Pacific Hotel in 1921. I assume that the photo was taken from the back of the hotel since the beautiful colonial entrance can't be seen...
gph2.jpg (41861 bytes) ...but here it is.
gph.jpg (52709 bytes) Same hotel. Probably just a black and white picture and later coloured. Fancy, though, that is was in this condition that I have seen the GPH - as the 'old lady' is called - during my first visit to Suva in 1986.
gph3.jpg (64603 bytes) Nice photo of how beautifully furnished the GPH was
gph4.jpg (40723 bytes) Ditto
gpo.jpg (43150 bytes) The General Post Office in Suva. I tried hard but I just can't make it out where the photo was taken from. Any one has a clue?
oriana.jpg (54009 bytes) The cruise ship "Oriana" berthing at the Suva harbour. Picture must have been taken in the 60s or early 70s, I suppose.
suva1921.jpg (21999 bytes) No idea where in Suva this picture was taken in 1921.
suvamarket1921.jpg (20737 bytes) Again a photo from 1921 showing the Suva market.
roadscene.jpg (46531 bytes) I tried to magnify the location from where the photo was taken - can only read island. One also can read Levuka as probably the place of business of the company who made the postcard.
fijichildren.jpg (30097 bytes) A lovely shot of Fiji children in the good old times. I love their fancy haircuts.
suvaharbour1923.jpg (24713 bytes) Native 'drua' sailing boats in the Suva Harbour in 1923.
canoeracesuva.jpg (26591 bytes) A canoe race in Suva Harbour
doublecanoe.jpg (46026 bytes) Antique print of a double hulled Fiji canoe, 1870.
soldier 1923.jpg (29958 bytes) "Local soldier in 1923" read the caption. Note that the Fiji Police looks similar. So I doubt it even that this photo was taken at that time.
levuka.jpg (45097 bytes) It would be nice to know when this photo of Levuka was taken. I can't see any cars so maybe early 1900?
levuka1.jpg (75286 bytes) Another Levuka picture with the Catholic Church in front.
levuka-beachfront.jpg (35211 bytes) Can't believe it but not much has changed at the beachfront. A few more trees nowadays, though. 
levuka1874.jpg (65943 bytes) Apparently, picture taken in 1874. This was the same year when Ratu Seru Cakobau ceeded Fiji to Queen Victoria.
levukapanorama.jpg (52386 bytes) Levuka panorama in 1917
devilsthumb.jpg (26521 bytes) The mountain in the back is called "Devil's Thumb". It is one of the famous signs in Levuka.
levukaview.jpg (44317 bytes) Beautiful view of Levuka
levukafromnorth.jpg (70860 bytes) Unusual shot of Levuka as seen from the north
levukabeachview.jpg (32388 bytes) Levuka in 1910 seen from the sea
levukaport.jpg (82645 bytes) Levuka port in early days
makingropes.jpg (41576 bytes) Making ropes
makingpottery.jpg (47798 bytes) Fiji woman making pottery
chiefshouse.jpg (37285 bytes) I would not bet on it but this chief's house 1in 1919 really resembles the one of the Tui Levuka. 
rokoshouseinbau.jpg (35908 bytes) Roko's house in Bau. It his hard to imagine how this small island of 1/2 km2 was able to conquer virtually all of the Fiji islands in the mid 1800s.
korowaiwai1934.jpg (53996 bytes) The village Waiwai in Namosi province in 1934
taveuni.jpg (42427 bytes) No, it's not "Taviuni" but the island is called Taveuni and is famous for its rare flower, the tagimaucia.
fijisceneries.jpg (57415 bytes) The top photo looks like the current Queen Elisabeth Drive.
cannibaltempleinbau.jpg (50961 bytes) The 'bure kalou' in Bau
fijianwomanbathing.jpg (63621 bytes) Fijian woman bathing (1902)
fijiangirls.jpg (48331 bytes) Fijian beauties in 1914
fijianingaladress.jpg (25356 bytes) Fijian in gala dress
lauan.jpg (32696 bytes) This Fiji boy looks like he is from Lau. Lauans are nearer to Tonga then to Suva.
fijianboy.jpg (24798 bytes) Fijian boy with war club
cannibal.jpg (23448 bytes) The caption implicates him as a cannibal. Not sure about that. But the rasta movement of today would surely admire his dreadlocks.
cannibal&policeman.jpg (21389 bytes) Is this the same "cannibal" as above?
hairdress1870.jpg (82471 bytes) Hair styles in Fiji in 1870
fijianwarrior1834.jpg (19821 bytes) An engraving of a Fijian warrior, 1834
buildingahouse.jpg (38507 bytes) Building an old Fijian house
fijiguesthouse.jpg (40020 bytes) I wish I could offer my friends such a spacey guesthouse. Really cute and huge!
insideachiefshouse.jpg (55587 bytes) Look inside a chief's home. Plain lovely.
labasamill.jpg (36813 bytes) The sugar mill in Labasa on the second largest island of Vanua Levu
nausorimill.jpg (35510 bytes) The old sugar mill of the Colonial Sugar Refinery in Nausori. I think the mill was closed in 1953.
nausori1906.jpg (50638 bytes) Pay day in Nausori in 1906. Note that virtually all people in this picture are intendured labourers from India.
seruaisland.jpg (27470 bytes) Could this beautiful village really be Serua Island? Never heard of it. Photo apparently taken in the 1950s.
suvaharbour1.jpg (35772 bytes) Still wondering from where this photo was taken. From Toorak area or does it show the view of Walu Bay?
fijianfightingdress.jpg (54804 bytes) Rather fearsome Fijian warriors with clubs (bati) and in traditional dresses. Thanks God I don't have to encounter anyone of them!
oldfijianbure.jpg (49127 bytes) Nice old Fijian 'bure'
houseofchief.jpg (70262 bytes) House of a Fijian chief. To me indeed quite a large chiefly house.
dancegirls.jpg (51994 bytes) Chances are that not one girl is a native Fijian.
tongandance.jpg (77405 bytes) The Tongan influence in Fiji is still visible today
shetswaterfront.jpg (49844 bytes) Again, it would be interesting where this Suva picture was taken from. I don't even want to put my speculations to
fijianvillagescene.jpg (40355 bytes) Beautiful Fijian village scene
catholicmission.jpg (46709 bytes) The Catholic Mission on the Rewa river
glimpseofsuvaharbour.jpg (20494 bytes) The picture shows Suva harbour. The road is probably today the Edinburgh Drive that goes up to Samabula.
tamavua.jpg (40451 bytes) View across Tamavua. Actually I doubt it since it rather looks like the picture was taken where today is the Suva Cemetery. 
suvacentral.jpg (49395 bytes) Beautiful picture of Suva. The building in the front left is still there as is the one at the right which now houses Caines Janiff. In the background the Sacred Heart Cathedral.
masonichallsuva.jpg (27919 bytes) The old Masonic hall in Suva. It's a pity that the one in Levuka was burnt to the ground in 2000.
lautokamill.jpg (24846 bytes) The sugar mill in Lautoka
lautokahotel.jpg (43780 bytes) The Lautoka Hotel as seen from the adjacent park (forgot the name). The structure at the far left is still visible today and houses the reception.
rewariver.jpg (36267 bytes) Could it be that this photo is virtually 100 years old (1/7/04). Apparently it shows the Rewa river.
albertpark.jpg (45215 bytes) Older picture of Albert Park. Hard to imagine that in the 20s an airplane was able to land here, isn't it?
navuahotel.jpg (48795 bytes) Seems that in the Colonial days only white settlers were allowed inside the pub of this hotel.
korolevu.jpg (35759 bytes)

korolevu1.jpg (55664 bytes)

korolevu2.jpg (37381 bytes)
The Korolevu Beach Hotel. It is a pity but I think some villagers burned it down in the 80s. Probably because of land disputes.
fijiposter.jpg (14102 bytes)

fijiposter1.jpg (21241 bytes)
Two posters about Fiji