Rossel Island - History and Cultural Relations



The Rossel Islanders probably represent the last remnants of an original population of the region, which on the other Islands has been superseded by, probably, several waves of Austronesian-speaking immigrants. In one of these pottery, derived from the Lapita culture, spread through the Massim about 2,000 B.P. It is probable that a stratified social system was introduced at the same time, linking island populations to political centers. Although Rossel preserved its Non-Austronesian language, the culture is much affected by its Austronesian neighbors. The first historical contact gave Rossel an ill repute: 316 Chinese coolies, bound for Australia, were reported massacred and eaten after a shipwreck in 1858. Rossel became a part of the British (later Australian) protectorate of Papua in 1884. During the next decades the island was "pacified" by government patrols. In 1903 an enterprising family of traders established a plantation that became the economic center of the island for the next fifty years and deeply transformed the socioeconomic relations of the people. Rossel is now more involved in the cash economy than its nearest neighbors to the west. The plantation is now worked by local people. Missions were established starting in 1930; the first was the Methodist (now United Church) mission, followed in 1947 by the Catholic. Now, roughly the western half of the island is United Church, while the eastern half is Catholic.

Also read article about Rossel Island from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

1
IAN ROSSEL INNES
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Oct 10, 2013 @ 8:20 pm
I WAS THE ONLY WHITE CHILD ON ROSSEL ISLAND WHERE MY PARENTS ALLEN & ALICE INNES MANAGED THE BURNS PHILP & CO TRADE STORE AND COPRA PLANTATIONS IN 1929- ONWARDS FOR SOME YEARS - I SEEK INFORMATION ON THIS ISLAND PARADISE. I WAS THEN AGED 5 YEARS OLD.
I AM WRITING AN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL AND WOULD APPRECIATE PHOTOS, ARTICLES OR CLIPPINGS ABOUT ROSSEL ISLAND WHERE I GREW UP.
2
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Oct 7, 2014 @ 7:07 am
Iam very happy about the brief historu which you've written and im so glad and more happy about it..
Very fine job and absolutely interesting!!
3
Agnes.JOHN
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Oct 9, 2014 @ 4:04 am
I am a native Rossel Islander and in my final year in the University of Goroka, PNG. very pleased to see the foreigners writing about Rossel Island. Your efforts and time is highly appreciated.
4
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Nov 25, 2014 @ 11:23 pm
I am a native Rossel islander who comes from the Western part of the island. The United church area which is called Damunu. I am a Secondary School teacher at Port Moresby International School. I am pleased to know that you are writing about my island and that its history can be preserved for generations to come. Your time , effort and interest in this island is very much appreciated. Thank you for helping to make my island known to the rest of the world. If there is any assistance you require please do contact me on this email provided.
5
Angela Dailo Paul
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Sep 27, 2015 @ 11:23 pm
Reading short history like this about my beautiful place is just great!. I am so proud because the more you know more about your past and the present, you will make better choices for your people...
6
mangiya mwan
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Nov 12, 2015 @ 5:05 am
Thank you sir for exposing my island to the outside world.l would suggest that your research be also include in scared places that Rossel Island is famous for. This information has elusive to the new generation for a long time time.

Thank you and wish you well.
7
Tony
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Jun 19, 2017 @ 2:02 am
I was on Rossell island in 1959 or 1960 when I travelled in the Yelangili, a wooden coastal vessel captained by one of two brothers, Hugh Osborne. The two lived with their families there and took turns plying the run from Lae down past Buena and Milne bay fishing and delivering supplies. I wonder what happened to them? Tony
8
Raphael Joe Thong
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May 22, 2018 @ 1:01 am
thanks for promoting my island,and exposing what is on the island.o rossel the island of the unexpected
9
Cecilia Bana
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May 24, 2018 @ 1:01 am
Proud Rossel Islander! Thanks for the great article being exposed.
10
julie Oakley
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May 31, 2018 @ 11:11 am
Hello! To Rossel Islanders - my husband found a note in a bottle from George Kambo from Danuny Rossel Island. Do any of you know this gentleman?
My email: julieoj715@live.com. The date on George's note was 14/11/87 and my husband found it last July 2017 on Nikumaroro Island (formerly Gardner Island). The distance between these two islands is 3520 km.
11
mark
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Jun 29, 2018 @ 12:00 am
it,s interesting to me ,so i,m very fine to see it
12
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Nov 2, 2018 @ 1:01 am
I visited Rossel Island in 1968. I was a crew member of the MV Henry Leith. I had just turned 18. We had lost all use of our engines & were drifting towards the Solomon Sea when the RAAF finally located us. The nearest ship was a small Japanese freighter, something Maru. Can't remember now. They towed us to Rossel Island & we had repaired one engine with just enough fuel to get through the reef into the lagoon. There was a Catholic mission there. A priest Father Earl-who I had previously met when he was on R & R & visited my school. But that's another story. there were also 3 Irish nuns. Father Earl had been on the island for many years & had built the chapel & refectory himself, often with parts from wrecked ships on the reef. The people were not like mainlanders. They were slightly built, handsome people. I was truly shocked when Father Earl revealed that they had cannibalized a ship full of Chinese gold seekers bound for Australia, which had, unfortunately, struck the reef. This was the late 19th Century. We stayed for 2 weeks while the engines were repaired & fuel was made available. And in those 2 weeks, the Irish nuns provided us with a different meal every evening. Whilst Father Earl gave us cartons of South Pacific larger, himself being a rum drinker. In fact Father Earl had long given up trying to convert the islanders to Catholicism. They would dutifully come to Mass on Sunday. But from Monday to Saturday they visited the local Sharman for potions and to do payback to another family for various reasons. I have never forgotten my time on Rossel island & often wondered how Father Earl had fared. After two weeks we weighed anchor & eventually reached Lae.
13
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Jan 25, 2019 @ 6:06 am
While I am familiar with the Milne Bay area and Bona Bona Island near Mullins Harbour (to the west) I am compiling information on the American Navy submarine S-39 which ran aground on a shoal or reef on the night of 14 August 1942 on Rossell Island. Possibly for an article in a PNG magazine. Does anybody have any photos of the wreck after the war please ? It was abandoned and the crew rescued.
Keep discovering Rossell Island history, especially you ex islanders - the book ANGAU by Clarrie James discusses it in WWII.
Regards, Bob Piper. Canberra.
14
Ron Osborne
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Sep 2, 2019 @ 11:11 am
I am Ron Osborne , brother of Hugh ( deceased ) Yelangili was our vessel , built by us on Rossel Is from pit sawn local timber .

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