Series 481 - Charles Morris Woodford papers on the Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries

Identity area

Reference code



Charles Morris Woodford papers on the Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries


  • 1886 - 1918 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

6 m (12 type 1 boxes); 3 display albums 44cm x 47cm x 5cm; eight large photographs 50cm x 76cm; two photograph albums

Context area

Name of creator

(1852 - 1927)

Biographical history

Charles Morris Woodford C.M.G (Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George), British naturalist, was born in Milton, near Gravesend, Kent on 30 October 1852. In 1881 he travelled to Fiji to collect natural history specimens for the British Museum and later travelled and explored the Western Pacific region, particularly the Solomon Islands. He led three expeditions to the Solomon Islands in1886, 1887 and 1888 and collected over twenty thousand specimens on the first two trips. He became the first Resident Commissioner of the British Solomon Islands protectorate from 1896 - 1914. In 1899, he married Florence Palmer, the daughter of John Palmer of Bathurst, New South Wales. Following his retirement in 1914, he returned to England and died at Steyning, Sussex, on 4 October 1927. Woodford was a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, member of the British Ornithologists’ Union and the Hakluyt Society. His experiences are described in his book, A naturalist among the head-hunters (1890).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection was compiled by Charles Morris Woodford, naturalist and First Resident Commissioner of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from 1896 - 1915. The collection includes diaries, photographs, correspondence, sketches and research notes related to the natural history, geography and ethnography of the Solomon Islands and other Pacific Islands from 1884 - 1915, as well as family papers and documents related to the administration of Solomon Islands Protectorate. There are documents about relations between the missionaries and the traders, matters associated with labour and the alienation of land, economic activity and tourism. The collection includes Woodford's 'Journal of a voyage from Suva Fiji to the Gilbert Group' from 4 March 1884 - 22 June 1884 ; Woodford's diaries from 1886 - 1889 ; 140 photographs taken on the voyage to and residence in the Solomon Islands in 1886 ; photographs of Rennell Island and inhabitants signed by Northcote Deck c1909. Of significance are ten large photographs of various scenes of the Solomon Islands, c1901, some published in The discovery of the Solomon Islands by Alvaro de Mendana in 1568, by Lord Amherst of Hackney and Basil Thomson (1901).

ANUA 481 is a consolidated collection of all four parts of the Woodford donation:
ANUA 481/1 is a photograph album containing 140 photographs taken in from April - October 1886 ;
ANUA 481/1 - 282 are items from 'bundles 1 - 30' ;
ANUA 481/ 283 - 317 relate to the second donation (ie PMB 1381) ;
ANUA 481/318 - 322 and 324 - 327 are eight large format photographs c1884 ;
ANUA 481/323 is a presentation plaque given to Woodford in 1905 ;
ANUA 481/329 is a collection of 126 photographs [ie PMB Photo 58]


System of arrangement

Prior to the donation of the collection to the ANU, the Charles Morris Woodford collection was arranged in four parts (reflecting the order received from the donors and copied by the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau). The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau assigned the following collection numbers: PMB 1290 ; PMB 1381 ; PMB Photo 56 and PMB Photo 58). The first part (PMB 1290) consisted of 30 bundles and this arrangement was maintained by the Pacific Research Archives. ANUA 481 is a consolidated series of the four parts.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Researchers must sign an access agreement.

Conditions governing reproduction

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Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Some of Woodford’s images were published in Lord Amherst of Hackney and Basil Thomson (1901), The discovery of the Solomon Islands by Alvaro de Mendana in 1568. London: The Hakluyt Society.

Pacific Manuscripts Bureau: PMB 1290, PMB 1381, PMB Photo 56 and PMB Photo 58.,,

Related units of description

CM Woodford’s CMG medal and related papers returned to the Woodford family on 25 November 2011.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Prepared by Christine Bryan on 24 July 2013 ; updated by Christine Bryan in October 2014




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