- Also known as
Hugh Hastings Romilly
primary name: Romilly, Hugh Hastings
other name: Romilly
- individual; official; author/poet; British; Male
- Life dates
- Colonial administrator and author who served in various official colonial capacities in the South Pacific between 1879 and 1890. In 1881, sent to observe foreign traders in New Britain, New Ireland and New Guinea and summarised his experiences in ‘A True Story of the Western Pacific’ (1882). Returning to the Pacific from London he went to New Guinea in 1884, becoming acting special commissioner of the newly declared British protectorate. Overlooked for the permanent post, he returned to London, successfully organised the New Guinea exhibits for the India and Colonial Exhibition of 1886, was honoured (CMG) and published his second book The Western Pacific and New Guinea (1886). Returned to the Pacific in 1887 as deputy special commissioner in New Guinea (based in Port Moresby) and then as British consul for the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu). Following abolition of the post, returned to London in 1890 and took charge of an African mining expedition in1891. Published 'From my Verandah in New Guinea’ (1889) which includes observations on Melanesian land tenure/. Died in London.
The British Museum has some 351 objects associated with or collected by Romilly from Papua New Guinea, including funerary masks from New Ireland. The remainder of the collection includes eighty-five weapons (arrows, bows, spears and shields), body ornaments, fishing implements, and smoking/tobacco pipes. Around 288 objects were donated via the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Romilly, Hugh Hastings ‘The western Pacific and New Guinea : notes on the natives, Christian and cannibal, with some account of the old labour trade’, London : Murray, 1886.
Greenhalgh, Paul ‘ Education, Entertainment and Politics: Lessons from the Great International Exhibitions’ Ch 5 in (P.Vergo, (Ed.) The New Museology Reaktion 1989 pp 74-98.
'Colonial and Indian Exhibition', Brisbane Courier, 14 April 1886