Thursday, June 22, 2017

Melanesians graves on Norfolk Island.

This tiny graveyard on Norfolk Island indicates another aspect of the island’s history. It is unrelated to British convicts or first settlers or even the many descendants of the Mutiny on the Bounty from Pitcairn Island.
The cemetery, tucked away at the side of St Barnabas Chapel, houses the graves of members of the Melanesian Mission and its people who lived on Norfolk in the late 1800s. The Melanesian Mission commenced operating in 1866, ten years after the Pitcairn community were re-settled there.
St Barnabas Chapel, built from local rough hewn stone was dedicated in 1880 to the late Bishop of Melanesia. Apart from the church, the mission comprised a boarding school, a printery and a farm.
Today, worshippers meet regularly for Sunday services here at All Saints, Church of England on Norfolk Island.
Inside, lights streams through the five stained glass windows including the beautiful rose window of Sir Edward Burne-Jones. 
Both the floor and font are marble and the ends of the wooden pews are decorated with mother-of-pearl inlays and shells hand-carved by the Solomon Islanders.
With no sign of ageing, the chapel is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the South Pacific.
While the Melanesian Mission closed in 1927, the church and its graveyard appear unaffected by the passage of time.

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