About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

In praise of mass weddings

The founder of the Moonies passed away recently and he was a big one for mass weddings. Where funds are hard to muster then mass weddings are a sensible solution.
Three couples married in Ysabel, July 2010.
Source: B. Montgomery
   When I last went to the Solomons my nephew was getting married and it was a giant day in the village. One of my daughters was selected to be a flowergirl and I assumed it would be a ceremony involving one groom and one bride. I was astonished to see three brides out the back of the church getting into their wedding dresses. Yes, the village was about to witness three couples getting married at once. What a terrific idea! 
   Each bride selected a dress from the wardrobe out the back which also had a range of flowergirl dresses, men's suits and white shirts. When the ceremony was over all the bridal parties put their 'dress-ups' back in the cupboard. This seemed so sensible because how many of us ever wear our wedding dresses a second time?
   The other thing that was fabulous about the day was that the whole village was invited and many folk from surrounding villages as well. No great aunts were snubbed, no-one was left out. Every family was involved in baking and preparing the wedding feast. A great day of celebration was had by all and it cost so little. I truly think my home village has its priorities set right and the Western ways of expensive showy weddings don't really grasp the true essence of the ritual.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Missionaries, Headhunters & Colonial Officers by Peter Maiden

Missionaries, Headhunters and
Colonial Officers (CQUni 2003)
I've been trying to do some research lately into the practice of cannibalism in the Pacific. I came across this interesting book on the topic in my local library. Missionaries, Headhunters and Colonial Officers tells about the posting of Rev. James Chalmers to PNG, or British New Guinea as it was then known, in the late 1800s.  Rev Chalmers, or Tamate as he was known throughout the Pacific, was murdered by Goaribari warriors in 1901 off the south coast of PNG.
   The work of this energetic, inspiring missionary and the daily dangers he faced in harrowing conditions is engrossing reading. Then there are the gruesome details of how the Papuans of old practiced various forms of cannibalism. Hideous stuff, but fascinating.
   There are a few black and white photographs of Chalmers and his colleagues and some of the Papuans through out the book but more would have been better.
   Maiden's style drags at times as he lists endless facts and dates but it's easy enough to skim over the dry bits and reach the juicy, human-interest parts of this biography of Chalmer's life. If you are interested in the history of PNG or of church missionaries in the South Pacific, then this book is a good one.