Fiji in the'Fifties

These are photos commercially released in formats other than postcards. For postcards covering this period see the relevant "cards" page.

The majority of the photos in folders and other sets in the 1950s were produced by Stinsons Studios. Their principal, talented and prolific photographer in the 1940s and early 1950s (and therefore of most of the cards in the folders and sets published in the 1950s) was Roland ("Roly") Stinson, son of W.J.B. (Bolton) Stinson, the founder of the original Stinsons Studios in 1912.* After he and his family moved to Perth, Western Australia, his brother Charles (later Sir Charles) became the principal photographer. The Stinsons were the most important of the post-war commercial photographers, as distinct from Fiji's unrivalled official government photographer, Rob Wright. Like Rob, they recorded the scenery of Fiji and the life of the people of all ethnicities and all of them have left us the most enduring record of the last days of Empire in Fiji.

*My thanks for information provided by Roland's daughter, Joanne Gonzales.

A. Small cards:   

These 30 pictures were offset printed as cards measuring 64x90mm (just a little bigger than a credit card). I purchased this set of "Selected Photos of Fiji Islands" in Suva in the early 1950s, but the images may well in at least some cases pre-date that by as much as 20 years - favourite photographs were often recycled many times. There is no identification on the cards but I believe they were by Stinsons Studios.

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

1. "Government Buildings, Suva"

2. "Government Offices, Suva"

3. "Victoria Pde, Suva" [from The Triangle] See "Towns" for view from the opposite direction.

4. "Colonial War Memorial Hospital"




5. "From G.P.H., Suva"

6. "Palms and breakers, Sovi Bay"

7. "Coastal palms, Nadroga"

8. "Moonlight and palms"

8. "Suva Cemetery"

10. "Botanical Gardens"

11. "Victoria Parade, Suva"

12. "Temple, Lautoka"

13. "Ba Bridge"

14. "Free passenger train, Lautoka"

15. "Village, Sigatoka River"

16. "By the Sigatoka River"

17. "Ceremonial feast (magiti), Bau"

18. "Fijian women and house"

19. "Vatukarasa village"

20. "Beach scene, Dalici, Gau"

21. "Village scene, Nadroga" 

22. "Nukuloa, Vitilevu Bay"

23. "Coral strand, Sovi Bay"

24. "Fijian belle (with barkcloth skirt)" 

25. "Fijian warrior"

26. "Fijian ladies" 

 27. "Fijian father and daughters" 

 28. "Presenting yaqona" 


 29. "Rotuman girls"

 30. "South Seas Bliss"

B. More small cards.

Another set from the same "Selected Photos" series , in this case a pack which originally had ten pictures but now has only nine. Only one (item 'c') is a duplicate of the previous set, the rest are additional images, primarily from Nadroga-Navosa Province and in particular the Sigatoka District within that Province.


  a. "Scenic roadside, Nadroga, Fiji"

  b. "Sigatoka village scene, Fiji"

c. "Village, Sigatoka River, Fiji"  

d. "Sigatoka village, Fiji"   



 e. "Fijian bure, Nadroga, Fiji"

   f. "Villagers, Fiji"

g. "Cuva [actually Cuvu], Fiji"

h. "Navua River, Fiji"


C. Photo folio "Greetings from Suva Fiji":

This folio consists of a sheet of light buff paper measuring 60cm x 24cm, folded up to make 8 double-sided panels. The photos on one side of the sheet are printed (not very sharply) in black and white. On the other side they are badly printed in rather lurid colour. It is obvious that apart from the front cover drawing, colour separations were done manually and not very skilfully from black and white originals, and are printed rather fuzzily and out of register. The folio is unidentified as to publisher, but since many of the images are shared with the set above, it was presumably the same publisher, and comments above about date would apply here also.

I. Front cover image

  II. "Sunlit Beach, Sovi Bay"

III. "Fijian Canoes, Bau"

 IV. "Fijian native" (back cover)

 V. "Fire Walkers, Fiji"

 VI. "View on King's Road"

 VII. "Fijian Bure" (coloured version of #18 above)

 VIII. "Village Scene, Sigatoka, Fiji"

 IX. "Fijian Bamboo Raft"

 X. "Victoria Parade, Suva "          Same as #3 above

 XI. "Coastal scene, Cuvu"

  XII. "Viti Levu Village"                Same as "Nukuloa" #22 above

  XIII. "Nukaloa [Nukuloa], Viti Levu Bay "

 XIV. "Grand Pacific Hotel, Fiji"

 XV. "Government Offices, Fiji"       Same as #2 above, except here printed (wrongly) back to front.

  XVI. "Coastal Scene, Sigatoka"

C. Individual photographs

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother receiving Adi Lady Maraia Sukuna at a Garden Party held at Lambeth Palace, London, organized by the Women's Corona Club. 26 June 1953. Photo by Sport & General Press Agency, Ltd. Fleet St.


D. Fiji Hurricane, 1952 — Nukulau Island after the storm. Photos courtesy Rex Steele.