People - Phebe Clothilde Parkinson
Born: 1864 Samoa. Died: 28 May 1944 Bo Internment Camp near Namatanai, New Ireland.
Daughter of the American Consul at Apia and grand-daughter of a Samoan chief, Phebe was married to the German scientist Richard Parkinson at age 16. In the 1880s, Richard and Phebe came to New Britain and settled on the Gazelle Peninsula to help her sister, 'Queen' Emma, establish coconut plantations.
Lilian Overell in a A Woman's Impressions of German New Guinea describes her stay with Phebe Parkinson at Kuradui in 1920. A marvellous host, 'Miti' entertained her guest royally and arranged numerous excursions to show her visitor plantation life. However anxiety over what was to happen to the family under the terms of the Mandate were foremost in Miti's mind at that time. She wrote to Lilian on the 1st November 1920:-
In 1922, the Australian Government decided that the Samoan women and their families, including their German husbands, were all allowed to remain and keep their plantations. However Kuradui was expropriated as it was listed as an asset of the German company, HASAG. As an elderly woman Mrs Parkinson then spent years recruiting labour and in 1942 was living with her grandson Rudolf Diercke who managed Komalu plantation on the west coast of New Ireland.
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