Beatrice Grimshaw, South Pacific Adventurer, Travel Writer and Novelist

Beatrice Ethel Grimshaw achieved considerable prominence in the first half of the 1900s for her travels in the South Pacific, her non-fictional travel books on that area, and her novels set in exotic tropical locations. She was born in Ireland to a member of the “Irish” line of Grimshaws and traveled extensively in the Pacific region, including a stay of over 30 years in New Guinea. Her many nonfictional works and novels were widely published during her lifetime and remain the object of extensive analysis by modern scholars. She died in New South Wales Australia in 1953 at the age of 82.


Webpage Credits

An Introduction to Beatrice Grimshaw

Brief Autobiography of Beatrice: “How I Found Adventure”

Biographies of Beatrice Grimshaw

Bibliography from the Dictionary of Literary Biography and the “Pulp Rack” Website (Companion Webpage)

A Sampling of Beatrices Travelogue Writing: From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands

A Sampling of Beatrices Novel Writing: When the Red Gods Call

“Vaiti of the Islands” – Published by Beatrice in The Saturday Evening Post in 1906 and 1908 (Companion Webpage)

“Dark Secrets of Papua” – Published by Beatrice in the New York Times Magazine in 1923 (Companion Webpage)

“The Savage South Seas” – Published by Beatrice in the National Geographic in 1908 (Companion Webpage)

Full Copies of Beatrice Grimshaw’s Books Available on GoogleBooks

Letter from Beatrice to Prime Minister Alfred Deakin of Australia

Additional Photos of Beatrice Grimshaw

Obituary from the New York Times

Beatrice Grimshaw’s Unmarked Grave

Beatrice’s Ancestral Origins

Analysis of Beatrice Grimshaw’s Work by Academic Analysts (Companion Webpage)

Articles on Beatrice in Hecate, an Interdisplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation (Replaced)


Webpage Credits

Many thanks to Hilary Tulloch for providing much of the information on this webpage. She either provided the information directly or the references which were then obtained.

An Introduction to Beatrice Grimshaw

Beatrice was the great-granddaughter of Nicholas and Mary (Wrigley) Grimshaw, the progenitors of the “Irish” line of Grimshaws. She is shown on Whitakers descendant chart for the Irish line (1872, p. 276 ff.) in the lower right-hand corner (see Figure 1 of companion webpage on the Irish line.)

Beatrice was born in Cloona, County Antrim, Ireland on February 3, 1870 and began her South Pacific sojourns in 1904. She died on June 30, 1953 at Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. She did not marry and left no descendants. A photo of of her is included as the frontispiece of one of her travel books, From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands1, and is presented below.

Photograph of Beatrice Grimshaw (from Frontispiece of “From Fiji to the
Cannibal Islands”.)

Autobiography of Beatrice: “How I Found Adventure”

In the April 1939 issue of the magazine “Blue Book”, Beatrice published a fascinating brief autobiography, which is provided below (the webpage where it was found is also shown).

Beatrice Grimshaw: How I Found Adventure

From the April 1939 BLUE BOOK

How I Found Adventure

By Beatrice Grimshaw (1871 – 1953)

I am a Victorian.

I was born in the ‘Seventies, in a big lonely country house five miles–a whole hour’s journey–from Belfast.

I was governessed and schooled and colleged. I was taught to ride and play games. I was taught to behave. To write notes for Mamma. To do the flowers. To be polite but not too polite, to Young Gentlemen. To accept flowers, sweets and books from them, but no more. To rise swiftly with the rest of the six daughters and sons when Papa came into the breakfast-room, to kiss him ceremoniously, and rush to wait upon him. He liked it, and we liked it.

I went to dances, and waltzed to “The Blue Danube,” “Sweethearts,” and “Estudiantina.” I went to afternoon parties. I was chaperoned. My three sisters were good girls, and content.

But I was the Revolting Daughter–as they called them then. I bought a bicycle, with difficulty. I rode it unchaperoned, mile and miles beyond the limits possible to the soberly trotting horses. The world opened before me. And as soon as my twenty-first birthday dawned, I went away from home, to see what the world might to give to daughters who revolted. What it gave me first was the offer of a journalistic post.

There were maps of far-away places, maps with tantalizing blanks in them; maps of the huge Pacific, colored an entrancing blue. I swore that I would go there.

I made a London newspaper commission me; I went. Long ago, when travel was travel, and the South Sea unknown to tourists; when the charm of the island world was still unbroken. I went to all the chief island groups, and lived in most; I saw the inner New Hebrides, Solomons and New Guinea, at their rawest and fiercest; I roamed all over the East beyond the East, before anyone had begun to think of Java, or the Bali kings had prophetically committed suicide on their coral reefs.

I had so many adventures that they cease to seem adventures. In the New Hebrides, I was caught in a forest fire, and barely escaped into a valley where bones of a recent cannibal feast lay blackening in the smoke. I stood on the shores of Tanna, and watched a recruiting schooner creep cautiously in, afraid to land her boats, while the men of the mountains, fighters and cannibals all, waited with loaded guns beside me, ready to attack the blackbirding crew who had taken away their best. I was present at a dance of murderers and man-eaters, up in the Tanna hills, where no man went. There and elsewhere, I managed to make friends with the wild men of the woods.

In the Solomons, of recent years, I cam in contact with the amazing native magic of the sorcerer, and lived in a house that was haunted by ghostly birds.

I saw–still in the Solomons–men who declared they had solved the secret of a happy life; they said they knew how to project themselves into another man’s personality, provided he were agreed, and that such mutual changes often took place–wives, houses, names, habits, even faces, being transferred from one to another. They said they did this through their magic. Certainly the practice was fairly common, however it was brought about, and it seemed to please everybody.

I was given, by a chief, a charm as a safe-pass for a day and night among the wildest tribes. It was carved from a beautiful orange shell, and represented the circle of the sun caught in the curve of the crescent moon, I don’t know how much or little it had to do with the fact that I never got into any trouble, although I was told by the men of one tribe (Malaita, of course) that they might killed me or any white any day, just for fun, if they happened to feel like it.

I went to New Caledonia, famous, infamous French penal island, slept in one of a row of former convict cells, and saw the church where the celebrated mass marriages took place, a couple of hundred male convicts being married all at once to as many female convicts specially imported.

I was received by the natives of Dutch New Guinea with a curious ceremony, staged as well as Hollywood could have done it–knives and spears threateningly held up by some of the younger men, while older men raised high above them a burning brand and a branch of palms, signifying homes and hearths and peace. They did not allow women to see the interior of men’s temples; but I had bought my way in– with a gift of bread and butter!–and the ceremony that was afterward stages outside the men’s sacred house was meant to be interpreted as follows: “You have deserved death for entering the sacred house. But you have been forgiven. You may enter our homes, and it is peace between us.”

I was friends with the old Queen of the Cook Islands, the late Makea Takau, a real monarch, six feet three in height, who ruled her islands with an iron scepter. He Prince Consort, Ngamaru, was less civilized than she; it was his way to threaten people who offended him, by making the “cannibal sign” at them–rapidly drawing his clenched fist across his teeth; the significance being: “I will tear you with my teeth!” As for Makea Takau, she used most courteously to tell an enemy, “I do not expect to see you after Wednesday;” and she enemy walked away, and obediently died on Wednesday, of nothing at all.

The beautiful Princess Tuera (of whom I afterward wrote many stories entitled “Queen Vaiti”) was a friend of mine in the old days. She was Raratongan, extremely lovely, and fiery as a female dragon. She had captained her father’s recruiting schooner, often, and ran it like a bucko mate of whaling days. I never knew her to be beaten by anything or anybody, male or female, alive or dead. Thirty years later, I found that she had defeated even Time, and was beautiful still. She lives in Raratonga, today.

In those days I roamed the South Seas in a schooner long since sunk among the corals–the *Countess of Ranfurly*, captained by a little white daredevil who afterward became famous in another quarter of the world as an Antarctic explorer. Any passenger he took had to work passage as well as pay; I learned to go aloft, to “hand, reef and steer,” and to use the sixteen-foot oar in the whaleboat. We found a pearl lagoon on one occasion, and when we reached the nearest island port, anarchy almost broke out among its few white inhabitants’ they all wanted to secure the chart that marked off the lagoon, and I had to convey it across the island in the dead of night, to place it in safe hands.

When I found New Guinea, — rather, the New Guineas, there being three divisions, — I knew that I had found my home. Adventure, after that, became a matter of course.

I was the first white woman to ascend the Fly and Sepik, those wonderful and mysterious rivers, still little known; and only two or three white men had been before me. On the Sepik, I had my narrowest escape when a body of headhunters urged me to come and see their village, all by myself, because their women wanted to look at me. I ventured to leave the men of my party–two only, but well armed–as I wanted greatly to see something that no one else had seen. It came rather than was pleasant to my seeing nothing any more; because the headhunters, when they had brought out two or three old and terrified women as a bait, began to bar me into the house, while the women, hurriedly, disappeared–and unmistakable sign of trouble.

I got away by backing down the track and making signals to invisible (and non-existent) friends. Headhunters are nervy folk, jumpy and undecided until the moment when they strike. Before they had made up their minds, I was round the corner; going slowly, afterwards I ran. They had never seen a long-haired head before, and there was little doubt they intended to secure that choice specimen for their head house.

Adventures and Adventures! The time when a little Government exploring party of less than a dozen, myself included, faced a dancing howling army of seven hundred savages, who had only twice men with white men; once when they killed a famous missionary, and once when a punitive expedition came to shoot up their town. They had of course been saving their revenge. They might have wiped us out, but our leader walked right among them, talked to them and gave them tobacco, and offered to show them a white woman–if they would be good. It was like offering a circus ticket to a country boy. They quieted down at once and produced an old woman or two, (as “collateral”). I was assisted to land; the whole army came to stare, and spent a happy afternoon following me about and yelling in astonishment at the amazing sight. And there was peace…

I built a house on a coral island, a beautiful house made of sago palm, and decorated with pearl shell; I lived there for several years, and loved it. I had a house built on three huge war-canoes, moored in the sea; I loved that house until it became a meeting-ground for crocodiles who lived in the surrounding shallows and bellowed like bulls at night. I had another house, big and cool, overhanging the harbor; I loved it too, until twenty-seven years of malaria began to take a heavy toll, and I had to move to New South Wales, Australia, where I bought a delightful cottage a hundred and ten years old, and am living in it still.

Romance? Yes, such I have never written, and never will write. Sorrow, and death; a spot in an island graveyard where “the mossy marbles rest” upon the bravest heart that Papua ever knew.

One adventure remains: the last, an adventure and a meeting.

“Blue Book” magazine is described as follows on the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

Blue Book (magazine)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Blue Book was a popular 20th-century magazine which had a lengthy 70-year run under various titles from 1905 to 1975.

Launched as The Monthly Story Magazine, it was published under that title from May 1905 to August 1906, with a change to The Monthly Story Blue Book Magazine for issues from September 1906 to April 1907. For the next 45 years (May 1907 to January 1952) it was known as The Blue Book Magazine, and that was shortened February 1952 to simply Bluebook, continuing until May 1956. With a more exploitative angle, the magazine was revived October 1960 as Bluebook for Men, and the title again became Bluebook for the final run from 1967 to 1975.

The early publishers were Story-Press Corporation and Consolidated Magazines, followed in 1929 by McCall. After H.S. Publications took over the reins in October 1960, Hanro (Sterling) was the publisher from August 1964 until March 1966 and then the QMG Magazine Corporation, beginning April 1967.

The succession of editors included Karl Edward Harriman, Donald Kennicott (1929 to January 1952), Maxwell Hamilton (February 1952 through the mid-1950s) and Andre Fontaine in the mid-1950s, followed by Frederick A. Birmingham. Maxwell Hamilton returned for the 1960 revival, followed by B.R. Ampolsk in 1967.

Cover artists during the 1930s included Dean Cornwell, Joseph C. Chenoweth, Henry J. Soulen and Herbert Morton Stoops, who continued as the cover artist during the 1940s.

Writers during the 1940s included Nelson S. Bond, Max Brand, Gelett Burgess, Agatha Christie, Irvin S. Cobb, William Lindsay Gresham, Robert A. Heinlein, MacKinlay Kantor, Willy Ley, Theodore Pratt. Ivan Sanderson, Luke Short (pseudonym of Frederick D. Glidden,1908-1975), Booth Tarkington. Albert Payson Terhune, and Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson and Philip Wylie.

Biographies of Beatrice Grimshaw 

Beatrices reputation and popularity as a travel writer and novelist resulted in several biographies in various publications. Three have been selected for inclusion on this webpage.

Catholic Authors

The first biography2 was published in 1948, before Beatrices death, and is written accordingly. It also emphasizes the connection of her South Pacific travels to her Roman Catholic faith:

Many persons dream of travel in far places, but their dreams remain dreams. Beatrice Grimshaw’s materialized, however, and she has spent years in the places which are only alluring names to most of us. The South Seas, Fiji, the New Hebrides, the Solomons, the cannibal country of Papua, New Guinea, Celebes, Borneo, the Molluccas, New Britain, Burma, New Caledonia, Java she has seen all of them. She has written almost forty books out of her experiences and life in these far places.

Miss Grimshaw, the third daughter of Nicholas Grimshaw, was born at Cloona, County Antrim, Ireland. She belongs to a well known Northern Ireland family, Lancashire in origin. Members of the family settled in Ulster in 1760. They were largely instrumental in starting the spinning and weaving industries of Belfast. They were noted for philanthropic treatment of their workers in a day when such treatment was almost unknown. Though the family was not Catholic, Miss Grimshaw came into the Church when she was about twenty-three, during a stay in Dublin.

Her early life was spent in the country, in a pleasant home, with kind parents and loved brothers and sisters. “Riding was the chief amusement in those days, and command of a horse was in later life to prove most useful, as uncivilized travel was largely conducted on horseback.”

She was taught by private governesses and tutors. Later she attended the Pension Retaillaud, Caen, Normandy; Victoria College, Belfast; and Bcdford College, London. She specialized in the classics, and it was intended that she become a classical lecturer at a woman’s college. Very early, however, she decided that she wished to write. Her parents, somewhat reluctantly, allowed her to go to Dublin when she was twenty-one and she took up journalism. She edited a Society journal, sub-edited a sporting paper, did leaderwriting and special reporting. Later she did newspaper work in London. She enjoyed this work immensely, but her dreams of travel persisted – despite the staggering prices of the shipping companies. She finally managed to make her first trip around the world by promising the shipping companies newspaper publicity in return for passes. She provided for her other expenses by commissions for articles from various ncwspapers. “I do not think for a minute that this sort of thing could be done now; the world before the War (I) – long before – was simpler.”

On this tour she first visited the Pacific Islands. That quarter of the world eventually became her home as it had an irresistible attraction for her. “I visited and stayed in all the principal groups, but settled finally in the Western Pacific, in New Guinea, where I lived for many years. I had very many adventures; in short, a life of adventure and incident. I owned two plantations and managed one. In the intervals I wrote thirty-seven books. Adventure, strange places, wild and unknown tribes have always attracted me more than the civilized and better known travellers’ haunts. In early days I occasionally accompanied exploring parties into entirely unknown country,”

In March and April 1923 she travelled up the Sepik River, the first white woman ever to do so. She went on the launch of the missionary Fathers of the Divine Word. “The missionary Fathers are, in their quiet way, the most complete daredevils in the Territory.” On this trip, however, they took many precautions, for head-hunting flourished at this time along the Middle Sepik. It was the one topic of interest in all the villages. A high point of the trip was the rescue by the Fathers of a young boy who had been taken in a recent raid and whom the head-hunters were holding for torture and slaughter. “Nothing is more astonishing on the wild unbroken Sepik than the constant use of pidgen-English. It seems to have become a general means of communication among tribes who speak different tongues.” In February 1926 another opportunity to see unknown country presented itself. She made a trip up the notorious Fly River, In the eighty years since its discovery less than a score of white persons had travelled it, and she was the first white woman to see it. There is only one plantation along this river and after that is left behind one travels through hundreds of miles of country “ever stranger and lonelier” before one finds any native villages. These tribes are head-hunters, too. The Fly River man is an artist and everything he uses is highly carved and decorated. Miss Grimshaw finds that the head-hunters are more intelligent and more alert than other native tribes. She foresees a wonderful future for them when they are weaned from their murderous customs.

Miss Grimshaw has never had any difficulty finding publication for her work. Readers often write her that they enjoy the strange and adventurous lives in her stories. Many find in these release from confined and monotonous lives. Her books are great favorites with men. Besides her novels she has written travel books and many short stories. “As a Catholic, I am glad to say that I have been able to make a literary success without using the easy lures of sensual plot and coarse treatment.” She has done a fair amount of broadcasting and has several times refused engagements to lecture in America, “on account of the cold of American winters, which would be difficult to endure after a lifetime in the tropics.”

One of her chief interests is tropical colonization, another is Catholic missions in the Pacific, especially in New Guinea and Papua. This adventuring author proclaims, “In all my travels, young and old, the Church has always been my shield and safeguard, and my greatest happiness.” She is the author of: In the Strange South Seas (1907); From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands (1907); The New New Guinea (1910); Guinea Gold (1912); The Sorcerer’s Stone (1914); Nobody’s Island (1916); The Coral Queen (1919); The Coral Palace (1921); The Little Red Speck (1921); Conn of the Coral Seas (1922); The Sands of Oro (1924); The Candles of Katara (1925); The Paradise Poachers (1927); Eyes in the Corner (1928); My Lady Far-Away (1929); Star in the Dust (1930); Isles of Adventure (1931); The Long Beaches (1933); The Victorian Family Robinson (1934); Pieces of Gold (1936); Lost Child (1940); South Sea Sarah (1940).

Dictionary of Ulster Biography

The second biography4 of Beatrice selected for this webpage was published in Irish homeland. (Thanks to Hilary Tulloch for providing this reference.)

GRIMSHAW Beatrice (1870-1953) educated Margaret Byer’s Ladies’ Collegiate College, Belfast; in Caen, and in London.

She was a keen cyclist, and broke the women’s world 24 hour record by five hours. As a journalist in Dublin from 1891 to 1899 she became sub-editor of ‘Irish Cyclist’ and from 1895 edited the ‘Social Review’ for 4 years. Until 1903 she was a freelance journalist, a tour organiser and an emigration promoter. In that year she went to the Pacific, and from 1907 to 1934 lived in Papua New Guinea, where she ran a coffee plantation for several years. Sixteen of her novels are set in Papua, and 9 on other Pacific Islands.

She published several travel books, including ‘In the Strange South Seas’ (illustrated by her own photographs) 1907; ‘From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands’, 1907 and ‘The New New Guinea’, 1910. Among her novels are ‘When the Red Gods Call’; ‘Guinea Gold’; ‘The Mystery of Tumbling Reef’ and ‘South Sea Sarah’. She also published 10 vols. of short stories and contributed articles to the National Geographic. There is a misleading claim, possibly based on the 1928 British Who’s Who entries, ‘that she was the first white woman to ascend the notorious Sepic and the Fly River’. She prided herself in writing for ‘the-man-who-could-not-go’ and said of herself: ‘I have no new range of rivers to my credit, though I have mapped a few odd corners here and there, and often met natives who had never seen a white person – that is easy in Papua.’ She died at Bathurst, New South Wales.

Dictionary of Literary Biography

The third, and most thorough, biography3 selected for presentation here (also cited above for the Bibliography) emphasizes Beatrices accomplishments as an author.

Perhaps best known to contemporaries as the self-proclaimed first white woman to set foot in the cannibal lands of Borneo and New Guinea, Beatrice Ethel Grimshaw enjoyed a lengthy career as an author of travel books and romance novels set in exotic locales. Equipped with an early training in journalism, Grimshaw possessed not only valuable knowledge of botany, zoology, and anthropology but also the rare ability to balance the factual and the fantastic successfully. Attentiveness to detail matched with a knack for storytelling provided an ideal voice for Grimshaw’s intrepid curiosity.

Information about her early life is minimal. Born in 1871 in Cloona, County Antrim, Ireland, Grimshaw was educated at Caen, Normandy; Victoria College, Belfast; and Bedford College, London. Possessing an unusual amount of formal education for a woman of her era, Grimshaw rejected domestication at an early age. Upon graduation, she returned to live with her family in Dublin and embarked on a career in journalism.

In her book Isles of Adventure: Experiences in Papua and Neighboring Islands (1930) Grimshaw reflects on this period of her life: “Being young and rather brazen and full of the ‘beans’ that go with a good muscular system, I started to teach other and older people their jobs.” Indeed, her work at this time, sub-editor of a sporting paper followed by the position as editor of the Society Journal, seems noticeably pedestrian compared to her subsequent projects. Unsatisfied by life in Dublin, she moved to London, hoping for expanded opportunities. In 1897 Grimshaw’s first novel was published, a romance titled Broken Away.

However, Grimshaw’s true passion was not a comfortable career in journalism but rather a desire to see the world – particularly the more remote areas of the South Sea Islands. As she would explain in the autobiographical first chapter of Isles of Adventure, Grimshaw deduced that the most practical way of achieving her goals was to persuade a shipping company to grant her free passage. In return, she would provide them with high-quality written publicity to attract tourists, entrepreneurs, and businesses to the generally undeveloped lands.

With transportation provided by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, Grimshaw undertook her first major expedition in early 1904. Embarking from San Francisco, she sailed first to Tahiti, followed by a four-month voyage through the South Pacific and an additional two months on the island of Niue. During this trip Grimshaw visited Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Rarotonga, and some of the Cook Islands. After traveling thousands of miles and interacting with indigenous populations, Grimshaw returned to London with enough material to publish two lengthy travelogues in 1907.

Unlike many travelogues, which pay clear attention to dates and itineraries, Grimshaw’s writings are largely absent of such chronology. She seldom makes more than an offhand reference to the year of her travels or how long they last. Furthermore, several of her books are actually comprised of anecdotes from journeys several years apart; consequently, two separate books may be a continuation of a single trip. It is impossible to say whether Grimshaw felt such dates and itineraries were unimportant or if she used the omission as a stylistic device to draw the reader into the carefree idealistic lifestyle of the islands.

In the Strange South Seas (1907) and From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands (1907; published in America as Fiji and Its Possibilities, 1907) recount Grimshaw’s wanderings among the islands. The style of her later works, characterized by a thorough attention to details and an often politely humorous tone, is already fully developed here. When applicable, she begins the descriptions of each area with its colonial history, making certain to highlight the achievements of white settlements. Grimshaw provides an exhaustive picture of a region’s fauna and wildlife. As she recounts her adventures, she provides narratives depicting the customs and lifestyles of the native populations. Early in In the Strange South Seas Grimshaw proudly endorses British colonialism, carefully equating the aspiration of conquest with her vagabond leanings: “In the heart of every Briton a wanderer once has lived. If this were not so, the greatest empire of the world would never have been.”

Grimshaw’s epics of tropical adventure reveal her twin intentions as an author. While highly competent in National Geographic-style reporting, Grimshaw is also aware of the reader’s desire for suspense, danger, and excitement. Both books contain ample discussions of cannibalism, head-hunting, poisoning, and tribal magic. Of course, this material is carefully spread throughout the texts because the central motivation for Grimshaw’s work was to encourage tourism and development – not to frighten people away. She skillfully mixes tales of exotic jungle adventure with romantic descriptions of the South Sea allure.

Her work’s suspense comes from Grimshaw’s practice of creating the illusion that she is alone among the savages. Sometimes this was indeed the case, but when it was not, the author is careful to present guides, escorts, and ship captains as comic characters offering minimal protection. Generally she insisted on arriving and remaining at her desired destinations without help from guides.

Reviews of these two volumes were often negative. Fiji and Its Possibilities was dismissed by an unattributed critic for the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science as “diffuse and unsatisfactory,” while a reviewer in The Nation complained that “she tires the reader by repetitions, long digressions, feebly humorous passages, frequent allusions to cannibalism, and prolix accounts of trivial and uninteresting incidents.” In the Strange South Seas elicited criticisms from the Times Literary Supplement,’ specifically, Grimshaw was reprimanded for relying “on the loose talk of traders” for information and charged with creating a frequently inaccurate work. Despite such criticisms, the publication of these books on both sides of the Atlantic as well as subsequent reprintings indicate that Grimshaw’s work enjoyed some popularity.

Grimshaw also used her knowledge of the islands to provide background for a series of romance novels. Vaiti of the Islands (1906), a story concerning the half-caste daughter of a Maori princess and the drunken English captain of a trading schooner, is the first of Grimshaw’s “island romances.” Interestingly, this work elicited more favorable reviews than the author’s travel narratives, A review for the 28 November 1908 issue of The New York Times congratulated the author for “creating something new in heroines” and recommended the novel to all “wandering seekers of excitement.”

Now a professional traveler, Grimshaw secured passage on the steamer Merrie England and departed in November 1907 for New Guinea. This voyage, coupled with a second trip in 1909, would be detailed in The New New Guinea (1910). Curiously, her interest in the region was sparked by the suicide of the English chief judicial officer several years earlier. Although still a British colony, New Guinea was far from settled. As late as 1903 there had been violent massacres of settlers by the native population. In anticipating her voyage Grimshaw explained that “the books told of cannibals and crocodiles, fevers and snakes and swamps, unexplored rivers, unknown mountains. It sounded interesting, but calculated to give the unescorted woman wanderer food for rather serious thought.”

More than her previous works, The New New Guinea is partially intended as a resource book for potential visitors to the island. In addition to hints spread throughout the text, Grimshaw provides appendixes containing information on travel arrangements as well as medical precautions for visitors, Despite this nod to practicality, Grimshaw relishes the often-real danger attached to her surroundings. Her desire to redefine the position of the woman traveler is best illustrated by her insistence upon sampling deep-sea diving on the Torres Strait. Although Grimshaw braved the shark-infested waters, she subsequently recalled upon entering the water: “At this point my fiction broke up, and I realized that I was extremely afraid. The sobering truth, I think, is that a woman is always afraid of doing dangerous things.” Rather than conceding a docile role for women in society, however, Grimshaw is actually arguing that this fear of a legitimate danger indicates a degree of common sense that make women far better equipped to function outside the home than men think. In the Strange South Seas explicitly states a similar idea: “We are not as clever as men but neither are we stupid.” The New New Guinea received more favorable reviews than Grimshaw’s volumes on Fiji. Particularly laudatory was Forbes Lindsay’s article in The New York Times praising “the lifelike pictures of the native tribes, and charming descriptions of the country.”

Grimshaw followed the story of her New Guinea adventures with another romance novel, When the Red Gods Call (1911.) Two years later Grimshaw repaid her debt to the Union Steamship Company by authoring a thirty-two-page pamphlet, Three Wonderful Nations: Tonga, Samoa, Fiji (1913), a brief history and description of the areas. She does not discuss her personal experiences but merely depicts the islands as ideal vacation spots. For the next seventeen years Grimshaw would devote her writing entirely to fiction, generally further variations on the tropical romance motif.

During her second trip to New Guinea in 1909, Grimshaw visited the Solomon Islands. Incidents from this trip were combined with writings from additional South Seas excursions in 1912 and 1928 for Grimshaw’s final travel book, Isles of Adventure. In some ways this work may be her most successful, both as a limited attempt at autobiography and for the wide range of topics she discusses. Within this volume Grimshaw recounts her adventures in Java, New Caledonia, Ile Nov, and the infamous Sepik River Valley – the location of practicing headhunters at the time of her visit.

As always, Grimshaw is strangely ambiguous about the people she observes. Explaining that the “Black Peril” renders it essential for all white women to carry guns – “Brown Men are violent and unrestrained of feeling, like all savages” – the author later concedes of the same natives: “Brains these folks have in abundance. Strange though it may seem they have much natural goodness of character too.”

Following the publication of this work Grimshaw continued to travel among the islands, finally settling in Bathurst, Australia. She turned her attention to novels and short stories, generally romances set in exotic locales. Completing nearly thirty such works, she retired in 1940 after the publication of Rita Regina (1939). Grimshaw died in June 1953 at the age of eighty-two.

For modern scholars the most germane study of Grimshaw arises from her role as a woman brazenly dismissing the prescribed domesticity of her age as well as her identity as a firsthand observer (some would argue participant) of the colonial process. Although the breadth of her writing would suggest that she is an ideal subject for such inquiry, Grimshaw is actually far more enigmatic than a casual survey would indicate. She was highly aware of violating the standard role model of early-twentieth-century women and addresses this issue repeatedly in her books – the reader may occasionally feel that many of her adventures would have come across as far less perilous if the subject were a man. She was fascinated by the gender customs and role of women among the societies she encountered but was rarely permitted any real contact with the women she sought to study. A nearly unanimous practice among the indigenous peoples was to hide all females at times of danger or uncertainty. As a result, the natives generally cloistered the women far away as soon as Grimshaw’s expedition was spotted. Furthermore, her interactions with and observations of other women were generally limited or at best closely monitored by men.

Grimshaw’s position in the hierarchy of colonialism is also difficult to determine. To be certain, she was quick to glorify the achievements of British paternalism and all too often succumbs to racism and cultural bias when discussing indigenous peoples. However, to dismiss her as a crass, myopic Anglophile is unfair. Although Grimshaw never failed to locate faults, she overwhelmingly felt an attraction to the preindustrial cultures she examined, finding that way of life more often than not to be infinitely preferable to the one she left at home. In Isles of Adventure Grimshaw unknowingly provides a flattering but accurate epitaph: “I have written as a traveller, a wanderer, to whom new and strange things are the chief happiness of my life.”

Bibliography from the Dictionary of Literary Biography and the “Pulp Rack” Website

By her own count, Beatrice wrote 37 books (see above). Thirty-three of them are included in a reference list presented in an article on Beatrice in the Dictionary of Literary Biography3; they are shown below.

  • Broken Away

(London & New York: John Lane, 1897)

  • Vaiti of the Islands

(London: A. P. Watt, 1906; New York: A. Wessels, 1908)

  • From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands

(London: Eveleigh Nash/G. Bell, 1907); republished as Fiji and Its Possibilities (New York: Doubleday, Page, 1907)

  • In the Strange South Seas

(London: Hutchinson, 1907; Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1908)

  • The New New Guinea

(London: Hutchinson, 1910; Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1911)

  • When the Red Gods Call

(London: Mills & Boon, 1911; New York: Moffatt, Yard, 1911)

  • Guinea Gold

(New York: Moffatt, Yard, 1912; London: Mills & Boon, 1912)

  • Three Wonderful Nations: Tonga, Samoa, Fiji

(Dunedin: Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, 1913)

  • The Sorcerer’s Stone

(London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1914; Philadelphia: Winston, 1914)

  • Red Bob of the Bismarks

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1915); republished as My Lady of the Island (Chicago: McClurg, 1916)

  • A Coral Queen

(New York, 1917; London: Newnes, 1925)

  • Nobody’s Island

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1917; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page, 1923)

  • Kris-Girl

(London: Mills & Boon, 1917)

  • The Terrible Island

(New York: Ridgeway, 1919; London: Hurst & Blackett, 1920)

  • The Coral Palace: ‘Twixt Capricorn and Cancer

(London: Mills & Boon, 1920)

  • The Little Red Speck and Other South Sea Stories

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1921)

  • My South Sea Sweetheart

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1921; New York: Macmillan, 1921)

  • Conn of the Coral Seas

(New York: Macmillan, 1922; London: Hurst & Blackett, 1922)

  • The Valley of Never-Come-Back, and Other Stories

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1922)

  • The Sands of Oro

(Garden City, N .Y .: Doubleday, Page, 1924; London: Hurst & Blackett, 1924)

  • The Candles of Katara

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1925)

  • The Wreck of the Redwing (New

York: Holt, 1927; London: Hurst & Blackett, 1927)

  • Black Sheeps Gold

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1927; New York: Holt, 1927)

  • Eyes in the Corner and Other Stories

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1927)

  • The Paradise Poachers

(London: Hurst & Blackett, 1928)

  • My Lady Far Away

(London: Cassell, 1929)

  • The Star in the Dust

(London: Cassell, 1930)

  • Isles of Adventure: Experiences in Papua and Neighboring Islands

(London: Jenkins, 1930); republished as Isles of Adventure; From Java to New Caledonia but Principally Papua (Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931)

  • The Mystery of Tumbling Reef (London:

Cassell, 1932; Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1932)

  • The Long Beaches and Other South Seas Stories

(London: Cassell, 1933)

  • Victorian Family Robinson

(London: Cassell, 1934; New York: Longmans, Green, 1935)

  • Rita Regina

(London: Jenkins, 1939; New York: Arcadia House, 1940)

  • South Sea Sarah. Murder in Paradise. Two Complete Novels

(Sydney: New Century, 1940).

An excellent bibliography prepared by Peter Ruber and Victor A. Burch is published on a website for the magazine “Pulp Rack”, which appears at the following address: 

An excerpt from that website has been prepared as a companion webpage. Thanks go to Hilary Tulloch for bringing the “Pulp Rack” website to the attention of the “Grimshaw Origins” website author.

A Sampling of Beatrices Travelogue Writing: From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands

To provide a sense of the style and “flavor” of Beatrices creative output, a sampling of a non-fictional work is provided below (excerpted from Chapter 1, p. 1-11 of From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands1.) Selected photographs (shown below) were copied from the same work and are also provided. The next section provides a sample of her fictional work. The entire book is available on Google Books and can be viewed by clicking here.

“Drying Vanilla”. The woman pictured is almost certainly Beatrice, since she was the only white woman on the island at the time of her visit, when the photo was presumably taken. The use of the small building behind her is not known, but strongly suspected! (From p. 157 of From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands.)

It is a “far cry” to Fiji. Take ship from London, sail down the coasts of France and Spain, journey up the Mediterranean, by Scylla and Charybdis, and all the ancient world; reach Port Said, pass through the Gateways of the East, and steam through the torrid Red Sea into the Indian Ocean – and as yet we have hardly started. A little further, and we come to sun-baked Aden, and see the India-bound passengers leave the ship, congratulating themselves that the long tiresome voyage is over now. . . . Ceylon, and the magnificent Fast, – lift like a splendid comet on the horizon, glow for one gorgeous day, and slip back into the past. Now the East lies behind, and the West is long forgotten, and what is there to come?

The South is still to come – the wide, free, wonderful world that lies below the Line, and that is as utterly unlike all things met with above, as the countries East of Suez are unlike the countries lying, West, in outworn, unmysterious Europe.

Happenings are largely a matter of latitude. About the fiftieth parallel, nothing interesting happens but policemen, bankruptcies, and Lord Mayors’ shows. (Millionaires also happen – if you wish to be a millionaire you must on no account stray below forty north – but millionaires are not interesting, only instructive – in the uselessness of money.)

Down towards the thirties, colour begins to glow upon the grey outlines of Northern life, and in the twenties, strange scenes and astonishing peoples paint it over and over. Cross the Line, and now you may take the brush, and indulge your vagrant fancy to the full, for nothing that you can paint will be too bright or too strange. Below the equator is the world of the South, and here anything may happen, for here the new and the wild and the untried countries lie, and here, moreover, you shall come upon unknown tracts and places in yourself, on which, if you had stayed within sound of the roaring throat of Piccadilly, no sun had ever shone.

. . .And as yet, we are scarce half-way on our journey. More weeks slip by, and, yellow, nude, and harsh, West Australia of the goldfields and the great unvisited plains lies on our port bow. More days, and sparkling Melbourne is passed, and Tasmania has sunk below the horizon, and still we are travelling on. . . . Sydney, bright and eager and curiously young (where have all the greybeards hidden themselves? or are they all at home in the old grey lands that suit their wearied souls?), is forgotten, and the great English ship is left at the quay, making ready for the homeward journey; and still, in another vessel, for ever and ever, as it seems, we are going on. . . . Seven weeks now since we sailed from Tilbury a storm of parting cheers, friendly faces, wet with driving English rain, and with something more, growing white and far away upon the pier – and still the blue seas run in an unceasing river past our rail, and we sleep at night to the sound of beating waves. . . .

It is nearly eight weeks now, but the eighth will not be completed. One morning, we are all waked early by the sound of the steamer shrieking for a pilot, and when we hurry on deck, we are confronted by a sparkling harbour, a green lagoon, and a pile of the most extraordinary and incredible mountain ranges ever seen outside the dreams of a delirious scene-painter. There are
peaks three and four thousand feet high, the colour of a purple thundercloud, jagged and pinked like broken saws; peaks like side-saddles, peaks like solitary, mysterious altars raised to some unknown god, and in the heart of the glowing violet distance, one single summit fashioned like a giant finger, pointing darkly to the sky.

Opposite the hills lies a pretty little town, under the shelter of rich green wooded heights. A quay runs out from the land, and there are wharf officials, and customhouse men on the quay, and in the background well-dressed men and ladies all in white, and carriages and parasols, and in a word, civilisation- the last thing that we expected, here at the ends of the earth.

It is some time before the new-comer realises that Suva, the capital, is to Fiji in general as the feather in the factory-girl’s hat to the rest of her attire. Such a splendid level as this is only attainable locally. Still, to the traveller from home, who has probably arrived with undefined fears of “savages ” about the beach, and the roughest of tavern accommodation in the town, the first impression is astonishing.

Suva, on landing, proves to be a good-sized town, with a long handsome main street, edged on one side by neatly cut grass, and great flamboyant trees in full flower of vivid scarlet, bordering the still green waveless lagoon that, lies inside the coral reef. On the other side stand shops with big plate-glass windows, clubs, offices, hotels. A little way out of the town is Government House, perched upon its own high bill to catch the trade wind – long and wide and deeply verandahed, with a tall flag-staff bearing the Union Jack on the roof, armed native sentries pacing at the avenue gates, and a stately flight of steps leading to the porch, to be covered with red carpet on great occasions. . . . And this is savage Fiji!

When we have chosen an hotel, disposed of our luggage, dined, and settled down to have a rest on the coolest verandah – for it is exceedingly hot, and the laziness of the Pacific world begins to press hard upon us – we may as well try to increase our understanding of the place where we find ourselves, by reading it up, until the heat and the sleepy swing of the long cane rocking-chair shall prove too much. . . .

Fiji is a British Crown Colony, situated in the Southwest Pacific, lying between the 15th and 22nd parallels of south latitude, and between 175 E. and 177 W. longitude. It consists of 155 islands, with a total area of 7400 square miles. Most of the land is contained in the two great islands of Viti Levu (Great Fiji), and Vanua Levu (Great Land), which account for 4112 and 2432 square miles respectively. These two islands are exceptionally well wooded and watered, and could, it is said, support three times the population of the whole group. Viti Levu is in every way the most important island in the archipelago. It contains the seat of government, the principal harbours, all the roads, and much the greater part of the colony’s trade. There is one fair-sized town in the group besides Suva Levuka – the capital of former days, on the small island of Ovalau.

The climate is certainly hot, though the thermometer does not rise to any extraordinary heights. During the three hottest months – January, February and March – the highest shade temperature ranges between 90° and 94° Fahr., and the lowest between 67° and 72° , roughly speaking. In the cooler months of June, July and August, 59° and 89° are the usual extremes. The air is moist as a rule, and in Suva, at all -events, one may safely say that a day without any rain is almost unknown. On the northern side of Viti Levu, the climate is a good deal drier, and in consequence less relaxing. Dysentery is fairly common, but there is no fever to speak of, and the climate, on the whole, is considered very healthy. Mosquitoes are so troublesome that most of the better class private houses have at least one mosquito-proof room, with doors and windows protected by wire gauze.

One hears a good deal about hurricanes in Fiji, and the stranger might be pardoned for thinking that they are common features of the so-called ” hurricane season.” As a matter of fact, however, they are rare, many years often elapsing between one hurricane and the next. Between 1848 and 1901 inclusive, there were only thirteen hurricanes in the group, and of these only six were really destructive. Most tropical climates would have a worse record to show if carefully investigated. Although the rainy months are damp and enervating, the drier half of the year, from April to October, is extremely pleasant, and not at all too hot.

. . . Not asleep yet? . . . The trade wind hums in the great vanes of the palm-trees outside the hotel verandah. It is very warm, and the flash of white foam on the barrier reef, between the flat tops of the quaint ” rain-trees,” and the red roofs of the lower town, is too far away to offer even a suggestion of coolness. Is it not too hot and drowsy a day to study Fijian geography and history?

No, for we are in the hot season, and every day for the next three months is going to be just like this, and if one only reads and works in a tropical climate when one feels like it, one will never get through any work at all. That is part of the ” white man’s burden,” and pluckily he shoulders it as a rule. Most intellectual work in the hot season is done clear against the grain from beginning to end, after a fashion that would make the London city clerk stand aghast. Yet it is excellently done for the most part, and it does not, in Fiji, at all events, seem to tell against the health.

So, beginning as we mean to go on, we will look up the history books, and see what is the past record of this strange land into which we have come. We have already noted, passing down the street, the curious mixture of the population – whites, half-castes, Samoans, Indians, Chinese, and more conspicuous than any, the Fijians themselves, tall, magnificently built people of a colour between coffee and bronze, with stiff brushlike hair trained into a high ” pompadour,” clean shirts and smart short cotton kilts, and a general aspect of well-groomed neatness. They do not look at all like “

savages,” and again, they have not the keen, intellectual expression of the Indians, or the easy amiability of the Samoan type of countenance. They are partly Melanesian, partly Polynesian in type, and they form, it is quite evident, the connecting-link between Eastern and Western Pacific. East of Fiji, life is one long lotus-eating dream, stirred only by occasional parties of pleasure, feasting, love-making, dancing, and a very little cultivating work. Music is the soul of the people, beauty of face and movement is more the rule than the exception, and friendliness to strangers is carried almost to excess. Westward of the Fijis lie the dark. wicked cannibal groups of the Solomons, Banlo, and Now Hebrides, where life is more like a nightmare than a dream, murder stalks openly in broad daylight, the people are nearer to monkeys than to human beings in aspect, and music and dancing are little practised, and in the rudest possible state.

In Fiji itself, the nameless dreamy charm of the Eastern Islands is not; but the gloom, the fevers, the repulsive people of the West are absent also. Life is rather a serious matter for the Fijian on the whole; he is kept in order by his chiefs and by the British Government and has to get through enough work in the year to pay his taxes; also, if the supply of volunteers runs short, he is liable to be forcibly recruited for the Armed Native Constabulary, and this is a fate that oppresses him a good deal – until he has accustomed himself to the discipline of the force, when he generally makes an excellent soldier. But all in all, he has a pleasant time, in a pleasant, productive climate, and is a very pleasant person himself, hospitable in the highest degree, honest, good-natured, and clever with his hands, though of a less highly intellectual type than the Tongan or Samoan. Fijian solo dancing is not so good as that of the Eastern Pacific, but there is nothing in the whole South Seas to equal the magnificent tribe dancing of Vanua and Viti Levu, only seen at its best on the rare occasions of a great chief’s wedding or funeral. The Waves of the Sea dance is one of the most celebrated; it is danced by several thousand men wearing long white streamers of tappa cloth (a native-made stuff beaten out of the inner bark of the mulberry-tree, and looking like fine white paper). These streamers, skilfully managed, suggest the crests of breaking rollers with extraordinary vividness, and the roaring song of the dancers closely reproduces the boom of the waves.

The history of the country goes back a very little way – only as far as 1643, when Tasman discovered the group and named it Prince William Islands. He did not land, or make any explorations. Cook sailed within sight of Vatoa, in 1774, but did not visit any other of the islands. Bligh, after the mutiny of the Bounty, in 1789, passed Moala during his wonderful boat voyage to Timor, and in 1792 returned in the Providence, and made some observations. In spite of these visits, however, and in spite of the fact that a number of Australian convicts escaped up to the islands about 1802, they remained almost unknown until D’Urville, in the Astrolabe, made a rather brief exploring tour in 1827, and constructed the first chart. Captain Bethune in 1838, the United States Exploring Expedition in 1840, and a number of British vessels afterwards, completed the survey of the group. In 1835 the first missionaries arrived, and from this time onward the islands began to make progress towards civilisation. There is no need to repeat here the story of the cannibal days in Fiji, since mission literature has made this part of Fijian history famous all over the world – rather too much so, as the colonist of to-day declares. It takes a long time to uproot any fixed idea from the mind of the slow-going British public, and English people have-‘not yet succeeded in realising that the cannibal and heathen days of Fiji passed away more than thirty years ago. To most of the home public, the Fijis are still the gloomy land of mission story, or else the “Cannibal Islands ” of music-hall and nigger-minstrel humour- a place impossible to take seriously from any point of view, and certainly not a spot where any sane man would either travel for pleasure or emigrate for profit. Theirs is the loss, since the country is eminently adapted for both.

It is enough, then, to say that in the earlier part of the nineteenth century, the Fijian was the most determined cannibal known to savage history, and that murders of the white settlers and missionaries were frequent. By degrees, however, the untiring efforts of the missionaries, both Catholic and Protestant, and the influence of the settlers themselves, few as they were, began to make an improvement, and in the early fifties the country was advancing rapidly towards a better state of civilisation, when the rise into power of the infamous King Thakombau, one of the worst monsters of cruelty known since the days of Nero, for a time held back the tide. Murders and massacres of the whites increased, war among the natives was continual, and there was small security for property. In 1855, however, came a serious check to Thakombau’s power. The United States Government, incensed at the brutal murder of a number of shipwrecked sailors, demanded ₤9000 compensation, which the savage king found himself quite unable to pay. He offered to cede the islands to Great Britain in 1858, on the condition that the indemnity should be taken over with the country and settled for him. England, as it happened, did not think that a fine colony right in the middle of the Pacific trade routes was worth buying at the cost of a decent country-house in the shires; so the offer was refused, and the richest prize in the South Seas went begging for more than sixteen years longer.

(more follows in chapter)

“Makarita in Festival Dress”, Malekula Warrior”, “Tannese Scar-Tattooing” (From p. 124, 235, and 283 of From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands.)

A Sampling of Beatrices Novel Writing: When the Red Gods Call5

This novel was apparently one of Beatrice’s better known or more popular. The cover is shown below, and the text of the first chapter follows. Click here for the full book in PDF format.

Cover from Beatrice Grimshaw’s When the Red Gods Call.





I am writing this in prison.

I don’t know that anyone will ever read it, but if anyone ever should, he need not picture to himself a cell in Portland or Wormwood Scrubbs, with a gas jet, and a Bible, and a spy-hole in the door, and a warder walking up and down outside. It is a very different sort of prison that holds me, Hugh Lynch — thirty-one years of age, and good for nothing any more — this dead, damp, choking-hot “northwestern” afternoon. The walls are corrugated iron, whitewashed, and very clean; there is a sleeping mat on the floor, and a pillow and a box and a tin basin. The window is an open shutter, looking out to sea. I could break through it, or the floor, with a penknife, any night — supposing Wilks, the jailer, had not left the door open, as he generally does. Wilks is lazy, and does not much like the bother of having a white prisoner; he put me on parole the first day I was here, so that he should not be troubled to look after me. A cheap parole, truly! Where could a man escape to, in British New Guinea, as it remains even in this last quarter of the nineteenth century — an unexplored wilderness of cannibal savages, about the last place on the face of God’s earth.

People who are alive some twenty years hence may have a different tale to tell. A man has plenty of time to think in prison, and a pioneer has some right to prophesy. I would stake — what have I got to stake? Honor? “He that died o’ Wednesday” may have it, not I, who live disgraced. Money? The crash that brought me here carried away that too; let it go — it’s the least thing a man can lose. Love? Not safe to think about here, Hugh, while Wilks obligingly leaves you the use of your razor. Well, then, freedom, the only star in my black sky — a star a long way off. . . . I would stake my freedom that this wild country will be a great colony some day.

Who knows it as I do? Who has paid so for what he knows? Half drowned a dozen times on the river bars — nearly eaten by alligators oftener than I could remember — speared by a black brute in Orangerie Bay — caught and tied up for cooking on Ferguson Island — starved to a skeleton exploring in the Owen Stanley Range — down with fever gold-hunting in the wood-larks, in the Louisiades, up the Mambare River. Well, I’m not writing a boys’ adventure book, but I never read one that had half the adventures in it I have had in this out-of-the-way, back-of-God-speed, dark, devilish hole of a British New Guinea.

. . .Which, in spite of all the names I call it, and all it has done to me, I can’t help liking, even yet. That’s the way with us in New Guinea — we sow for someone else to reap. What have I reaped out of my six years in the country? Well, that is what I set out to write; I shall come to it by and by.

The days here are so long, in spite of the odd jobs of whitewashing, gardening, and grooming given me by the jailer, that I have felt obliged to make some occupation for the empty hours. I begged an old ledger, only quarter filled, from Wilks today, and in that I am going to write down, day by day, as time may serve, the whole truth about my wretched story — partly for my own employment, and partly because . . .

No, I won’t write that second “because.” I don’t care if she ever does know. I don’t care if she is dead. No more about her! I write to please myself, no one else.

How quiet the prison is! It is the hottest hour of the afternoon, the parrots have ceased their screaming in the bush that lies behind the hill, the leatherheads have not yet begun their evening squawking and scandalizing among the palm-tree tops. All the native prisoners are out working on the roads; Wilks, I suspect, is taking an afternoon nap after his midday “comforter.” There is not a sound but the humming of the surf on the coral reef, a long way out at sea, and the little ruffle of the waves breaking on the beach below the jail. The sea is of a blue that hits you like a slap in the face; the white sand scorches your eyes, the tangle of bush and creepers on the shore is poisonously green. One can only say that the whole landscape screams, in spite of the stillness of the day.

Port Moresby is out of sight round the corner — half a dozen tin bungalows with stilty legs and big verandas, offices, some of them, a store or two, a house or two — that is all. And here, on the grass below the “capitol,” stands the jail, my home.

Who and what am I, and why am I here? A page copied out of Wilks’ rough — and — ready prison register will answer. I’m not a young lady in a novel, so I cannot very well describe myself, but I think Wilks has done it accurately enough.

“LYNCH, Hugh. White. Age 31. Nationality, Irish. Crime, manslaughter. Sentence, two years.

“Description — Height, 5 feet 8-1/2. Hair, dark red, very thick. Face much tanned. Eyes small, grayish- brown. Clean shaved. Wide mouth, good teeth. Nose short and irregular. Small ears. Exceptional development of muscle all over. Somewhat round-shouldered.

“Marks — Knife scar on left shoulder. Spear mark right thigh. Tattooing — Dragon left forearm; mermaid, red and blue on back; snake (blue) encircling right upper arm; “Panchita M.” center of chest; “Armour eternal, 1887,” enclosed in circle (red) over left breast; girl’s head in a crescent moon (blue) over fourth rib, right side. Device apparently erased with acid, just above.

“Speaks French and Spanish, also Motuan and several other New Guinea dialects.”

. . . I had just got so far, when the doctor came in on a visit of inspection. He was a little drunk, as usual, and very pleasant; I think his grammar was rather worse than usual (when an Irishman is vulgar be sure he’s an Ulsterman, like M’Gonigal) and he was much inclined to talk. He took Wilks’ ledger off the floor, where it lay while I was copying, seated on my mat, and began to read it aloud with shrieks of laughter. Wilks, who had followed, stood sheepishly looking on, his mouth full of afternoon tea.

” ‘Nose irregular,’ “read the doctor; “exceptional muscular development.’ Them two things hangs together, me boy; you’re apt to find an irregular nose with an arm and a chest like yours, and the rid hair that shows the fiery timper. . . Round-shouldered’ — Ignoramus! did j’ever see a Herkewls with the carriage of a Ganymede, now?”

“No, sir, certainly not, sir,” says poor Wilks, hopelessly muddled.

” ‘Speaks Spanish — “Panchita” — speaks French -“Amour eternal”- girl in a crescent — girl, or something about a girl, burned out — knife wound on the left shoulder, — and them hangs together too, ye Lutherian! Why, it’s a biography ye’ve written, here, Wilks. . . Manslaughter . . . hm! hm! Give us a sup of the tea ye have in your quarters, Mr. Jailer, with the flavoring that I perceive ye’ve been adding to it — and we’ll let the lad alone; after all, we don’t anatomise a criminal before he’s dead, even in British New Guinea.”

I was afraid the doctor would begin overhauling my manuscript, but he never even glanced at it — he has more refinement of feeling than his grammar might lead one to expect. He walked out of the cell, still laughing, and Wilks followed him, carrying his register with him. It ought never to have been there, but there is not much prison discipline in Port Moresby.

Alone again in my little whitewashed box, with not a sound to disturb me but the dry rustle of the palms outside, I sat and thought for a long time, looking out at the flat blue sea. There was a lakatoi on it a little while ago — a huge canoe with immense curved bat-like wings, skimming along towards Paga Hill. There was a thin black streak, far out at sea, followed by a long crystal wake — that was an alligator’, going after the lakatoi. I watched them both out of sight; the sea is empty now J and I have taken up my pen again.

I think that the doctor spoke the truth. Wilks has written a pretty large slice of my autobiography for me. I’ll let it go at that.

Three years before the mast at sea — a year in Ecuador and Bolivia — another in Tahiti and New Caledonia — another in Australia — six in New Guinea. That’s the tale, in the rough. A gentleman to begin with, a County Clare lad meant for the army, and brought home from his tutor’s at eighteen to be told that his father was dead, his property muddled away, and himself a beggar — that was the beginning of life for Hugh Lynch. I had an uncle on my mother’s side (she had died long before the black days came on us, thank God) and he found a place for me in a Liverpool warehouse as a junior clerk. I kept the place just ten days. The eleventh day found me berthed in the forecastle of a five hundred ton brig, bound for Buenos Aires — entered on the books as an able seaman, and well worth my wages, too; I hadn’t sailed my father’s yacht round Ireland, and up to Stromness, for nothing. As for the senior clerk in Pettigrew’s of Water Street, he probably got a couple of new front teeth from the dentist near the Town Hall, next Saturday, and, I don’t think the split in his lip would bother him for more than a day or two. All things considered, he was lucky.

Was I?

Well, for the next few years, “all the kingdoms of the earth, and the glory of them,” were mine. If I paid the price one is supposed to pay, I got what I paid for. They say the devil is fond of cheating you out of the goods you’ve bought. He did not cheat me.

There’s a good deal one does not care to think of in cool blood, about the history of those years. I£ I told the story of the knife scar that I shall carry to my grave, and the story of the little wooden cross in the big barranco beyond La Paz, that goes with it — i£ I wrote down everything that happened in that mutiny off the Chilian coast, who sunk the Senorita) and why, and what you’d find tied to the mainmast, if you got a diving dress, and went down to look, and why I would not take the governorship of the island, if it were offered me, to go back and live in Tahiti — if I wrote all that, and the rest, that I haven’t touched on, there’d be more biography on the paper, and of a queerer kind, than ever M’Gonigal professes to have found on my skin.

You see, I had the education of a gentleman, and the muscles of a strong man in a circus, and the salt drop in the blood that drives to wandering. Mix those together, and you’ll get a stew with pepper in it. There has been nothing mean or dishonest in my life, but I’m afraid that is the very best my very best friend could say for me. And if I have not succeeded in unclassing myself altogether, I have gone a long way toward it. Whether that is an advantage or not, is one of the things I have never been able to decide. At all events it is so, beyond altering. Of no class, no country, no home, and no future — that is what I am, and where the “Red Gods” have led me, at the last.

And now for the story!

It begins three years ago, when I came into Port Moresby to look for a wife. I had taken up the prettiest little group of islands a man ever saw, ten or fifteen miles from the mainland of the northeast coast, and had planted them with cocoanuts. There was pearl-shell in the center lagoon, and fine Turkey sponge near the outer reef, and hawksbill turtle all over the place. I had had a house built of native materials, a little brown home like a bird’s nest, set among the big palms that had been growing on the island for half a century, with my new young trees behind it, and the beach and the lagoon before. After a long day overseeing the work of the boys, I used to light my pipe, and sit on the veranda, watching the sun go down over the barrier reef, in a blaze of colors that no one would believe, if I could describe it, and listening to the jumping of the fish in the still water below. The head boy would be busy making curry and tea for me in the cookhouse; when he had done, he would lay my table, and go off to his own little hut at the back of the island, where his Motuan wife would be waiting for him, with the sago hot from the fire in a wooden bowl, and the white cocoanut cream in another, set out on the floor mat. And there was a fat little brown baby, that used to roll about at the foot of the veranda ladder, and shriek, when it saw its father coming down the avenue of palms. I’ve heard it, many an evening, when I had finished early, and gone out for a walk round the island. It used to put me into the blues, that, and the look of Bogi sitting cooking on the floor, with the light of the hurricane lamp behind her. Some of the other boys had wives with them too — I never prevented their bringing their girls along, it helped to keep them contented — and, what with one thing and another, my smart little house used to look solitary and empty to me, of evenings. It was the first real home I had had since I was a child, that island plantation; but it did not seem homelike.

Well, the end of it was that one day I provisioned my cutter for a long trip, told my head boy I shouldn’t be back for some weeks, gave him a fathom of instructions, and the keys of the store, and set sail out of the lagoon for Port Moresby. What with calms and head winds, it took me near three weeks to get there, being the northwest season, but I did arrive at last, and tied up the Bird of Paradise to the new jetty, intending to live in her cabin, till I had bought my stores, and had a look round the township, and; found a pretty little girl from Hanuabada or Elivara to take back to Clare Island — so I had called my, small property, after my native country at home.

I did the straight thing from the beginning. I didn’t want a wild little savage, but a girl who could speak a bit of English, and was handy about a white man’s house, and that meant a mission girl, and that meant marrying her. It did not seem to me that a man could honestly ask any white woman to share such a life as mine had to be, on that Robinson Crusoe island, surrounded at a distance of only a few miles by untamed cannibal tribes, and without any of the comforts of civilization — and in any case, there were practically no white women in the country. A native wife, it seemed to me, was good enough for, such a ne’er do weel as myself, and I thought I’d be good enough for her. So I went up to the mission house that very same afternoon, and told Chalmers, who was a very important person in New Guinea in those days (and still is) , exactly what I wanted.

Chalmers is a good man, and a plucky, but he has a bit of the ” turbulent priest” about him, and he lectured me more than I liked, considering the errand on which I had come. He said I was a godless trader; I told him that was true, but I didn’t see what it had to do with the case; there were neither gods nor trading in this deal, only matrimony, and that was his job, if anything was. He said then that he didn’t approve of these mixed marriages. I said I didn’t ask for his approval; he wasn’t my father, or my uncle, and I was of age, and able to answer for myself. If he did not see his way to doing any matrimonial agency business, why, I would just nip up the first girl I fancied, whether she belonged to anyone else or not, put her on board my cutter, and make sail for Clare Island without any parsons in the business at all. And I had no doubt, I added, that if there was anything to score up in heaven against such a proceeding, it would go down to Mr. Chalmers’ account, not mine.

Well, considering that I was fairly rude to him, he took it rather well. He said that of two evils one must choose the less, and that in any case, I was acting honestly. One of his teachers would take me over the mission school, and if I saw any girl that I liked, of suitable age, he would marry us — under protest, he took care to add. Such marriages never turned out well, in his experience.

I did not trouble to hear any of his experience, but went off up to the hotel (as they called, it; it was, and is, only a tin shanty where they keep a half- rotten billiard table, and sell vile liquor), spent as cheerful an evening as I could, with two or three schooner captains, and the dozen or so residents of the town — and put all thoughts of my matrimonial intentions out of my head, as is my way when I have a job in front of me that wants taking seriously. N ever cross a bridge till you come to it, is my motto. . . And after all, it was. fate, or chance, or whatever one may choose to call the blind “divinity that shapes our ends,” that arranged the whole matter.

I had turned out of my hot little bunk rather early, while the sun was still low among the shiny leaves of the mangroves round the shore, and had dived overboard into twenty feet of sapphire — blue water, as warm as your hand, for my morning dip. I had put myself into a clean white shirt and trousers, and stuck a Canario knife, with an ivory and silver inlaid handle, into the red Spanish sash I’d unearthed from my old stores, to enhance the beauty that Nature hadn’t given me. I knew I was an ugly brute, but I fancied myself a bit all the same, knowing that I was the kind of brute that generally gets a good deal more than it deserves.

. . . Curious, how I write all this in the past tense, as if I were old, or dead — I, just over thirty, and as full of life as one of those darting seabirds, glancing about the inner reef. Can Eliso or any woman on earth have hit me as hard as that, no matter what she has done? I don’t want to believe it . . . yet there’s some spring broken in these last few months — something that leaves just a little hollow, sick feeling where a swelling buoyancy of self-conceit used to float me up. I do not think, if I live to be a hundred, I shall ever swagger again, mentally or physically, as I swaggered in my fine clothes down Hanuabada village that morning, proud as a peacock of my youth and strength, and feeling that I was coming among these savages like a fairy prince from another world, his hands full of gifts and honors. . .

Among all the sea villages of New Guinea, there is none prettier than Hanuabada. It stands up in the clear, green water on long, stilt-like piles, ten or fifteen feet high, the seaweed end of each house well out among the waves, the landward end just touching the white coral gravel of the village street. Every house has its quaint, native-style veranda, decorated with white shells, and streamers of brown fiber, and all the deep thatch roofs are finished off with long, lobster-like horns, making the place look, at a little distance, like a school of weird sea-monsters just climbing out of the water to invade the land. It was early as I came down the street, and the colonnade of palms that fronts the houses was shot through with green and gold lights from the climbing sun. Tall, naked, brown men, with immense mops of hair, and gay haloes of parrot plumes, were strolling or squatting about the verandas, some getting ready nets and spears for fishing, others finishing up the bowls of gluey sago, and the fat roasted yams, that their wives had been cooking for them. Blue smoke from the breakfast fires filled the village; the dogs were running eagerly about, the children tumbling in heaps, like windfalls of shiny brown fruit, at the foot of the veranda ladders. I can see the picture as if it were yesterday — and the native girls flitting in and out through it all, their full ballet skirts of colored grasses swinging like the costume of a premiere danseuse, their necks loaded down with clattering beads and strings of white dogs’ teeth, handfuls of blood-red hibiscus glowing in their huge soft mats of hair. They are pretty, these Hanuabada women, and well they know how to use those soft black eyes of theirs, on white or colored male humanity!

But with the men about, the looks that they cast at the “taubada” were necessarily few and veiled. One girl only of the whole crowd came forward openly, as I walked down the village, and, to my surprise, spoke my name. I halted, and took a look at her. She was about fourteen — which means a fully developed woman, among these tribes — and was the prettiest little thing I had seen for a long time. Small, dainty, with tiny, pretty hands and feet, and graceful limbs, her color clear bronze brown, her eyes as big and soft as a seal’s, she took my fancy mightily. I was almost certain, somehow, that I had seen her before, but I could not place her. I stood looking at her for a minute, admiring the picture she made with the early sun dancing on her beads and shell neck-laces, and outlining in gold the becoming lines of the blue tattoo upon her slender, unclad body. Her hands were joined together at arms’ length over the gay red and yellow stripes of her topmost ballet-skirt; she looked shyly up at me from under the overhanging mass of her black hair.

“Me here!” was what she said. And immediately put one of her necklaces into her mouth, and bit it coyly.

“Why, Kari!” I exclaimed, ” so it’s you, grown up!”

I was better pleased than if I’d found a hundred pounds. Kari was a little lass I had discovered wandering by herself in the bush, deserted by her tribe, several years before, when I had been out prospecting for sapphires about the Astrolabe country. I had brought her down to Port Moresby, and handed her over to the mission. They put her in a teacher’s family, and started in to instruct her about Noah and the ark, and Jonah’s whale, and all the rest of it. I suppose it didn’t do her any harm; you must fill a native’s mind up with something or other, if you want to keep him or her out of mischief — and some of the other things they taught her — not to eat dogs or cats or human beings; not to buy charms from sorcerers to kill her enemies; what to do with a piece of soap; how to make bread, and sew clothes — were really useful.

I had not heard much about her after she went to the mission; I believe I was not considered fit society for a promising young convert, and when I sent to ask how she was getting on, as I did once or twice, the answers were rather curt. I had given the mission a bolt of calico for my little protegee every time I came to Port Moresby (which was seldom) and that seemed to me as much as the circumstances demanded. It is a fact that I had never thought of Kari as a wife, when I made up my mind to get married — she was in my memory as a child only, and I did not realize how quickly a native girl grows up.

But the thought was there now. I remembered well what a brave, bright little companion the child had been, during those weeks of rough journeying through the Astrolabe — how she had picked up bits of the quaintest pigeon English, and talked to me after an odd fashion of her own — Kari was not in the least like any other child I had ever come across — how she had tried to help me with the work of my camp, fetching water, hanging my mosquito net, tending fires; whatever her tiny hands could find to do, in fact — and how really fond the small creature had been of myself. And here she was, a full-grown woman according to nativ ideas, a pretty one too, and just the same bright little bird of a Kari as even I wondered whether I could do better, if I overhauled the whole of the mission school.

But first I wanted to find out what she was doing alone in the village, in native dress, or rather undress, and without any of the mission teachers. Could she be married already? I felt astonishingly vexed at the idea — more or less. I had always felt a sort of proprietary interest in my small foundling.

She was still standing in the sun, looking shyly up under her fuzz-bush of hair, and biting her necklace.

“You here! ” she added to her original remark by-and-by.

“Yes, Kari, I’m here, undoubtedly. What you make alonga village, eh?”

Kari’s face clouded over, and the necklace dropped. The brown bosom began to heave under its elaborate embroidery of tattoo. The full Papuan under — lip rolled outwards.

“Too-morrow” she got out with difficulty,’ I marry this my husband, Pona.” She pointed to a big ugly fellow in a pink shirt and his own dark legs, who was chewing betel, and spitting gory mouthfuls on the ground, at a little distance.

“Who’s Pona? ” I demanded.

“He good man. He student ‘long school, pleach Sunday. Too-morrow, marry me ‘long miss’n.”

“You like marry him, Kari?”

Kari’s eyes overflowed, and she gave a little sniff for answer. I began to blaze. What right had anyone to marry the little creature against her will?

“No like,” she sniffed out at last.


More sniffs answered.” He fool my hair. He give me stick. He tell me I go ‘long hell, suppose I no marry him. He good man, flenty he savvy flenty fray, all same I no like.”

“Why don’t you tell the missionaries, Kari? ” I fumed. “I don’t suppose they know what Pona is. A first class hypocrite, no doubt! What are you afraid of? Afraid of going to hell?”

“I no fright along hell,” confessed the little bride. “I think more better I go to hell, Pona he no stop. Pona good man, Kari bad girl. You going hell sometime, Lineti. Flenty white man he go hell, flenty white man bad, all same me, all same you. All bad feofle, we stop long other. I like.”

This candid confession of faith would have made me laugh another time, but I was too angry to be amused. I blurted straight out what was in my mind, without thought of care or consequence.

“Kari, you shan’t marry him,” I said. “You shall marry me, and come with me to my island. I want a little wife like you. You come right up to the mission, and I’ll settle it today .”

I had forgotten to talk pigeon English, but Kari understood. Up went the necklace into her mouth again, the shy bright eyes looked at me kindly, but with a touch of doubt.

“You good along me? ” asked the small brown woman.

“Yes, Kari, I good along you.”

“You no fool my hair, no giving stick, making me cly?”

“I’ll not ‘fool’ your hair or beat you, Kari.”

“You talk good along me, you give ani-ani (food) all same white man — tea, soo-gar, flenty ?”

“Yes, plenty.”

“You got some other wife belong you?”

“No got, Kari, no want. Kari she stop all herself.”

Then, very shyly, and looking up and down — “You like Kari, flenty?”

“Plenty!” I said, and kissed her. Then I swung round on my heel, and dodged the ebony wood spear that Pona threw at my back. I had seen it in his hand, and knew very well it would come.

“You black brute,”I said, walking up to him -“You’re not going to get this little girl, if I know it, tomorrow or any other day. You’re coming to your precious mission now to be shown up and disgraced — dismissed, I should hope — and Kari’s going to marry me.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There was some little trouble about getting what I wanted, but it ended all right. Pona was dismissed, and sent back in disgrace to his village. Chalmers married Kari and me, after making considerable protest. He told me, indeed, that he would not have consented to perform, the ceremony, had he not been convinced that Kari would come to no good in Port Moresby, she having already attracted more attention from the whites than was desirable. I thought him the most prejudiced person I had ever met, and I fear, had not much scruple about showing him my feelings. Perhaps I have changed my mind a bit since then.

The missionary would not take the five sovereigns I flung down on his table, at the end of the short ceremony. He gathered them up and handed them back to me, with what I called, in my own mind, a vinegar face.

“You’ll probably be sorry for this some day , “he said. And that was all our nuptial blessing.

Kari, in a magenta cotton frock that was hideously unbecoming, and a wreath of some red flower that didn’t go with the dress, enjoyed the whole thing indescribably. Motuan girls are not very keen on marrying a white as a rule; they would rather have their own village life, than

“The burden of an honor unto which they were not born,”

and they really admire their dark suitors most. But — there are exceptions. I was popular with the natives all round — if I said unusually popular I should not be beside the mark — and Kari, as a foundling for whom no price in arm-shells, pigs, or dog’s teeth could be demanded, would have had rather a poor place among the native matrons of the village, who rank very much by the price that their parents or relatives have been able to extract from the bridegroom.

It was a lift, therefore, for Kari in every sense, and she collected and enjoyed the envious glances of the other mission girls, who stood round the door of the box-like little church, peeping in. They followed us down to the jetty below the mission house, to see us embark. My cutter had been brought over from the town, and the boy who had sailed her from Clare Island with me (a time — expired plantation hand, now going home) stood on the quay, all smiles and flowers and cocoanut oil, as we came down the winding path. The Bird of Paradise was decked out with streamers of colored trade calicoes, the wind was getting up, and fluttered all her gay pennons cheerfully, against the amazing blues and greens of the bay. Kari dumped the little Chinese cedarwood box that contained her trousseau (grass skirts, cocoanut oil, armshells, fan-shaped combs, tortoise shell earrings, pearl shell necklaces) over the bulwarks, and sprang in. I jumped after her, shoved off, and gave the tiller into the little brown hand of my bride. In another minute I had the sails hoisted, the nor’wester caught them almost full, and the Bird of Paradise was away on her long flight to Clare Island…….

“Vaiti of the Islands” – Published by Beatrice in The Saturday Evening Post in 1906 and 1908

Beatrice Grimshaw published many serialized fictional articles in the journals of her day in addition to her numerous books. She apparently got started publishing in mainstream journals in 1906 with a series of five articles in The Saturday Evening Post.

These articles had different titles but were all derived from Beatrice’s book, Vaiti of the Islands. The first article was the cover story of the 18 August 1906 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The series of five articles (one of which was published in two parts) is summarized as follows.

Title Date Published

The Tale of the Pearl Lagoon       18 August 1906

The Tale of the Black Viri 8 September 1906

The Tale of the Marooners 22 September, 29 September 1906

The Tale of Coral Bay 13 October 1906

The Wooing of Te Paea III            27 October 1906

Then in 1908 an additional five articles appeared, again based on Vaiti of the Islands, as shown below.

The House in the Lagoon 22 February 1908

The Lonely Island 25 April 1908

The Tale of the Dead Ship            4 April 1908

The Tale of the Pearl Pirates        13 June 1908

The serialized articles from “Vaiti of the Islands” are described in a companion webpage. The entire book is available from Google Books and can be viewed by clicking here.

“Dark Secrets of Papua” – Published by Beatrice in the New York Times Magazine

In 1923 Beatrice published an article on Papua in the New York Times Magazine based on her travels and previous extensive works. This article is  reproduced on a companion webpage with added background information.

“The Savage South Seas” – Published by Beatrice in the National Geographic in 1908

[In preparation. See companion webpage.] Click here for the entire book in PDF format.

Full Copies of Beatrice Grimshaw’s Books Available on GoogleBooks and Elsewhere

GoogleBooks now has copies of Beatrice’s books that have gone out of copyright available in complete form. The books identified to date


Fiji and Its Possibilities
The New New Guinea

From Fiji to theCannibal Islands

In the Strange South Seas


Broken Away
Guinea Gold
Red Bob of the Bismarcks

The Terrible Island
When the Red Gods Call
My South Sea Sweetheart

The Sorcerers Stone
The Terrible Island

Vaiti of the Island (noted above)        Valleyof Never-Come-Back

Letter from Beatrice to Prime Minister Alfred Deakin of Australia

Alfred Deakin served as Prime Minister in Australia for three non-consecutive terms — 1903-4, 1905-8, and 1909-10. During his second term of office, he received a letter from Beatrice which is now in the possession of the National Library of Australia. Images of the two-page (front and back) letter are available online in the Digital Collections of the library at the following location: 

Beatrice was writing Deakin concerning the “New Hebrides” question, offering to help to advance the Australian position using her connection with The Times and her contacts.

The following description accompanies the images, which are shown below the description. (Note the characteristic signature of Beatrice, which “bleeds through” slightly to the front side of the letter.)

MS 1540 Papers of Alfred Deakin
Series 15: Prime Minister, 1901-1923 (bulk 1903-1910)
Subseries 15.5: Portfolios, 1901-1923 (bulk 1903-1910)
Subseries 15.5.1: External Affairs, 1903-1910
Subseries New Hebrides, 1905-1908
Item 15/2489: Grimshaw, Beatrice to Alfred Deakin
(2 parts)

Additional Photos of Beatrice Grimshaw

From McCotter 2008..

Arranged APPROXIMATELY in chronological order….

Beatrice Grimshaw’s Obituary from the New York Times

Beatrice’s obituary was published by the New York Times on July 1, 1953 (p. 29); it is provided below.

Beatrice Grimshaw’s Unmarked Grave

Beatrice Grimshaw died in June, 1953 at the age of 82 in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. She is buried in an unmarked grave, which is shown below, adjacent to the grave of Eliza Honeyman. The picture is from Figure 7 of McCotter’s 2008 article entitled “A Bloodied Bond: Fly River Heads and Body Image in Beatrice Grimshaw’s Colonial Landscapes”7.

Beatrice Grimshaw’s Ancestral Origins

Beatrice is descended from the “Irish” line of Grimshaws, which is described on a companion webpage. The Irish line has been well documented up through Beatrice Grimshaw’s generation by Thomas Dunham Whitaker8 and is shown below. Beatrice is shown in the lower right corner of the descendant chart – born 1870 to Nicholas William and Eleanor (Thomason Newsom) Grimshaw.

The Irish line, headed by Nicholas and Susan (Briercliffe) Grimshaw, has been connected to the Pendle Forest line, headed by a Nicholas Grimshaw of Heyhouses. The Pendle Forest line, in turn, has now been reasonably well connected to the earliest recorded Grimshaw line in Eccleshill, headed by Walter de Grimshaw, who was living in 1250.

Descendant chart of “Irish” Grimshaw Line from Whitaker is shown below. The originators of this line, Nicholas and Susan (Briercliffe) Grimshaw can also be seen in the Pendle Forest Line on the right side of the descendant chart.

Analysis of Beatrice Grimshaw’s Work by Academic Analysts and Writers

Several academicians have taken an interest in Beatrice Grimshaw’s works from a number of different angles. Six articles by five authors are presented on a companion webpage — without critical review! Click here to go to the webpage. The 2008 article by McCotter7 is particularly noteworthy for the six excellent photos of Beatrice — and one of her grave (shown above) — that it contains.

Articles on Beatrice in Hecate, an Interdisplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation

Click here. However, this webpage has been replaced by the one above on academicians’ analysis.


Grimshaw, Beatrice, 1907, From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands: London, Eveleigh Nash/G. Bell (Republished as Fiji and Its Possibilities: New York, NY, Doubleday, Page), unk p

Hoehn, Matthew, ed., 1948, Catholic Authors – Contemporary Biographical Sketches, 1930-1947: Newark, NJ, St. Marys Abbey, p. 293-295

Barksdale, J. Allen, 1997, Beatrice Ethel Grimshaw, in Barbara Brothers and Julia Gergits, eds., British Travel Writers, 1876-1909 (Dictionary of Literary Biography, v. 174): Detroit, MI, Gale Research, p. 163-167

Newman, Kate, 1993, Dictionary of Irish Biography: Belfast, The Institute of Irish Studies, Queens University, p. 93

Grimshaw, Beatrice, 1911, When the Red Gods Call: London, Mills & Boon; New York, Moffatt, Yard, 364. p

6Evans, J., 1993, Beatrice Grimshaw and Australia : White Women in the Pacific: Olive Pink Society Bulletin, Vol. 5, No. 1 (June 1993), p. 34-39

7McCotter, Clare, 2008, A Bloodied Bond: Fly River Heads and Body Image in Beatrice Grimshaw’s Colonial Landscapes: Irish Studies Review, v 16, Issue 4 (November 2008), p 461-485

8Whitaker, Thomas Dunham, 1872, An History of the Original Parish of Whalley, and Honor of Clitheroe (Revised and enlarged by John G. Nichols and Ponsonby A. Lyons): London, George Routledge and Sons, 4th Edition; v. I, 362 p.; v. II, 622 p. Earlier editions were published in 1800, 1806, and 1825.

Webpage History

Webpage posted March 2001. Updated November 2004 with addition of letters to Prime Minister Deakin and a companion webpage with a bibliography from the “Pulp Rack” website. Updated September 2005 with addition of article by Julie Evans. Updated February 2007 with addition of autobiography from the April 1939 edition of Blue Book. Updated February 2008 with addition of companion webpage on “Vaiti of the Islands” in The Saturday Evening Post. Updated November 2008 with link to the complete book, “Vaiti of the Islands”. Updated February 2010 with addition of images from companion webpages.