The Rabaul and Vunapope Mission Press in New Britian


You never know what you will find in a box of old books. Most of the items were ready to go to Goodwill on the off chance that the old books would find a good home rather than be shredded. Picking up one small volume with a cloth cover that was almost detached I looked at the title. I found it strange that while it looked like I could read it, it was just not right.


A find from the bottom of the box

Prompted by the unexpected, I dove further into the mass of discarded, damp books, many lacked their covers, their signatures falling apart. Soon at the bottom of another box I came up with a second volume.


The second nugget

On looking closer at the title pages, I was surprised to find that these small books, lost amongst the rest, had an interesting story. They were printed at a small mission press on the island of New Britain in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

The mission press survived different colonial occupations and two world wars. How these two small volumes made it to eastern Washington is a mystery but they open a window to another place and time.


Read more about the Mission.


Read more about the press.

Worldcat: Neither book is listed in the Worldcat catalog.

  • Title: A buk ai ra umana kateket ta ra Vikariat Rabaul
  • Publisher: Vunapope [Rabaul] : Catholic Mission, 1928
  • Language: Pigin
  • Setting: Pre WWII East New Britian
  • DLWA Call Number: BX 1966 .T6 K38 1928
  • Title: A buk na Niararingi : Bitokara Vikariat Apostolik Rabaul
  • Publisher: Vunapope [Rabaul] : Catholic Mission, 1932
  • Language: Pigin
  • Setting: Pre WWII East New Britian
  • DLWA Call Number: BX 1966 .T6 K38 1932

–DLW

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