Stories, articles and videos

1829 onwards – We were but sailing by – Early impressions of Christmas Island – Interesting to read these first hand accounts of travellers.

1830 – Could this be the first ever painting of Christmas Island? It’s amazing what you accidentally discover in an archive when you are not looking for it.

1855 – Rambles in eastern Asia, including China and Manilla (excerpt) – Read why an adventuring American dentist in 1848 felt the need for pistols, sword-canes, dirks etc when visiting Christmas Island.

1863 – The American Civil War – was Christmas Island a Rebel supply base? Amazing but true. Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) was investigated. Find out why.

1901 – Alexander Macdonald’s adventures on Christmas Island – An interesting and colourful read from the most earliest days of Christmas Island.

1908 – Dr James Cyril Dalmahoy Allan – Succourer of Many – Wonderful accounts of the everyday life of Dr Allan during his postings to Christmas Island; the first being in 1908.

1917 – Sng Choon Yee – the young translator – Sng Choon Yee was 20 years old when he was sent to Christmas Island as a translator to replace William Ryan who had died suddenly. He gives a most interesting account of daily life on the island from those early days.

1926 – The Pooh Bah of Christmas Island – Victor Purcell’s island interlude – his observations of the people and lifestyle on the island taken from his memoir.

1940 – World War 2 – A close callRead how Christmas Island was nearly bombarded by the infamous German auxilliary cruiser “Atlantis” (a commerce raider) in October 1940. A close call indeed.

1942 – Japanese soldiers celebrating their invasion of Christmas Island – A very rare photo.

1961 – About our Island, by Gwen Pettigrew. – Looking back. Life on Christmas Island 1946-1947 just after the Japanese occupation from the perspective of a European woman.

2016 – William Joseph Ryan (1874-1917) – The man beneath the grave – Gillian Sandle tells the story of her grandfather, William Ryan, after her decades long search to find out more about him. Her search finally culminated in a visit to his grave on Christmas Island.

2019 – Sara Maude Robertson – Uncovering the real story – My curiosity of a 1907 headstone in the old European Cemetery leads me to uncover the very interesting story of a woman ahead of her time.

Christmas Island Ku Li. I created a video slideshow that depicts the early Chinese coolies on Christmas Island. There is so much more to their story and John Hunt tells it magnificently in his book “Suffering through strength“. However, I hope I was able to capture something of the essence of their very hard life in pictorial form. The hauntingly beautiful music, I believe, is a Chinese folk song and aptly titled “River of Sorrow”.

The Japanese Ammunition Cave. I filmed my exploration of a World War 2 Japanese ammunition cave. Come with me to explore it.


A haunting story (one of just many that are told) and other great stories coming soon.

Tai Jin House, Christmas Island. The origins of “Tai Jin”. Is it a Japanese term from the occupation?  Coming soon.